Azarenka falls at French Open

Victoria Azarenka did damage to her racket but had no such

success against her opponent.

The No. 1 seed at the French Open fell 6-2, 7-6 (4) to

15th-seeded Dominika Cibulkova on a windy, gray day at Roland

Garros in which the world’s top-ranked player hardly looked the


Azarenka, who won the Australian Open to start the 2012 Grand

Slam season, pulled out a first game that went nine deuces and took

15 minutes but didn’t capture any momentum from that.

Cibulkova rolled off six of the next seven to take the first

set. Then, she came back for a 3-2 lead after falling down a break

early in the second. Azarenka bashed her racket into the ground

during the changeover and received a warning for racket abuse.

Her frustration was still showing after the match, when, asked

what she would do to recover from the loss, she answered


”I’m going to kill myself,” she said. ”This tournament is

over for me. What’s to recover from? It’s (time) to really look

forward and improve. That’s it.”

Down 6-3 in the second-set tiebreaker, Azarenka saved one match

point. But on the second, Cibulkova drew her to net with a drop

shot, then passed her easily for the winner. The Slovakian dropped

onto the red clay to celebrate. She had taken Azarenka to three

sets the last five times they played, but her only victory in that

streak came in 2008 at Amelia Island – the last time they met on


”Before, I was at least making something happen myself,”

Azarenka said, when asked about those previous three-setters.

”Today I couldn’t do it. All I could hope for is for her mistake.

I couldn’t make anything myself today.”

Azarenka joins a large group of so-called favorites on the

sidelines. The Williams sisters, former No. 1 Caroline Wozniacki

and former champions Ana Ivanovic and Francesca Schiavone are among

those already gone with the second week just getting under way.

Another former champion, Svetlana Kuznetsova, lost Sunday to

21st-seeded Sara Errani of Italy.

Five women have won the last five Grand Slam titles and the last

four majors have been won by first-time champions. The only former

champion left in the draw is Li Na.

”I’m happy and curious,” said Errani, now in her second

straight Grand Slam quarterfinal. ”The strongest sensation is

curiosity – to see how far I can go, and up to what level I can

arrive. Even I don’t really know.”

Errani’s next opponent is 10th-seeded Angelique Kerber, a 6-3,

7-5 winner over Petra Martic. Kerber had only one victory in her

previous four appearances at Roland Garros. She now finds herself

two wins away from playing for the title and wondering: Why not


”It’s a new situation,” Kerber said. ”I’ve played good from

the beginning of the year. I think the players know right now who I

am, and, yeah, I think nobody wants to play against me right