Fri, May 29, 2015 - Page 20 News List

Wozniacki beaten, Kvitova fights back

MARATHON:Former champions Svetlana Kuznetsova and Francesca Schiavone went toe-to-toe like a couple of boxers, before the Italian prevailed in just under four hours

Reuters and AFP, PARIS

Germany’s Julia Goerges celebrates after defeating Caroline Wozniacki of Denmark in their French Open women’s singles match at Roland Garros in Paris yesterday.

Photo: Reuters

Former world No. 1 Caroline Wozniacki joined the exodus of women’s seeds at the French Open yesterday when the Dane was bundled out in the second round by Germany’s Julia Goerges.

Fifth seed Wozniacki joined Romanian third seed Simona Halep, last year’s runner-up, and sixth seed Eugenie Bouchard of Canada after a 6-4, 7-6 (7/4) defeat on a blustery Court Phillipe Chatrier.

Goerges, who has fallen to No. 72 in the rankings after rising into the top 20 in 2012, battled back from a break behind to clinch the opening set and then broke Wozniacki’s serve at 5-5 in the second, only to falter when serving for the match.

She played a solid tiebreaker, though, to send Wozniacki spinning to a second successive early defeat at Roland Garros after she fell in the first round last year.

Fourth seed Petra Kvitova reached the third round with a 6-7 (4/7), 6-4, 6-2 win over Spain’s Silvia Soler-Espinosa, but it was another nervy showing from the Wimbledon champion who was taken to the limit in her opening match against New Zealander Marina Erakovic.

Svetlana Kuznetsova and Francesca Schiavone have got history when it comes to marathons and the two clay-court warriors were at it again yesterday.

Sent out to the so-called Bullring court, a claustrophobic circular arena tucked away at the edge of Roland Garros, the two former French Open champions produced easily the best women’s singles match of the tournament so far, going toe-to-toe like a couple of middleweight boxers, before Italian Schiavone finally prevailed 7-6 (13/11), 5-7, 10-8 in 10 minutes under four hours.

It fell a way short of the 4 hours, 44 minutes it took Schiavone to beat Kuznetsova 16-14 in the deciding set at the Australian Open in 2011 — a Grand Slam record for a women’s singles match — but it more than matched it for intensity.

The 2009 champion Kuznetsova served for the match four times from 5-4 in a gripping deciding set, but each time 34-year-old Schiavone, the oldest player to reach the second round, refused to buckle and broke back.

Kuznetsova had a solitary match point when Schiavone served at 5-6, but could do nothing as her opponent unleashed a winner with her single-handed backhand — the shot that played such a role in her 2010 title win in Paris.

Both players were out on their feet, chalk dust caked to their calves and Schiavone sat down on a line judge’s chair for a quick breather at 8-8, before springing back to finally hold serve after the players traded nine consecutive breaks.

When her chance finally came after hanging on for so long she made no mistake, an enthralling contest ending when Kuznetsova dinked a volley into the net.

Sara Errani, the runner-up in 2012, avoided any mishaps as the Italian beat Carina Witthoeft of Germany 6-4, 7-6 (7/4).

The men’s draw has been relatively free of high-profile casualties so far and Croatian ninth seed Marin Cilic continued the trend with an easy 7-6 (7/3), 6-1, 6-1 defeat of Italian qualifier Andrea Arnaboldi to move into the third round.

Kei Nishikori became the first player through to the fourth round without hitting a ball when his third-round opponent Benjamin Becker withdrew injured.

On Wednesday, Roger Federer advanced to the third round, while Halep became the day’s biggest casualty.

Second seed Federer beat Marcel Granollers of Spain 6-2, 7-6 (7/1), 6-3 in front of a packed crowd on Court Suzanne Lenglen that included Angus Young, the guitarist of veteran Australian rock band AC/DC.

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