Wednesday, 25 May 2016

No rain but Vika's pain

Day three of the French Open and Serena must have selected the right prayers because all the pieces were falling into place for her at Roland Garros.  An easy first round win, and her prospective quarter and semi final opponents both gone before we could say bonjour.  Not that we would since there has hardly been a good day's weather all week.

Vika Azarenka, doing her best to overcome a back injury, was forced to surrender to a leg problem against Italian Karin Knapp.  Vika courageously fought the odds to win a second set tie breaker and level the match, but she could barely walk, and pulled the pin at 0-4 in the third,

Not that I had predicted her to reach that point, but Angie Kerber was nevertheless seeded at three to be a semi finalist against Serena Williams, the player she vanquished in the Aus Open final in January.  However, Kiki Bertens from the Netherlands ousted the German in three sets, clearing further the path for Serena, and in the process registering her first success against a top five player.

Andy Murray finally escaped the clutches of 37 year old Czech tormenter Radek Stepanek, but it took 12 games into the fifth set before the second seed claimed a second round spot.  Even Dominic Thiem,  Nadal's likely fourth round opponent, looked less than convincing at a set all and a break down in the third, before flicking a switch and finishing all over the top of Spain's Inigo Cervantes.

Nadal himself thrashed Aussie Sam Groth, losing just three games across three sets.  Djokovic was almost as frugal against Yen-Hsun Lu, giving up just six games on the way to round two.

Others to shine in the mostly drab, but at least dry conditions were Tsonga, Ferrer, Berdych, Goffin and Isner, while surprise losses were experienced by South African Kevin Anderson (to the cheers of the French crowd and the racquet of French player Stephane Robert) and German Philipp Kohlschreiber to Soain's Nicolas Almagro.

Good wins also to Venus Williams, Bacsinszky, Cibulkova, Keys, Ivanovic, Cornet and Petkovic.   Disappointment for number 20 seed Johanna Konta, beaten by German Julia Goerges, semi finalist in last weeks Nurnberg event.

More great tennis on offer on day four with Wawrinka, Murray, Raonic, Halep, Radwanska, and Muguruza all featuring.  And the Williams sisters playing doubles.

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