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Injured Badosa, Sabalenka join exodus

Paula Badosa and Aryna Sabalenka have joined the exodus of top women’s seeds at Roland Garros, leaving world No.1 Iga Swiatek as the only top-10 seed in the singles draw.

Spanish third seed Badosa retired at 6-3 2-1 against Veronika Kudermetova while Sabalenka, seeded seventh, lost 12 of the last 13 games – including eight in a row – against Italy’s Camila Giorgi.

Badosa was forced to retire with a right calf injury. The 24-year-old, who reached the quarter-finals last year, was considered one of those in the women’s draw who could challenge Swiatek on clay.

Playing on Court Suzanne Lenglen, Badosa required medical attention for a right leg problem during the match and then decided early in the second set that she could no longer continue.

Kudermetova will face the American No.22 seed, Madison Keys, who beat the No.16 seed Elena Rybakina, of Kazakhstan, 3-6 6-1 7-6 (7-3).

Sabalenka went down to big-hitting Italian Giorgi 4-6 6-1 6-0 on Court Simonne Mathieu.

Sabalenka, a former world No.2, won a hard-fought opening set but then was reduced to a mere spectator as Giorgi scorched the court with winners.

The Belarusian managed to win only one more game as Giorgi completed a remarkable comeback win in an hour and 42 minutes.

The 30-year-old Giorgi will next meet the No.20 seed Daria Kasatkina.

France’s Alize Cornet was also forced to retired but said she was more hurt by the jeering from her home crowd than the pain from her injury.

Cornet pulled out while trailing 6-0 3-0 to Chinese teenager Zheng Qinwen.

With both her thigh muscles heavily bandaged, the 32-year-old Cornet was barely able to move around on court and later said that she had torn an abductor muscle during her win over Jelena Ostapenko.

Cornet had an extended discussion with the chair umpire and decided to call it quits but some in the crowd on Court Philippe Chatrier were not too pleased.

“What is amazing is that people dared to boo me on the court when I had to abandon the match. And it was because I was in pain,” she said. “But sometimes the French audience surprises me and not always in the right direction.”

Cornet’s loss and the end of the fairytale run of local wildcard and grand slam debutant Leolia Jeanjean ended the French challenge in the women’s draw.

Romanian Irina-Camelia Begu took 85 minutes to defeat Jeanjean 6-1 6-4 and will meet Jessica Pegula, the No.11 seed, who powered into the last 16 for the first time with a 6-1 7-6 (7-2) win over last year’s semi-finalist Tamara Zidansek.


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