Venus Williams was knocked out of the French Open on Friday, losing to fourth-seeded Jelena Jankovic 6-4, 4-6, 6-1 in the third round. Williams, who reached the final at Roland Garros in 2002 but missed the last two Grand Slam tournaments because of injuries, also lost to Jankovic in the third round at Wimbledon last year.
United States' Venus Williams reacts as she plays Serbia's Jelena Jankovic during their third round match of the French Open tennis tournament at the Roland Garros stadium in Paris, Friday June 1, 2007. Jankovic won 6-4, 4-6, 6-1. [AP]
"I got a little bit tired at the end," Williams said. "It's tough on clay."
Serena Williams and two-time defending champion Justine Henin won, while top-ranked Roger Federer had no problems moving into the fourth round in the men's draw. Federer won the final nine games of his 6-2, 6-3, 6-0 victory over Potito Starace of Italy.
"It's difficult for everybody here at the moment with the conditions changing, the gusty winds and the cool conditions," said Federer, whose first-round match was played over two days because of rain. "So I'm happy to have put myself in the position of the fourth round already."
The 22-year-old Jankovic dominated five-time major champion Venus Williams in the first set, winning 20 of the 24 points played in her service games, including the first 10.
"I never had it in my mind that I was going to lose the match," said Jankovic, who won a clay-court warmup tournament in Rome last month to make her one of the favorites heading into the French Open.
Williams recovered in the second set, jumping out to 3-0 lead and holding on by breaking Jankovic in the 10th game to even the match. But Jankovic, who reached the semifinals at the 2006 U.S. Open, broke Williams three times in the third set.
"The third set went a little bit faster than what I expected," Williams said. "I felt a little bit slow ... I couldn't get my feet where I wanted them."
Serena Williams, who won the French Open title in 2002, had little trouble beating Michaella Krajicek of the Netherlands 6-3, 6-4, while Henin defeated No. 28 Mara Santangelo of Italy 6-2, 6-3.
"I didn't think I played well at all," Serena Williams said. "I'm trying not to peak too soon, but at some point I need to start playing better."
Federer, bidding for a fourth consecutive Grand Slam title, next faces No. 13 Mikhail Youzhny of Russia. Youzhny, a semifinalist at last year's U.S. Open, beat 2003 French Open champion Juan Carlos Ferrero 6-7 (3), 7-6 (3), 6-2, 6-2.
"I think he's a fantastic player," Federer said of the Russian. "I have to definitely be careful, even though I've never lost against him."
In other matches, No. 4 Nikolay Davydenko beat Michael Llodra of France 6-4, 6-2, 6-4 to reach the fourth round, while No. 9 Tommy Robredo of Spain defeated Janko Tipsarevic of Serbia 6-3, 6-4, 6-0 and No. 19 Guillermo Canas of Argentina beat Kristof Vliegen of Belgium 6-2, 6-2, 2-6, 6-3.
Canas, who finished a 15-month ban for doping in September, beat Federer twice this year. The two would meet in the semifinals if they advance.
Filippo Volandri, who beat Federer in the third round of the Rome Masters, defeated No. 7 Ivan Ljubicic 6-4, 6-7 (4), 4-6, 6-3, 6-4. The 29th-seeded Volandri and Federer could meet in the quarterfinals.
David Nalbandian survived a tough third-round match against Gael Monfils of France, winning 7-6 (5), 5-7, 6-4, 7-6 (5).
"I'm under the impression that I played confident and I played well," said Nalbandian, a two-time French Open semifinalist.
Igor Andreev of Russia, who upset third-seeded Andy Roddick in the first round, advanced to the third round by beating Nicolas Massu of Chile 6-3, 3-6, 6-3, 7-5.
On the women's side, sixth-seeded Nicole Vaidisova of the Czech Republic reached the fourth round by beating 27th-seeded Samantha Stosur of Australia 6-4, 6-4.
Also, No. 20 Sybille Bammer of Austria beat 16th-seeded Li Na of China 6-4, 6-3, while No. 10 Dinara Safina of Russia, No. 12 Daniela Hantuchova of Slovakia and No. 19 Tathiana Garbin of Italy also advanced.
Safina reached the fourth round by beating No. 23 Francesca Schiavone of Italy 3-6, 6-3, 6-1, Garbin defeated Stephanie Cohen-Aloro of France 6-3, 6-0, and Hantuchova got to the third round by beating Olga Poutchkova of Russia 7-6 (6), 6-3.
Thirteenth-seeded Elena Dementieva of Russia was upset, losing to No. 18 Marion Bartoli of France 6-2, 6-4. In her 22nd Grand Slam, Bartoli will be making her first appearance in the fourth round.
"I'm not really surprised, because I don't have a feeling of playing above my level," said Bartoli, who will face Jankovic in the next round. "I don't think I'm over-performing."
Serena Williams is the only American left playing singles in Paris.
"She's playing great tennis, and she plays well in a crunch," Venus Williams said. "And I think the longer she's in the tournament, the better she'll play."