Although Day 3 of the 2014 French Open was somewhat short on star power with most of the top players in both draws enjoying a day off, a few surprising results made for a very interesting slate of tennis.
The rain that plagued the first couple days of play at Roland Garros was not a factor Tuesday, but the big upset reared its ugly head on a few occasions.
Nobody was bitten harder than women's No. 2 seed Li Na, who shockingly crashed out in the first round. Li wasn't alone, though, as a handful of seeded players in both draws were forced to leave Paris early.
Disappointment didn't rule the day for every big name, though, as British superstar Andy Murray was able to survive a first-round test and continue his quest for his first French Open title. In addition to that, defending French Open finalist David Ferrer moved on in convincing fashion.
The wide-open women's bracket featured wins from No. 4 seed Simona Halep and No. 11 Ana Ivanovic, who is a threat to potentially make a run to the final thanks to her current form.
With Day 3 of the French Open in the books, here is a look at the notable singles results from Roland Garros along with further analysis regarding Tuesday's biggest storylines.
Day 3 Men's Results
|No. 5 David Ferrer def. Igor Sijsling||6-4, 6-3, 6-1|
|No. 7 Andy Murray def. Andrey Golubev||6-1, 6-4, 3-6, 6-3|
|Ivo Karlovic def. No. 11 Grigor Dimitrov||6-4, 7-5, 7-6|
|No. 12 Richard Gasquet def. Bernard Tomic||6-2, 6-1, 7-5|
|No. 19 Kevin Anderson def. Stephane Robert||7-5, 6-3, 6-4|
|No. 23 Gael Monfils def. Victor Hanescu||6-2, 4-6, 6-4, 6-2|
|No. 24 Fernando Verdasco def. Michael Llodra||6-2, 7-6, 7-6|
|No. 28 Philipp Kohlschreiber def. Pere Riba||7-5, 6-4, 6-1|
|No. 32 Andreas Seppi def. Santiago Giraldo||6-3, 7-5, 6-3|
|Carlos Berlocq def. Lleyton Hewitt||3-6, 6-2, 6-1, 6-4|
|No. 16 Tommy Haas def. Jurgen Zopp||5-2 (ret.)|
|Jack Sock def. No. 21 Nicolas Almagro||5-0 (ret.)|
Day 3 Women's Results
|Kristina Mladenovic def. No. 2 Li Na||7-5, 3-6, 6-1|
|No. 4 Simona Halep def. Alisa Kleybanova||6-0, 6-2|
|No. 11 Ana Ivanovic def. Caroline Garcia||6-1, 6-3|
|Yanina Wickmayer def. No. 13 Caroline Wozniacki||7-6, 4-6, 6-2|
|No. 15 Sloane Stephens def. Peng Shuai||6-4, 7-6|
|No. 21 Kirsten Flipkens def. Danka Kovinic||7-6, 6-2|
|No. 22 Ekaterina Makarova def. Shelby Rogers||6-2, 6-3|
|No. 24 Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova def. Kimiko Date-Krumm||6-3, 0-6, 6-2|
|No. 26 Sorana Cirstea def. Aleksandra Wozniak||6-7, 7-5, 6-2|
|No. 27 Svetlana Kuznetsova def. Sofia Shapatava||6-3, 6-1|
|Maria-Teresa Torro-Flor def. No. 30 Klara Koukalova||7-6, 6-2|
|No. 10 Dinah Pfizenmaier def. Estrella Cabeza Candela||4-6, 6-3, 6-3|
Defending Australian Open Champ Li Na Upset
It didn't take long for the first major upset to occur in the men's draw at Roland Garros as defending Australian Open champion Stanislas Wawrinka was upended by Guillermo Garcia-Lopez Monday. The women's side featured a similar surprise Wednesday in the form of Li Na bowing out against Kristina Mladenovic.
After dropping the first set to the 21-year-old native of France, Li bounced back to win the second. Rather than capitalizing on that momentum, however, Li was crushed by Mladenovic in the third set as she fell 5-7, 6-3, 1-6.
Like Wawrinka, Li won the Aussie Open earlier this year. With this loss, though, it marks the first time that both Australian Open champs have lost in the first round at Roland Garros, according to ESPN Stats & Info:
With Li Na and Stan Wawrinka losing, It's the 1st time both Australian Open champions lost in the first round of the French Open.— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) May 27, 2014
Although Li has never been regarded as an elite clay-court player, she won the French Open in 2011. She has certainly been susceptible to poor matches on the red stuff, though, and that was the case Tuesday.
According to Li's comments courtesy of the Roland Garros Twitter account, her loss may have had more to do with the mental part of the game than anything:
Even though Li is a hugely popular player on tour due to her jovial personality, the crowd was not in her favor. That was to be expected since Mladenovic was playing in front of her home fans.
Mladenovic admitted that the crowd support had plenty to do with her major upset:
Li's ouster certainly hurts the depth of competition in the women's draw, but it opens things up in a major way for someone unexpected to make a run. The French Open has played host to some surprising runs in recent years, and another could very well be on the horizon.
Only one of Serena Williams or Maria Sharapova can reach the final since they are on track to play in the quarters. Assuming one of them survives and makes it all the way to the end, their opponent could be any number of players.
Mladenovic may not be at the top of that list, but she is uber talented and has a lot of people on her side. Regardless of who prevails, the bottom half of the ladies' draw at Roland Garros will be extremely interesting.
Andy Murray Advances to Second Round
With top players in both draws dropping like flies, No. 7 seed Andy Murray had to be on full alert entering his first-round meeting with Andrey Golubev of Kazakhstan. The Brit seemed to be well on his way to a fairly easy victory as he went up 2-0 in sets, but Golubev got back in it by taking the third. Murray didn't allow the pressure to get to him, though, as he ultimately closed it out 6-1, 6-4, 3-6, 6-3 in four sets.
As pointed out by Neil Harman of The Times, it was a big win for Murray simply because several other heavy favorites have already been sent packing:
GSM Murray 61 64 36 63. Into second round, decisively in the end. Been a lot of fall guys, very important not to join them.— Neil Harman (@NeilHarmanTimes) May 27, 2014
Murray was nowhere close to perfect and there is no question that he'll have to improve if he hopes to compete with the likes of Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer. Big-time players win matches at all costs even when they aren't at their best, though, and Murray did that Tuesday.
Murray is still in a position where he is working his way back into top form after missing time due to injury. According to Piers Newbery of BBC Sport, Murray felt good about his progress in that regard prior to the start of the French Open.
"Rome was a good step forward," Murray said "I need to build on that, take confidence from it, and I need to try to keep that consistency for the next four or five months if I can. I've obviously got a big focus on these next couple of weeks, and hopefully I can have a good run."
Murray took the first step toward that good run he desires, but the competition is bound to get tougher. With that said, Murray is in the same quarter as Wawrinka, who was knocked out in the first round. Murray is suddenly the favorite to reach the semis from that portion of the draw, but he won't be able to rely on talent alone.
Add in the fact that a semi against Nadal and a final against Djokovic are possibilities if Murray makes it that far and it's clear that he simply can't afford to look too far ahead.
Grigor Dimitrov, Caroline Wozniacki Among High-Profile Upsets
While Li was certainly the biggest name to go down Tuesday, she certainly had some company. On the men's side it was rising star Grigor Dimitrov who looked listless in a straight-sets loss to Ivo Karlovic.
The No. 11-seeded Bulgarian was expected to make some noise at Roland Garros, but he fell 4-6, 5-7, 6-7 to the big-serving Croatian. Dimitrov earned just one break-point opportunity against the near 7-footer, and he was never able to disrupt his serve.
Dimitrov has all the promise in the world, but Ben Rothenberg of The New York Times rightly alluded to his struggles in Grand Slam tournaments:
For all his legit hype, Grigor Dimitrov has still only made a Slam second week once. He crashes out in shocking straights to Karlovic. #RG14— Ben Rothenberg (@BenRothenberg) May 27, 2014
Although Dimitrov simply looked over-matched on the court against Karlovic, he suggested that personal issues played a role in his disappointing loss, per Douglas Robson of USA Today:
Dimitrov mentions some personal issues he’s been dealing with past couple days bt declines to elaborate…#rg14— Douglas Robson (@dougrobson) May 27, 2014
Another potential case of personal problems impacting play occurred in the women's draw. Yanina Wickmayer upset No. 13 seed Caroline Wozniacki 7-6, 4-6, 6-2 in three sets on the heels of the latter's breakup from star golfer Rory McIlroy.
After her defeat, Wozniacki didn't make any excuses:
Based on her comments after news of the split became public, though, it is difficult to imagine that she was able to focus solely on tennis:
It's a hard time for me right now.Thanks for all the sweet messages!Happy I support Liverpool right now because I know I'll never walk alone— Caroline Wozniacki (@CaroWozniacki) May 22, 2014
Wozniacki's on-court struggles over the past couple years are well documented, but the McIlroy situation couldn't have helped matters.
Which Day 3 upset is most shocking?
Also, No. 21 Nicolas Almagro fell to American Jack Sock on the men's side as the Spaniard retired due to a foot injury with Sock leading 5-0 in the first set, per Ron Powell of JournalStar.com.
Sock's win was part of a fairly strong day for Americans as American women Sloane Stephens, Alison Riske and Coco Vandeweghe moved on too.
Based on the sheer amount of upsets that have already occurred through just three days, this tournament promises to be an unpredictable one.
Clay-court tourneys seemingly always set the stage for some shocking results, and the 2014 French Open hasn't disappointed thus far.
With so many matches left to be played, the surface has likely only been scratched in terms of upsets.
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