PARIS: Defending champion Li Na of China crashed out of the French Open, losing her fourth-round tie 3-6, 6-2, 6-0 to unseeded Yaroslava Shvedova of Kazakhstan.
Li, the 30-year-old world number seven, was attempting to be the first French Open women’s champion to successfully defend the title since Justine Henin in 2007. After a confident start, Li had a spectacular meltdown in the second set and never recovered, ending up broken seven times by her 26-year-old opponent. Shvedova had also made it to the Roland Garros quarter-finals in 2010, her first time in a Grand Slam last eight, and was the sole qualifier remaining in the women’s draw when she beat Li.
Sharapova survives scare
In the other women’s singles match, Maria Sharapova struggled into the quarter-finals, defeating Czech veteran Klara Zakopalova 6-4, 6-7 (5/7), 6-2 in an error-scarred clash which featured 21 breaks of serve. Sharapova raced to a 5-1 lead in the decider, but squandered a match point on her 12th double fault. In the next game, however, Zakopalova suffered a similar lapse as her seventh double fault on a second match point gave Sharapova victory. The Russian second seed is seeking a Roland Garros title to complete a career Grand Slam.
Tsonga reaches quarters
In the men’s singles, France’s fifth seed Jo-Wilfried Tsonga defeated Stanislas Wawrinka, the 18th-seeded Swiss, 6-4, 7-6 (8/6), 3-6, 3-6, 6-4 to reach the quarter-finals for the first time. The players had to return to Philippe Chatrier court for a second day after Sunday’s action was halted because of fading light with Tsonga 4-2 up in the decider.
Tsonga will face top-seed Novak Djokovic for a place in the semi-finals.
“It was tough yesterday as it was dark at the end,” said Tsonga. “I don’t know if was great for me or not but I came on the court this morning with a good spirit. I had a good night’s sleep and I was ready to play again.”
Also through to the quarter-finals was Juan Martin del Potro of Argentina with a 7-6 (8/6), 1-6, 6-3, 7-5 win over seventh-seed Tomas Berdych of the Czech Republic. The ninth seed will play third seed Roger Federer in the next round.
“I will walk on to the court with a very aggressive mindset against Federer,” said Del Potro. “I want to play more volleys and win the match.”
Spanish duo David Ferrer and Nicolas Almagro both registered a place in the quarter-finals yesterday. David Ferrer showed great form to overcome compatriot Marcel Granollers 6-3, 6-2, 6-0 while Nicolas Almagro saw off Janko Tipsarevic of Serbia with a 6-4, 6-4, 6-4 win.
Published in The Express Tribune, June 5th, 2012.
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