- French Open - tennis - Venus Williams
AFP - Defending champion Ana Ivanovic breezed into the last 16 at the French Open on Friday but Venus Williams once again failed to get to grips with the claycourts of Roland Garros.
The Serbian, wearing strapping on her troublesome right knee but showing no signs that the injury was hampering her, had too much power and all-round skill for Iveta Benesova of the Czech Republic winning 6-0, 6-2.
That put her into a matchup against either ninth seed Victoria Azarenka of Belarus or Carla Suarez Navarro of Spain with a place in the quarter-finals going to the winner.
The 21-year-old Belgrade beauty, who reached the world No.1 spot after her win here last year but who has struggled for form and fitness since then, said she had played one of her best matches of the year.
"I feel fit and ready to handle any kind of opponent," she said.
"My game is coming back and I feel more comfortable. I really missed competition last month.
"These kind of matches help for the tough matches ahead in the second week."
Williams, who had needed to save a match point on Thursday against Lucie Safarova just to get into the third round, was outplayed 6-0, 6-4 by Hungary's Agnes Szavay to go out at this stage of the competion for the third year in a row.
It was a dismal performance from the reigning Wimbledon champion who has clawed her way back up the world rankings in parallel with sister Serena.
Szavay wrapped up the first set in just 30 minutes yanking her opponent from side to side and showing better footwork at the net.
Williams did grab a glimmer of hope by breaking the Hungarian's serve to lead 4-3 in the second, but with the gusting wind playing havoc with her service throwup, she lost the next three games to end her campaign.
Szavay, a quarter-finalist at the 2007 US Open, will next take on Dominika Cibulkova of Slovakia with a place in the quarter-finals the prize for the winner.
Cibulkova comfortably defeated Gisela Dulko of Argentina 6-4, 6-2.
Portuguese teen prodigy Michelle Larcher de Brito meanwhile saw her dream of becoming the youngest ever women's winner in Paris bite the dust.
At 16 years and four months the youngest player left in the women's draw, Larcher de Brito went down 7-6 (7/3), 6-2 to France's Aravane Rezai in a bad-tempered clash that saw the players trading barbs over the Portuguese player's ear-splitting on-court vocals.
Rezai on several occasions complained to the umpire that the high-pitched screams that accompanied her opponent's shot-making were putting her off with Larcher de Brito insisting she was doing nothing wrong.
Larcher de Brito, the latest player to emerge from Nick Bollitieri's famed Florida academy, clawed her way back from a break down to force a tie-break against Rezai, but double faults let her down in that.
In the second set she quickly fell behind as her service game wobbled again and despite saving three match points at 1-5 down, she could do nothing to prevent 22-year-old Rezai reaching the fourth round for the first time in five attempts.
Rezai, one of only two Frenchwomen left after the early defeats of Amelie Mauresmo, Marion Bartoli and Alize Cornet, will meet top seed Dinara Safina in the fourth round if the Russian defeats compatriot Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova later in the day.
Also in action later Friday is Maria Sharapova, looking to extend her comeback run against Yaroslava Shvedova of Kazakhstan.