PARIS: Australian Samantha Stosur's high-kicking serve and punishing forehand went AWOL on a gloomy Friday at the French Open as she suffered a 6-4 1-6 6-3 third round defeat by Argentine Gisela Dulko.
A year after Jelena Jankovic described Stosur's forehand as “like a man's”, the 2010 runner-up failed to hit her stride as her serve and booming forehand failed to click.
It briefly looked like holder Francesca Schiavone would also be shown the exit but the Italian fifth seed recovered from a stuttering start before benefitting from Chinese Peng Shuai's decision to quit. Peng pulled out apparently feeling dizzy while trailing 6-3 1-2.
With the morning sun playing hide and seek between the threatening clouds, eighth seed Stosur looked on course for victory when Dulko, the world number 51, seemed to be running out of steam in the second set.
But Dulko hung on and broke decisively for a 4-2 lead in the third set when a dejected Stosur hit one of her 35 unforced errors.
The Argentine bagged the win on serve with a forehand winner before showing the crowd a towel which had the names of her brother's newborn twins: “Para Myla y Teo. Valia la pena” (For Myla and Teo. It was worth it).”
She will next face France's Marion Bartoli or German Julia Goerges.
Schiavone will take on former world number one Jankovic after the Serb, barely impressed by Bethanie Mattek-Sands's painted face, thrashed the American 6-2 6-2.
Schiavone needed 54 minutes to take the first set as she struggled to hold serve on court Suzanne Lenglen and was again broken early in the second.
But one hour is just what Peng had in the tank.
She called on the doctor while 1-0 up in the second set to have her blood pressure checked. She called him on again at 2-1 before signalling, with tears in her eyes, that she could not go on. Schiavone offered her a consolation hug.
David Ferrer demolished Ukraine's Sergiy Stakhovsky 6-1 6-1 6-3 as he continued to bulldoze his way through the bottom half of the draw.
The Spanish seventh seed, who has not dropped a set in three matches, will take on either Belgian Steve Darcis or France's Gael Monfils.
Novak Djokovic will take on Juan Martin del Potro later on Friday when the sledgehammer groundstrokes of the Argentine will test the world number two's armour-plated confidence in the most eagerly anticipated match of the French Open so far.