PARIS – Mikhail Youzhny was having such a bad day in the third round of the French Open that he felt the need to apologize, 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.
Against Ferrer, 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.
Also Saturday, fourth-seeded Petra Kvitova advanced by beating Nina Bratchikova of Russia 6-2, 4-6, 6-1.
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.
On a busy Friday at Roland Garros, the top-ranked man and woman were left racing against the clock.
Because of a few long matches and a bit of a backlog from the previous day, both Novak Djokovic and Victoria Azarenka were late on court and both completed third-round victories just as the sun was setting.
"Last 15 minutes was very hard," said Djokovic, who beat Nicolas Devilder of France 6-1, 6-2, 6-2. "It was very important for me to finish the match today. I wouldn't like to come back tomorrow and play a few games."
Azarenka's match was quicker and ended a few minutes earlier. She defeated Aleksandra Wozniak of Canada 6-4, 6-4.
"I'm really glad I managed to finish today because it was already pretty dark in last two games," said Azarenka, who took over the No. 1 ranking after winning the Australian Open.
Roger Federer also advanced to the fourth round, despite being stretched to four sets for the second straight match. Sharapova made it into the third round, but both third-seeded Agnieszka Radwanska and 2008 champion Ana Ivanovic were eliminated.
Djokovic was scheduled to play Friday in the fourth match on Court Suzanne Lenglen. But with Sharapova's postponed match ahead of his, and a five-setter in which Stanislas Wawrinka eliminated No. 11 Gilles Simon, the top-seeded Serb didn't begin until 7:48 p.m.
He didn't waste any time against Devilder, but it still took him 1 hour, 44 minutes to win, with match point coming at 9:32 p.m.
"When I saw the schedule last night, I expected a long match between Simon and Wawrinka," Djokovic said. "Not that long, but long."
With the win, Djokovic extended his Grand Slam win streak to 24 matches. The 25-year-old Serb has won the last three Grand Slam titles, and he needs four more victories at Roland Garros to become the third player to hold all four major titles at the same time. Rod Laver was the last to do it, in 1969.
His next opponent will be Andreas Seppi of Italy.
"He's in best form I think in his life and won a tournament in Belgrade. So he's very famous in Serbia," joked Djokovic, whose family runs that event. "I think half of Serbia will support Seppi, no, because of winning the trophy."