PARIS (Reuters) - Fans were left wet and miserable at a soggy Roland Garros on Tuesday -- but not as drenched or depressed as Agnieszka Radwanska after the world number two’s French Open hopes fizzled out following a monumental meltdown against Tsvetana Pironkova.
Leading her Bulgarian rival 6-2 3-0 when rain halted play on Sunday, Radwanska appeared to have one foot in the quarter-finals.
However, when the fourth-round tussle resumed more than 40 hours later following Monday’s washout, the Polish second seed seemed all at sea as the players were forced to play through misty rain.
She lost 10 games in a row as she fell to a 2-6 6-3 6-3 defeat by an opponent ranked 100 places below her.
“I‘m just so surprised and angry that we have to play in the rain,” Radwanska told reporters.
“I mean, it’s not a $10,000 tournament. It’s a grand slam. How can you allow players to play in the rain? I cannot play in that conditions.”
While Radwanska became the highest-ranked player to exit this year’s French Open tournament, her defeat also meant that at least five of the top eight women’s seeds failed to make their allotted quarter-final spots.
Radwanska, playing with a full-sleeved white top over her sleeveless pink dress, struggled to handle the heavy conditions and the sodden balls on Court Suzanne Lenglen and lost six games in a row to surrender the second set with a forehand error.
A further two hour 45 minute rain disruption failed to improve Radwanska’s mood or her fortunes as she fell 4-0 behind in the third set.
The 27-year-old, who called on the trainer to get treatment on her right hand midway through the decider, eventually halted Pironkova’s run by breaking the Bulgarian in the fifth game.
But Radwanska could not avoid the embarrassment of being beaten by a player ranked outside the top 100 for the first time in more than seven years when she netted a forehand on Pironkova’s second match point.
”I had hand surgery few years ago and I couldn’t really play
in that conditions. End of story,” a fuming Radwanska added.
“For me, playing with those balls in that kind of court is pretty much impossible.”
A match that lasted just two hours and 12 minutes on court finally finished at 4.18 pm local time on Monday, almost 46 hours after it had started on Sunday.
“It was very difficult with all the rain as we were waiting almost two days to finish the match,” a beaming Pironkova said after becoming the first Bulgarian woman to reach the quarter-finals since Sesil Karantantcheva in 2005.
“But I can’t complain.”
Reporting by Pritha Sarkar, editing by John Stonestreet