For the second straight day the French Open saw one of its 2014 women’s semifinalist get bounced. Following Eugnie Bouchard’s exit was No. 3 seed and defending runner-up Simona Halep who lost to 33-year-old comeback story Mirjana Lucic-Baroni 7-5, 6-1 in the second round.
“It’s incredible,” Lucic-Baroni said. “Simona is such a great champion, and I respect her so much, and to play this well on such a big stadium makes me so happy.
“She’s such a great champion so I knew if I wanted to win I had to go for my shots, and that’s my game anyway, so I just tried to keep going for it and tried to keep my unforced errors down, as well.
“I’m so proud of myself – it’s such a huge win for me, it’s just amazing!”
Halep had made the finals of the French Open last year losing a tight match with Maria Sharapova, but this spring after her Indian Wells title the Romanian has barely made any noise of late.
“She played well,” Halep said. “I couldn’t play my best today, but she started to hit the ball very strong at the beginning of the match, and she was better than me today. I just have to go forward.”
With Halep out, her quarter is wide open with 2008 champion Ana Ivanovic the slight favorite after the Serb came back to beat Misaki Doi.
Also today. Maria Sharapova eased past fellow Russian Vitalia Diatchenko to win her 7th straight match. She’ll now meet Sam Stosur in a rematch of their 3-set 2014 fourth round French Open match.
“She has a very heavy ball, and I think on clay specifically it just really penetrates through the court,” Sharapova said of Stosur who she leads 14-2. “The spin she’s able to create from her forehand and her serve, she has one of the best kick serves in the game. She’s really able to put that power into it and kick. She also slices a lot. There are a lot of untraditional things she does, but I guess I enjoy the challenge of playing her.
“I have a pretty good record against her. I enjoy our matches. I hope I can continue that.”
Sharapova has won 22 of her last 23 matches in Paris including two titles. Stosur is a former finalist.
“Last year was very close, and all of a sudden it was very far away,” said Stosur. “That’s certainly a position I’d like to try to get in again, and hopefully this time if I do get in a position, it won’t fall away so quickly. But I feel like I’m playing well. I’ve had a good lead-up, and now I’ve played another really good match here, and hopefully it’s all going to help me going into this next one.”
Angelique Kerber, Alize Cornet and Carla Saurez Navarro were also winners.
Tomorrow, Serena Williams is back along with Caroline Wozniacki and Petra Kvitova.
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