What (other than Victoria Azarenka), we wondered, would it take to obliterate the force known in some circles as simply The Radwanska? As it turns out--at least on the red clay of Paris--the answer lies in the clanging of chains of the Ghost of Roland Garros Past. 2009 champion Svetlana Kuznetsova rattled her chains loudly against 3rd seed Agnieszka Radwanska today at the French Open, and after an hour and twelve minutes, The Radwanska was vanquished, 6-1, 6-2.
Kuznetsova put on the clay court show of which she is certainly capable, but doesn't always deliver. When the Russian is playing her best, especially on clay, she's stunning, with a lethal mix of power and touch, and stunning she was today. Will it last? Kuznetsova's next opponent is Sara Errani, also a tough customer on clay. Today, Errani defeated 2008 champion Ana Ivanovic. If she gets past Errani, Kuznetsova will probably face Angelique Kerber.
Is Kuznetsova going to make another big run? What a French Open this is.
Top seed Victoria Azarenka had her own problems today. Azarenka wasn't in the best of moods in her third round match against Aleksandra Wozniak. More and more, she looks like the "old" Azarenka. She did win, and when I watched her trudge off the court with coaching consultant Amelie Mauresmo, I thought--what a contrast in personal styles. I'm a fan of both players (Mauresmo is one of my all-time favorites), and I enjoy both of their personalities. I think of Mauresmo as wise, however, and I hope that some of her wisdom rubs off on Azarenka.
The top seed's next opponent will be Dominika Cibulkova, who can be quite dangerous on both clay and hard courts. Cibulkova defeated Maria Jose Martinez Sanchez 6-2, 6-1 today.
Petra Martic, who took out Marion Bartoli in the second round, beat Anabel Medina Garrigues today. These are both huge wins for Martic, but she has her work cut out for her in the next round: She plays 10th seed Angelique Kerber. Kerber defeated Flavia Pennetta 4-6, 6-3, 6-2 today.
The big USA story is Sloane Stephens, who reached the round is 16 today with a win over Frenchwoman Mathilde Johansoon. Stephens' next opponent is 2010 finalist Samantha Stosur, who took care of still (sometimes)-formidable Nadia Petrova in straight sets.
Also playing today was 2nd seed Maria Sharapova, whose second round match had to be postponed a day because of a very long men's match. Sharapova easily defeated Ayumi Morita.
The mixed doubles team of Serena Williams and Bob Bryan went out in the first round. Williams and Bryan were defeated 7-5, 3-6, 10-6 by Gisela Dulko and Eduardo Schwank. Dulko and partner Paola Suarez were defeated in the second round of women's doubles by Renata Voracova and Klara Zakopalova.