Wozniacki falls, makes French Open history
World No. 1 Caroline Wozniacki created some unwanted history when she crashed 6-1, 6-3 to Daniela Hantuchova on Philippe Chatrier Center Court here at Roland Garros. With No. 2 seed Kim Clijsters having lost on Thursday, this was the first time in the history of the French Open — dating back to 1968 — that the top two women's seeds had failed to make it to the fourth round.
Wozniacki faced the inevitable questions about the pressure she feels as No. 1 in the world and never having won a Grand Slam title. "I don't feel any pressure from the outside," she insisted. "I put pressure on myself to get better. I am a competitor. Everyone has the right to write history but there are many very good women players. It is true Kim (Clijsters) suffered a bad defeat yesterday and it was my turn today. That's what happens in sport."
Wozniacki praised Hantuchova's game. "She played very well," said the Dane. "Today she was playing at an extraordinary level and she was much better than me, that was clear. She had a good game plan. Now I must go back on court and work on certain things to make myself better."
But Wozniacki was not alone in joining the growing list of top women players failing to progress on a day of chill winds and glowering clouds. Sam Stosur, the Australian who reached the final here last year and the semifinal in 2009, went out 6-4, 1-6, 6-3 to experienced, diminutive Argentine Gisela Dulko, who is ranked 51st in the world.
For Dulko, it was a day of many emotions and certainly one she will not forget. Apart from scoring one of the best wins of her career, Gisela had not had much sleep the night before because of a family occurrence back in Buenos Aires. "Nephews were born yesterday," she explained. "Two, twins, so it was a very special day. You know it was very emotional because I would love to be there but I am here, so that's why I did this towel for them."
Dulko had fetched a towel with congratulations scrawled in Spanish on it out of her bag on the court right after her victory. "I tried to do my best for them today," she added. "Sam is a very tough player, a powerful player, so it was important I played really well in the beginning. Then, in the third set, when I played long rallies and really adapted to her game, I realized I could really be in the match."
At least Stosur played a competitive match. That was more than you could say for Wozniacki, who seemed devoid of ideas as the elegant Hantuchova began sweeping winners to all parts of the court. The victory did not surprise the Slovak who, strangely, has won two of her four career titles at Indian Wells. "I was definitely confident before the match because I have been playing great tennis in the last few weeks," she said. "I was a little unlucky in a few matches but I have been working hard and it's been paying off."
No. 11 seed Marion Bartoli gave the French crowd something to cheer as she came through a tough encounter with rising German star Julia Goerges 3-6, 6-2, 6-4. Always an emotional person, Bartoli described her feelings afterward. "A lot of joy, extreme and intense happiness. A moment of pure bliss with my family there, all of them to support me. But it's so short. Then you have to think about the next match. Immediately you have to start thinking about the next round and that's what I'm doing."
And her next opponent will be the tour's new aunt, Dulko.