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Sharapova rolls as seeds continue to fall in Paris

Paris, France (SportsNetwork.com) - Maria Sharapova is now the overwhelming favorite at the French Open and played that way Friday after Agnieszka Radwanska became the latest women's high seed to fall at Roland Garros.

The third-seeded Radwanska followed in the footsteps of Serena Williams and Li Na, exiting with a 6-4, 6-4 loss to Croatia's Ajla Tomljanovic in the third round.

Li, the second seed and 2011 French Open champ, was knocked off in the first round and Williams, the No. 1 seed and two-time winner at Roland Garros, fell in the second round.

Radwanska's ouster leaves fourth-seeded Simona Halep as the highest-seeded player remaining in the women's draw, but Sharapova is now the clear-cut choice to claim her second French Open championship.

Sharapova, the 2012 winner and last year's runner-up to Williams, needed a mere 51 minutes to dispose of Argentina's Paula Ormaechea in a 6-0, 6-0 rout. She has dropped just 10 games in her first three matches and on Friday was simply dominating.

Ormaechea won only 17 of the 71 points played and four of those came on double faults from Sharapova. The seventh-seeded Russian blasted 23 winners to Ormaechea's one and won all 14 points on the Argentine's second serve.

Despite the front-runner status, a tough fourth-round match against former U.S. Open champ Samantha Stosur awaits Sharapova.

"My next opponent is Samantha Stosur, who's had a lot of success on these courts and loves playing on clay so that's my next challenge and I look forward to it," said Sharapova.

Stosur, the 2010 French Open runner-up, knocked off ninth-seeded Dominika Cibulkova, 6-4, 6-4.

"I'm really happy with the way I played today and I think it's the first time I won three matches in a row for a while, too," said the 19th-seeded Stosur, who last reached the fourth round of a Grand Slam at the 2012 U.S. Open. "I just love playing here. I've had some really great moments here and some of the best matches of my career actually. Hopefully I can still have a few more matches like this."

Stosur, who lost to Francesca Schiavone in the 2010 French final, continued her mastery of Cibulkova, beating the 2014 Australian Open runner-up for the fifth time in as many tries without dropping a set. She also beat the Slovakian two years ago in the quarterfinals at Roland Garros and earlier this month in the first round at the Madrid Open.

The Aussie's stay in Madrid ended with a third-round loss to Sharapova. Stosur is 2-13 lifetime against the Russian, including 0-3 on clay.

"I have beaten her before. I know what it takes," added Stosur about the next matchup with Sharapova. "I know I have to play very well against her. I know there are certain things I have to do well and if I don't, then it makes life very, very tough that day. I will go out there and certainly give it my best shot."

Cibulkova had her best Grand Slam finish earlier this year with a loss to Li in the final of the Australian Open. Her best result at the French Open was a semifinal loss to Dinara Safina in 2009, but it's been a rough spring for the four-time WTA winner as she also dropped a first-round match in Rome after her first-round exit against Stosur in Madrid.

Tomljanovic, meanwhile, is playing at Roland Garros for the first time and has now beaten three established veterans. Ranked 72nd in the world, she took out Schiavone in the first round and also knocked off Russian veteran Elena Vesnina in the second.

"After seeing the two first seeds go out, (I) feel like I can do this, too," said Tomljanovic. "I grew up with these girls that are beating (the top seeds). Obviously, you respect everyone, but you don't fear anyone. This year I've been in a few situations where I was up and didn't execute, so I wanted to make it right this time."

Next up for Tomljanovic will be Spain's Carla Suarez Navarro. The 14th seed eased past American teenager Taylor Townsend in a 6-2, 6-2 thumping.

One of the giant killers, Spain's Garbine Muguruza, followed up her stunning win over Williams with a 6-2, 6-4 victory over Slovakia's Anna Schmiedlova. Schmiedlova had previously eliminated Venus Williams on Wednesday.

Muguruza will next play Frenchwoman Pauline Parmentier, who rallied for a 1-6, 6-1, 7-5 triumph over Germany's Mona Barthel.

Also Friday, eighth-seeded Angelique Kerber of Germany beat the darkness and Slovakia's Daniela Hantuchova, completing a 7-5, 6-3 decision just before play was suspended due to insufficient light.

Kerber will face Canada's Eugenie Bouchard in the round of 16. Bouchard, coming off her first career WTA victory last week in Nuremberg, came away with a 7-5, 6-4 win over Sweden's Johanna Larsson.

Saturday's third-round action will include matches for Halep and a pair of former French champions. Halep will take on Spain's Maria-Teresa Torro-Flor, while 2009 winner Svetlana Kuznetsova will meet fifth-seeded Petra Kvitova and 2008 champ Ana Ivanovic will square off against Lucie Safarova.