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French Open Photos: Venus joins Serena in early exit

Last updated on: May 31, 2012 09:24 IST

French Open Photos: Venus joins Serena in early exit

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After four days of play, the French Open was left without a Williams sister in the draw on Wednesday when former runner-up Venus joined 2002 champion Serena in making an early exit.

Venus, seven times a grand-slam winner but now coping with an autoimmune disease, went out tamely 6-2, 6-3 to third seed Agnieszka Radwanska.

Serena, whose shock first-round defeat by Frenchwoman Virginie Razzano reverberated through the Roland Garros courts on Tuesday, was in the stands to see her big sister thrashed by an in-form Radwanska.

Tennis fans rued the loss of both Americans, two of the biggest characters in women's tennis, but thankfully the men's favourites are playing to form and both world number one Novak Djokovic and record-breaking 2009 champion Roger Federer survived into the third round.

At least one of the Williams sisters has featured at every French Open since 1997, except for last year when they were both injured, and they contested the final in 2002, with Serena winning.

As though in sympathy with their troubles this year, rain came to Paris after three days of glorious sunshine, and play ended early with fifth-seeded Frenchman Jo-Wilfried Tsonga level at 6-2, 4-6, 1-1 with German Cedric Marcel Stebe on Suzanne Lenglen court.


Image: Venus Williams of USA serves
Photographs: Clive Brunskill/Getty Images

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I am not allowed to feel sorry for myself: Venus

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Venus showed flashes of her old self only at the end of the hour-long match with Radwanska when she won to love for 5-2 and then broke her opponent.

However, Radwanska, covering the whole court and playing some sublime shots, scooped the ball over the American's head to get to matchpoint in the following game and then watched Venus put a forehand out.

Venus was quiet but determined not to be downcast in her news conference, saying she was still learning to live with Sjogren's Syndrome.

"There are a lot of people who have it a lot worse than I do. I am still playing a professional sport," the former World No. 1 said.

"I haven't gotten to the 'why me?' yet, I hope I never get to the 'why me?' I am not allowed to feel sorry for myself."

The women's draw also lost eighth-seeded local favourite Marion Bartoli, a semi-finalist here last year, who was beaten 6-2, 3-6, 6-3 by World number 50 Petra Martic of Croatia.


Photographs: Clive Brunskill/Getty Images

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I let him show me what he could do: Federer

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Federer and Djokovic both made hard work of the second round for themselves.

The Swiss collected a record-breaking 234th grand-slam match win but only after squandering two matchpoints in a third-set tiebreak and having to stay out for a fourth set against Romanian Adrian Ungur.

Federer eventually won 6-3, 6-2, 6-7, 6-3 to pass the winning record of American Jimmy Connors, which he had equalled in the first round, and chided himself for being too passive in the tiebreak.

"Instead of being aggressive, I let him show me what he could do," said the third seed, who will now play Frenchman Nicolas Mahut.


Image: Roger Federer of Switzerland reaches for a forehand during his men's singles second round match against Adrian Ungur of Romania during day four of the French Open at Roland Garros in Paris
Photographs: Clive Brunskill/Getty Images

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I gave him the opportunity to come back into the match: Djokovic

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World No. 1 Djokovic, needing only the title here to become the first man in 43 years to hold all four grand-slam crowns at the same time, won the first seven games against entertaining Slovenian Blaz Kavcic but then, in his own word, "stopped".

"I gave him the opportunity to come back into the match after a perfect first seven games," said the Serbian who won 6-0, 6-4, 6-4 in the end, despite the crowd getting firmly behind underdog Kavcic.


Image: Novak Djokovic of Serbia in action in his men's singles second round match against Blaz Kavcic of Slovenia
Photographs: Mike Hewitt/Getty Images

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Azarenka cruises into third round

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World No. 1 Victoria Azarenka looked more like her usual dominant self at the French Open on Wednesday when she demolished German qualifier Dinah Pfizenmaier 6-1, 6-1 to ease into the third round.

The Belarussian, who was on the verge of a shock first round defeat by Italian Alberta Brianti on Monday, needed just 55 minutes to crush the world number 198.

Azarenka lost the first game but went on to reel off 11 in a row as she overpowered her 20-year-old opponent.

"I didn't really know my opponent today, and it took me the first few games to kind of understand what she does and what kind of game she plays to adjust a little bit," Azarenka told reporters. "But after a few games I started to find my better rhythm. Definitely played much better today."

Next up for the Australian Open champion will be Canada's Aleksandra Wozniak.

"She's a tricky opponent," Azarenka said of her next test. "I definitely have to come up with good tennis in my next round."

US Open women's champion Samantha Stosur, the runner-up here in 2010, defeated American Irina Falconi 6-1, 6-4 and will now play 27th-seeded Russian Nadia Petrova.

Ana Ivanovic, on the comeback trail after her career took a dive following her 2008 win at Roland Garros, enjoyed a 6-2, 6-2 win over Israel's Shahar Peer.

The next opponent for the 13th-seeded Serbian, who said she hungered for more success, will be Italian Sara Errani, seeded 21.


Image: Victoria Azarenka of Belarus in action in her women's singles second round match against Dinah Pfizenmaier of Germany
Photographs: Clive Brunskill/Getty Images

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Del Potro digs deep to reach round III

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Juan Martin del Potro, who was taken to four sets in the opener by Spanish veteran Albert Montanes, had to dig deep again in his second match.

The ninth seeded Argentine lost the first set in a tiebreak but came back to win 6-7 (5), 7-6 (3), 6-4, 6-4 against Frenchman Edouard Roger-Vasselin.

The 23-year-old Del Potro is the only man outside of Novak Djokovic, Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer to win a Grand Slam title in the last seven years and is one of the dangerous floaters in the draw, having won the Estoril Open on clay this summer.


Image: Juan Martin Del Potro of Argentina reacts during his men's singles second round match against Edouard Roger-Vasselin of France
Photographs: Matthew Stockman/Getty Images
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