Paris, May 30:Despite another high-seeded departure at the French Open, the past two champions at Roland Garros made their way into the quarterfinals.
No. 3 Vera Zvonareva followed top-seeded Caroline Wozniacki and Kim Clijsters out of the tournament Sunday after losing to 19-year-old Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova 7-6 (4), 2-6, 6-2. But defending champion Francesca Schiavone, kissing the clay and all, advanced along with the 2009 winner, Svetlana Kuznetsova.
"We will see," said Schiavone, who defeated No. 10 Jelena Jankovic 6-3, 2-6, 6-4 and repeated her celebration from last by dropping to ground and puckering up to the red dirt. "For sure it's interesting, but in (women's) tennis now, it's really, really open."
Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer both advanced on the men's side, with the former chasing a pair of records and the latter setting yet another one.
On Monday, top-ranked Rafael Nadal is scheduled to face Ivan Ljubicic of Croatia in the fourth round, while No. 4 Andy Murray is to play Viktor Troicki of Serbia. Maria Sharapova is also scheduled to play for a spot in the quarterfinals.
Zvonareva's loss has left Victoria Azarenka of Belarus as the highest seeded player remaining in the draw at No. 4.
"I don't really want to comment on this, because, well, it's none of my business," said Pavlyuchenkova, the youngest player left in the women's tournament. "I'm just trying to do my thing, focusing on me. ... The rest, I don't really care."
It is only the third time that none of the top three seeded women has reached the quarterfinals at a Grand Slam tournament in the Open era, which began in 1968, and the first time at the French Open. It also happened at Wimbledon in 2008 -- when the top four were eliminated by the end of the fourth round -- and at the Australian Open in 1997.
After Zvonareva's elimination, both Schiavone and Kuznetsova were pushed to three sets, but both managed to come through in the end.
"I knew I was better," said Kuznetsova, who eliminated Daniela Hantuchova of Slovakia 6-7 (3), 6-3, 6-2. "Even losing the first set, I had set points. And I had to just play better and stay focused. But I could manage to finish it 6-2 pretty easy."
Marion Bartoli also advanced, and will be the most rested when the quarterfinals begin. The 11th-seeded Frenchwoman won when Gisela Dulko of Argentina retired with a left leg muscle injury while trailing 7-5, 1-0.
"I've got mixed feelings," Bartoli said about beating her friend. "She probably was suffering. Otherwise, you try to finish your matches."In the next round, Bartoli will face Kuznetsova, while Schiavone will take on Pavlyuchenkova.The men's draw is going more as expected with the top five players still alive, and two of them had little trouble advancing Sunday.
Federer extended his quarterfinal streak at major tournaments to 28 with a 6-3, 6-2, 7-5 victory over Olympic gold medal doubles partner Stanislas Wawrinka.
"Twenty-eight quarterfinals in a row, that's great," Federer said. "But that's another opportunity for me to go one step further."
Shortly after Federer's match on Court Philippe Chatrier, Djokovic maintained his perfect season and stretched his overall winning streak to 43 matches by beating Richard Gasquet of France 6-4, 6-4, 6-2.
"I'm definitely playing the best tennis of my life," said Djokovic, who is 41-0 this year, "and I'm trying to stay focused on each game and we'll see how far I can go." AP