Final Grass Court Tournaments in full swing before Wimbledon
TENNIS – Last year’s Wimbledon finalist Eugenie Bouchard won her first match on grass this season beating Allison Riske 7-6(5) 6-3 at the Aegon Classic in Eastbourne after early round defeats at s’Hertogenbosch and Birmingham. Diego Sampaolo
Riske took a 2-0 lead in the first set but Bouchard reeled off four consecutive games to take a 4-2 lead. Riske fought back winning three games in a row for 5-4. At 5-5 in the tie-break Bouchard won the final two points to clinch the first-set tie-break. The Canadian broke serve for 4-2 en route to winning the second set with 6-3. After winning the first set at the tie-break Bouchard saved four break points in the first service games of the second set. The Canadian converted the only break point in the second set to clinch the win.
“It’s good to get a win on grass. I was a little bit more aggressive and I was trying to enjoy the moment. It was a tough match. She plays good tennis, especially on grass. I knew to be prepared for a really tough match. I am happy I was able to stay with her when it was tough in that first set and just fight it out, ” said Bouchard
Bouchard will take on Belinda Bencic who beat this year’s Australian Open semifinalist and Eastbourne defending champion Madison Keys 6-2 6-2. It will be the first head-to head match between Bouchard and Bencic
Caroline Wozniacki started her grass season with a 7-6 (7-4) 6-2 win over Jarmila Gajdosova. The Danish star went down a break. Gajdosova served for the set at 5-4 but Wozniacki broke back to force the first set to the tie-break where she won 7-4. Wozniacki broke twice for 4-1. Gajdosova recovered the break but Wozniack broke again to clinch the second set with 6-2.
Daria Gavrilova fought back from a set down to edge Camila Giorgi 3-6 7-6 (8-6) 6-3. Giorgi, who won her first tournament at s’Hertogenbosch, went up a break twice to win the first set with 6-3 despite six double faults and 40 percent of first serve points: Giorgi went down a break in the secon set on the only break point chance she faced in the second set: Giorgi went up 0-40 on Gavrilova’s serve but she failed to convert her three break points. She managed to break back on her fourth opportunity. In the ninth game the Italian earned a break point which would have enabled to serve for the match but she didn’t convert it. In the tie-break she earned a match point at 6-5 but Gavrilova reeled off three consecutive points to win the second set. Gavrilova broke serve at the start of the decider and again in the fifth game. As Gavrilova served for the match Giorgi broke back but in the following service game she faced the first match point with a double fault. She saved it but Gavrilova converted the second opportunity.
Gavrilova will face Sara Errani who battled past last year’s Wimbledon quarter finalist Barbora Zahlavova Strykova 6-2 6-7 (1-7) 7-6 (9-7). Errani has won her first match on grass since Wimbledon 2012. Errani was broken in the first game of the first set but she held her service games. Strykova won the second-set tie-break 7-1. The third set also came down to the tie-break. Strykova went up 6-4 and earned two match points but committed a double fault on the second opportunity. Errani earned a match point but Strykova saved it. The Italian closed out on the second match point after 3 hours
Svetlana Kuznetsova beat Flavia Pennetta 6-3 6-3. Kuznetsova broke serve in the fourth game. Pennetta earned a break back point chance in the ninth game as Kuznetsova served for the set but the Russian player saved them with her serve. In the second set Kuznetsova converted her second break point chance in the seventh game.
Dominika Cibulkova beat this year’s Roland Garros finalist Lucie Safarova 7-6 (9-7) 6-4. After a trade of breaks in the third and in the fourth games of the first set Safarova did not convert two points and drooped the first set at the tie-break. Cibulkova broke early in the second set before saving all the six break points
Joanna Konta beat Ekaterina Makarova 6-2 6-4. Another British player Heather Watson rallied from a set set down to beat Elina Svitolina 3-6 7-5 6-4. Sloane Stephens defeated Carla Suarez 6-1 7-5
Nottingham: Baghdatis upsets Ferrer
Marcos Baghdatis upsets David Ferrer 6-2 7-6 (7-4) in the second round of the Aegon Classic in Nottingham. The player from Cyprus scored his first win over a top-10 player in more than two years.
Baghdatis hit nine aces and won 73 percent of his service points. Baghdatis broke twice in the first set before closing out in the eighth game. The second set came down to the tie-break where the Cypriot won 7-4.
Baghdatis will face German rising star Aleksander Zverev who fought back from a set down to edge past Tomas Bellucci 6-7 (7-9) 6-3 6-4.
Gilles Simon fought back from a set down to edge Marcel Granollers 4-6 7-6 (7-3) 7-6 (7-0). Granollers was leading 6-4 5-4 40-0 but Simon saved all the three match points he faced before winning the tie-break. Granollers went up a break in the third game of the decider. Simon broke back at 4-2 before winning the tie-break 7-0
Simone Bolelli overcame Martin Klizan 6-3 6-7 (4-7) 6-1 setting up a third round against Adrian Mannarino who beat Aljaz Bedene 7-6 (7-4) 6-4.
Bolelli held his first service game before breaking serve in the second game. Klizan had to save two break points in the fourth and in the sixth games with his serve. The second set went on serve until 4-4. Bolelli earned two break points which would have enabled to serve for the match but Klizan saved them. After trading mini-breaks Klizan opened up a 4-2 lead but Bolelli drew level to 4-4. Klizan reeled off the next three points to win the tie-break. Bolelli broke serve to love in the sixth game
Andreas Seppi did not recover from the final in Halle and was knocked out by Yen Hsun Lu with 6-4 6-3
Feliciano Lopez defeated 17-year-old Taylor Harry Fritz 6-3 6-3. Fritz, who reached the Roland Garros Junior final and is making his debut on the ATP Tour, upset Pablo Carreno Busta 6-1 6-4.
Leandro Mayer beat 19-year-old Hyeon Chung 6-3 6-1. Dominik Thiem won over Malek Jaziri with 6-3 6-1 Sergiy Stakhovskiy beat Viktor Troicki 6-4 6-2 setting up a third round match against Denis Istomin who cruised past Juan Monaco 6-1 6-2. Alexander Dolgopolov overcame Pablo Andujar 7-6 (7-5) 6-7 (5-7) 6-4
Novak Djokovic Reveals Sleep Routine After Reaching 17th Roland Garros Quarter-Final
Novak Djokovic revealed his sleeping routine after claiming another milestone at Roland Garros.
Novak Djokovic is into a 17th Roland Garros quarter-final after a 6-3 6-2 6-2 win over Juan Pablo Varillas.
The Serb reached a record-breaking 17th Roland Garros quarter-final after a dominant performance over Varillas.
Djokovic broke on six occasions as the two-time champion reached the last eight in Paris.
Next Djokovic will face Karen Khachanov and the 22-time Grand Slam champion admitted he’s already focused on that contest, “Well, I’m proud of it, but my attention is already in the next match,” Djokovic said.
“I mean, obviously quarterfinals, Khachanov, I know what my goal is here.
I’m trying to stay mentally the course and of course not look too far. Obviously the performance of today gives me a great deal of confidence about how I felt, about how I played. So I’m looking forward to the next match.
“Of course you’re looking, you’re analyzing everyone’s game. You’re basically following what’s going on in the draw. But most of the attention is obviously focused on you, on what you need to deliver on the court, how you need to perform, how you need to win the next match.
“It’s only about the next step. But of course I do keep in mind what the others are doing, as well.”
Djokovic’s ability to maintain his focus during Grand Slams is certainly impressive as he looks forward to another Roland Garros quarter-final.
The Serb also revealed his sleep routine during his press conference with Holger Rune commenting on his own sleeping patterns recently.
Speaking on the topic, Djokovic told the press that sleep is very important and revealed he’s a deep sleeper, “Well, I mean, sleep is extremely important. Probably more important than any other recovery routines that you could do,” Djokovic said.
“Yeah, I like to get at least, you know, eight-and-a-half hours of sleep a night. I’m pretty deep sleeper, so to say. I don’t wake up during the night, so I get everything done in those particular amount of hours that I’m looking for.
“I mean, especially if you are experiencing some, you know, physical, strong physical efforts on a given day, then your body is asking for more sleep. REM sleep is the most important one between 1:00 and 4:00 a.m. So I try to be already in a deep sleep by that time.
“I don’t go too early to sleep but I also don’t go late, around midnight or something. I try to get those eight or nine hours of beauty sleep. I think that helps a lot with recovery, feeling good, feeling fresh.
“Do I get naps? I get, yeah, if you want to call them maybe short naps, maybe some meditation stuff that I do during the day that it’s just kind of a quick reset of energy, 10, 15 minutes, 30 minutes, depends how much I have.
“Sometimes it’s just five minutes breathing exercises or something that will just recharge me and allow me to have a bit more energy for the rest of the day. Basically, yeah, that’s the whole routine.”
A fascinating insight into how sleep is important to an elite athlete as Djokovic looks for a 23rd Grand Slam in Paris, which would put him at the top of the Grand Slam winning charts.
Djokovic’s match against Khachanov will take place on Sunday with the Serb with Djokovic leading the head-to-head 8-1.
Roland Garros Daily Preview: The Second Week Begins on Sunday
The round of 16 begins on Sunday in Paris.
The highest-ranked players in the world named Lorenzo, Italians Lorenzo Musetti and Lorenzo Sonego, face tall tasks in the fourth round. Musetti plays World No.1 Carlos Alcaraz, while Sonego plays Karen Khachanov, who has advanced to the semifinals at the last two Majors. Plus the finalists at the last Slam, Novak Djokovic and Stefanos Tsitsipas, both play their fourth round matches on Sunday.
On the women’s side, Elina Svitolina faces the toughest test yet in her impressive return from child birth, in ninth-seeded Daria Kasatkina, a semifinalist here a year ago. And the FTT have finally scheduled a WTA match for the night session, where Major champs Aryna Sabalenka and Sloane Stephens will collide.
Throughout the tournament, this preview will analyze the day’s four most prominent matches, while highlighting the other notable matches on the schedule. Sunday’s play begins at 11:00am local time.
Karen Khachanov (11) vs. Lorenzo Sonego – 11:00am on Court Suzanne-Lenglen
While Khachanov’s recent Slam success has come at hard court Majors, this remains his best Major. Karen is now 20-6 at Roland Garros, and has reached the second week in six of his seven appearances. However, he’s just 1-4 in the round of 16 at this event.
Sonego outlasted Khachanov’s close friend and frequent doubles partner, Andrey Rublev, in five sets on Friday. This is now a third career appearance in the round of 16 at a Major for the 28-year-old Italian, one of which came here three years ago. However, he’s 0-2 in those prior appearances.
They have played three times before, with Khachanov taking two of those three meetings, though they’ve split the two that occurred on clay. All of those matches occurred between four-to-five years ago. On Sunday, I give the slight edge to Karen. He has the bigger game which can more easily dictate play, and a huge edge in experience in the second week of Slams.
Carlos Alcaraz (1) vs. Lorenzo Musetti (17) – Third on Court Philippe-Chatrier
Alcaraz is now 33-3 in 2023, and has lost only one set through his first three matches in Paris. Carlitos is looking to equal his best result at this tournament, when he advanced to the quarterfinals a year ago. But his potential road to the final is anything but easy, starting with the uber-talented Musetti on Sunday, then potentially Tsitsipas in the quarters, and Djokovic in the semifinals.
Musetti has not dropped any sets to this stage, impressively taking out Cam Norrie in the third round, losing just seven games in the match. This equals Lorenzo’s best career result at a Major to date, when he reached the round of 16 in Paris two years ago, and was even up two sets against Djokovic, yet only managed one game in the last three sets.
This is only the second of what will likely be many tour-level encounters between 20-year-old Alcaraz and 21-year-old Musetti. When they played last summer in the final of Hamburg on clay, Lorenzo prevailed 6-4 in the third after nearly three hours. But in the best-of-five format, the red-hot and super-fit Carlitos is the favorite, though I’m quite curious to see how seriously Musetti can challenge Alcaraz on this big stage.
Elina Svitolina vs. Daria Kasatkina (9) – Third on Court Suzanne-Lenglen
Kasatkina was just 12-12 this season, and is defending semifinal points here from a year ago. Yet she has performed very well under that pressure, winning all of her matches decisively in straight sets. This is easily her strongest Major, where she owns 20 career wins, while she’s yet to accumulate double-digit wins at any other.
But this is also Svitolina’s best Slam, where she’s now 25-9, with three previous quarterfinals. And while this is just her fifth WTA-level tournament since becoming a mother, returning to action only two months ago, she’s on an eight-match winning streak, coming off a title run a week ago in Strasbourg. Elina survived two consecutive three-setters to reach this fourth round contest.
And Svitolina has completely dominated their history, with a record of 6-0. That includes a clay court match five years ago in Rome, which is only one of two occasions Kasatkina has even managed to take a set off of her. So despite Elina’s lack of match play this past year, she should be favored to achieve her fourth French Open quarterfinal.
Sloane Stephens vs. Aryna Sabalenka (2) – Not Before 8:15pm on Court Philippe-Chatrier
Sabalenka is an excellent 32-5 this year, and yet to lose a set in Paris. This is the farthest she has ever advanced in this city, though she’s reached the semis or better at every other Major. Aryna is looking to win her fourth title of the season, and her second Slam in a row.
Stephens’ Major title came nearly six years ago in New York, though she did reach another final here a year later, when she was even up a set and a break before losing to Simona Halep. Sloane had quite a rough start to her year, but has now won 12 of her last 14 matches on clay, including a title run at an ITF-level event a month ago. And unlike Sabalenka, Roland Garros is her best Major, where she’s now 35-11 lifetime, and she’s reached the second week in nine of her last 11 appearances.
Sabalenka leads their head-to-head 3-0, though all three of those matches went the distance. I expect another tight encounter on Sunday evening, but Aryna must be considered the favorite based on her recent form, and how well her big serve and groundstrokes have been clicking.
Other Notable Matches on Sunday:
Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova vs. Elise Mertens (28) – Pavlyuchenkova was the runner-up here two years ago, but this run to the round of 16 is a surprise, as she was just 8-9 on the year coming into this event after missing most of 2022 due to a knee injury. Mertens is 18-11 this season, and has not dropped a set to this stage, upsetting third-seeded Jessica Pegula in the last round. They have split two previous meetings, both of which took place in 2017.
Novak Djokovic (3) vs. Juan Pablo Varillas – Djokovic claimed all nine sets he played in the first week, even though four of them went to a tiebreak. Varillas has amazingly won three five-setters, coming from two-sets-down in the first two. The 27-year-old had never won a match at a Major prior to this fortnight, and is the first Peruvian to advance this far at Roland Garros in nearly 30 years.
Karolina Muchova vs. Elina Avanesyan (LL) – Muchova is vying for her fourth Slam quarterfinal, and her first since Wimbledon 2021, as injuries have interrupted her career. Avanesyan is a 20-year-old lucky loser who upset Belinda Bencic in the first round, and is appearing in only her second main draw at a Major.
Sebastian Ofner (Q) vs. Stefanos Tsitsipas (5) – Tsitsipas has only dropped one set thus far, while Ofner survived a five-setter against Fabio Fognini in the last round, and is another 27-year-old debuting in the second week of a Slam.
Sunday’s full Order of Play is here.
‘Disciplined’ Iga Swiatek Cruises Into Roland Garros Second Week, Rybakina Withdraws
Iga Swiatek is into the second week of Roland Garros after a dominant performance against Xinyu Wang.
Defending champion Iga Swiatek cruised into the second week of Roland Garros while Elena Rybakina was forced to withdraw from the tournament.
The world number one was in a class of her own as she thrashed Xinyu Wang 6-0 6-0 in a 52 minute masterclass.
After suffering mini-blips in her opening two matches, Swiatek was back to her dominant best to reach the last 16.
Swiatek explained after the match that she was happy with her discipline and compared this win to her previous two matches, “You know, just the fact that I know I keep feeling better and better every day and that’s kind of what I wanted to achieve in this tournament,” Swiatek said in her post-match press conference.
“I’m glad that I kind of feel the rhythm a little bit better on every match. I’m just happy that I was disciplined till the end. Well, it was just easier for me to implement all that stuff that I’m talking about with my coach and to tactically play a little bit better.
“First two matches I felt like I kind of need to play against the conditions, but today I was able to, like, control the ball a little bit more. So it was easier for me to like adapt some more complicated — maybe not complicated, but I
wasn’t thinking about the wind.
“I was more thinking about where to play and how to play because it was just easier to control the ball after few hours on Philippe-Chatrier.”
Swiatek has had a fairly comfortable opening week despite a couple of mini-scares as she has only dropped eight games so far in Paris.
However there is a risk that the easy run so far could be a hinderance when facing tougher opposition later on in the tournament.
Swiatek said she tries to prevent laziness as much as possible and tries to remain positive at all times, “But on the other hand I always try to kind of be careful, because you don’t want to get lazy after winning these matches,” Swiatek claimed.
“It’s never easy to win these matches. But on the other hand, sometimes all your head can remember is the score, and I always want to kind of be ready for, you know, every situation.
“So I don’t feel like it’s a problem for me, because as you said, I had many matches like that. But I just try to kind of take as much positive things like confidence and just, you know, feeling that I can play my tennis.
“But kind of also reset from all the other stuff and the expectations and just, you know, go another match like it’s a new one.”
Swiatek will look to continue her winning form as she searches for a third Roland Garros title.
Next for Swiatek is Bianca Andreescu or Lesia Tsurenko on Monday.
Rybakina Withdraws Due To Illness
As Swiatek looks ahead to the fourth round, her nearest rival in the top half of the draw Elena Rybakina has withdrawn from Roland Garros.
The Kazakh has been suffering from Illness and just minutes before her match with Sara Sorribes Tormo, the fourth seed confirmed her withdrawal.
Speaking to the press Rybakina confirmed it was a viral illness, “I was not feeling good already yesterday and the day before, so I didn’t sleep two nights and had some fever,” the Kazakh said.
“Yeah, well, I saw the doctor, and they said that actually it’s all a virus here in Paris. Yeah, I guess with my allergy, immune system just went down
and I picked up something. As I said, I was not sleeping well two days. I had fever, headache.
“Today I really tried on the warmup, but I feel that the right decision is to withdraw, because it’s really tough to play with these conditions. Yeah, of course I’m really upset not be able to play, but I guess that’s life.
“There is a lot of ups and downs. Today I just wanted to give 100%, and obviously I’m far from being 100%. Yeah, I was actually coming positive here, but as I said, you never know how you’re gonna feel. Was unlucky for
me. Yeah, I just try to recover and do my best to be prepared for the grass season already.”
Rybakina will look to be back healthy for Wimbledon where she is the defending champion.
Carlos Alcaraz Cruises Past Musetti, Pays Tribute To Coach Ferrero At French Open
Novak Djokovic Reveals Sleep Routine After Reaching 17th Roland Garros Quarter-Final
Injury-Hit Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova Reaches French Open Quarters
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Iga Swiatek Cut Off Midway Through French Open Press Conference When Asked About Sabalenka
France’s Hugo Gaston Hit With Huge Fine For Unsportsmanlike Conduct
Novak Djokovic Denies Being Roland Garros Favourite, Praises Alcaraz
(EXCLUSIVE) Ukrainian Journalist Reacts To Controversial Booing Of Marta Kostyuk At French Open
Holger Rune Says Djokovic Still The Man To Beat At French Open
Iga Swiatek Puts Reign As World No.1 Down To ‘Hard Work’
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