A hefty 26 matches were played on the women’s side Wednesday to make up for rain-delayed contests, resulting in four seeded upsets and other surprise winners.
Not surprising was struggling No. 10 seed and former No. 1 Caroline Wozniacki making an exit in the second round, dismissed in straight sets by Serb Bojana Jovanovski 7-6(2), 6-3.
“It’s always tough to say, but I definitely feel like clay is probably not my favorite surface,” said Wozniacki, who added she will now start her Wimbledon preparation. “It hasn’t been the best clay season for me. Obviously I would have liked to play longer and play better, but it wasn’t to be.”
In a day that saw seven of the Top 10 seeds in action, advancing were No. 1 Serena Williams easily over French wildcard Caroline Garcia 6-1, 6-2; No. 3 Victoria Azarenka likewise over Russian Elena Vesnina 6-1, 6-4; No. 4 Agnieszka Radwanska beating American Mallory Burdette 6-3, 6-2; No. 5 Sara Errani rolling Yulia Putintseva 6-1, 6-1; No. 7 Petra Kvitova weathering an upset alert with a 6-3, 4-6, 6-2 victory against French wildcard Aravane Rezai; and No. 8 Angelique Kerber easing past Slovak Jana Cepelova 6-2, 6-2.
“It was important to finally start the tournament,” said Azarenka, playing her first-round match on the fourth day of the event. “I felt like I was one of the last ones to start. It was a long wait, but I think performance-wise, it was a good match. It was a quality match. Elena is a very tough opponent, and I was actually surprised she wasn’t seeded at the tournament. And we actually know each other pretty well, so it was important to start right away from the beginning with determination and good focus, because she’s a very dangerous opponent with a very flashy game.”
Rezai said there was little separating her from Kvitova in their three-set match.
“It was like playing a mirror — she plays pretty much like me, hitting the ball pretty flat,” Rezai said. “What separated us were our winners and errors. I was fighting as hard as I could but I just couldn’t make it today, especially in the most important moments.”
Other seeded winners of note were No. 12 Maria Kirilenko, No. 14 Ana Ivanovic, and No. 32 Sabine Lisicki. Unseeded former champion Svetlana Kuznetsova was also a winner, coming from a set down to defeat Slovak Magdalena Rybarikova 1-6, 6-2, 6-2.
In a meeting of future stars, Puerto Rico’s Monica Puig edged American Madison Keys 6-4, 7-6(2).
Also providing upsets Wednesday were Czech Petra Cetkovska outlasting No. 19 Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova 7-5, 2-6, 6-4; Estonia’s Kaia Kanepi topping No. 23 Klara Zakopalova 7-6(3), 6-2; and American Jamie Hampton defeating No. 25 Lucie Safarova 7-6(5), 3-6, 9-7.
“A couple years ago, we weren’t even in the scene,” Hampton said of the next generation of U.S. women fighting for recognition. “There wasn’t even a group of us. We’ve progressed, and I think the whole group will continue to progress. We’ve all got really good games. We’re just trying to find our way on the clay right now.”
A thrilling (?) potential all-Radwanska third-round meeting was averted when German qualifier Dinah Pfizenmaier defeated Urszula Radwanska 6-3, 6-3.
Match highlights of Thursday at Roland Garros include Canadian riser Eugenie Bouchard vs. (1) Maria Sharapova, former champ Francesca Schiavone vs. (21) Kirsten Flipkens, (6) Na Li vs. crafty American Bethanie Mattek-Sands, (17) Sloane Stephens vs. Vania King in an all-American grudge match, and (7) Petra Kvitova vs. Shuai Peng.
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