Tennis: Dane sets up Sharapova showdown

Caroline Wozniacki breezed past Australia's Jarmila Gajdosova in their second round match. Photo / AP.
Caroline Wozniacki breezed past Australia's Jarmila Gajdosova in their second round match. Photo / AP.

Former world No 1 Caroline Wozniacki yesterday stayed on course for a Roland Garros showdown with Maria Sharapova in a quarter of the draw blown wide open by the shock exit of Serena Williams.

But Sharapova's bid hit an unexpected hurdle when her second-round tie was postponed due to Paul-Henri Mathieu's epic win over John Isner, which monopolised Philippe Chatrier court in the fourth-longest match in Grand Slam history.

Sharapova will now tackle Japan's Ayumi Morita today and then, if she wins, play her last 16 tie tomorrow.

Wozniacki, seeded nine and a quarter-finalist in 2010, breezed past Australian Jarmila Gajdosova 6-1, 6-4.

Denmark's Wozniacki will next face 23rd seed Kaia Kanepi of Estonia with the prize of a place in the last 16 up for grabs and a huge opportunity to progress further following the elimination of Williams.

The great American's stunning loss to France's Virginie Razzano on Wednesday has removed the most formidable obstacle preventing a quarter-final between Wozniacki and Sharapova.

"I'm happy and healthy," said Wozniacki, who suffered ankle problems in Madrid and breathing difficulties in Rome in the run-up to Roland Garros.

China's defending champion Li Na was also a comfortable winner, breezing past France's Stephanie Foretz Gacon 6-0, 6-2 in just 52 minutes.

The 30-year-old seventh seed has looked impressive in Paris after dropping just three games in her opening round.

"I was nervous at the start, playing a French player here," Li said.

Fourth seeded Czech Petra Kvitova, a potential quarter-final foe for Li, also coasted into the third round with a 6-1 6-3 win over Poland's Urszula Radwanska.

Wimbledon champion Kvitova, who dropped only three games in her opening win over Australian teenager Ashleigh Barty, needed 70 minutes to set up a clash with Russia's Nina Bratchikova.

The 22-year-old has twice reached the fourth round in Paris, including last year when she was defeated by Li, and she never looked in trouble on Thursday.

She fired 30 winners past the 21-year-old Pole, younger sister of third seeded Agnieszka Radwanska, who put out Venus Williams on Wednesday.

"She played well, she has good hands and a good touch," said 22-year-old Kvitova of her 79th-ranked opponent.

"But she wasn't very aggressive so I was able to play my game."

The first seed to lose on Thursday was Russian 16th seed Maria Kirilenko, who slumped to a 6-4, 3-6, 6-3 defeat to the Czech Republic's Klara Zakopalova.

The Czech has made the third round for the first time in nine attempts and will face Russian 22nd seed Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova, who put out Melinda Czink of Hungary 4-6, 6-3, 6-3.

Also heading for the exit was former world No 1 and three-time semi-finalist Jelena Jankovkic, the 19th seeded Serb, who went down 7-6 (7-4), 4-6, 6-4 to America's Varvara Lepchenko, the world number 63.

- AFP

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