Third seed Agnieszka Radwanska was knocked out of the French Open 6-4 6-4 by unseeded Croatian Ajla Tomljanovic in the third round Friday, becoming the latest victim of a new generation of talent sweeping through the draw.
The top three seeds have now been sent packing following the first-round exit of Chinese Li Na and the second-round elimination of defending champion and world No.1 Serena Williams of the United States. It is the first time since tennis turned professional in 1968 that the top three seeds in the women’s draw have failed to qualify for the fourth round of a grand slam.
Australian Open champion Li Na was knocked out in the first round by France’s 21-year-old Kristina Mladenovic, ranked 103, and Williams was beaten in the second round by 20-year-old Garbine Muguruza of Spain.
“After seeing the two first seeds go out, you kind of feel you can do this, too,” said the 21-year-old Tomljanovic.
“I grew up with these girls who are beating them. I went into the stadium for the first time, and she kind of feels like home there, because she’s been there a lot more than I have.
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“I went out there, and inside I really thought I could win. I think that showed and it is why I won.”
Radwanska’s defeat was another boost for the 2012 champion and last year’s runner-up Maria Sharapova, who takes on unseeded Argentine Paula Ormaechea later on court Philippe Chatrier.
Poland’s Radwanska reached the Australian Open semi-finals in January but played poorly on Friday, causing the world No. 72 few problems.
“This year I’ve been in a few situations when I did not execute and this time I wanted to make it right,” the Florida-based Tomljanovic said.
Tomljanovic unsettled Radwanska with sliced backhands and opened a 5-1 lead after breaking serve twice. The Pole pulled one back for 5-3 with a forehand winner but a lob that sailed long handed Tomljanovic the opening set.
She kept her composure, mixing it up with drop shots to break in the first game of the second set and holding serve throughout. Tomljanovic, who had failed to qualify for Roland Garros every year since 2010, will next meet American teenager Taylor Townsend or Spanish 14th seed Carla Suarez Navarro.
Federer, Djokovic labour
Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic ran into a spot of bother at the French Open Friday, dropping a set each and needing over three hours to reach the fourth round. Seventeen-time grand slam champion Roger Federer saw off Russian Dmitry Tursunov 7-5 6-7(7) 6-2-6-4 and Serbian second seed Djokovic, chasing the only grand slam title to elude him, beat Croatian Marin Cilic 6-3 6-2 6-7(2) 6-4. “I am relieved and happy to be through to the next round,” said fourth seed Federer, who wasted 17 break points. Tursunov, the 31st seed, played boldly but needed treatment on his leg in the third set and Federer set up a meeting with Latvia’s Ernests Gulbis, who is rediscovering his best form after a free fall down the rankings.
Bopanna, Katarina advance
Rohan Bopanna and his Slovakian partner Katarina Srebotnik faced stiff resistance from Marc Lopez and Andrea Hlavackova before prevailing in a tense first round contest in the mixed doubles event of the French Open on Friday.
The second seeded Indo-Slovak pair fought hard for a 7-6 (5) 7-5 win against the Spanish-Czech combo in an hour and 23 minutes in the opening round of the clay court Grand Slam event. Bopanna and Katarina are now up against Zimbabwe’s Cara Black and Robert Farah from Colombia.