Roland Garros has not been a happy hunting ground for Ana Ivanovic since she won the title in 2008 and the popular Serbian failed to break that jinx on Saturday as she lost 6-3 6-3 to Czech Lucie Safarova.
The 23rd seeded Safarova, who entered the match with a 4-2 record against the 11th seed having won their last four encounters, was never really bothered by Ivanovic’s uncontrolled power.
A dejected Ivanovic said: “It’s definitely tough. She’s a lefty, it’s not something we face every day and the ball comes a little bit differently. In the beginning I felt like I had a lot of chances I didn’t use. Had I used them, the match maybe would have had a different tone to it.” Safarova will face another champion in 2009 winner Svetlana Kuznetsova after the Russian 27th seed beat Czech fifth seed Petra Kvitova 6-7(3) 6-1 9-7 in three hours 13 minutes on court Philippe Chatrier.
Kvitova took two medical timeouts and came back from the first with a heavily strapped right thigh, but it did not seem to hamper her as she peppered the court with winners.
But her 65 unforced errors eventually cost her as she bowed out on the third match point.
Italian 10th seed Sara Errani, runner-up in 2012, won 20 points in succession during her 6-0 6-1 demolition of Israel’s Julia Glushko. She set up a meeting with Serbian sixth seed Jelena Jankovic who demolished Romanian Sorana Cirstea 6-1 6-2.
Nadal restores order
Rafael Nadal put down an attempted coup in Paris as the eight-times champion saw off Leonardo Mayer 6-2 7-5 6-2 to reach the fourth round in commanding fashion on Saturday. Mayer went for his shots in a tense second set and broke the world No.1 back for 4-4, only for the Spaniard to show why he is still the man to beat in Paris.
“It is for me very emotional thing when I am on (court Philippe) Chatrier, a lot of memories come to my mind,” said Nadal, who made only 10 errors.
One moment that may live long in the memory occurred in the second set when the defending champion recovered after being wrongfooted by Mayer to pull off a perfect backhand lob to break decisively for a 6-5 lead.
He followed up with a game to love, sealing the set with a jaw-dropping forehand passing shot before steaming through the third and ending the contest with a service winner. Nadal next faces Serbian Dusan Lajovic.