Venus Williams became the first big casualty at the French Open on Friday as she was sent packing by Hungary's Agnes Szavay in the third round.
Szavay, ranked 29th, surprised Venus and spectators to win 6-0, 6-4, ending the American's bid to win the only Grand Slam that has eluded her.
Spain's Rafael Nadal returns the ball against Australia's Lleyton Hewitt during the 3rd round competition of men's singles at the French Open tennis tournament at Roland Garros in Paris, France, May 29, 2009. Nadal beat Hewitt 6-1, 6-3, 6-1. (Xinhua/Zhang Yuwei)
Four-time defending champion Rafael Nadal crushed former world number one Lleyton Hewitt 6-1, 6-3, 6-1 in a should-be match of the day, but a 16-year-old Portuguese stole the limelight by deafening fans.
Michelle Larcher de Britoear invited boos and whistles from the crowd, with her ear-splitting screeches that follows her every ground stroke, before going down 7-6 (3), 6-2 to French Aravane Rezai on Court Philippe Chatrier.
The French Open debutante, standing at just 1.65 metres, was so loud that as Rezai complained to the umpire several times during the match and 90 percent of the questions she was forced to answer in the press conference had to do with the elongated shrieks.
"There are no rules, so there is nothing I can do about it," she retorted.
Top-seeded Dinara Safina hardly sweated to advance into the last 16, beating fellow Russian Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova 6-2, 6-0 while Maria Sharapova, returning from a nine-month absence due to a shoulder injury, overcame 98th-ranked Yaroslava Shvedova 1-6, 6-3, 6-4 in her third straight three-set match in Roland Garros.
Sharapova is to meet 25th seed Chinese Li Na, who beat Olga Govortsova of Belarus 7-5, 6-1.
Australia's Lleyton Hewitt acts against Spain's Rafael Nadal during the 3rd round competition of men's singles at the French Open tennis tournament at Roland Garros in Paris, France, May 29, 2009. (Xinhua/Zhang Yuwei)
Earlier, reigning champion Ana Ivanovic of Serbia thumped 32nd seed Iveta Benesova 6-0, 6-2 to become the first woman into the last 16.
The 21-year-old started her defending campaign with a stuttering form which saw her sweat to beat Sara Errani, but has demonstrated her credential for the title as the eighth seed has conceded only five games since the first round.
"I have been working a lot," Ivanovic said. "Obviously I need also match confidence. I felt very good in my practices, but never had chance to play many matches in a row. Now I allow myself to make some mistakes and work myself into a tournament. I did that really well, so I'm really happy."
No. 3 seed Andy Murray moved into his first-ever fourth-round in this tournament after Janko Tipsarevic quit with a thigh injury. Murray was leading the Serbian 7-6 (3), 6-3 when his unfortunate opponent pulled out a Grand Slam for a fifth time.
Novak Djokovic, seeded fourth, renewed the fight with Sergiy Stakhovsky of Ukraine, which was suspended last night due to rain, and won 6-3, 6-4, 6-1 to move into the third round while No. 8 Fernando Verdasco of Spain and No. 10 Nikolay Davydenko of Russia both went through.
Nadal, bidding for a record fifth straight French Open title, dropped just five games against Hewitt before extending his winning streak to 31 matches at Roland Garros.
Hewitt took a 40-0 lead in his first service game but Nadal came back and got the break in a sign of how the day was to unfold. Nadal lost just four points on his own serve in the first set and 18 in the match.
The Spaniard next takes on No. 23-seeded Robin Soderling, who recorded a 6-7 (5), 7-5, 6-2, 7-6 (5) upset of 14th-seeded David Ferrer.
Venus Williams of the United States acts against Hungary's Agnes Szavay during the 3rd round competition of women's singles at the French Open tennis tournament at Roland Garros in Paris, France, May 29, 2009. Williams lost to Szavay 0-6, 4-6. (Xinhua/Zhang Yuwei)
Venus, obviously frustrated by the scoreline, revealed that she never expected to go down 6-love.
"It was a little difficult to recover from that first set. I'm used to beating people 6-0. I'm not used to my shot not going in and losing a set 6-0. So it is completely a foreign ground for me."
(Xinhua News Agency May 30, 2009)