More top seeds drop in Paris

Posted: Thursday, May 27, 2004

PARIS Rusty, rattled and still recovering from a viral ailment, top-ranked Justine Henin-Hardenne lost Wednesday in the second round of the French Open.

The Belgian's bid for a second straight Roland Garros title ended when she was upset by Tathiana Garbin 7-5, 6-4. Henin-Hardenne's departure matched the earliest by a defending women's champion.

Also eliminated was No. 2-seeded Andy Roddick, who lost to Frenchman Olivier Mutis 3-6, 6-3, 6-7 (5), 6-3, 6-2. Roddick's record at Roland Garros in the past three years fell to 1-3.

Henin-Hardenne's match was just her second following a six-week layoff. She was sidelined April 10 by an illness that left her tired and dizzy, and decided just last week she was healthy enough to try to defend the title she won last year.

She said she didn't regret the decision, despite her sluggish, tentative performance.

''I was really nervous,'' Henin-Hardenne said. ''I wasn't moving well; I was late all the time. I couldn't play my game. It's frustrating, but it's the choice I made.''

Roddick's erratic effort showed he's still learning how to play on clay. The reigning U.S. Open champion blew an easy volley to lose serve in the opening game of the final set, then began to play too aggressively. He became increasingly dispirited as his mistakes mounted and fell behind 5-0.

Mutis, a 26-year-old Frenchman ranked 125th, served his 10th ace to close out the victory. It was just the second five-set win of his career, and it delighted the small crowd watching the final match of the day at Court Suzanne Lenglen.

Roddick served 15 aces but lost his serve nine times in a match that lasted more than three hours.

No. 27-seeded Vince Spadea was also beaten, leaving no American in the men's draw midway through the second round. Spadea, who erased nine match points in a first-round victory, lost to Julien Jeanpierre 6-4, 6-2, 7-5.

Henin-Hardenne had won the past two Grand Slam tournaments last year's U.S. Open and this year's Australian Open. But against Garbin, a 26-year-old Italian ranked 86th, Henin-Hardenne double-faulted 10 times and converted only four of 18 break-point chances.

''It was my bad day, and it was her great day,'' Henin-Hardenne said. ''I wasn't the player I've been the last 12 months.''

The upset opens one half of the draw for No. 3-seeded Frenchwoman Amelie Mauresmo, and it means no Roland Garros rematch between Henin-Hardenne and No. 2 Serena Williams. Their semifinal last year left Williams in tears after she complained about calls, drew jeers from the crowd and lost to Henin-Hardenne.

Garbin will next play Zheng Jie, who matched the best showing by a Chinese woman in a Grand Slam event by reaching the third round when she beat No. 31 Emilie Loit 6-4, 6-1. Li Fang made the third round at the 1992 Australian Open.

Mauresmo beat Anabel Medina Garrigues 6-0, 4-6, 6-1.

Also advancing were four seeded Russian women Nadia Petrova, Elena Dementieva, Vera Zvonareva and Maria Sharapova.

No. 8 Petrova, a semifinalist last year, beat Yuliana Fedak 6-0, 6-1. No. 9 Dementieva defeated Nicole Pratt 6-2, 6-2. No. 10 Zvonareva rallied past Magui Serna 5-7, 6-1, 6-4. No. 18 Sharapova swept Rita Grande 6-2, 6-0.

No. 28 Lisa Raymond was eliminated by Arantxa Parra Santonja 6-4, 6-0.

On the men's side, No. 3 Guillermo Coria overcame a slow start to beat qualifier Juan Monaco 7-5, 6-1, 6-3. Coria lost four of the first five games.

No. 5 Carlos Moya defeated Spanish compatriot Fernando Vicente 6-1, 6-2, 6-1. Moya, the 1998 champion, improved to 11-0 this year against his countrymen.

Garbin kept Henin-Hardenne off balance, driving her into the corners and mixing in well-timed drop-shot winners. And the Italian was repeatedly better on the big points.

Garbin completed the upset with a backhand pass down the line, then sank to her knees grinning. She's into the third round at a major event for the first time since 2000, the year she won her only tournament title.

''I never played like this. I can't believe it,'' she said. ''She's still the first in the world, so I'm just happy to have won today.''

The only other defending champion to lose in the second round was Arantxa Sanchez-Vicario, beaten in 1990 by Mercedes Paz.

The match was played in cloudy, cool weather, and light rain fell at the end. Henin-Hardenne fell behind 4-1 and failed to convert her first nine break-point chances, but she rallied and served for the set at 5-4. She double-faulted to lose the game, and serving at 5-6, she double-faulted again and lost at love.

Henin-Hardenne trailed 2-0 in the second set, then won four consecutive games. She double-faulted to lose her serve for 4-all, then double-faulted again in the final game to reach match point.

''During the match I was feeling I could do it,'' Garbin said. ''Keep going, and everything was good. She was missing some, so I get easy balls.''

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