Mirjana Lucic-Baroni has yet provided the shock result of Day 4, seeing off last year’s French Open finalists, Simona Halep, in straight sets to reach the round of 32.
The rampant Croatian known for her ground-breaking feats at Roland Garros smashed 29 winners- including four aces- broke five times and recorded 54% success on her opponents’ serves to take a 7-5 6-1 win.
Lucic-Baroni also saw off the Canadian 3rd seed en route to the fourth round of the 2014 U.S. Open (when Halep was enjoying her highest ever ranking of No. 2) and repeating it for a second time was her second best career win.
“When I saw the draw and who I was playing second round, I knew it was going to be really tough,” said Lucic-Baroni, 33. “I was going to have to play a great match again and back up what I did at the US Open, because sometimes people say, Oh, it’s just one day. I don’t look at it like that. I know I played really well.
“I have been working really hard, and I knew today I had to play some great tennis. I was ready for it. Even though my results haven’t been that great lately, I have been feeling great. I knew just it’s a matter of a moment coming, you know, and results are gonna come. I’m glad I was able to do that again.”
The No. 70-ranked thus advance to the third round of the clay Grand Slam for just a second time (lost to Jenifer Capriati in 2001) and will face No.29 seed, Alizé Cornet, who proved the better of her match-up with Romanian Alexandra Dulgheru, 6-2 7-5. French No. 1 Cornet won their only previous meeting in 2012.
“The US Open was the first time in a really long time that I’ve had a really good result like that. I was extremely emotional. Now I’m trying to hold it together a little bit better,” Lucic-Baroni said.
“As long as my body allows me to, I’m going to keep fighting and keep playing. It’s moments like this that are just so amazing – full court, against one of the best players in the world, and winning. It doesn’t get better than this.”
Defending champion Maria Sharapova continued her march for a third triumph in Roland Garros with quick victory over Vitalia Diatchenko.
The No. 2 seed produced 24 winners to 8 unforced errors to her compatriot’s 18-26 winner-unforced error differentials to seal a 6-3 6-1 win in 1 hour and 20 minutes.
Sharapova broke her opponent and consolidated for a 2-0 lead few minutes into the game, but the found it difficult dealing with Diatchenko’s double-handed smashes in the third game. Sharapova fought back from 0-30 and 30-40 down in the fourth game, before double faulting to hand her 25-year-old opponent her first break of the game.
She however re-asserted dominance on proceedings, eventually taking the set 6-3 in 46 minutes.
Sharapova broke Diatchenko’s twice in the second set on her way to closing out victory. She sets up a replay of her three-setter comeback against Australia’s Sam Stossur in the fourth round of the 2014 tournament.
Stossur, seeded 26 in Paris this year saw off French wild card Amandine Hesse, 6-0 6-1 in a rather routine second round match at the Court Suzanne-Lenglen.
Sharapova is 14-2 in her career head-to-head record against Stossur, including 4-0 on dirt surface.
“She has a very heavy ball, and I think on clay specifically it just really penetrates through the court,” Sharapova said of Stosur. “The spin she’s able to create from her forehand and her serve, she has one of the best kick serves in the game. She’s really able to put that power into it and kick. She also slices a lot. There are a lot of untraditional things she does, but I guess I enjoy the challenge of playing her.
“I have a pretty good record against her. I enjoy our matches. I hope I can continue that.”
“Playing Maria is always a big challenge for me,” Stosur said. “No matter what surface it’s on, I don’t have a very good record at all. Obviously we played last year – that’s the last time we played against each other. So I’ve got to be ready to have to play as well, if not better, than what I’ve been doing.
“Last year was very close, and all of a sudden it was very far away,” the Australian added. “That’s certainly a position I’d like to try to get in again, and hopefully this time if I do get in a position, it won’t fall away so quickly. But I feel like I’m playing well. I’ve had a good lead-up, and now I’ve played another really good match here, and hopefully it’s all going to help me going into this next one.”
Selected women’s singles results
Sabine Lisicki, 20, (Ger) beat Daria Gavrilova 6-1 (the Australian retired in second set)
Donna Vekic (Cro) beat Bojana Jovanovski (SRB) 6-4 6-3
Angelique Kerber, 11, (Ger) beat Ajla Tomljanovic (Cro) 6-3 6-2
Elian Svitolina (Ukr) beat Yulia Puntitseva (Kaz) 1-6 7-5 9-7
Garbine Muguruza, 21, (ESP) beat Camila Giorgi (Ita) 6-1 6-4