Tough for the seeds - Emirates24|7

Tough for the seeds


Sixth seed David Nalbandian and seventh seed James Blake were sent crashing out of the French Open at the second round stage yesterday.

If Blake's 7-6 (7/2), 3-6, 7-5, 6-3 loss to Ernests Gulbis of Latvia was a minor upset, given his dislike for clay, seed Nalbandian's 3-6, 4-6, 6-2, 6-1, 6-2 collapse at the hands of French wildcard Jeremy Chardy was a shocker.

The burly Argentinian had been touted as one of the main threats in the way of a third straight final between defending champion Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer.

When rain stopped play on the showcourts after four hours of action on the fifth day, both Nadal and Federer were out on the courts.

Nadal was 6-4, 5-0 ahead against Nicolas Devilder, while Federer had saved two set points before reaching 5-5 in the first set against Spain's Albert Montanes.

Nalbandian raced to a two sets lead, but then Chardy, the world No145, playing in only his sixth ATP Tour-level event at the age of 21, stepped up the pace and dominated exchanges from the baseline.

His win brought some relief to slumping home hopes at Roland Garros and he next goes up against Dmitry Tursunov of Russia with a place in the last 16 beckoning.

Blake had been the flag-bearer of an American revival at the French Open. but he was always in trouble up against Gulbis, the first Latvian to play at the top level.

"I felt like I could have won this match and had better success here," the 28-year-old Blake said after failing to match his run into the third round here in 2006.

"Now I have to forget about this and move forward and figure out what happened in time for the grasscourt and hardcourt season."

In the women's tournament, third seed Jelena Jankovic reached the third round, but saw her hopes of lifting a first Grand Slam hit by a painful injury to her right forearm and elbow.

The 23-year-old Serb defeated Croatian-born New Zealander Marina Erakovic 6-2, 7-6 (7/5), but she needed extensive treatment to relieve the pain halfway through the second set.

"The pain started at the beginning of the second set and it was getting worse and worse," Jankovic said.

"The balls were heavier, from hitting a lot of them my arm got very tight. I started having pain and it is swollen. The trainer came on and helped me get to the end."

There were no such problems for Venus Williams who powered past Tunisian qualifier Selima Sfar 6-2, 6-4 to join sister Serena in the third round. They could potentially meet in the semi-finals.

However, local favourite Amelie Mauresmo was dumped out after a shock 6-3, 6-4 defeat by Spanish qualifier Carla Suarez Navarro.

The two-times Grand Slam winner, who had not played since last month's Fed Cup tie in Japan due to an abdominal injury, struggled with her serve and the 22nd seed bowed out after 72 minutes.

Chinese hopes slumped with the defeat of Peng Shuai, who lost her second round tie 6-4, 6-3 to experienced Czech player Iveta Benesova.