Simona Halep crashes out in Paris

Mirjana Lucic-Baroni and Simona Halep French Open

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Mirjana Lucic-Baroni was almost lost for words after she caused the biggest shock of the French Open so far by knocking out the number three seed Simona Halep.

The Croatian player, who also beat Halep at last year’s US Open, powered her way to a 7-5 6-1 victory to set up a third-round encounter with Alize Cornet, who saw off Romanian Alexandra Dulgheru 6-2 7-5.

“It’s incredible,” Lucic-Baroni said. “Simona is such a great champion, and I respect her so much, and to play this well on such a big stadium makes me so happy.

“I’m so proud of myself – it’s such a huge win for me, it’s just amazing.”

Lucic-Baroni has been in the third round of the French Open once before, in 2001, when she was beaten by the eventual winner of the tournament, Jennifer Capriati.

Meanwhile, defending champion Maria Sharapova eased her way into the third round by cruising to victory against the Russian player Vitalia Diatchenkom.

The 28-year-old will face the Australian Samantha Stosur in the next round, a repeat of the last-16 clash in Paris a year ago.

“She is always a tough opponent,” Sharapova said. “She enjoys playing on clay and benefits a lot from this surface. It will be a tough match but I have a pretty good record against her.”

Stosur is 4.50 to win the match while Sharapova can be backed at 1.18 to come out on top.

Another former champion, Ana Ivanovic, was pushed hard by Misaki Doi before eventually sealing a 3-6 6-3 6-4 victory against the Japanese player.

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