Elena Dementieva, the fourth seed, ran out of luck at the French Open after she was sent packing by the Australian doubles specialist Samantha Stosur in the third round yesterday. The Russian, 27, was a set and a break down to another Australian, Jelena Dokic, in round two when the former world No 4 was forced to quit because of injury.
Dementieva failed to make the most of that reprieve as she was beaten 6-3, 4-6, 6-1 on Philippe Chatrier court by Stosur, the 30th seed, who makes the fourth round at Roland Garros for the first time in singles. Dementieva, the 2004 runner-up, was facing a straight-sets defeat when she was broken twice in a row at the start of the second, but she recovered to take the match to a decider. However, she started the third set in exactly the same manner and this time Stosur - who won the women's doubles at the French Open in 2006 with Lisa Raymond - made her pay.
She took a 4-0 then 5-1 lead, and clinched victory on her second match point when she nailed a cross-court forehand. "I'm far away from being in the good shape," said Dementieva, who became the second big name to fall after third seed Venus Williams went out on Friday. "It's a very physical game when it comes to the clay courts, so it's not good for me. Just too many unforced errors and not enough power from me.
"So I hope I have enough time to get ready for Wimbledon and physically feel much better than this week," added the Olympic champion, 27, who has gone past the fourth round twice in 11 visits to Paris. Dementieva's fellow Russian Svetlana Kuznetsova had no problems on Suzanne Lenglen court yesterday when she dispatched Hungary's Melinda Czink 6-1, 6-3 with the minimum of fuss to make it to the fourth round.
The first set disappeared in a blur for Czink, who surrendered it in only 22 minutes by hitting a Kuznetsova serve high into the stands. Czink, 26, offered some resistance in the second but it was never enough to trouble Kuznetsova who smashed the ball away on match point to seal a last 16 date with the Polish 12th seed Agnieszka Radwanska or Kateryna Bondarenko of Ukraine. The seventh-seeded Kuznetsova has dropped just 11 games all tournament.
The Serbian fifth seed Jelena Jankovic, meanwhile, also stormed into the fourth round with a 6-1, 6-1 crushing of Australia's Jarmila Groth yesterday. After luring her opponent into a false sense of security by dropping serve in the opening game, Jankovic quickly showed her who was boss by tearing through the rest of the set. Jankovic, chasing a maiden grand slam title, let her opponent have another consolation break in the sixth game of the second but her benevolence was short-lived and she claimed victory when Groth netted a forehand.
The former world No 1, who has dropped just 10 games at these championships, faces either 10th seed Caroline Wozniacki of Denmark or Romania's Sorana Cirstea in the next round. * With agencies