French Open Results: Kim Clijsters Is the Most Notable Loser on Thursday

Tom LoughreyAnalyst IIIMay 26, 2011

French Open Results: Kim Clijsters Is the Most Notable Loser on Thursday

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    Day 5 at Roland Garros is complete.

    Sorry, there was no Wednesday edition, but let's look at the biggest matches from Thursday. Rafael Nadal, Kim Clijsters and Andy Murray were the biggest names to take the court, with one of them being sent home early.

    The French Open is claiming one or two big names each day with no ground-shaking upsets yet. As long as Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic remain in the draw, no one is jumping out of their seats. There have been fewer long matches in 2011, as only three of the 16 singles matches for each gender went the distance on Thursday.

    Longer matches are bound to come when the competition gets closer and the seeded players start to clash.

    For now, here are the top three winners and losers from Day 5.

Winner No. 1: Maria Sharapova

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    Maria Sharapova's career has been a roller-coaster ride ever since she won Wimbledon in 2004.

    On court Thursday, Sharapova was taken for another ride. This time it was French teenager Caroline Garcia who provided the test for Sharapova. Garcia led 6-3, 4-1 before Sharapova stormed back to win 11 straight games and the match.

    Garcia hit 16 of her 21 winners in the first two sets. Sharapova committed 26 of her 31 unforced errors in those sets. When Sharapova gained control of her strokes, Garcia was no match for the Russian star.

    Sharapova avoided being the second big name on the women's side to go down Thursday, and will face Yung-Jan Chan in the Round of 32.

Winner No. 2: Leonardo Mayer

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    Marcos Baghdatis reportedly spent the offseason getting into shape, citing the fact that the game was getting quicker.

    The results were supposed to be the most visible on clay, but Argentinian Leonardo Mayer took it to him in the second round of the French Open. Baghdatis was 2-6 on clay this year coming into Roland Garros, but he won his first match against Frederico Gil.

    On Thursday, Mayer took more chances than Baghdatis from the ground and they paid off. Mayer hit 41 winners, while only committing 37 unforced errors. He also converted on three of six break points, while establishing dominance on his serve.

    Mayer has bowed out in five tough sets at the French Open the last two years. His next opponent is Robin Soderling, who has made the last two finals at Roland Garros.

    Mayer will need to be at his absolute best to challenge Soderling.

Winner No. 3: Vania King

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    Vania King is now 4-1 at Roland Garros this year.

    Unfortunately for King, she and Daniel Nestor lost their first-round match in the mixed doubles draw despite being seeded No. 2. King and Nestor lost a third-set supertiebreaker 12-10.

    However, King is on fire against only women. Her doubles pairing with Yaroslava Shvedova has advanced through two rounds of play, beating Svetlana Kuznetsova and Vera Zvonareva in the second round.

    In singles, King has had unexpected success. She followed up her upset of Dominika Cibulkova with a win over Elena Baltacha in the second round. King overcame yet another one-set deficit to pick up the win.

    She faces her toughest test of the tournament in the Round of 32, as she faces off with Petra Kvitova. Kvitova is the No. 9 seed at Roland Garros, and has lost just eight games in two matches.

Loser No. 1: Kim Clijsters

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    Kim Clijsters followed up a convincing first-round win by dropping an egg in the second round of her least favorite major tournament.

    The Belgian fell way short of winning her third straight Grand Slam by losing to Arantxa Rus. Clijsters hit 65 unforced errors and had 10 double faults in the match, and lost the third set 6-1 to the the No. 114 player in the world.

    Clijsters' ugly performance was her worst in a major tournament since Wimbledon in 2002. Clijsters won the first set, 6-3, before the wheels came off in the next two sets. The French Open and Wimbledon remain the only two major titles Clijsters have never captured.

    She will have some extra time to get ready for Wimbledon after her early exit in Paris.

Loser No. 2: Jurgen Melzer

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    Jurgen Melzer defeated Nicolas Almagro and Roger Federer in consecutive matches on clay earlier this season.

    With that in mind, Melzer was expected to make a deep run at Roland Garros. Instead, Melzer let a 2-1 set lead disappear in a loss to Czech Lukas Rosol. Rosol was only making his second appearance in a Grand Slam, and his first in the main draw at the French Open.

    Melzer was only 5-of-13 on break point opportunities, and allowed the much less experienced Rosol to win a fourth-set breaker with the match on the line. Rosol committed 100 unforced errors in the match, which is far from the winning recipe on clay.

    Last year, Melzer defeated Novak Djokovic en route to the semifinals at Roland Garros. Melzer squandered a real chance this year, as there were no seeded players on his road to the quarterfinals.

Loser No. 3: Nikolay Davydenko

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    Many people believed that Nikolay Davydenko had a real shot at the struggling Rafael Nadal in the third round. However, Davydenko will never get that shot.

    Davydenko was ousted in the second round by Croatian qualifier Antonio Veic. Veic is outside the top 200, meaning he was a huge underdog in this match. Clay is the ultimate equalizer for some players, and Veic prevailed in five sets.

    The match was relatively back and forth through four sets, but Veic was the far better player in the fifth set. Veic hit 10 winners while committing only three unforced errors. Davydenko had eight of each. Despite Davydenko hitting 78 percent of his first serves, Veic won 63 percent of points on his return to break Davydenko three times.

    Davydenko hadn't lost this early in Paris since 2004, with four quarterfinal appearances since then. He also made the semifinals twice.

    Davydenko may finally be hitting the downslope of his career.