PARIS: Serena Williams pulled through with the aid of a doctor at the French Open but there was no reviving Andy Roddick as he packed up his kit bag and headed off to find some grass courts.
Fellow American Roddick was trounced in straight sets by Teimuraz Gabashvili - his misfiring game no match for the flashy Russian or the cool, breezy conditions that returned to Roland Garros after the glorious sunshine of Frantic Friday.
“I fought through a couple of matches that were a little dicey. Today I got outplayed from the first ball,” said Roddick, who will now begin his preparations for Wimbledon, after his 6-4 6-4 6-2 defeat to a qualifier ranked 114. Roddick angrily threw his spare rackets to his entourage after dropping his serve in the seventh game, complaining about string tensions. By the time they returned to a chilly Court Suzamme Lenglen, it was virtually all over.
Serena maintains number one ranking
Top seed Williams shrugged off a funny turn midway through her third-round match against Russian teenager Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova, before recovering her senses to win 6-1, 1-6, 6-2 and join sister Venus in the last-16. The 28-year-old had slumped 5-0 in the second set and called for the trainer and the doctor at the changeover.
After having her pulse taken and her temperature checked she emerged rather gingerly before losing the set. She resisted some aggressive play early in the third and saved two break points before regaining control, clinching victory in one hour 48 minutes. By reaching the fourth round Serena is guaranteed holding the world number one ranking from Venus, whatever happens in the rest of the tournament.
Spain’s David Ferrer also joined Roddick on the casualty list, the ninth seed surprisingly beaten in straight sets by Austrian Jurgen Melzer, who now faces Gabashvili for a place in the quarter-finals.
On the women’s side, hopes that home favourite Aravane Rezai would lift the mood evaporated when she lost what amounted to a sudden death shoot-out against Russia’s Nadia Petrova. Marion Bartoli also lost her third-round match against Israel’s Shahar Peer - who will face Serena for the quarter-finals berth - to leave Jo-Wilfried Tsonga as the only home player left in the singles draw.
Meanwhile, Four-times champions Rafael Nadal and Justine Henin both come up against former world number ones - Nadal tangling with Lleyton Hewitt and Henin facing Maria Sharapova.
Published in the Express Tribune, May 30th, 2010.