PARIS: A flat-footed Ana Ivanovic and a completely out-of-sorts Polish third seed Agnieszka Radwanska bade an early farewell to a cool and blustery Roland Garros yesterday.
For a woman who showed no weaknesses while dispatching Venus Williams in the previous round, Radwanska unusually suffers stage fright when she comes face-to-face with 2009 champion Svetlana Kuznetsova.
So it proved again yesterday as the world number three froze on the biggest stage in claycourt tennis, winning a measly three games during a 6-1 6-2 third-round humbling by the Russian 26th seed on Philippe Chatrier Court.
Kuznetsova skipped off court after notching up a sixth successive win over Radwanska and securing a last-16 date with Sara Errani.
The defeat also dashed Radwanska's hopes of finishing the tournament as world number one as she had been in a three-way race for the top spot with Victoria Azarenka and Maria Sharapova.
Errani roared back from a first-set meltdown to beat Ivanovic 1-6 7-5 6-3 and reach the fourth round in Paris for the first time.
Meanwhile, world number one Victoria Azarenka put on yet another display of power as she beat Canada's Aleksandra Wozniak 6-4 6-4 in a one-dimensional third-round match.
The Australian Open champion from Belarus came out on top of a hard-hitting contest after 86 minutes just before dusk on Court One.
Azarenka, who will retain her world number one spot if she reaches the quarter-finals on the Parisian clay, broke decisively in the ninth game to claim the opening set and she was barely bothered in the second.
She will next face Slovakian 15th seed Dominika Cibulkova, who beat Spain's Maria Jose Martinez Sanchez 6-2 6-1.
Japan's Ayumi Morita, who simply could not fire up her serving arm, fell by the wayside 6-1 6-1 in a second-round thrashing by title favourite Sharapova.
The Russian second seed had been scheduled to face Morita on Thursday but failed to get on to Centre Court after Paul-Henri Mathieu took almost six hours to beat John Isner.
Yesterday, with the weather having turned so fresh that the usual queues around the ice-cream stands had disappeared, Sharapova refused to hang around longer than necessary.
US Open champion Samantha Stosur slugged her way through to the last 16 with a 6-3 6-3 defeat of Russian Nadia Petrova in a baseline battle yesterday.
Stosur now faces American Sloane Stephens, who beat Mathilde Johansson, the last Frenchwoman left in the draw, 6-3 6-2.