Paris, May 28: Caroline Wozniacki's Grand Slam misery plunged to new depths at the French Open on Friday as Daniela Hantuchova sent her packing at the third round stage with a comprehensive 6-1, 6-3 win in just 73 minutes.
The 20-year-old Dane's defeat follows the straight sets loss suffered by second seed Kim Clijsters to Arantxa Rus of the Netherlands on Thursday further blowing wide open women's tournament. There were mixed fortunes for last year's finalists with defending champion Francesca Schiavone reaching the last 16, and Samantha Stosur crashing out after being a break up in the deciding set against Gisela Dulka.
The 2009 champion Svetlana Kuznetsova went through 6-0, 6-4 against Canadian hope Rebecca Marino, while former world number one Jelena Jankovic of Serbia looked more like her old self in defeating Bethanie Mattek-Sands of the United States 6-2, 6-2. Eleventh seed Marion Bartoli, meanwhile, kept alive hopes of a first French title win at Roland Garros since Mary Pierce in 2000 with a 3-6, 6-2, 6-4 win over Julia Goerges of Germany.
But the story of the day was yet another Grand Slam flop for Wozniacki, who has made a habit out of winning titles on the regular WTA tour, hence her number one status, and then bombing at the four big Grand Slam events.
Playing out on the Suzanne Lenglen showcourt in cool windy conditions, Wozniacki held her opening service game to draw level at 1-1 and then promptly lost nine games in a row as the 28-year-old Hantuchova, playing in her 41st Grand Slam event, ran her ragged.
Wozniacki finally held serve again to get to 4-1 and could have taken encouragement from Maria Sharapova's fightback to win from an identical position on Wednesday against French teenager Caroline Garcia.
She secured her first service break of the match to get to 4-2, with Hantuchova complaining that the ball had bounced twice before the Dane reached her drop shot on break point, and then held her own serve.
With a hint of another comeback in the air, the pressure for the first time in the match was on the Slovak, but she comfortably held to love to get to 5-3.
She then clinched one of the biggest wins in her career in the following game when a dismal Wozniacki netted a backhand drive. Hantuchova will next play Kuznetsova of Russia for a place in the quarter-finals.
Stosur's defeat to the unseeded Dulko was all the more galling in that the Australian fifth seed was serving at 2-1 and a break up in the deciding set when two double faults halted her momentum.
The 26-year-old South American, who had won the first four games of the third round tie before Stosur had seemingly turned the tide with some big hitting, took full advantage to take a 4-2 lead.
Dulko then served out twice to clinch a battling victory 6-4, 1-6, 6-3 after which she unfurled a white towel carrying congratulations to her brother and his wife who gave birth to twins on Wednesday.Her reward will be a matchup home hope Bartoli. "I played really well in the beginning, trying to be really aggressive and I did it very well," Dulko said.
"Sam is a very powerful player and if I wasn't going to be aggressive it was going to be difficult for me. "Then I had a few ups and downs, but played very good tennis at the end of the match."
For Stosur it was a massive blow as she had been touted as a potential winner in a tournament blown wide open by the shock defeat of Clijsters.
Schiavone also got off to a poor start against China's Peng Shuai before hitting back to win the first set 6-3, but then trailed 2-1 in the second when her opponent retired after struggling with respiratory problems.
It was the little Italian's 10th straight win at Roland Garros after her upset victory last year and she will next play Jankovic. "She has her own style and is so different to everyone else," the Serb said of her opponent.