Sunday, 29 May 2016

French Players have bad day

There had been too much tennis played without interruption by the weather, and so Paris decided that Saturday should be donated a significant dose of rain and a decent thunder and lightning show to emphasise the point.

The nuisance value was more pronounced as Day 7 matches were already in progress on all courts prepared for play.
The most interest was in the second match on Court Philippe Chatrier between Serena the Great and French improver Kristina Mladenovic, the 26th seed.  Serena had won a hard fought first set 6-4, and the second set was high class tennis with both players backing themselves with full blooded hitting during the thrilling rallies, and no holds barred serving, never concerned with the double fault possibility.
A tie break was the appropriate result, but the downpour delayed its start by a couple of hours.
When the sky coordinators grew tired of precipitating over the French capital, and the racquets were again put to a useful purpose, the crowd was treated to a tie break worthy of a set itself, with match points saved by an attacking Mladenovic, and set points wiped out by a desperate Williams.  Winners were deciding the majority of points.  Serena won 10-8 and the match 6-4 7-6, but this was a close match because the French player brought the best out of the top seed, not because Serena was out of sorts.

Match one on Court Philippe Chatrier, proved yet again that Swiss eighth seed Timea Bacsinszky is in the form that propelled her into last year's RG semis, as she eliminated another French player, Pauline Parmentier, from the draw for the cost of just half a dozen games.

Madison Keys, Carla Suarez Navarro, Venus Williams, Kiki Bertens, Yulia Putintseva, and Elina Svitolina all progressed to the round of sixteen to join Serena and Timea.  Venus defeated Alize Cornet, the third loss for a French female singles player from the three playing on the day.
Former RG champion Ana Ivanovic lost to Svitolina, leaving just Serena Williams and Sveta Kuznetsova as former French Open champions left in the draw.  Two other major winners, Venus Williams and Sam Stosur also remain.

Novak Djokovic played his best tennis for the tournament in winning his third round encounter with Brit Aljaz Bedene in three sets.  This followed another French disaster with Jo-Wilfried Tsonga leading Latvian Ernests Gulbis 5-2 in the opening set before being forced to retire through injury.

Dominic Thiem honed his already sharp skills in his victory over Alexander Zverev.  The young German big server won the first set in a tie break but couldn't match the Austrian who won the next three, 6-3 in each.  Without Nadal, this section of the draw is probably now inviting either Thiem or David Goffin to the semi finals.

Goffin had his mettle tested by Spanish clay courter Nicolas Almagro, requiring a fifth set win from the 12th seed.  However, he will be better for that match.
As will David Ferrer after a convincing straight sets win over Feliciano Lopez.  Ferrer is now facing a round of sixteen clash with seventh seed Tomas Berdych.  The Czech player stumbled at first, going a set down, before winning the final three sets against Pablo Cuevas from Uruguay.

Despite a straight sets win over Borna Coric, Roberto Bautista Agut will have his joy tempered with the knowledge that his round of sixteen opponent is Novak Djokovic.

Sunday, Day 8, sees the first of the fourth round matches, and the picks of the bunch are Nishikori v Gasquet and Muguruza v Kuznetsova.

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