Which top WTA tour players have the confidence to win the 2011 French Open? Apparently very few.
On Thursday Kim Clijsters, who had won the last two Slams, was up a set and match point before completely collapsing, admitting she had lost her confidence while losing to a player ranked outside the Top 100. On Friday world No. 1 Caroline Wozniacki was bounced from the event, steamrolled 6-1, 6-3 by Daniela Hantuchova, a player she had never had a problem with in three career meetings.
Was the pressure too much for Wozniacki, the clear favorite once Clijsters lost, who is still searching for a first Slam title? The Dane has certainly not been brimming with confidence this week. Even after winning the Brussels claycourt event prior to the French, at every opportunity she reminded reporters this week that the clay was not her best surface — but that she would try her best.
“The only one I feel pressure from is myself to go and give my all for every match and, obviously, I’m a competitor,” Wozniacki said. “I love winning. I don’t like losing.”
Wozniacki also didn’t like holding her serve Friday, broken five times.
“She played very, very well today, better than me for sure,” Wozniaci said of Hantuchova. “She knew what she was going to go out there and do. She was just too good.”
Argentine Gisela Dulko was another upset winner, bouncing last year’s runner-up Sam Stosur 6-4, 1-6, 6-3.
“She seemed to be out ahead a little bit better and really kind of be the one dictating the points, which, for me, I’m usually the one able to do that,” Stosur said. “Pretty much right from the first game she kind of set that tone, and it was very difficult for me to turn that around.”
Top 10 players into the fourth round were No. 3 Vera Zvonareva, No. 5 seed and defending champ Francesca Schiavone, and No. 10 Jelena Jankovic, all in straight sets. Jankovic bounced her friend Bethanie Mattek-Sands, 6-2, 6-2.
Lower-seeded winners advancing were No. 11 Marion Bartoli coming back to beat No. 17 Julia Goerges in three sets, No. 13 Svetlana Kuznetsova rolling past Canadian Rebecca Marino with a bagel first set, and No. 14 Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova coming from a set down to beat Spanish qualifier Nuria Llagostera Vives.
Saturday’s highlights at Roland Garros include the Clijsters-killer Arantxa Rus vs. (25) Maria Kirilenko, (15) Andrea Petkovic vs. (24) Jarmila Gajdosova, (7) Maria Sharapova vs. Yung-Jan Chan, and (9) Petra Kvitova vs. Vania King.
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