Venus out; Safina, Ivanovic advance

PARIS: Venus Williams was eliminated from the French Open on Friday, losing in the third round of the clay-court major for the third straight year.

The third-seeded Williams, who reached the 2002 final at Roland Garros, lost to No. 29 Agnes Szavay of Hungary 6-0, 6-4. The seven-time Grand Slam champion was playing for the third straight day. She lost the first set of her second-round match on Wednesday, but saved a match point before beating Lucie Safarova in three on Thursday.

She was also stretched to three sets in the first round.

Defending champion Ana Ivanovic and top-seeded Dinara Safina had little trouble in their matches, both advancing to the fourth round. Safina defeated Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova of Russia 6-2, 6-0, and Ivanovic beat Iveta Benesova of the Czech Republic 6-0, 6-2. Ivanovic, who lost in the 2007 French Open final before winning last year, has lost only eight games since being taken to a tiebreaker in her opening match.

Safina, who is trying to win her first Grand Slam title after losing in the final at Roland Garros last year and in the Australian Open final this year, won her first match 6-0, 6-0. She lost only one game in each set in the second round.

Four-time defending champion Rafael Nadal moved into the fourth round beating Lleyton Hewitt 6-1, 6-3, 6-1. The top-seeded Nadal stretched his record at Roland Garros to 31-0. The Spaniard is trying to become the first person to win five straight French Open titles.

Hewitt is a two-time Grand Slam champion and former top-ranked player. His best showing at the French Open came in 2001 and ‘04, when he reached the quarter-finals.

Novak Djokovic reached the third round in the men’s tournament, quickly completing his suspended match by easily winning the final set and beating Sergiy Stakhovsky of Ukraine 6-3, 6-4, 6-1. The fourth-seeded Djokovic won the first two sets on Thursday, but the match was stopped because of darkness. He broke Stakhovsky to open the third set and had little trouble the rest of the way. Djokovic won his only Grand Slam title at the 2008 Australian Open, but the Serb has reached at least the semifinals at all four major tournaments.

No 29 Philipp Kohlschreiber of Germany also advanced to the third round, beating 2003 French Open champion Juan Carlos Ferrero 6-4, 2-6, 6-4, 6-7 (3), 6-3 in another match suspended by darkness Thursday night. No 8 Fernando Verdasco of Spain, No 10 Nikolay Davydenko of Russia and No 12 Fernando Gonzalez of Chile reached the fourth round.