Ten Interesting Facts About The Men’s French Open Semifinals - UBITENNIS
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Ten Interesting Facts About The Men’s French Open Semifinals

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Andy Murray (zimbio.com)

Men’s semi-finals day at the French Open promises to light up Roland Garros. World No.1 Andy Murray will be first up when he faces former champion Stan Wawrinka. Then title favourite Rafael Nadal will resume his campaign against Austria’s Dominic Thiem. History lurks for all four men involved, but these are the ten key facts to take note of.

1) Three players are yet to drop a set

On route to the last four at the French Open three out of the four players are yet to drop a set. Nadal, Wawrinka and Thiem have all enjoyed a straightforward journey. World No.1 Murray dropped sets against Andrey Kuznetsov (round 1), Martin Klizan (round 2) and Kei Nishikori (quarter-finals).

It is the first time three players have reached last last four without dropping a set since the 1988 Australian Open. On that occasion it was Pat Cash, Ivan Lendl and Mats Wilander who achieved the feat.

2) The oldest average since 1968

At the age of 23, Dominic Thiem is the baby of the last four. All three other semifinalists are over the age of 30 with Wawrinka being the oldest at 32. Taking into account all four ages, the average is 29 years 105 days. This is the highest average for a men’s French Open semifinal since 1968 and the 14th highest in the Open Era at any grand slam event.

3) Murray’s British record bid

Already the first British player to become world No.1 on the ATP Emirates rankings, a run to the final would also create further history for Murray. A win would make him the second player from his country to ever reach two French Open finals. The first was Fred Perry in 1935 and 1936. Bunny Austin was also runner-up in 1937.

A win would also take the top seed into his 12th grand slam final, expanding his lead with the most appearances achieved by a British man. Perry is second with 10 between 1933-1936.

4) Wawrinka out to prove age is nothing, but a number

A player that produces his best tennis in the biggest tournaments of the sport, 32-year-old Wawrinka could become the oldest finalist in Roland Garros since 1973.

Wawrinka is already the oldest man to reach the last four at Roland Garros since Jimmy Connors in 1985. A win over Murray would place him joint-23rd on the all-time last for most grand slam final appearances.

5) Nadal’s record run

So far in the tournament, Nadal has just dropped a record 22 games. No other player in the Open Era of the men’s tour has managed to progress to the semifinals of a major dropping fewer games.

If he drops four or less games against Thiem on Friday, he will break Bjorn Borg’s record. Borg dropped just 27 games on route to the 1977 French Open final.

6) Thiem’s hope to join an exclusive club in Austrian tennis

Austria’s 22-year wait for a grand finalist could come to an end if Thiem was to defeat Nadal. If he was to win, the 23-year-old would become the second player from his country to reach a major  final – male or female.

Thiem is targeting his 29th victory in a major tournament today. He currently lies fourth in the all-time list for most grand slams wins by an Austrian man after Thomas Muster (77), Jurgen Melzer (59) and Stefan Koubek (31).

7) Nadal targets magic No.10

Only two players have ever reached the final of a major tournament ten times. Bill Tilden was the first at the US Open between 1918-1929. More recently, Roger Federer achieved it at Wimbledon between 2003-2012.

Nadal is on verge of becoming the third man to do so. Already a nine-time champion at the French Open, he could become the first man in history to win the same major tournament ten times. With a 77-2 win-loss record at the French Open, Nadal is the tournament’s greatest ever player in terms of performance.

8) Murray’s multiple finals record

Murray could become only the seventh player in history to reach multiple finals at all four major tournaments if he wins today. So far in his career, he has played five finals at the Australian Open, three at Wimbledon, two at the US Open and one at Roland Garros.

Agassi, Djokovic, Federer, Nadal, Lendl and Roswell are the only players to achieve this so far.

9) Wawrinka on the verge of a new personal best

After recently winning his 16th title at the Geneva Open, Wawrinka could achieve his best ever winning streak on the clay with win No.10 over Murray. His quarter-final victory over Marin Cilic rewarded him his ninth straight clay-court win, which he has achieved on three previous occasions in his career.

10) Thiem’s potentially historic win

Should Thiem beat the odds and defeat Rafael Nadal, he would become only the third man in history to defeat Nadal three times on the clay after Novak Djokovic and Gaston Gaudio. He is also the only player to defeat the Spaniard on the surface this year after winning 6-4, 6-3, in Rome.

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Roland Garros: ‘Disappointed’ Garcia Denies Problem With Roland Garros Form

Caroline Garcia’s poor run of results at Roland Garros continued after a fourth consecutive second round defeat.

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Caroline Garcia has denied there is a problem with her form at Roland Garros after she lost 6-3 6-3 to Sofia Kenin in the second round.

It was yet another disappointing defeat for Caroline Garcia who lost on straight sets on Philippe Chatrier to former finalist Sofia Kenin.

After struggling past Eva Lys in her opening round, Garcia was unable to re-motivate her game as she went out in the second round.

Speaking after the match Garcia admitted she was ‘disappointed’ to have lost and admits she has a complicated relationship with Philippe Chatrier, “I’m disappointed to have lost. I didn’t manage to find my game,” Garcia told French journalists in her press conference.

“She didn’t leave me a lot of margins. I didn’t manage to get the upper hand. I lost sometimes when I had actually gained points to play. This is where I have regrets.

“Well, yes, it’s complicated. It’s true. You have said it well. You have described it well. It’s a large court by size, with a number of fans. There is a lot of seats, a lot of room. When it’s not full, all the lower seats are empty, even though the upper seats are occupied, then you feel that you’re on your own.

“On Lenglen it’s less true, because people are closer to you. Even your own team, you can’t hear them. So it’s quite uncomfortable.”

Today’s defeat was a just one in a series of bad results for Garcia who has now lost in the second round of Roland Garros for the fourth consecutive time.

However in a tense exchange with journalists Garcia refused to acknowledge the bad form and said that everything is fine, “I don’t remember. Who beat me last year? I can’t remember,” Garcia when asked about her results at Roland Garros.

“Yes, everything is fine. You know, all in all, it’s the same. A defeat is a defeat. More or less it’s the same emotions than afterwards. Last year it was not the same situation. There was disappointment after both matches.

“There are times when you say I could have done better here and there, I could have played that ball differently, but then at the end of the match it’s easy to change the world again and think back.

“Well, of course we can have high expectations. I lost the second round last time, as well. It was not better. But then on the French Open, on clay when it’s cold, then it’s difficult to play one’s best tennis.

“It’s not the surface that corresponds and that suits my game. Even if it’s “the” tournament of the year, clay court is not my most suitable surface.”

Garcia will hope that she can continue to work on her clay court game as she will have many Roland Garros campaigns ahead of her.

Next up for Garcia will be the grass court season which is a surface that is more suiting to her surface than clay.

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David Goffin Slams Hostile French Open Crowd

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A fan at the French Open spat out their chewing gum at David Goffin during a tense first round clash at the tournament on Tuesday. 

Goffin, who is a former quarter-finalist in Paris, described the reception he received from the crowd as ‘total disrespect’ during his clash against home player Giovanni Mpetshi Perricard. A 20-year-old wild card who recently claimed his maiden Tour title in Lyon. The Belgian managed to oust the home player 4-6, 6-4, 6-3, 6-7 (4), 6-3, after more than three-and-half hours of play. 

During one stage of the match, Goffin was seen holding his hand to his ear towards the rowdy crowd. A gesture he felt he had the right to do considering the atmosphere.

“When you are insulted for three and a half hours, you have to tease the public a little,” The I quoted Goffin as saying.
“Clearly, it goes too far, it’s total disrespect. It’s really too much. It’s becoming football, soon there will be smoke bombs, hooligans and there will be fights in the stands.
“It’s starting to become ridiculous. Some people are there more to cause trouble than to create an atmosphere.
“Someone spat out their chewing gum at me. It [the match] was getting complicated. That’s why I wanted to stay calm. IfI started to get angry about it, it could have destabilised me.”

The French Open crowd has a reputation for being highly animated during matches with there being numerous examples throughout the years. Nicolas Jarry received booing when he walked on the court to play Corentin Moutet after an incident between the two earlier this season. 

“This is repeated a lot in the locker room and among the ATP authorities. We’re going to have to do something about that,” Goffin continued.
“I think it only happens in France. At Wimbledon, obviously, there’s not that. Or in Australia either. And at the US Open, it’s still rather quiet. Here [at Roland Garros], it’s really an unhealthy atmosphere.”

However, former French Open junior doubles champion Mpetshi Perricard has praised the support he got from the fans during his match. It was only the second time in his career that the world No.66 has played in the main draw of a Grand Slam tournament.

“It was really nice to have so much support,” he said.
“I had a lot in Lyon as well, but that was different because here the guys are really with you from first to the last point. It’sreally very pleasant to have such an audience.
“I like it that they encouraged me. It helped me when I was broken in the fourth [set], and I would like to thank them for it. It’s really fantastic to have these guys there.”

Goffin will be hoping to get more support in his second round match against Alexander Zverev on Thursday. He is making his 13th main draw appearance in Paris at the age of 33. 

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Holger Rune Beats Evans in Straight Sets and Moves into Round 2

Danish 13th seed praises improved mentality; aims to get back to the top five

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Ubitennis/Francesca Micheli

Thirteenth seed Holger Rune came through in straight sets 6-4, 6-4, 6-4 over Dan Evans in cold indoor conditions under the roof on Suzanne-Lenglen and goes on to face Italian Flavio Cobolli in round two.

The defeat for Evans meant that there are now no British men left in the singles draw after disappointing first round losses for Andy Murray and Cameron Norrie.

Rune, who once shared a practice session with Evans, admitted it took time to figure out his opponent’s game style: “It’s not that I know his game inside and out. He likes the slice obviously, and he’s a very good grass court player as well so he plays pretty flat over the net. So, yeah, it took a lot of time to adjust.”

Rune, a two-time former quarter finalist at the French Open, broke serve with the score tied at 4-4 in the first set and then served out to take the opener. A single break of serve was enough again in the second, while he had to dig much deeper in the third set when he went 4-2 down but managed to maintain composure to win the last four games to seal victory. The 21-year-old was very satisfied with his first-round performance and was pleased his intense practice sessions had been paying off.

“It was a good start, I think. Very solid match from start to finish. We had a good preparation, I would say. We had obviously time after Rome to really prepare with my game and physically and mentally, as well. I think we used the time right. So now is just to perform and put everything together. We are working always on my game. I think my game is good. My physicality felt great today, so it’s a thing we have really been working on to be able to stay out there and not feel fatigued and feel explosive even after hours of playing, and I definitely felt that today.”

Rune finished the match with eight aces, and more than double the number of winners (44 to 21), while Evans struggled with his serve making less than 50% of first serves in play along with five double faults. Whilst approaching the net numerous times throughout the match, he was passed sixteen times by some wonderful strokes off both wings by his Danish opponent. Rune was impressed with his mentality afterwards: “Mentally I just had to stay composed. You know, there is always challenges in the matches. Today was a call here and there. I thought I stayed composed. Been working on that, as well.”

Rune, who won 75% of points on his first serve definitely felt like he is on the right path to get him back inside the top five of the rankings: “I feel like I’m kind of back on track, have stability in my team, which is nice in my life. So, it’s going in the right direction. I’m improving on court. Now it’s just about getting that few match wins under the belt, to get some rhythm and gain some confidence in the matches as well. Then, I believe, you know, I’m fitter than last year. I’m playing better and improved. I just need to put everything together.”

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