|Aleksandra Wozniak of Canada returns the ball to Zheng Jie of China during the French Open tennis tournament at the Roland Garros stadium in Paris May 30, 2012. (Francois Lenoir/REUTERS)
PARIS, FRANCE - Canada’s Aleksandra Wozniak will face a tough task in the third round of the French Open, as the 24-year-old sees Belarusian ace Victoria Azarenka.
Wozniak knocked off 31st seed Zheng Jie of China 6-2, 6-4 Wednesday while Azarenka needed only 55 minutes to oust Germany’s Dinah Pfizenmaier, 6-1, 6-1.
Azarenka, a quarterfinalist on the famed red clay at Roland Garros last year, is trying for her second straight Grand Slam title. She won the Australian Open in January for her first career major championship.
"Being No. 1 is a difficult job, because everybody want to catch you, everybody want to move you from the spot," Azarenka said. "Nothing is going to come easy just because you're No. 1. You actually have more people... motivated trying to beat you."
Third-seeded Agnieszka Radwanska and former runner-up Samantha Stosur landed in the win column, while former runner-up Venus Williams was sent packing in the second round at the French Open.
The consistent Radwanska dispatched the unseeded Williams 6-2, 6-3 one day after Williams' younger sister and fellow former No. 1 Serena was a shocking first-round loser at the hands of France's Virginie Razzano.
Venus lost to Serena in an all-Williams French Open title bout 10 years ago and hasn't reached the final four here since.
Radwanska will face former top-five Russian star Svetlana Kuznetsova in the round of 32.
Stosur, the 2010 French runner-up and reigning U.S. Open champ, also had little trouble on Wednesday and moved on in just 63 minutes. She saved each of four break-point opportunities against her serve and converted 3-of-4 break chances.
Next up for the Aussie will be Russia's Nadia Petrova, who posted a 6-3, 6-3 win Wednesday against South Africa's Chanelle Scheepers. The 27th-seeded Petrova has had her best Grand Slam results in Paris, reaching the semifinals in 2003 and 2005.
Up-and-coming Croat Petra Martic disappointed the French faithful by taking out the ladies' eighth seed, Marion Bartoli, in 6-2, 3-6, 6-3 fashion. The 2007 Wimbledon runner-up Bartoli was a French Open semifinalist last year.
Thirteenth-seeded former world No. 1 and former French Open champ Ana Ivanovic of Serbia cruised past Israeli Peer 6-2, 6-2, while 15th-seeded Slovak Dominika Cibulkova swatted American Vania King 6-0, 6-2 and 18th-seeded Italian Flavia Pennetta pasted American Alexa Glatch 6-3, 6-1. Ivanovic captured her French title in 2008 and was the 2007 runner-up here to former great Justine Henin.
Another former French Open champ advanced, as a 26th-seeded Kuznetsova got past Taiwan's Yung-Jan Chan 6-4, 7-6 (7-4). Kuznetsova titled here in 2009 and was the 2006 French runner-up to Henin.
In other action involving seeds, Spaniard Maria Jose Martinez Sanchez upended No. 20 Czech Lucie Safarova 6-4, 7-5; No. 21 Italian Sara Errani leveled American in Melanie Oudin 6-2, 6-3; France's Mathilde Johansson knocked out No. 24 Czech Petra Cetkovska 7-6 (7-1), 6-2; and No. 29 Spaniard Anabel Medina Garrigues drubbed France's Irena Pavlovic 6-3, 6-2.
In an all-American affair on Day 4, promising Florida native Sloane Stephens dismantled Minnesota's Bethanie Mattek-Sands 6-1, 6-1. The 19-year-old Stephens, the daughter of former NFL player John Stephens, will face Johansson on Friday.
Belarus' Olga Govortsova was leading world No. 10 Angelique Kerber of Germany 2-1 in the first set when play was suspended because of rain on Wednesday.
The second round is scheduled to conclude on Thursday, including matches for second-seeded former world No. 1 Maria Sharapova, fourth-seeded Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova and seventh-seeded reigning French Open champ Li Na. The tall Russian and three-time major champion Sharapova will face Japan's Ayumi Morita, while the Czech lefthander Kvitova will tangle with Pole Urszula Radwanska, and China's Li will lock horns with France's Stephanie Foretz Gacon.
Also on the Day-5 schedule will be ninth-seeded Dane and former top-ranked star Caroline Wozniacki and 14th-seeded Italian Francesca Schiavone, who titled here in 2010 and was last year's French Open runner-up to Li.
And an all-American affair will pit 20-year-old Christina McHale of New Jersey against 18-year-old Lauren Davis of Ohio.