Sixth-seeded David Ferrer sent out a stern warning to the pre-tournament favourites by demolishing Russia's Mikhail Youzhny in straight sets here Saturday.
The Spaniard steamrolled through to the fourth round of the French Open, beating Youzhny 6-0, 6-2, 6-2, taking his total of games surrendered in three rounds so far to 20.
Youzhny, who himself had not dropped a set prior to this match, was thrashed in one hour and 41 minutes.
The first set was so one-sided that those following the scoreboard alone might have wondered if Youzhny was carrying some debilitating injury. It wasn’t just the scoreline that read 6-0 - the job was done in a lightning 20 minutes.
Youzhny could earn just four points on his own serve, and helped out his opponent with 14 unforced errors.
In the second set it got worse, fast, as the Russian lost the first eight points. When he finally got on the scoreboard at 1-2, he wrote a message in the clay behind the baseline, which those who could see it believed to read: “Sorry”.
To the Russian's credit he took Ferrer to deuce on the Spaniard’s serve, aided by errors creeping in to Ferrer’s play, but the game was inevitably held. Youzhny fended off a set point on his own serve but when he had an easy volley to set up three break points for 3-5, he netted it. Instead, Ferrer came back to serve out the set 6-2.
In the third set five break points came the Russian’s way, and all five went by. By contrast the sixth-seed pounced to break for 2-1, and Youzhny errors handed over another break at 5-2. One game later the Russian’s humiliation was complete.
Meanwhile, eighth-seeded Serbian Janko Tipsarevic too booked a place in the next round with a comfortable 6-3, 7-5, 6-4 win over Frenchman Julien Benneteau.
Ferrer's compatriot and 12th-seed Nicolas Almagro also had a comfortable outing as he thrashed Argentine Leonardo Mayer 6-4, 6-1, 6-2.