- The Washington Times - Sunday, May 31, 2009

— Novak Djokovic became the first big-name player to be eliminated from the men’s tournament at the French Open. Andy Roddick and Serena Williams managed to stick around.

The fourth-seeded Djokovic was upset by No. 29 Philipp Kohlschreiber of Germany 6-4, 6-4, 6-4 in the third round Saturday.

Roddick reached the fourth round for the first time by beating Marc Gicquel 6-1, 6-4, 6-4. Williams, the second seed, rallied to beat Maria Jose Martinez Sanchez 4-6, 6-3, 6-4.

Djokovic reached the semifinals at Roland Garros each of the past two years but could do little against Kohlschreiber while playing for the third time in three days.

“What is disappointing was that I couldn’t find the rhythm throughout the whole match,” said Djokovic, who completed a suspended three-set win from the previous round Friday. “I was trying not to be frustrated with a lot of unforced errors. Tried to be positive and just wait for the chances.”

Djokovic finished the match with 38 unforced errors, 16 more than Kohlschreiber.

Second-seeded Roger Federer and No. 5 Juan Martin del Potro of Argentina also reached the fourth round, as did No. 5 Jelena Jankovic.

Federer was again stretched to four sets before beating Paul-Henri Mathieu of France 4-6, 6-1, 6-4, 6-4. The Swiss star said the loss of Djokovic wasn’t a big deal for him. The two were in the same side of the draw and could have met in the semifinals.

“Winning the semifinal is not winning the tournament, so it doesn’t change anything,” Federer said.

Roddick is only the second American to advance this far at the clay-court major since Andre Agassi in 2003, the same year Roddick won the U.S. Open. Robby Ginepri also made the fourth round in Paris last year.

“It’s three matches,” said Roddick, who had seven aces and only 11 unforced errors. “It’s a lot better than I’ve done here before.”

Roddick has reached at least the semifinals at the other three majors. Besides winning the 2003 U.S. Open, he also is a two-time runner-up at Wimbledon. But at the French Open, Roddick’s best performance before this year was the third round in his 2001 debut.

“I like my chances maybe more than the other years,” Roddick said. “I feel like I’m moving a little bit better on this stuff. I’m able to kind of slide into my forehand.”

Del Potro beat Igor Andreev 6-4, 7-5, 6-4, while No. 9 Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, No. 11 Gael Monfils, No. 16 Tommy Robredo and Tommy Haas also gained the fourth round.

On the women’s side, fourth-seeded Elena Dementieva lost to No. 30 Samantha Stosur 6-3, 4-6, 6-1. Dementieva’s exit came a day after No. 3 Venus Williams lost in straight sets.

Stosur converted seven of her 15 break points against Dementieva, the 2004 runner-up at Roland Garros.

“I just feel I’m far away from… being in good shape,” Dementieva said. “I feel like I couldn’t perform any better.”

Stosur has never before reached the fourth round at the French. She made it that far at the 2006 Australian Open, but has never played in the quarterfinals at a major.

“As that match went on today I knew I could get there because I was playing [well] enough and was handling the conditions and everything maybe a little bit better than her,” Stosur said.

Jankovic defeated 73rd-ranked Jarmila Groth 6-1, 6-1. No. 7 Svetlana Kuznetsova, the 2004 U.S. Open champion, beat Melinda Czink 6-1, 6-3.

“I cruised through the match and did my job, did what I had to do in order to win,” said Jankovic, who started the season at No. 1 but has dropped to No. 5.

Williams was broken once in the first set, but she complained about the final point, which she believed hit her opponent’s arm. Martinez Sanchez said the ball hit her racket.

“The ball did touch her 100 percent on her arm,” Williams said. “The rules of tennis is when the ball hits your body, then it’s out of play. You lose a point automatically. So the ball hit her body, and therefore, she should have lost the point instead of cheating.”

No. 9 Victoria Azarenka completed her comeback against No. 22 Carla Suarez Navarro 5-7, 7-5, 6-2. Suarez Navarro won the first set Friday and Azarenka took the second before play was suspended because of darkness.

No. 12 Agnieszka Radwanska, No. 24 Aleksandra Wozniak and unseeded Virginie Razzano also advanced.

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