Venus Williams, Sharapova French Open Hopes Dashed — Again
Two former No. 1s, and two players who may never in their careers raise the trophy at Roland Garros, exited on Sunday when Venus Williams and Maria Sharapova were defeated at the French Open.
The No. 2-seeded Williams was dismissed 6-4, 6-3 by No. 19-seeded Russian Nadia Petrova, while Sharapova was outlasted in three sets by No. 22 seed and former champ Justine Henin.
“Recently I beat Serena, so I knew that the game would be similar,” Petrova said. “All I just was really try to be consistent and play my game…I have the next opponent, Dementieva. She’s tough opponent for me. We played numerous times tough matches.”
In the resumption of a delayed match from the day before, Henin was immediately broken on serve to begin the third set in her match with Sharapova.
“That game was so important, because at 3-Love with two breaks, it was really I think difficult to come back,” Henin said. “That was difficult to start with my serve today, as she did put a lot of pressure. I knew she was going to come very aggressive as she finished the match last night. So I was ready for it, but apparently not enough. I was really feeling under pressure at the time, so not playing a lot of first serves in my first game, and also until Love-40 at 2-0. So at that time I just stay focused on every point and played a few good first serves. I came to the net, and that gave me my confidence back. I really needed that game. After that, everything was easier to go to the net and play more aggressive.”
Other winners in fourth-round matches on Sunday were No. 3 seed Caroline Wozniacki outlasting No. 14 Flavia Pennetta 6-2 in the third; No. 5 Elena Dementieva rolling past South African qualifier Chanelle Scheepers in straights; and No. 17 Francesca Schiavone beating No. 30 Maria Kirilenko in straights.
The 29-year-old Schiavone equaled her best Roland Garros result, also reaching the quarters in 2001.
“Sometimes you wish to do something, but you don’t do it,” said Schiavone, who will next play Wozniacki. “So I think it was a long wait, but now I can feel it more. So I’m happy that happen.”
Monday play at Roland Garros is (1) Serena Williams vs. (18) Shahar Peer, (4) Jelena Jankovic vs. (23) Daniela Hantuchova, (22) Justine Henin vs. (7) Samantha Stosur, and an all-unseeded in Jarmila Groth vs. Yaroslava Shvedova.
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