Reigning champion Kuznetsova loses out in Paris

Kieran Beckles
By Kieran Beckles
maria kirilenko

Maria Kirilenko beat Svetlana Kuznetsova in three sets (Photo: Charlie Cowins)

Svetlana Kuznetsova, the reigning champion at Roland Garros, is out of this year’s tournament after she lost in three sets to fellow Russian Maria Kirilenko.

Sixth seed Kuznetsova endured a three-hour battle in the second round against 30th seed Kirilenko, eventually losing 6-3 2-6 6-4.

“You cannot play great all the time,” said Kuznetsova afterwards. “It’s up and downs. I haven’t been playing well this clay court season or this season. It happens and I’ll be back. It’s just a matter of time.”

The Williams sisters continue to progress on a surface which has resisted their unerring domination unlike at other Grand Slams. Indeed on the terracotta courts the American siblings have failed to make any impact in the past with Serena’s sole success coming in 2002.

Serena swept past Germany’s Goegres, ranked 77th in the world, with consummate ease dropping just two games and faces 29th seed Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova in the third round. Venus edged past Slovakian Dominika Cibulkova, 26th seed, 6-3 6-4, to move into the fourth round.

Denmark’s Caroline Wozniacki looked in scintillating form as she won in straight sets 6-3 6-4 against Romanian 31st seed Alexandra Dulgheru. The 19-year-old will be a dangerous opponent as the seeds accumulate in the fourth round.

The French Open has already seen some mouth-watering match-ups especially on the men’s side of the draw with Andy Murray involved in enthralling clashes with Richard Gasquet and Marcus Baghdatis.

Justine Henin and Maria Sharapova progressed into the third round without too much difficulty. The pair will now meet this evening on the Philippe Chatier court. Henin has won the competition on three occasions while Sharapova fell short at the semi final stage in 2007.

Both are returning from prolonged absences from the game. Henin had retired from tennis before a change of heart in late 2009. Sharapova took ten months off to rehabilitate from surgery on a persistent shoulder injury.

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