Russia's Youzhny apologizes for boring game at French Open

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Russia's Mikhail Youzhny walks away after he scraped "SORRI" into the clay during a third round match in the French Open.  CHRISTOPHE SAIDI/ASSOCIATED PRESS
CHRISTOPHE SAIDI/ASSOCIATED PRESS
Russia's Mikhail Youzhny walks away after he scraped "SORRI" into the clay during a third round match in the French Open.

PARIS — Mikhail Youzhny was having such a bad day in the third round of the French Open that he felt the need to apologize, right on court during the match.

The 27th-seeded Russian scraped a misspelled “SORRi!” into the clay with his right foot in the middle of his 6-0, 6-2, 6-2 loss to No. 6 David Ferrer on Saturday.

“There was a lot of people. That’s why I write ‘sorry.’ Because I can’t show them a nice game,” Youzhny said. “The way we played in the beginning, it was not really interesting for people.”

Defending champion Rafael Nadal beat Eduardo Schwank 6-1, 6-3, 6-4 to improve his French Open record to 48-1. And Maria Sharapova completed her third consecutive rout, defeating Peng Shuai 6-2, 6-1.

Sharapova has lost only five games through three matches at Roland Garros this year.

“In the next round, it starts from 0-0. Whoever you’re playing, you have to go and try and do the same thing,” Sharapova said. “There are a lot more rounds to go. It just gets tougher from this point.”

Also, 2010 French Open champion Francesca Schiavone lost to Varvara Lepchenko 3-6, 6-3, 8-6 and former top-ranked player Caroline Wozniacki was eliminated by Kaia Kanepi 6-1, 6-7 (3) 6-3.

Defending champion Li Na also advanced but needed three sets to defeat Christina McHale, 3-6, 6-2, 6-1.

Youzhny is known for a more painful on-court meltdown. In 2008 at the Sony Ericsson Open, Youzhny whacked himself in the head with his racket three times after losing a point. The antic left him with a thick stream of blood running from his hairline down his nose.

Youzhny won his first game early in the second set, making it 2-1. He held serve at love when Ferrer sent a forehand return into the net. But instead of heading straight for his chair for the changeover, he stopped just inside the service line and started writing out his message.

A ball boy stood nearby with Youzhny’s towel, and then backed off as the Russian continued drawing out the letters.

“People in the stands may not have noticed, but I think I had to do this,” Youzhny said.

Ferrer said he didn’t even see it.

“I don’t know why he put this in the court, but I don’t have (anything) to say,” said Ferrer, who is the fourth round at Roland Garros for the fourth time.

Fourth-seeded Andy Murray also advanced, beating Santiago Giraldo 6-3, 6-4, 6-4. No. 8 Janko Tipsarevic defeated Julien Benneteau 6-3, 7-5, 6-4, and No. 13 Juan Monaco beat No. 19 Milos Raonic 6-7 (5), 6-3, 6-7 (5), 6-3, 6-4.

Monaco will next face Nadal, who lost only five games in the first round and four in the second.

“I’m in the second week, so that’s the important thing,” Nadal said. “I start the most difficult week now with a big confrontation against Monaco. He’s playing great. He’s having a fantastic season.”

Lepchenko, who was born in Uzbekistan but now lives in Allentown, Pa., is unseeded at Roland Garros and had never before made it past the second round at any Grand Slam tournament.

She had 44 unforced errors against Schiavone, but still managed to advance.

“It’s her court, you know,” Lepchenko said. “I knew that she’s not going to give it for free. I had to work really hard, and I did.”

Schiavone won her only Grand Slam title at the French Open two years ago. Last year, she lost to Li Na in the final.

Fourth-seeded Petra Kvitova advanced by beating Nina Bratchikova 6-2, 4-6, 6-1.


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