Li through, Schiavone out at French Open
Last year’s finalists Francesca Schiavone and Li Na headed in opposite directions at the French Open on Saturday when the Italian was knocked out in the third round
Last year’s finalists Francesca Schiavone and Li Na headed in opposite directions at the French Open on Saturday when the Italian was knocked out in the third round and the Chinese fought her way through to the last 16 with a tough win.
Schiavone, the Roland Garros winner in 2010 and runner-up to Li last year, was unlucky to run into battling American Varvara Lepchenko for the second time in a month.
Lepchenko, who beat the world number 12 on Madrid’s new blue clay four weeks ago, struck again, defeating Schiavone 3-6 6-3 8-6 in the midday sun on Court One.
Seventh seed Li had to fight hard against world number 36 Christina McHale of the United States before winning 3-6 6-2 6-1 and setting up a fourth-round match against Kazakh qualifier Yaroslava Schedova.
Rafa Nadal continued his serene progress towards a record seventh men’s French title with another straight-sets win in the day’s final match on Philippe Chatrier Court.
The Spanish defending champion defeated good-humoured Argentine qualifier Eduardo Schwank 6-1 6-3 6-4 in two hours 16 minutes.
Nadal, who celebrates his 26th birthday on Sunday, will play either another Argentine, 13th seed Juan Monaco, or Canada’s 19th seed Milos Raonic in the last 16.
While her rivals for the women’s title toiled, second seed Maria Sharapova swept past Peng Shuai of China 6-2 6-1 and has now spent eight minutes less on court in three matches than Schiavone and Lepchenko did in their single encounter.
On a hot day at Roland Garros, Russian Mikhail Youzhny melted hearts when he scrawled the word “SORRY!” in the clay with the toe of his shoe after winning only six points in the first eight games of a three-set thrashing by Spanish sixth seed David Ferrer.
“I just wanted to say sorry to the fans because they came to see a beautiful match but I simply could not give them that,” Youzhny told Russian reporters after the 6-0 6-2 6-2 defeat.