French Open champion Ana Ivanovic produced a maddeningly inconsistent display as she was stunned by Poland's Agnieszka Radwanska 6-1, 3-6, 6-4 at the WTA Rome claycourt International.
World number one Dinara Safina almost joined Ivanovic on the scrap-heap but she fought back from a double break down in the third set to beat Chinese 14th seed Zheng Jie 5-7, 6-1, 7-6 (7/3) yesterday.
Fifth seed Ivanovic had a disastrous start but she regrouped and seemed to be cruising into the quarter-finals at 4-0 up in the third set after a run of winning 10 out of 13 games.
But just as her first set play had been terribly inconsistent, so her demons returned and 10th seed Radwanska reeled off the final six games to clinch the match.
It was another remarkable turn-around for the Pole who had trailed 5-2 in a third set tie-break against France's Aravane Rezai late on Tuesday night before scraping into the third round.
Ivanovic, who has struggled with injury and form since her success at Roland Garros last June, has not won a tournament this year and reached only one final.
And this performance was typical of her erratic recent form, poor to begin with, then back in the swing of things before losing her touch again at the end.