French Open - Venus dumped out by Petrova

Reuters - Sun, 30 May 15:53:00 2010

Second seed Venus Williams suffered an early exit at the French Open when she was knocked out in the fourth round 6-4 6-3 by Russian Nadia Petrova.

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The American, a finalist in Paris in 2002, could not derail 19th seed Petrova's consistent claycourt game on a windswept Centre Court.

Petrova, who saved three match points in the previous round against local hope Aravane Rezai, made up for an early break in the second set and wrapped up the win after one hour and 30 minutes.

She will next face fellow Russian Elena Dementieva, the fifth seed, for a place in the semi-finals.

Dementieva sauntered into the quarter-finals with an untidy 6-1 6-3 victory over South African qualifier Chanelle Scheepers.

Dementieva, into the last eight for the third time in her career, suffered her trademark service jitters, hitting seven double faults, but Scheepers did not have the arsenal to upset the Russian's rhythm.

Scheepers, the first South African to reach the fourth round here for 13 years after also playing three matches in qualifying, never mastered the breezy conditions on Court Philippe Chatrier and limped out after an hour and 14 minutes.

Four-time champion Justine Henin showed nerves of steel to beat Maria Sharapova of Russia 6-2 3-6 6-3 in their delayed third-round match.

With the match between two former world number ones held over at a set-all when darkness halted play on Saturday, Sharapova was quickest out of the blocks, racing to a 2-0 lead and then having Henin at 0-40 on the Belgian's serve.

But Henin, enjoying the majority of support from a crowd wrapped up against the chill wind, managed to hold on and then reeled off three more games to take a 4-2 lead in blustery conditions on Court Philippe Chatrier.

Sharapova offered to extend the match further when she broke for 4-3 but time and again failed to come into the net when Henin was struggling at the back of the court.

Henin kept the unforced errors down to a minimum and waited for her chance, sealing victory in two hours 10 minutes when a Sharapova backhand drifted wide.

She now faces Australian seventh seed Sam Stosur for a place in the quarter-finals.

World number three Caroline Wozniacki came out on top in a three-hour tussle to down Italian Flavia Pennetta 7-6 6-7 6-2.

The Dane, who reached the last eight of a grand slam on one previous occasion when she lost the US Open final last year, had more fuel in the tank as the 14th-seeded Pennetta stalled in the decider.

Wozniacki, who broke Pennetta's serve 10 times, won the last four games and ended the contest on her third match point when Pennetta netted a forehand.

She will next face another Italian, 17th-seeded Francesca Schiavone, for a place in the last four.

Schiavone reached the last eight for the first time in nine years when she beat Russian Maria Kirilenko 6-4 6-4.

On a chilly Parisian morning, the 17th-seeded Schiavone, who featured in the claycourt grand slam last eight in 2001, was made to work by Kirilenko who knocked out defending champion Svetlana Kuznetsova in the previous round.

The demonstrative Schiavone, who raised her arms in the air after a cunning lob and applauded a fine Kirilenko volley, ended the contest on her opponent's serve after one hour and 51 minutes.

French Open: Every day 9.45am LIVE on British Eurosport (Sky 410 / Virgin 521), Eurosport HD (Sky 412 / Virgin 522) & on the Eurosport Player.


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