Azarenka thrashed by Schmeidlova at French Open


  • Tennis
  • Wednesday, 30 Sep 2020

Tennis - French Open - Roland Garros, Paris, France - September 27, 2020 Belarus' Victoria Azarenka in action during her first round match against Montenegro's Danka Kovinic. REUTERS/Christian Hartmann

PARIS (Reuters) - Victoria Azarenka's unhappy French Open campaign ended on Wednesday as the former world number one was beaten 6-2 6-2 by Slovakia's Anna Karolina Schmiedlova in the second round.

The Belarussian 10th seed, who was criticised for moaning about the cold and damp conditions in her opening round win, capitulated in feeble fashion against her 161st-ranked opponent.

Her defeat continued an exodus of leading seeds with Johanna Konta (9), Madison Keys (12),last year's runner-up Marketa Vondrousova (15) and another former world number one Angelique Kerber (18) having already been beaten while sixth seed Serena Williams withdrew on Wednesday with an Achilles injury.

Azarenka's defeat means that none of the women's semi-finalists at this month's U.S. Open are left in the draw here, although winner Naomi Osaka did not travel to France.

"I felt like nothing really was working, but I still had to find a way to win, and I didn't," Azarenka, runner-up to Osaka at Flushing Meadows, told reporters.

Former top-30 player Schmiedlova, who is playing with a protected ranking of 93 after knee surgery sidelined her in 2019, has enjoyed a stunning return to form in Paris, having beaten another former number one, Venus Williams, in round one to end a run of 12 consecutive first-round losses in Slams.

She backed up that win over Williams with an intelligent display against an error-prone Azarenka.

"I always thought that one year it has to come," said Scmiedlova, who now has Argentine qualifier Nadia Podoroska standing between her and the last-16 of a Grand Slam for the first time.

"I think I did everything I could to be back here. I'm very happy that it came, especially this year."

Azarenka, again playing in black leggings, double-faulted to drop serve in the opening game when play finally started on Court Simonne-Mathieu after yet another rain delay.

It did not get much better for the 31-year-old.

Scmiedlova's one real moment of alarm came at 1-1 in the second set when she slipped and landed heavily on her left knee and required treatment.

But she showed no ill-effects as she moved into a 5-2 lead with a couple of breaks of serve. Schmiedlova brought up match point with a forehand winner and sealed victory as Azarenka fired a 37th unforced error.

(Reporting by Martyn Herman; Editing by Alison Williams and Christian Radnedge)

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