French Open: Revolution in Paris as Radwanska joins the fallen stars


Roland Garros

The French Open began with talk of a changing of the guard at the top of men’s tennis, but as the first week comes to an end it is the women’s game in which a new world order is developing. For the first time at a Grand Slam tournament in the Open era the top three women’s seeds have all lost before the fourth round. Agnieszka Radwanska, the world No 3, on Friday joined Serena Williams and Li Na among the fallen when she was beaten 6-4, 6-4 by Croatia’s Ajla Tomljanovic.

Simona Halep, a 22-year-old Romanian who until this year had never reached a Grand Slam quarter-final, is now the highest-ranked player left in the women’s tournament as the world No 4. The favourite to win the title, however, is Maria Sharapova. The 27-year-old Russian, who won here in 2012 and was runner-up last year, yesterday earned a heavyweight fourth-round showdown with Australia’s Samantha Stosur by crushing Argentina’s Paula Ormaechea 6-0, 6-0 in just 51 minutes.

Like Garbine Muguruza and Kristina Mladenovic, who beat Williams and Li respectively, Tomljanovic was born in 1993. The 21-year-old Croat, ranked No 72 in the world, is playing in only her fourth Grand Slam tournament. She moved to the United States eight years ago and trains at Chris Evert’s academy in Florida.

Tomljanovic said her victory over Radwanska had been inspired by the feats of Muguruza and Mladenovic. “After seeing the two first seeds go out, you kind of feel like: ‘I can do this too’,” she said.

“I grew up with these girls that are beating them. I went on the stadium for the first time and [Radwanska] kind of feels like home there, because she’s been there a lot more than I did. I went out there and I really, really thought inside that I could win. I think that showed and it is why I won.”

Muguruza extended her run by beating Slovakia’s Anna Karolina Schmiedlova, who had beaten Venus Williams in the previous round, 6-2, 6-4. Stosur, a former finalist here, beat Dominika Cibulkova, runner-up at this year’s Australian Open, 6-4, 6-4.

Maria Sharapova is now the title favourite after the fall of several big names of the women’s game Maria Sharapova is now the title favourite after the fall of several big names of the women’s game (Getty Images)
Taylor Townsend, an 18-year-old American, has also struck a blow for the younger generation with her performances this week, though her run ended yesterday when she was beaten 6-2, 6-2 by Spain’s Carla Suarez Navarro.

Andy Murray was among those who had been impressed by Townsend’s victory over France’s Alizé Cornet in the previous round. “She’s just a really nice player to watch,” Murray said. “She hits the ball great. She’s very talented. She volleys. You don’t see that much now. You don’t really see it on the men’s or the women’s tours at all. She had drop shots, angles, a good attitude.”

Sharapova, who coasted to victory after saving three break points in the opening game against Ormaechea, did not shy away from the fact that she now has an outstanding opportunity to win here.

“If I don’t have the mentality that I’m the favourite inside of myself going into a tournament like this, then I probably shouldn’t be in the draw,” Sharapova said. “I like to be positive yet realistic and there is no reason why I shouldn’t be the favourite at this tournament. I have won four Grand Slams and I feel that when I’m in the draw of a tournament, I’m there for a reason.”

Sharapova has beaten Stosur in 13 of their 15 meetings but will not be taking anything for granted. “A lot of her successes come on clay,” Sharapova said. “She has a great serve, she uses the court extremely well, moves well on it. It’s a good match-up. I look forward to it.”

While Sharapova and Stosur are the only major names left in the top half of the draw, there are still some big guns left in the other section. Svetlana Kuznetsova, the winner here five years ago, today meets Petra Kvitova, the 2011 Wimbledon champion, with the winner to face either Lucie Safarova or Ana Ivanovic, who won the title here in 2008. Halep, Jelena Jankovic, Sloane Stephens and Sara Errani are among others still standing in the bottom half of the draw.

Arts and Entertainment
Alfred Molina, left, and John Lithgow in a scene from 'Love Is Strange'
A model of a Neanderthal man on display at the National Museum of Prehistory in Dordogne, France
Dawkins: 'There’s a very interesting reason why a prince could not turn into a frog – it's statistically too improbable'
newsThat's Richard Dawkins on babies with Down Syndrome
Malky Mackay salutes the Cardiff fans after the 3-1 defeat at Liverpool on Sunday
footballFormer Cardiff boss accused of sending homophobic, racist and messages
Arts and Entertainment
Martin Amis: Taken to task over rash decisions and ill-judged statements
booksThe Zone of Interest just doesn't work, says James Runcie
Life and Style
life – it's not, says Rachel McKinnon
Arts and Entertainment
Eye of the beholder? 'Concrete lasagne' Preston bus station
architectureWhich monstrosities should be nominated for the Dead Prize?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Middle East crisis: We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

Now Obama has seen the next US reporter to be threatened with beheading, will he blink, asks Robert Fisk
Neanderthals lived alongside humans for centuries, latest study shows

Final resting place of our Neanderthal neighbours revealed

Bones dated to 40,000 years ago show species may have died out in Belgium species co-existed
Scottish independence: The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

Scotland’s immigrants are as passionate about the future of their adopted nation as anyone else
Britain's ugliest buildings: Which monstrosities should be nominated for the Dead Prize?

Blight club: Britain's ugliest buildings

Following the architect Cameron Sinclair's introduction of the Dead Prize, an award for ugly buildings, John Rentoul reflects on some of the biggest blots on the UK landscape
eBay's enduring appeal: Online auction site is still the UK's most popular e-commerce retailer

eBay's enduring appeal

The online auction site is still the UK's most popular e-commerce site
Culture Minister Ed Vaizey: ‘lack of ethnic minority and black faces on TV is weird’

'Lack of ethnic minority and black faces on TV is weird'

Culture Minister Ed Vaizey calls for immediate action to address the problem
Artist Olafur Eliasson's latest large-scale works are inspired by the paintings of JMW Turner

Magic circles: Artist Olafur Eliasson

Eliasson's works will go alongside a new exhibition of JMW Turner at Tate Britain. He tells Jay Merrick why the paintings of his hero are ripe for reinvention
Josephine Dickinson: 'A cochlear implant helped me to discover a new world of sound'

Josephine Dickinson: 'How I discovered a new world of sound'

After going deaf as a child, musician and poet Josephine Dickinson made do with a hearing aid for five decades. Then she had a cochlear implant - and everything changed
Greggs Google fail: Was the bakery's response to its logo mishap a stroke of marketing genius?

Greggs gives lesson in crisis management

After a mishap with their logo, high street staple Greggs went viral this week. But, as Simon Usborne discovers, their social media response was anything but half baked
Matthew McConaughey has been singing the praises of bumbags (shame he doesn't know how to wear one)

Matthew McConaughey sings the praises of bumbags

Shame he doesn't know how to wear one. Harriet Walker explains the dos and don'ts of fanny packs
7 best quadcopters and drones

Flying fun: 7 best quadcopters and drones

From state of the art devices with stabilised cameras to mini gadgets that can soar around the home, we take some flying objects for a spin
Joey Barton: ‘I’ve been guilty of getting a bit irate’

Joey Barton: ‘I’ve been guilty of getting a bit irate’

The midfielder returned to the Premier League after two years last weekend. The controversial character had much to discuss after his first game back
Andy Murray: I quit while I’m ahead too often

Andy Murray: I quit while I’m ahead too often

British No 1 knows his consistency as well as his fitness needs working on as he prepares for the US Open after a ‘very, very up and down’ year
Ferguson: In the heartlands of America, a descent into madness

A descent into madness in America's heartlands

David Usborne arrived in Ferguson, Missouri to be greeted by a scene more redolent of Gaza and Afghanistan
BBC’s filming of raid at Sir Cliff’s home ‘may be result of corruption’

BBC faces corruption allegation over its Sir Cliff police raid coverage

Reporter’s relationship with police under scrutiny as DG is summoned by MPs to explain extensive live broadcast of swoop on singer’s home