The carnage continued on the women’s side of the draw at the French Open on Monday, where now only two Top 10 seeds, including world No. 1 Serena Williams, are among the eight quarterfinalists.
Upset victims on Monday were No. 2 seed Maria Sharapova and No. 4 Petra Kvitova.
Sharapova, coughing throughout the match and seemingly struggling with a low-level illness, was out-slugged by No. 13 seed Lucie Safarova 7-6(3), 6-4, while Kvitova’s fluctuating mental state was her downfall in a lopsided 2-6, 6-0, 6-3 loss to inspired No. 23 seed Timea Bacsinszky of Switzerland.
Safarova moved the defending champion Sharapova around the court, utilizing shots such as the dipping short crosscourt lefty forehand.
“Well, you have got to use it,” she said of the shot. “It’s a different rotation, and players usually don’t like it, so I was taking advantage of the forehand side. Obviously I had to keep serving strong and just go for it.”
The Czech’s biggest career win equaled two other career wins over world No. 2-ranked players — Justine Henin at the Paris indoors in 2007, and Caroline Wozniacki at Stuttgart in 2010. She will now tomorrow meet No. 21 seed Garbine Muguruza, who overpowered No. 28 Flavia Pennetta 6-3, 6-4.
The powerful Kvitova cruised in the first set against Bacsinszky, but committed 32 unforced errors over the next two sets to send the Swiss into the quarterfinals against No. 93-ranked 21-year-old Belgian surprise Alison Van Uytvanck, who beat Andreea Mitu 6-1, 6-3.
“I have yet to come to terms with this,” said Van Uytvanck, who had only won one career Grand Slam match entering the event, upon winning her fourth in a row at Roland Garros. “It’s a dream that I’ve just realized, but it’s not yet over.”
The world No. 1 Williams, again needing to seemingly summon the inspiration to put in some effort on the red clay, recovered from a flat first set to rally and defeated fellow American Sloane Stephens 1-6, 7-5, 6-3.
“Today I started out slowly, even though I was really warmed-up and really ready,” said the footwork-challenged Williams, who will next meet No. 17 Sara Errani, a 6-2, 6-2 winner against German Julia Goerges. “But it’s not how you start, I guess it’s how you finish. That’s kind of how I’m looking at it. Obviously I’m disappointed. Usually I’m winning in straight sets, and I’m business both on and off the court. Now I’m just winning, and that’s a good thing too, but there’s always room for improvement.”
Tuesday will see the first two of the women’s quarterfinal matches with (7) Ana Ivanovic vs. (19) Elina Svitolina, and (21) Garbine Muguruza vs. (13) Lucie Safarova.
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