Friday, 27 May 2016

Williams sisters win in sync

As we are only an hour or so away from the first ball being struck with meaning on Day 6 of Roland Garros 2016, I'd better pass some comments on Day 5 proceedings.

Top seed Novak Djokovic and his prospective semi final stumbling block, fourth seed Rafa Nadal, did to their second round opponents precisely what they did in the first round to those poor souls.  They took the minimum three sets with which to dismiss them.  Names for those interested in Paris refuse were Belgian Steve Darcis and Argentine Facundo Bagnis.

Not a good day for those with surnames beginning with Bag, with long time favourite Marcos Baghdatis losing a marathon five setter to an even bigger favourite around these parts, sixth seed Jo-Wilfried Tsonga.  Tsonga gave the Cypriot a two set start, just to prove to Andy Murray that he is not the only one with comeback skills.

Serena and Venus took the sister act to new lengths, both winning on the same court, and using the same 6-2 6-1 scoreline to eliminate Brazil's Teljana Pereira and fellow American Louisa Chirico respectively.

All the other mens seeds won through, either in three or four sets, except for 20th seed Aussie Bernard Tomic and Portugal's 26th seed Joao Sousa. (not to be confused with, but always confused with Brazil's Joao Souza, world ranked 189)

Tomic was disappointing, seeming to drop his guard in places after taking the opening set.  Even down two sets to one, he had a terrific opportunity to force a fifth set decider when leading 6-5 in the fourth set tie breaker.  However, with his two serves to come he lost both points, and Croatian Borna Coric served out the set and match.  The 19 year old showed the poise expected of the more experienced Australian, and now Tomic had better lift for the limited grass court season for which he has been impatiently waiting.

Apart from the Williams sisters, Bacsinsky, Keys, Suarez Navarro and Ivanovic were especially impressive with their straight sets performances, while Cibulkova continues her fine clay court form despite dropping the second set against Ana Konjuh from Croatia.  Domi was mad at herself and redemption was to be found in the deciding set, won 6-0.
Not wanting to be seen as one match wonders, Kiki Bertens and Karin Knapp followed up their unexpected wins over Kerber and Azarenka, with straight set wins to shoot them both into the third round.

Disappointment for German hopeful and 28th seed Andrea Petkovic, who lost to one of the very few players representing Kazakhstan, Yulia Putintseva.

Day 6 will feature two Australians on Court Philippe Chatrier - second match is between two former RG runners-up, Samantha Stosur (2010) and Lucie Safarova (2015).  Safarova had a terrible 2016 until Prague a month ago, where she beat Stosur in the final and turned her season around.  Both players are in good touch this week so that should be entertaining.

Then possibly the match of the tournament to date - Richard Gasquet v Nick Kyrgios.
Both players in great form, the crowd loving the French player, but still reserving some applause for the Aussie.  Nick has yet to beat Richard on clay but he did win the last match (on hard court), on the way to his first title in Marseille.

Can Kyrgios defeat the French star on French soil for a second time in 2016 ?
The question may have already been answered by the time you read this.

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