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Henin-Hardenne, Roddick ousted
May 27, 2004 08:04 IST
Last Updated: May 27, 2004 09:07 IST
A sluggish and pale Justine Henin-Hardenne had her French Open title ripped from her grasp on Wednesday as the Belgian suffered the earliest defeat of a women's top seed in the Grand Slam's history.
Never before since the women's event first welcomed international entrants in 1925 had a top seed lost before the third round but, under grey Parisian skies, last year's champion slumped 7-5, 6-4 to little-known Italian Tathiana Garbin.
Another embarrassing first took place on Court Suzanne Lenglen when second seed Andy Roddick was humbled by Frenchman Olivier Mutis 3-6, 6-3, 6-7, 6-3, 6-2.
Roddick's loss meant no American player will be left in the third round, which has never happened in any Grand Slam tournament in the open era.
Former champion Andre Agassi slumped out of the tournament in the first round while the only other American left in the draw, Vince Spadea, lost to another French unknown, Julien Jeanpierre.
But Henin-Hardenne's defeat was the shock of the tournament so far and a result which will leave a major question mark over the Belgian's health. She had not played a tournament since early April, having suffered a viral infection.
"I was really nervous, I wasn't moving well, I was late all the time and I couldn't play my game," she said.
"It is really frustrating. It is hard to come back like this but it's okay, life continues. It was my bad day and her great day."
In the men's draw, Argentine Guillermo Coria continued his cull of compatriots while another tournament favourite, Carlos Moya, put friendship on hold to score a bittersweet second round win.
Coria's 7-5, 6-1, 6-3 victory over Juan Monaco was his 23rd win over a fellow Argentine in 25 meetings, while Moya's 6-1, 6-2, 6-1 destruction of Fernando Vicente was his 11th straight win over his friend.
Sloppy and undisciplined on Court Suzanne Lenglen, Henin-Hardenne blazed 30 unforced errors in the one hour 58-minute match.
World number 86 Garbin should by rights have been outclassed by the player who had won three of the last four Grand Slam tournaments, but in reality the Italian looked the better player throughout.
Henin-Hardenne had not played a tournament since Amelia Island in the second week of April. On Wednesday she seemed to lack energy.
She hit 10 doubles faults and lost her serve six times. All Garbin had to do was move her around and wait for the error -- a task which was not beyond her as she recorded the best win of an undistinguished career.
"I never played like this before," she beamed courtside. "I am so happy... I mean, she is world number one... this is incredible."
JUST A CHALLENGE
Mutis was also probably surprised by his own performance against Roddick as he had not won a match prior to Roland Garros this season.
The Frenchman's best result to date was reaching the quarter-finals in Houston last year, ironically losing to Roddick.
And his only win this season was against another American, Roby Ginepri, in the first round.
"I started pretty well but I let him back into it and then he was a different player. Kudos to him for taking advantage of it," Roddick said.
Asked if American players were suffering from clayphobia, he added: "This hasn't been our place for a couple of years, it's just a challenge and you try to right the ship.
"Unfortunately, I didn't have enough today to do it."
Fifth seed Moya had been barely able to look his friend Vicente in the eye throughout their one-sided clash on Court Suzanne Lenglen.
"Well, it's not easy... he's my best friend on the tour," he said. "What I can say is I didn't have fun at all today, although I played a very good match and I won in straight sets playing solid.
Coria had no such remorse after beating qualifier Monaco.
"This was a good match today," he said. "I knew it would be a tough match. I know this will be a long tournament."
One hundred and forty ranking places separate Coria and Monaco but the match was far tighter than that statistic would suggest and third seed Coria was made to fight all the way.
Monaco was playing his first Grand Slam event but showed no sign of nerves, taking an early lead in the opening set before Coria, the form player on clay this year, overhauled him with some determined counter-punching.
Coria, whose claycourt 31-match winning streak ended in the final of the Hamburg Masters earlier this month, will face Croatian Mario Ancic next.
Results of men's singles matches on Wednesday (prefix number denotes seeding, * denotes new result):
Results of women's singles matches on Wednesday (prefix number denotes seeding, * denotes new result):