Varvara Lepchenko of USA serves in her women’s singles third round match against Francesca Schiavone of Italy during day seven of the French Open at Roland Garros on June 2, 2012 in Paris, France.
(June 1, 2012 – Source: Matthew Stockman/Getty Images Europe)
Defending champion Li Na needed three sets to reach the fourth round of against another American, Christina McHale.
The seventh-seeded Li, who last year became the first Chinese player to win a Grand Slam singles title, held on to beat McHale 3-6, 6-2, 6-1.
Li committed 44 unforced errors in the match, 20 more than her unseeded opponent.
The 63rd-ranked Lepchenko never had made it beyond the second round at any Grand Slam tournament.
But she rallied to eliminate Schiavone, who was the runner-up at last year’s French Open, in a match that lasted 3 hours, 2 minutes.
Lepchenko joins Sloane Stephens, who won Friday, to give the U.S. two unseeded women in the fourth round at a major tournament for the first time since Wimbledon in 2002.
Lepchenko was born in Uzbekistan and now lives in Allentown, Pa. She became a U.S. citizen last year.
Also, fourth-seeded Petra Kvitova defeated Nina Bratchikova of Russia 6-2, 4-6, 6-1, and Yaroslava Shvedova of Kazakhstan topped Carla Suarez Navarro of Spain 6-4, 7-5.
Later Saturday, Maria Sharapova will be back on court for her third-round match, a day after winning in the second round. Defending champion Rafael Nadal and fourth-seeded Andy Murray will also be trying to reach the fourth round