Thursday, 2 June 2016

Andy, Stan, Garbine, Sam win 1/4 finals

Day 11 of the French Open provided one major shock and three surprise results.
The shock was a schedule completed without interruption (the final Girls Doubles match on Court 18 was only stopped due to bad light at 3-3 in the second set)

The surprise result in the men's draw was Tomas  Berdych defeating David Ferrer in a fourth round encounter.  The seedings suggested this was an expected win for 7th seeded Tomas, but 11th seeded David is the better performed on this surface and at this Major, having made the final in 2014.
Berdych handled the conditions remarkably well and sent the Spanish terrier packing 6-3 7-5 6-3.

The male version of the 2016 Spanish Inquisition was dismantled further with the defeat of 14th seed Roberto Bautista Agut by top seed Novak Djokovic.  The fourth round clash had included before today the mysterious loss of the opening set by Djokovic.  Police are still investigating the missing set, and have not ruled out suspicious circumstances.  Meanwhile Novak was advised to go about his normal business, which he did, ensuring that the remaining three sets were securely in his possession, and he could happily take his rightful place in the quarter final against Berdych.

Dominic Thiem resumed his fourth round battle with Marcel Granollers at one set all, and cruised to a four set win.  The Austrian is favoured to continue his cruise to a luxury resort where a semi final will be held.  Before he reaches that spot, he will need to survive the sea storm served up by Belgian 12th seed David Goffin who also gave his opponent a first set start before triumphing in four over Latvian Ernests Gulbis.

The women's draw saw its remaining fourth round matches completed, and Serena Williams was quickest of the four to make the quarter finals, obliterating the chances of 18th seed Elina Svitolina from the Ukraine 6-1 6-1.
Spain lost another player in a result no one saw coming.  12th seed Carla Suarez Navarro left the tournament in straight sets courtesy of Kazakhstan's Yulia Putintseva, who will find her quarter final opposition slightly more difficult.  It is Serena.

Kiki Bertens is the fourth unseeded player to feature in the women's quarter finals at Roland Garros 2016.  Not content with the upset of Angie Kerber in round one, the Netherlands player has looked the goods throughout, and 15th seed Madison Keys had no answer in their fourth round match.  7-6 6-3 for Kiki, and the quarter final against Timea Bacsinszky should be exciting.
Swiss 8th seed Timea made the semis last year and she is on track to do likewise this year.  Venus Williams, playing some of her best tennis in the past week or so, was thrashed 6-2 6-4 by Bacsinszky, and I believe the semi final will be Bacsinszky v the other Williams sister.

The first of the quarter finals were also played and Spain finally had a victory, with Garbine Muguruza putting an end to the fairy tale run of American Shelby Rogers in a routine straights sets dismissal.  
The fourth seed will face 21st seed Sam Stosur in the semi final, following the Australian's 6-4 7-6 win over Tsvetana Pironkova.  This wasn't as straightforward as the score may indicate, with Stosur needing to come from a service break down in each of the sets. 
Although Sam won the only previous match her and Muguruza have played, it was a while ago, and in that time Garbine has jumped into the world's top five, deserves favouritism for the semi final, and to reach her second Grand Slam tournament final.

The first semi final in the men's draw will, as has always been predicted, be a battle between the second and third seeds, Andy Murray and Stan Wawrinka.  Stan won his quarter final against Albert Ramos-Vinolas, smashing another Spanish player 6-2 6-1 before Albert fought out a much better third set, only to lose in a tie breaker.

Andy played the last French player standing in singles, Richard Gasquet, and raced to 5-2 in the first set before surrendering the final five games and the set.  Murray was again leading 5-2 in the second set, but once more let Gasquet back in so games were on serve.  Andy almost went down another break, but instead steadied and a tie break was ultimately required.  Gasquet had the early advantage in the tie break, but once Murray levelled he raced away, won the tie break and the second set, and then the third set incredibly 6-0.  
Gasquet was spent mentally as much as physically and Murray won 5-7 7-6 6-0 6-2.

Day 12 will see the rest of the quarter finals played, with Thiem v Goffin possibly the more intriguing from the men's draw.  Unknown quantities this far into a major.
And the big question in the women's draw: Is the Sam Stosur revival enough to overcome the power game of Garbine Muguruza ?

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