Former champion Svetlana Kuznetsova made a mockery of the seedings by outclassing third seed Agnieszka Radwanska of Poland 6-1, 6-2 in the third round at Roland Garros on Friday.
Radwanska is the highest seed to fall in the tournament so far as she had no answer to Kuznetsova's all-court game
Kuznetsova was a champion here in 2009 — five years after she won the US Open, her only other Grand Slam title — but has had a torrid time since then with injuries and loss of form.
But all that was cast aside as the Russian took command of the match from the start with a 5-0 lead and offered her opponent no chance after that to get back into it.
“I have not played so well in a long time, so I am really happy about that,” Kuznetsova said. “I have not had this feelng for quite a time. I have started to do things the right way off the court in practice. I am confident I am getting back to my game that brought me the victories I had.”
There was no such revival in fortunes for Ana Ivanovic, another former champion at Roland Garros who has found the going tough since her triumph in 2008.
The Serb, a former World No.1, but seeded 13th this year, looked comfortable in the first set against claycourt specialist Sara Errani, but her game started to unwind in the second as the little Italian retrieved everything that came her way to run out a 1-6, 7-5, 6-3 winner.
Errani, who has won three claycourt titles this year already, will next take on Kuznetsova.
Second-seeded Maria Sharapova, meanwhile, pulled off a routine 6-1, 6-1 win over Ayumi Morita of Japan in a second-round match that was held over from Thursday.
Stosur goes through
Sixth seed Samantha Stosur, the runner-up here in 2010, coasted past Nadia Petrova 6-3, 6-3 and will next play American teenager Sloane Stephens, who kept the Stars and Stripes flying in the tournament with a third round 6-3, 6-2 win over Mathilde Johansson.
Other qualifiers in the top half of the draw for the last 16 were 15th seed Dominika Cibulkova of Slovakia who defeated Maria Jose Martinez of Spain 6-2, 6-1 and Petra Martic of Croatia who beat Anabel Medina Garrigues of Spain 6-2, 6-1
Anderson's hopes dashed
Kevin Anderson's hopes of becoming the first South African man to reach the last 16 of a Grand Slam for nine years were shattered by Czech seventh seed Tomas Berdych. The 31st seed from Johannesburg was attempting to match compatriot Wayne Ferreira who made the fourth round at the Australian Open in 2003.
But after taking a two sets to one lead, he ran out of steam in the final set, when he needed treatment on his left thigh at every changeover, and lost 6-4, 3-6, 6-7(4), 6-4, 6-4 in eight minutes short of four hours.
Also advancing was fifth seed Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, who beat Fabio Fognini 7-5, 6-4, 6-4.
Roger Federer, meanwhile, survived another awkward French Open assignment to book a last 16 match-up with Belgium's David Goffin, the first lucky loser in 17 years to make a Grand Slam fourth round.
Federer, the champion in Paris in 2009, overcame battling French world No. 89 Nicolas Mahut 6-3, 4-6, 6-2, 7-5, being pushed to four sets for the second match in succession.
Goffin is the first lucky loser from qualifying to make the last 16 of a major since compatriot Dick Norman at Wimbledon in 1995 and the first at Roland Garros since 1978.
On Thursday, Mathieu — ranked 261 after 15 months out of action while his left leg was surgically rebuilt to correct a knee problem — looked shell-shocked after taking five hours 41 minutes to knock out 10th seed John Isner.
His 6-7(2), 6-4, 6-4, 3-6, 18-16 victory on the Philippe Chatrier showcourt was a Roland Garros record in terms of games played.
Mathieu, 30, had three matchpoints at 11-10 in the final set but Isner, already in the record books for playing 183 games when he beat Nicolas Mahut 70-68 in the fifth set at Wimbledon two years ago, fought back to prolong the match as the sun began to set over Roland Garros. “At the end of the match I didn't even believe I had won,” said Mathieu after Isner put a forehand wide on match-point number seven.
Isner was not interested in talking about another entry in the record books. “It stinks that I lost,” he said. “I am just going to go home, I don't want to think about tennis right now.”
Their fifth set alone took two hours 28 minutes.
Keywords: French Open