3 June 2012 13:29 GMT
World number one Victoria Azarenka is out of the French Open following a shock defeat by Dominika Cibulkova.
Azarenka, who almost lost to Alberta Brianti in round one, went down 6-2 7-6 (7-4) against 15th seed Cibulkova.
“It’s been a lot of tennis for me in the last five months – I need to rest a little,” said Azarenka, who added that she does not plan to play any tournaments before Wimbledon.
Svetlana Kuznetsova , winner in 2009, was beaten 6-0 7-5 by Sara Errani.
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Azarenka will lose her world number one spot to Maria Sharapova if the Russian second seed reaches the final.
Her exit means Li Na is the only former champion left in the draw.
Top seed Azarenka, 22, was far from convincing in her first-round meeting with Brianti and was again distinctly off key against Cibulkova.
She had beaten the Slovakian seven times in eight previous meetings – overturning a set and a break deficit in the last two.
But there would be no repeat on this occasion as the Australian Open champion joined Serena and Venus Williams, Caroline Wozniacki and Agnieszka Radwanska among the big-name casualties.
An enthralling 15-minute first game, which included six break points, went the Belarusian’s way but after that Cibulkova took control.
The 5ft 3ins right-hander broke back immediately before going on to comfortably win the first set in 44 minutes.
Azarenka rallied to take a 2-0 lead in the second, but the diminutive Cibulkova showed her mental strength to run off four games in a row.
The 22-year-old’s frustrations with her own performance came to a head as she twice smashed her racquet against the clay court.
Azarenka fought to 4-4 before moving ahead and at one stage she was serving for the set, but Cibulkova broke serve to force a tie-break, which she led from the start to pull off a superb win.
Cibulkova, 23, will next play either sixth seed Sam Stosur or Sloane Stephens of the United States, who meet later on Saturday.
Errani’s victory over Kuznetsova means she is through to the quarter-finals of the French Open for the first time in her career.
It has been a poor season for Kuznetsova, and she said: “Today the weather was so bad. I felt cold during the whole match. For me to move was really complicated. I could not make my feet work.
“It’s the best I’ve seen Sara play. Her game is very good on clay. I’m far away from my best form yet.”
Errani, the 21st seed, will play 10th seed Germany’s Angelique Kerber, who defeated Petra Martic of Croatia 6-3 7-5, in the last eight.
Dominika Cibulková was born on May 6th, 1989 according to http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dominika_Cibulkova
May 6th, 1989
5 + 6 +2+0+1+2 = 16 = her personal year (from May 6th, 2012 to May 5th, 2013) = Stunning. Amazing. Shocking. Unprecedented.
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