Venus Williams falls at French Open

Updated: May 31, 2012, 12:03 PM ET
ESPN.com news services

PARIS -- Venus Williams has followed sister Serena out of the French Open.

The elder Williams, a seven-time Grand Slam champion, lost to third-seeded Agnieszka Radwanska of Poland 6-2, 6-3 on Wednesday in the second round.

Venus Williams was playing at a major tournament for the first time since August, when she withdrew before her second-round match at the U.S. Open. It was then that she revealed she had been diagnosed with Sjogren's syndrome, a condition that can cause fatigue and joint pain.

On Tuesday, Serena Williams lost in the first round of a major tournament for the first time, falling to Virginie Razzano of France 4-6, 7-6 (5), 6-3.

Top-seeded Victoria Azarenka, meanwhile, made it to the third round without a problem.

In the main stadium at Roland Garros, Azarenka, who took over the No. 1 ranking after winning the Australian Open, defeated Dinah Pfizenmaier of Germany 6-1, 6-1, two days after struggling to win her opening match.

"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."

In the first round, Azarenka struggled early before winning 12 of the final 14 games for the victory. She committed 60 unforced errors in that opening match but brought that number down to 11 on Wednesday.

"Definitely played much better today," said Azarenka, who reached the quarterfinals at Roland Garros last year, matching her best performance at the clay-court Grand Slam.

No. 13 Ana Ivanovic, the 2008 French Open champion, moved on, but No. 8 Marion Bartoli of France lost.

U.S. Open champion Sam Stosur advanced, beating Irina Falconi of the United States 6-1, 6-4, who was one of several American women to lose Wednesday.

Melanie Oudin, the 2009 U.S. Open quarterfinalist, was eliminated by 21st-seeded Sara Errani of Italy 6-2, 6-3.

Vania King was beaten by No. 15 Dominika Cibulkova of Slovakia 6-0, 6-2.

Top-seeded Americans Liezel Huber and Lisa Raymond lost in the first round of the women's doubles, falling 6-3, 7-5 to Kaia Kanepi of Estonia and Zhang Shuai of China.

Huber and Raymond were broken five times and managed to convert only three of their 10 break points. Last year, Huber and Raymond won the U.S. Open and reached the semifinals at Roland Garros.

"It's been a tough few weeks for us on clay," Raymond said. "We thought we were as prepared as we could have been. Unfortunately, I guess we weren't."

Sloane Stephens, a 19-year-old from Coral Springs, Fla., advanced, but at the expense of another American, Bethanie Mattek-Sands. Stephens won 6-1, 6-1 to reach the French Open's third round for the first time.

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.

ALSO SEE