French Open player apologizes; Sharapova wins

If love means never having to say you’re sorry, what about

6-love?

Depends which side of the French Open scoreboard you’re on,

apparently.

Maria Sharapova feels not a shred of remorse about the way she’s

been finishing off opponents quickly – a total of five games lost

through three matches at Roland Garros this year, including a 6-0,

6-0 win in the first round.

The 27th-seeded Mikhail Youzhny of Russia, meanwhile, was on the

wrong end of a shutout set Saturday and decided he needed to

apologize right then and there to the ticket-buyers in the seats at

Court Suzanne Lenglen. Finally having won one game after losing the

first eight against No. 6 David Ferrer of Spain, Youzhny used the

toe of his right shoe to carve a mea culpa in the red clay near the

baseline.

He etched out ”SORRi!” – stamping the dot atop the lowercase

last letter for emphasis before heading to the sideline for a

changeover.

”People in the stands may not have noticed, but I think I had

to do this,” Youzhny said after his 6-0, 6-2, 6-2 loss.

”There was a lot of people. That’s why I write `sorry’ –

because I can’t show them a nice game,” he explained. ”The way we

played in the beginning, it was not really interesting for

people.”

Ferrer, who said he didn’t see Youzhny’s lettering, was part of

Spain’s 5-0 showing Saturday, led by Rafael Nadal, who continued

his bid for a record seventh French Open title by overpowering

Eduardo Schwank of Argentina 6-1, 6-3, 6-4.

”Now the first week has gone by,” said Nadal, who gets a day

off Sunday, his 26th birthday. ”It’s always the most complicated

week to manage.”

The other Spaniards who moved on were No. 12 Nicolas Almagro,

No. 13 Juan Monaco and No. 20 Marcel Granollers, a five-set winner

against Paul-Henri Mathieu, the Frenchman who edged John Isner in

an 18-16 fifth set in the second round.

The second-seeded Sharapova’s matches haven’t contained a shred

of intrigue so far. Not surprisingly, that’s absolutely OK with

her.

After a 6-2, 6-1 victory over No. 28 Peng Shuai put her in the

fourth round, Sharapova was asked whether any part of her feels bad

for someone paying a lot of money to watch an hour or so of

tennis.

”The last thing that’s on my mind when I’m going out on court

is thinking about who paid for a ticket and how long they’re going

to watch my match for,” said Sharapova, who is trying to complete

a career Grand Slam by winning her first French Open. ”I mean, I’m

not sure if that’s selfish or not, but my job is to go out on the

court and to try to win. Whether it’s 6-0, 6-0, whether it’s a

tough three-set match, you’re trying to do what you have to

do.”

Sharapova’s section of the draw seems to be getting a bit easier

by the hour.

One potential quarterfinal opponent, 13-time major champion

Serena Williams, lost in the first round. Another, former No. 1

Caroline Wozniacki, exited 6-1, 6-7 (3), 6-3 against No. 23 Kaia

Kanepi of Estonia. And a third, No. 25 Julie Goerges of Germany,

was beaten 7-6 (5), 2-6, 6-2 by 88th-ranked Arantxa Rus of the

Netherlands.

Wozniacki got into a couple of extended arguments over line

calls with chair umpire Poncho Ayala, including about a second-set

shot by Kanepi that landed near the baseline to earn a service

break for the Estonian.

”How can you sit there and be so arrogant? Have you gone to

school?” Wozniacki said to Ayala, drawing boos from

spectators.

At her postmatch news conference, Wozniacki said: ”When the

ball is clearly out, I don’t think there should be anything to

argue about. You know, if they cannot see, they should have other

umpires on the lines or (use replay technology) on these courts.

It’s a disgrace that mistakes like this are made.”

Not only are Williams, Wozniacki and Goerges out of the way, but

in the fourth round, Sharapova gets to face 44th-ranked Klara

Zakopalova of the Czech Republic, who eliminated No. 22 Anastasia

Pavlyuchenkova of Russia 6-3, 7-5.

Also in Sharapova’s half of the field, No. 12 Francesca

Schiavone, the 2010 French Open champion, was a 3-6, 6-3, 8-6 loser

against Varvara Lepchenko, who joined 19-year-old Sloane Stephens

to give the United States two unseeded women in the fourth round of

a Grand Slam tournament for the first time in 10 years.

”I don’t think it’s the right way to look at things to see

somebody lose and say, `Oh, well, now the draw is open.’ … You

can’t go about playing a Grand Slam like that,” Sharapova said.

”You’ve got to be ready to face your toughest opponents from the

first round, on. And if you’re not ready, then you should probably

not be here.”

For years, she traveled to tournaments with her father. Now he’s

at home in Florida, taking care of Sharapova’s dog, so it’s Mom’s

turn to be on the road.

Dad still likes to offer tennis advice from afar, but Sharapova

isn’t a fan of his texting skills.

”He can’t text. It’s useless. He writes half-Russian,

half-English. The words are all mixed up, misspelled. I just ask

him to call me. And I try to Skype with him, and that’s a nightmare

because he doesn’t know, like, how to answer. It’s horrible,” she

said with a hearty laugh.

”But I talk with him every day, mainly just to find out if my

dog is still alive.”

Follow Howard Fendrich at http://twitter.com/HowardFendrich