Radwanska latest high seed to depart in Paris

JULIEN PRETOT
Last updated 00:57 31/05/2014
Agnieszka Radwanska
Getty Images
GOING OUT: Third seed Agnieszka Radwanska joined Serena Williams and Li Na at the French Open exit, after losing to Croatia's Ajla Tomljanovic in straight sets.

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Third seed Agnieszka Radwanska was knocked out of the French Open 6-4 6-4 by unseeded Croatian Ajla Tomljanovic in the third round on Friday (local time), 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 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.

"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 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, 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 Spanish 14th seed Carla Suarez Navarro, who defeated American teen Taylor Townsend 6-2 6-2.

She ended the contest on the first match point when Radwanska hit long in yet another unforced error.

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Radwanska summed up the defeat by saying: "I don't think it was my day today."

Tomljanovic was joined in the fourth round by former finalist Samantha Stosur of Australia, who beat Slovakian ninth seed Dominika Cibulkova 6-4 6-4.

"I'm very happy with my tennis, today was definitely the toughest match. I am very happy to get through in straight sets," said the 2011 US Open champion who now has a 5-0 record against Cibulkova.

Townsend took time to settle against Suarez Navarro, losing her first two service games to go 4-0 down to the claycourt specialist from Spain, who won the Estoril title last month.

The 18-year-old broke back for 4-2 and caused Suarez Navarro problems with her clean hitting and working of the angles, but her desire to shoot for the lines and blaze away from unpromising positions repeatedly worked against her best interests.

She fired wide and long, and netted a volley to give her opponent set point before hitting a return of serve long to go one set down after 24 minutes.

The American wasted four break points in the fourth game of the second set by not playing the percentage game and was broken to love in the next game.

Suarez Navarro's first serve was the match's most potent weapon and Townsend returned long to give the Spaniard victory on her third match point.

Meanwhile, Spain's Garbine Muguruza, who knocked out Serena Williams, backed up her achievement with a 6-2 6-4 victory over Anna Schmiedlova, the Slovak who eliminated Williams's sister Venus.

- Reuters

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