French Open 2016: Agnieszka Radwańska, Simona Halep suffer shock exits

AP May 31, 2016 21:12:22 IST
French Open 2016: Agnieszka Radwańska, Simona Halep suffer shock exits

Paris: Yes, they actually managed to complete a match on this wettest of weeks at the French Open. Two, even. And both involved surprises: Two of the top half-dozen seeded women lost within minutes of each other, No. 2 Agnieszka Radwańska and No. 6 Simona Halep.

Radwańska, the 2012 Wimbledon runner-up, dropped 10 games in a row and got treatment for a problem with her right forearm and hand while being beaten 2-6, 6-3, 6-3 by 102nd-ranked Tsvetana Pironkova of Bulgaria in the fourth round Tuesday.

Shortly before that, Halep exited with a 7-6 (0), 6-3 defeat against No. 21 Sam Stosur in a contest between two past finalists at Roland Garros.

French Open 2016 Agnieszka Radwaska Simona Halep suffer shock exits

Agnieszka Radwanska during the fourth round match against Tsvetana Pironkova. Getty

Pironkova is much better known for her abilities on grass than clay courts, and she reached her first quarterfinal at Roland Garros after getting that far twice at Wimbledon.

Their match originally began Sunday, when Halep took the opening set and went ahead 3-0 in the second, just three games from victory, before play was suspended because of rain. They never made it back on court Monday, when heavy showers wiped out an entire day of play at the French Open for the first time in 16 years.

It was barely better Tuesday, when they began more than an hour later than scheduled because of more rain, played for about a half-hour, then were interrupted by a 2½-hour delay before resuming again. Through it all, with the tennis balls heavier and slower than normal as action proceeded despite the occasional drizzle, Radwańska ceded the first 10 games they played Tuesday and she never recovered.

The Stosur-Halep match also was suspended Sunday during the first set. And 2011 U.S. Open champion Stosur — wearing a green long-sleeved shirt against the chill of temperatures in the 50s (about 15 degrees Celsius) — was better throughout Tuesday, her big hitting able to withstand the conditions better than Halep's spins and angles.

"It was really tough, obviously, with the start-stop and having a day off and everything," said Stosur, who lost to Francesca Schiavone in the 2010 final at Roland Garros. "Once you're out there and it's raining, it's not so nice, but that's the way it is."

She is into the quarter-finals in Paris for the fourth time.

Only four of the top 11 seeded players remain in the women's tournament: No. 1 Serena Williams, No. 4 Garbine Muguruza, No. 8 Timea Bacsinszky and No. 9 Venus Williams. Muguruza is already into the quarter-finals; the other three were scheduled to play in the fourth round later Tuesday.

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