Paris: Mikhail Youzhny was having such a bad day in the third round of the French Open that he felt the need to apologise, right on court during the match.
The 27th-seeded Russian scraped "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."
Youzhny is well-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.
David Ferrer beats Mikhail Youzhny 6-0, 6-2, 6-2, while Petra Kvitova beats Nina Bratchikova 6-2, 4-6, 6-1.
Also on Saturday, 2010 French Open champion Francesca Schiavone was upset by Varvara Lepchenko of the United States 3-6, 6-3, 8-6, and fourth-seeded Petra Kvitova defeated Nina Bratchikova of Russia 6-2, 4-6, 6-1.
Lepchenko, who was born in Uzbekistan but 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 Andy Murray of Britain reached the fourth round with a 6-3, 6-4, 6-4 victory over Colombia's Santiago Giraldo.
Murray, who complained of a bad back in his second-round win over Jarkko Nieminen, showed no ill effects in the third round – a 2 hour, 2 minute win in which he never lost his serve and faced break point only once.
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.
Kvitova is the only player ranked in the top 10 that has not yet reached a final this year. But she missed some tournaments with injury and illness. "I had already a tough season. After Australia I was really injured and I couldn't play," said Kvitova, who won her first Grand Slam title at last year's Wimbledon. "So I'm happy that I can play right now and I can be healthy and play my tennis again."