2015, Roland Garros

Roland Garros, Paris
May 24 – June 7, 2015; 128 draw (32 seeds); Surface – Clay

* Summaries taken from ATP articles, two quarterfinals from BBC (my notes in blue) 

Final: (8)Stan Wawrinka d. (1)Novak Djokovic   4-6, 6-4, 6-3, 6-4    [3:12 h]

wawa_rg15Djokovic saw his quest to complete the career Grand Slam thwarted by Wawrinka. The previous four Grand Slam meetings between Djokovic and Wawrinka have all gone the distance… Wawrinka staved off an immediate break point in the opening game of the match, and a pulsating 39-shot rally (the longest rally of the tournament! eclipsing 38 in the Mahut-Simon encounter) punctuated a hard-fought hold for the Swiss. Djokovic would experience pressure on his own serve three games later, reeling off four straight points at 1:2 (0/30) down to earn a gritty hold himself. Wawrinka’s recipe for success against Djokovic in their previous encounters included a heavy dose of angle-abusing backhands. Facing another break point at 2-all, the Lausanne native threw a barrage of cross-court backhands at the top seed, denying the break opportunity. But Djokovic’s efforts to take a first-set lead would not be thwarted two games later, breaking to love when Wawrinka double faulted at 0/40. With former World No. 1s Gustavo Kuerten and Bjorn Borg in attendance, along with Mansour Bahrami and actor Clive Owen, Djokovic would see a 5:4 (40/15) lead evaporate. Wawrinka saved two set points (with two passing-shots) before garnering his first break point of the match, which the top seed fought off with a service winner. He would not let a third chance to seal the set slip by, however, pulling the Swiss wide to the forehand and drawing an error. Djokovic served at an impressive 78 per cent in the first set and fired two aces. While Wawrinka struck 12 winners, he was victimised by 13 unforced errors. Bidding to become the first former Roland Garros boys’ champion (2003) to win the men’s title since Mats Wilander in the 80s – and sixth overall – the 30-year-old saved a break point in the first game of the 2nd set. Looking to take the early initiative, Wawrinka earned a pair of break chances in search of a 3:1 lead, but once again Djokovic was up to the task. A fourth break opportunity went begging two games later as the Serb’s defence shut the door, and a fifth chance would be denied in the 8th game. Despite failing to wawa1_rg15convert on four break points in the second set, Wawrinka would hold his nerve on his own serve, with 89 per cent second serve points won and three aces through his first four services games. With Djokovic serving at 4:5 (30/0) the Swiss struck a sublime return on a leaping kick serve and laced a backhand pass winner. A backhand unforced error would give Wawrinka his sixth break point of the match – and first set point – and this time he would not let it slip, forcing the top seed to misfire from the baseline after a grueling exchange of backhand power. Four straight points from 30/0 down for the eighth seed and the match was drawn level at a set apiece. Wawrinka’s first serve percentage climbed from 61 per cent in the first set to 70 per cent in the second, and after a hold to open the third, he continued to apply the pressure on Djokovic. But the World No. 1 was ruthless with his back against the wall, saving an additional three break points in the 2nd game of the 3rd set. At 15/40, the Belgrade native methodically came forward and clamped down on the Wawrinka onslaught with two sparkling net points. With the momentum vacillating between the two competitors in the early stages of the third set, Wawrinka saw another opening on Djokovic’s serve and finally converted. A wawrinka_rg15cupnear-flawless return game granted him a 0/40 lead behind two roped backhand winners and he would break to love, pulling ahead 4:2. Wawrinka was zoning on serve and off the ground as the set progressed, putting on a shotmaking exhibition. A highlight reel backhand that whizzed around the net post for a 5:2* (30/0) lead was one of many as the Swiss roared to a two-sets-to-one lead. He ripped 15 winners and won 19 of 21 first serve points in the third, claiming all six points when venturing to the net. Having won the 2015 Australian Open, Djokovic was also looking to become the first man in 23 years to hold the first two legs of the calendar Grand Slam. Don Budge (1938) and Rod Laver (1962, 1969) are the only two players to have achieved the feat. Wawrinka’s fortunes at the net would change momentarily in the 2nd game of the 4th set as a netted approach followed by a backhand error gave the Serb an immediate 2:0 lead. Djokovic would consolidate for 3:0, but that’s where his run would come to an abrupt end. Wawrinka reeled off 12 of the next 15 points to break back and draw level at 3-all, and he would halt any thought of a Djokovic turnaround with a 0/40 escape in the 8th game. An ill-advised Djokovic serve-and-volley on a second serve at 4-all ‘deuce’ gave Wawrinka his 15th break point of the match. The Swiss would not be denied the break, nor the match, converting on his second championship point at 5:4 with his 59th winner of the match: a rifled backhand down the line. Stats of the final

2nd semifinal: (1)Novak Djokovic d. (3)Andy Murray   6-3, 6-3, 5-7, 5-7, 6-1    [4:09 h]

Djokovic needed two days to dismiss Murray and book his spot in a third Roland Garros final. For Djokovic, it was well worth the wait. The Serb will look to become the eighth player to complete the career Grand Slam on Sunday when he squares off against Stan Wawrinka. A semi-final affair that started on Friday afternoon in Paris, Djokovic and Murray battled for more than three hours before rain and fading light halted their 27th encounter. The top seeded Serb led two sets to one, with the fourth knotted at 3-all (just before the match was suspended Murray had saved two break points). Despite Murray snatching the overnight momentum after capturing the 3rd set, it was Djokovic who pulled away when play resumed on Saturday. Murray’s mettle was on full display in forcing a decider, but his bid to record djoke_rg15murra seventh two-set comeback in Grand Slams was derailed. “I don’t think I was lucky,” Djokovic said. “I think I was playing some great tennis yesterday. He found his game late in the third. I had many opportunities to finish the match in straight sets, but credit to Andy. He showed why he’s one of the biggest competitors and fighters on the tour. A bit different conditions, with sun and then later in the evening it got a bit slower. He was using his variety in the game very well. It was a really tough match, over four hours all together, yesterday and today. No different from any other match that we played against each other. It’s always a thriller, always a marathon. He just came up with some great shots, great points. I want to congratulate him for a great tournament and a great fight, and I wish him all the best.” The Belgrade native, who punched his ticket to a ninth successive Barclays ATP World Tour Finals after defeating Nadal in Wednesday’s quarter-finals, extended his winning streak to 28 straight. He reached his 16th Grand Slam final and will bid to join Fred Perry, Don Budge, Roy Emerson (pre Open Era) and Rod Laver, Andre Agassi, Roger Federer & Rafael Nadal (the Open Era) in the exclusive ‘Career Grand Slam’ club. Djokovic will look to extend his H2H mark against Wawrinka to 18-3 when the pair square off on Sunday. He has won two straight encounters since the Swiss stunned the World No. 1 at the 2014 Australian Open, and leads 2-1 in tour-level finals, earning wins in Vienna 2007 and Rome 2008 while Wawrinka triumphed on the clay of Umag in 2006 when the teenager Serbian retired in the opening set. Stats of the match

1st semifinal: (8)Stan Wawrinka d. (14)Jo-Wilfried Tsonga   6-3, 6-7(1), 7-6(3), 6-4    [3:46 h]

One year after a first-round exit in Paris, Wawrinka has reached a second major final with his defeat of other 30-year-old player – Tsonga, on a steamy Friday at Roland Garros. The 2014 Australian Open champion is the first No. 8 seed in the Open Era to reach the championship match at the French Open. Wawrinka, who won the boys’ singles title here in 2003 (d. Brian Baker), captured a routine 1st set thanks to an early break. He looked to be in control in the 2nd despite a stan15_rg31 per cent first serve percentage, leading 4:2* and earning five break points on Tsonga’s service game at 5-all. Amid chants of “ALLEZ, TSON-GA”, the hometown hero would maintain his composure, holding serve and dominating in the ensuing tie-break. The 72-minute 3rd set (toilet break for both before the set) featured no service breaks, forcing Wawrinka to take a two-set lead in yet another tie-break. Before it happened, the Swiss fought off break points in three different service games. An early break in the 4th set would give the Swiss the leeway he needed to seal victory. At the conclusion of the nearly four-hour match, Wawrinka had served 15 aces and saved 16 of the 17 break points he faced. “He got off to a good start,” said Tsonga of his opponent. “He played well from the very beginning of the match. He prevented me from being aggressive. I couldn’t control the balls very well… He was more clinical, I would say.” Of the 39 players aged 30 and over who started in the French Open draw, Tsonga and Wawrinka, were the two remaining. The duo had split their previous six meetings, including two five-set matches at Roland Garros in 2011 and 2012. Wawrinka has now won nine of his past 10 matches against French opposition at the Grand Slams. Stats of the match

4th quarterfinal: (3)Andy Murray d. (7)David Ferrer   7-6(4), 6-2, 5-7, 6-1       [3:18 h]

The normally rock-solid Ferrer struggled with his serve, making 11 double faults and winning just 33% of points on second serve. There were 13 breaks in total as two of the game’s best returners traded blows, the first three games all going against serve. Murray was broken to love in a poor game when he had the chance to serve out the set at 5:4, but saved two set points at *5:6 and took control of the tie-break after a murray_rg15woeful Ferrer volley. The Scot reeled off 12 of 15 points as he moved 4:1 clear in the 2nd, with Ferrer giving up his serve after an eighth double fault, and nine games out of 11 put Murray in command at 3:0* in the third. Ferrer, 33, remains one of the best competitors in the sport though and fought his way back to level terms before saving a match point on serve at *4:5 (his overhead forced Murray’s backhand error). The Spaniard might have been unhappy with the courtside photographers, complaining to the umpire about their noise, but he broke again and served out the set to reignite his hopes. Murray was under pressure and left the court to cool down, returning in superb form as he once again took the game to Ferrer and made his greater power tell. A stunning cross-court pass gave him the immediate break in the 4th set, and he opened the next game with a copycat shot to grab the momentum and thrill the crowd. There was no way back for Ferrer this time as Murray stormed into a 5:0 lead, and the Briton converted his third match point with a big serve followed by a fist pump in the direction of his team. “I didn’t serve so good in all the match and he played with more power than me,” said Ferrer. “Andy’s playing with more confidence with his game and he’s playing more aggressively.” It was their fourth meeting at majors: every time four sets & more than 3 hours of punishing baseline rallies have been required (3:46 – 3:45 – 3:52 – 3:18 respectively) with Murray leaving the courts as a winner on three occasions… Stats of the match

3rd quarterfinal: (1)Novak Djokovic d. (6)Rafael Nadal   7-5, 6-3, 6-1    [2:26 h]

Djokovic became only the second man to beat Nadal at the French Open with a straight-sets victory in the quarter-finals in Paris. The world number one ended the nine-time champion’s reign. The Serb, now two wins from completing the career Grand Slam of all four major titles. Nadal, on his 29th birthday, suffered his first defeat in six years and his second in 72 matches at Roland Garros. His only djokovic_rg15previous French Open loss came in the 2009 fourth round against Sweden’s Robin Soderling – but this defeat was far less of a shock. Djokovic, 28, went into the match as the favourite, on a 26-match winning streak and as a man on a mission, desperate to add the French Open to his Wimbledon, Australian and US Open victories. “It’s definitely a big win, a match that I will remember for a long time,” he said afterwards. “You go through more emotions than for any other match. Of course, playing against Rafa in Roland Garros, it’s a special thing. It’s a special match.” He added: “Tomorrow is a new day and I have to move on. It’s only quarter-finals, and I want to fight for the title. That’s what I came here for. I have to kind of direct my thoughts to the semis.” The 1st set lasted a gripping 67 minutes as Djokovic raced into a 4:0 lead after 21 minutes only for Nadal, constantly urging himself on, to haul himself back to 4-all. Top seed Djokovic pressed hard once again to earn three set points in a 12-minute 10th game, but had to wait until the 12th to make the decisive move. Nadal missed a routine smash, reminiscent of the overhead Djokovic failed to put away in their epic semi-final two years ago, and eventually succumbed on the sixth set point with a volley into the tram lines. “I accept the defeats and there is only one sure thing: I want to work harder even than before to come back stronger,” Nadal said following the match. “I am going to fight. I lost in 2009 and it was not the end. I lost in 2015 and it is not the end. I hope to be back here next year with another chance.” Stats of the match

2nd quarterfinal: (14)Jo-Wilfried Tsonga d. (5)Kei Nishikori   6-1, 6-4, 4-6, 3-6, 6-3     [3:47 h]

Tsonga became just the second Frenchman in the Open Era to reach multiple semi-finals at Roland Garros after knocking out fifth seed Nishikori on Philippe Chatrier. Tsonga led 6-1, 5:2 after 78 minutes (had a triple set point in the 7th game) when a piece of metal scaffolding fell off the scoreboard into the stands, delaying play for 30 tsonga_rg155minutes. Roland Garros spectators escaped serious injury. Gusty winds proved too much for a piece of Court Philippe Chatrier’s facade, but luckily only minor injuries were sustained. “It’s just metal plaque, a three meter long metal plaque, that fell from something we had put over the scoreboard to protect it from the pigeons,” said Tournament Director Gilbert Ysern. “It suddenly fell down, which of course nobody had anticipated, and it fell on a couple of people underneath. Three of them were taken to First Aid services, and two of them had nothing in fact, and just one person had an injury.” Despite being broken in the first game back, Tsonga managed to serve out the set on his second attempt. The Japanese star stormed back to take the 3rd (saved three mini-match points at 4-all) and 4th sets and force a decider in front of the French crowd. But Tsonga maintained his composure, converting one of his two break point chances in the 5th set for victory. The Frenchman fired 10 aces, hit 44 winners and celebrated his surprising success writing on the court with his right foot “Roland je t’aime”, then lying on his letters. Nishikori lost just his third 5-setter (11-3 record).

1st quarterfinal: (8)Stan Wawrinka d. (2)Roger Federer   6-4, 6-3, 7-6(4)        [2:09 h]

Wawrinka advanced to the Roland Garros semi-finals for the first time Tuesday as he upset countryman in blustery conditions in Paris. Wawrinka beat Federer at a Grand Slam championship for the first time (Federer was previously 4-0 at majors). The Lausanne native is through to his fourth major semi-final; he went on to win his first Grand Slam title at the 2014 Australian Open (d.wawrinka_rg15 Nadal). Wawrinka went into Tuesday’s clash with a 2-16 Head2Head record against Federer and won just six games when the pair met three weeks ago in the Rome semi-finals. But the right-hander got off to a lightening start, breaking to love in the 3rd game before going on to take the opener, saving a break point in the 10th game. From *2:3 down in the 2nd set, Wawrinka raised his level again to reel off four straight games and snatch the second set. It left Federer facing the challenge of coming back from two sets down for 10th time in his career, and he was afforded no opportunity. The Basel native could not find a way to break Wawrinka’s serve and it was Wawrinka who pounced in the ensuing tie-break to seal victory with a forehand volley. Despite the challenging weather, Wawrinka hit 43 winners to just 28 unforced errors. It was the first time Federer failed to break serve in a Grand Slam match since a 2002 US Open fourth-round loss to Max Mirnyi. “For him, it’s obviously great to be in the semis now,” said Federer. “I thought he played really good tennis out there today. The windy conditions were tough, and made it even more impressive the way Stan was able to play. Stan made it tough. It’s partially to do with everything. When you lose there is always a bunch of things – the opponent, the conditions, the court. But it’s the same for both guys.

Fourth round: ATP

Kei Nishikori is on a historical march at Roland Garros, reaching the quarter-finals on a rain-interrupted Sunday. The 25-year-old Japanese star has yet to drop a set in his four matches (walkover in 3R) in Paris over the past week and is the first Japanese man to reach the quarter-finals since Jiro Satoh, a semi-finalist in 1931 and 1933. Fifth seed Nishikori produced a string of 40 winners to beat the No. 74-ranked Teymuraz Gabashvili 6-3 6-4 6-2 in 1 hour and 58 minutes. “I hope it’s just the start of my journey, and I hope I can keep going,” said Nishikori. “This is first time for me in the quarter-finals, so it means a lot for me.” Jo-Wilfried Tsonga led the French charge into the Roland Garros quarter-finals on Saturday, making his third appearance in tsonga_rg15_the final eight with a 6-3 6-2 6-7(5) 6-3 victory over fourth seed Tomas Berdych. It was Berdych’s first pre-quarter-final defeat in 10 tour-level tournaments this year. The home hope was in cruise control early, overcoming a 10-minute rain delay after securing an initial break in the 4th game of the 1st set. Tsonga would fly to a two-set lead behind another break to open the 2nd, taking advantage of the heavy conditions to open the court with his inside-out forehand. Bidding to reach the quarter-finals at his home Grand Slam for the third time in four years, the 30 year old served for the match at 5:4 in the 3rd and was two points from victory at 30/30 when his backhand down the line landed 10-15 cm too wide. But Berdych dug his heels into the terre battue and refused to go down without a fight. The Czech broke back and overcame an *0:3 (Tsonga’s two consecutive aces) deficit in the ensuing tie-break, reeling off seven of the next nine points to force a 4th set. Berdych raced to a 3:1* lead, but Tsonga found a second gear saving break point in game No. 5. Energised by the boisterous partisan Parisian crowd, he would string together five straight games, breaking the World No. 4 twice to seal the win in 3 hours. “It was not easy because I played really well during (the first) three sets,” added Tsonga. “And when it was time to finish I played a little bit differently and because he’s a good player, he came back in the match. Then I started to miss a little bit more. But I had a good reaction in the fourth and finally I won it. So it’s good for me. I’m happy to beat a guy like this, one of the best at the moment.” Stan Wawrinka continued his quest for a second Grand federer_monfils_rg15Slam championship title Sunday. The eighth seed recorded his second victory over No. 12 seed Gilles Simon at the clay-court major, taking out the French hope 6-1 6-4 6-2 for a place in the quarter-finals. Roger Federer finally got the better of Gael Monfils Monday in their fourth meeting at Roland Garros. Federer, the 2009 champion, knocked out No. 13 seed Monfils 6-3 4-6 6-4 6-1 carried over from Sunday for a place in his 11th quarter-final at the clay-court major. The match lasted 2 hours and 17 minutes. The players left the court on Sunday at one set apiece. On Monday Federer quickly broke clear of Monfils and came close to taking a 3:1* (40/0) lead in the 3rd set. Monfils fought back, forcing Federer to save one break point at 4:3. Federer broke in the first game of the 4th set and, at one point, won 10 straight points to take the match away from Monfils. David Ferrer recorded his 40th match win at Roland Garros on Monday to clinch his spot in the quarter-finals for a sixth time. Seventh seed Ferrer kept alive his chances of reaching the final by beating ninth seed Marin Cilic 6-2 6-2 6-4 in 1 hour and 53 minutes. “I think that it was my best match these two weeks,” said Ferrer. “I didn’t expect this. Cilic is a very difficult player to play against, but I thought I was really comfortable until the very last point. I played really well on all shots. It’s really is good in terms of gaining confidence.” Andy Murray will play Ferrer for a spot in the Roland Garros semi-finals after claiming a 6-4 3-6 6-3 6-2 win over hometown favourite Jeremy Chardy on a sunny, breezy Monday in Paris. Though Murray has now reached a Grand Slam quarter-final for the 17th successive time and extended his clay winning streak to 14 matches, it wasn’t all smooth sailing for the Scot. The Frenchman broke the World No. 3 four times and tallied 49 winners to Murray’s 35 in the nearly three-hour contest (the longest game occurred as Chardy saved 3 break points to hold his opener in the 2nd set after nine deuces). Rafael Nadal will be hoping for a 29th birthday to remember on Wednesday when he plays for a place in the nadal_rg15Roland Garros semi-finals. The Spaniard continued his quest for a 10th crown at the clay-court major with a 6-3 6-1 5-7 6-2 victory over Jack Sock in just under three hours on Monday evening on Suzanne Lenglen. It was his 70th match win at the Grand Slam championship in the French capital. From 2-all in the 3rd set, there were three straight breaks of serve. Nadal came within two points of clinching his 29th match win of the year at *5:4, 30/30, but was grew increasingly frustrated as Sock’s forehand started to pick holes. Sock won four straight games and saved one break point at 5-all to move back into contention. Double faults cost Sock early in the 4th set. He withstood four break points at 1-all, but Nadal clinched the lead on his fifth chance and then fought back from 0/40 to hold in the next game. The Spaniard broke once more for a 5:2 advantage and then extended his perfect record to 12-0 against American players on clay. In the last match round of 16, Novak Djokovic defeated Frenchman Richard Gasquet 6-1 6-2 6-3, setting the stage for a blockbuster quarter-final showdown with nine-time Roland Garros champion Nadal. Djokovic hit 47 winners and saved eight of the nine break points he faced to clinch victory, which clocked in at just under two hours. Gasquet started brightly, had a break point leading 1:0, but Djokovic saved it with a backhand winner after spectacular rally to win nine straight games (the second one in the streak after very long game, converting eighth break point).

Third round: ATP

gabashvili_rg15Japanese fifth seed Kei Nishikori reached the French Open fourth round on Thursday when scheduled last-32 opponent Benjamin Becker withdrew with a shoulder injury. “Very sorry to hear about Benjamin being injured. I hope he recovers fast,” tweeted Nishikori, who also made the fourth round in 2013. Nishikori meets Teymuraz Gabashvili [74] in his next match. The Russian born in Georgia, outplayed Lukas Rosol 6-4 6-4 6-4. Gabashvili came in-form to Paris having won two Challengers in Uzbekistan (hard & clay). It’s his second advancement to a major fourth round in 25 attempts (previously in Paris as well, in 2010). Roger Federer advanced to the fourth round on Friday as he defeated Damir Dzumhur 6-4 6-3 6-2 on Court Philippe Chatrier. “I guess it was entertaining,” said Dzumhur. “I really was excited before the match. I didn’t feel that much pressure like I felt with Berdych last year, or with Ferrer. So I came a bit more relaxed on the court and started good. That was okay.”  Eighth seed Stan Wawrinka faced no break points to beat Steve Johnson 6-4 6-3 6-2 on Friday and reach the Roland Garros fourth round for the fifth time. The 30-year-old Swiss hit 32 winners in the 1 hour, 29-minute match. “After the first set, things went quite smoothly; I was a little nervous in the first set,” said Wawrinka. Fans in Paris enjoyed a nearly four-hour battle before No. 12 seed Gilles Simon finished off his countryman Nicolas Mahut 6-2 6-7(6) 6-7(6) 6-3 6-1 in the third all-French match up at Roland Garros this year. The two exchanged a smiles and a friendly hug at the net following their sixth tour-level meeting. Mahut [116], who unexpectedly won two sets, saved set points in both of them, but from 3-all in the 4th set was able to win only one game to the end of the match losing nine. He has never reached a fourth round at majors in 31 appearances! mahut_simon_rg15Five-set records: Simon 16-9, Mahut 3-8. “He can play very well everywhere, and that’s his strength,” Simon said of Wawrinka. “When he plays well, you’d better be ready. He has very strong shots. He has a beautiful serve.” Fourth seed Tomas Berdych prevailed over home favourite Benoit Paire on Friday to reach the Roland Garros fourth round. The Czech beat the Frenchman 6-1 6-7(5) 6-3 6-4 to reach the Round of 16 here for a fifth time. Berdych already led 4:0* (30/15) in the 4th set, but the nonchalant Frenchman strongly supported by the partisan crowd cut the deficit to 4:5 (15-all) when Berdych won an interesting rally & quickly another two points. He next meets his peer Jo-Wilfried Tsonga. The Frenchman hit 41 winners to beat Pablo Andujar 7-6(3) 6-4 6-3 in 2 hours and 30 minutes. “I think my level was great,” said Tsonga. “I did the job I was supposed to do. Now it’s going to be harder and harder, of course. But I know to win a few more matches I will need to be really strong.” In the last match of the day, No. 13 seed Gael Monfils prevailed over No. 21 seed Pablo Cuevas 4-6 7-6(1) 3-6 6-4 6-3. The Frenchman was down a double break in the 4th set (1:4, deuce) before storming back to force a decider, in which the Uruguayan led 1:0 (40/15), but committed a double fault and again lost a few straight games. Monfils hit 48 winners and saved six of the 12 break points he faced in the 3 hour, 22-minute battle. “Paris is different; [it] is magic,” said Monfils. “I don’t know how, but I’m here… I think I can show some new emotion, I can show some tennis and I can show some side of me I don’t even know. I think the crowd just brings me something, something else, and I think it just showed a bit more today.” Monfils has now won more five-setters in Paris than anyone else in the Open era – 13. World No. 1 Novak Djokovic raised his game Saturday to overcome the challenge of rising Australian teenager Thanasi Kokkinakis, beating the 19 year old 6-4 6-4 6-4. Kokkinakis went to ‘deuce’ on Djokovic’s serve only once, in the 2nd set trailing 1:2. The Serb hit 34 winners to just 12 unforced errors as he claimed the pair’s first meeting. Next up for Djokovic will be home hope Richard Gasquet, who beat No. 15 seed Kevin Anderson 4-6 7-6(4) 7-5 6-4 to reach the fourth round here for the fourth time, equalling his best Roland Garros result. The No. 20 seed also reached the Round of 16 in 2011 (l. to Djokovic), 2012 (l. to Murray) and 2013 (l. to gasquet_rg15Wawrinka). The Frenchman needed 3 hours and 33 minutes to beat the South African, who fired 22 aces and hit 62 winners in the match. Gasquet hit 44 of his own winners and saved 12 of the 13 break points he faced (the most important ones trailing 3:4, 0/40 in the 3rd set). Seventh seed David Ferrer was pushed to the brink in his third-round match against Simone Bolelli on Saturday. The 2013 runner-up prevailed 6-3 1-6 5-7 6-0 6-1 in 3 hours and 11 minutes to advance to the fourth round in Paris for the seventh time. In the second straight Roland Garros meeting between the two players, Ferrer hit 40 winners to Bolelli’s 49, and benefitted from 58 unforced errors made by the Italian. The Spaniard holds a 5-1 record in five-set matches in Paris. Ferrer will next face ninth seed Marin Cilic, who earlier advanced to the fourth round with a 6-3 6-2 6-4 win over No. 23 seed Leonardo Mayer. The Croat hit 37 winners and saved five of the six break points he faced in the two-hour, five-minute match, two hours shorter than their match in the third round at Roland Garros five years ago. Cilic has won three straight matches for the first time this year. World No. 3 Andy Murray was too good for the other rising Australian star Nick Kyrgios on Saturday, beating the 20-year-old 6-4 6-2 6-3. Murray showed his experience and guile in the much-billed third-round contest, taking advantage of an ailing Kyrgios – struggling with a right forearm injury – to prevail in just under two hours. “I think he’s one of the best defenders of the game at the moment,” Kyrgios said of Murray. “I wasn’t near one hundred per cent. Not to take anything from him; he played unbelievable.” Murray goes on to face home hope Jeremy Chardy, who ousted No. 17 seed David Goffin 6-3 6-4 6-2. The 28-year-old Frenchman hit 39 winners and converted six of his 11 break point opportunities in 1 hour and 44 minutes. “It’s helping a lot, for sure,” Chardy said of playing in front of his home crowd. “I played all of my sock_rg15matches on Court No. 1, and the atmosphere was amazing. They pushed me and they helped me during the whole match, so for sure it will help me against Andy.” Rafael Nadal continued his ruthless run of form Saturday at Roland Garros, dismissing Andrey Kuznetsov 6-1 6-3 6-2. Nadal, who is bidding for an unprecedented 10th title in Paris, will face Jack Sock on Monday. It will be their first meeting. Sock needed just under two hours to dispatch Croatian 18-year-old Borna Coric 6-2 6-1 6-4, firing six aces and 31 winners. The American was dominant on serve, claiming 88 per cent (30/34) first serve points and staving off the lone break point faced. “It was a good day for me,” Sock said. “I was fortunate enough to play great tennis. And once again, things I was looking to do I was able to do that very well today. In general, I think he plays pretty far behind the baseline and kind of lets the opponent maneuver the ball a little bit. He’s a great defender, makes a lot of balls, and is very quick. I usually feel pretty good when I’m hitting a lot of forehands, especially from the left side of the court, and able to move the ball around and dictate play. I was able to do that today fortunately.

Second round: ATP

The eighth seed Stan Wawrinka knocked out Dusan Lajovic 6-3 6-4 5-7 6-3 in 2 hours and 37 minutes. He improves to a 24-8 match record on the season. “I feel good, [it was a] good win for me,” said Wawrinka. “In general, I started well, played well. I had some trouble with my serve, but that’s it. I’m happy to get through one more match. It was a good level in general. That’s the most important for me.” Tomas Berdych defeated Davis Cup teammate Radek Stepanek 6-3 6-7(7) 6-3 6-3 on Wednesday in Paris, extending his winning streak against fellow Czechs to 10 matches. It marked just the fifth all-Czech men’s match at Roland Garros since the Czech Republic became an independent nation in 1993. “Radek put in a very great game for the time that he’s been out,” said Berdych, who blew a set point  in the 2nd set to worsen a bit his great tie-break record this year (14-3). Gael Monfils, the No. 13 seed, improved to 14-10 lifetime in five-set matches cuevas_rg15after he fought past 23 cm shorter Diego Schwartzman 4-6 6-4 4-6 6-2 6-3, hitting 68 winners. It was his 100th match win on clay courts. “Today I won because I had the crowd behind me,” said Monfils, who saved a break point at 2-all in the 4th set to win five straight games to take the full control over the inferior opponent. The 2008 semi-finalist, now meets No. 21 seed Pablo Cuevas, who took out last week’s Nice titlist Dominic Thiem 7-6(7) 7-5 6-7(5) 7-5. The 29-year-old player, who tries to become the first Uruguayan in the Top 20, needed almost 4 hours to eliminate the youngster (Cuevas saved a set point in the tie-break & was two points away from losing the 4th set). In other five-set struggle with a 1-2 deficit erased, Benjamin Becker surprisingly ousted Fernando Verdasco 6-4 0-6 1-6 7-5 10-8 in 3 hours 15 minutes, being two points away from defeat in the 4th set. In the first round Becker was three points away from defeat in the 4th set (vs Ruben Bemelmans). Nine years ago Verdaasco defeated Becker 9-7 in the decider at Wimbledon… Roger Federer did not have everything all his own way Wednesday when he advanced to the Roland Garros third round. The second seed and 2009 champion battled back from 2:4 and 0:2 deficits in the second and third sets of a 6-2 7-6(1) 6-3 victory over Marcel Granollers. “I think I was actually playing very well,” said Federer. “I wasn’t nervous really. I think things went well for me for the first couple of sets.” Kei Nishikori passed a big test Wednesday to reach the Roland Garros third round for a second time. Fifth seed Nishikori came through a 7-5 6-4 6-4 win over Thomaz Bellucci, who had recorded the 100th clay court match-win of his career Saturday in lifting the Geneva trophy. “I’m feeling really good [about my first] two matches and winning three straight sets against a tough player like Thomaz. I’m very happy to be going to the next round,” the Japanese said after the victory. “This year I’m feeling comfortable and very confident, and my body is good. [My] mentality is also good, so I’m very focused. I hope to try to do well here, and let’s see what happens.” Marin Cilic continued to build his confidence Thursday at coric_rg15Roland Garros. The ninth seed advanced to the third round for a fourth straight year after he knocked out qualifier Andrea Arnaboldi 7-6(3) 6-1 6-1 for his 15th match win at the clay-court major. The Croat withstood one set point in the opener. There are two teenagers in the third round of a Grand Slam for the first time since the 2008 US Open after Borna Coric outlasted Tommy Robredo 7-5 3-6 6-2 4-6 6-4: 3 hours 52 minutes. In the final set Coric held twice from break points, but was broken at 3-all. Despite Robredo’s amazing five-set record, the young Croat managed to win the final three games producing three winners in the last game. Robredo, unbeaten in five-setters over seven years, drops to 16-5 in deciding fifth sets (76%) which means it is rather unlikely that he will have possessed the best 5-set record percentage wise (Johan Kriek & Bjorn Borg share 81%) in the end of his career. Rafael Nadal started to find his range Thursday when he improved to 19-2 against fellow Spaniards at Grand Slam championships to advance to the Roland Garros third round. The nine-time champion notched his 13th win in 14 meetings against Nicolas Almagro 6-4 6-3 6-1 to extend his record to 68-1 at the clay-court major he has dominated over the past 10 years. “I’m very happy,” said Nadal. “I think I played a good match. The score is easier than what the match was like. I think I did a few things very well.” Nadal’s biggest nemesis & potential quarter-final opponent, world No. 1 Novak Djokovic extended his winning streak to 24 matches on Thursday with a 6-1 6-4 6-4 victory over lefty Gilles Muller. Djokovic took out the 32-year-old veteran for kokkinakis_rg15a second straight Grand Slam, having also defeated the Luxembourg native in the Australian Open round of 16. The Serb needed treatment for his hip during the match, but afterwards dismissed any significant injury concerns. “Well, thankfully it’s nothing major,” said the Serb. “So it’s not a concern for the next match, which is the most important thing, obviously. It wasn’t pleasant with the conditions that were changing today, and I think a little bit of heavier conditions made the court a little bit more wet and it was pretty slippery.” World No. 84 Thanasi Kokkinakis once again showed why he has been billed as a rising star on the ATP World Tour as he clawed his way back from a two-set deficit and saved three match points to defeat fellow Australian Bernard Tomic. With the 3-6 3-6 6-3 6-4 8-6 victory, 19-year-old Kokkinakis becomes the first teenager to reach the third round at Roland Garros since Ernests Gulbis (19) reached the quarter-finals in 2008. After regaining the momentum heading into the decisive set, Kokkinakis found himself down a break and 2:5. He saved three match points against the 26th seed while serving in the 8th game, eventually closing out the contest in 3 hours and 27 minutes. “I don’t think either one of us was playing great tennis the first two, three sets,” Kokkinakis said afterward. “Eventually I kept hanging in there. I trusted my fitness, and it paid off.” Kokkinakis also took a nasty spill in the 4th set, cutting and bruising his hip after falling on his racquet handle. “I went to react to a smash, and I think I tripped and fell and my racquet landed on the ground before me,” he explained. “My hip landed straight on the grip or the throat of the racquet or something. It’s pretty bruised right now, but that’s all right.” The 6’5” Adelaide native served up 19 aces for a total of 71 winners and won 11 of 13 points at the net. Andy Murray drew on his greater match experience Thursday in his andujar_rg15second round win at Roland Garros. Third seed Murray won his sixth straight match against Joao Sousa 6-2 4-6 6-4 6-1. He is now 12 matches unbeaten on clay this season and will face Nick Kyrgios on Saturday. Sousa lost his 20-point, 15-minute first service game at the start of their sixth meeting. Ernests Gulbis, a 2014 semifinalist, lost in four sets to Nicolas Mahut. The Latvian is completely out of form this year & this defeat means he drops around 60 places in the ATP ranking. Two matches were halted due to darkness & continued the following day. Pablo Andujar won his match in these circumstances as he defeated Philipp Kohlschreiber 6-1 7-6(5) 3-6 3-6 6-4. When the match was suspended the German led 4:2* in the decider on Wednesday. On Thursday, he squandered two mini-match points at 4-all – the second one after punishing rally in which both players were lobbed. Andujar celebrated his dramatic victory on knees converting the first match point with a backhand passing-shot. The Spaniard usually loses five-setters & three-set matches in decisive tie-breaks (also involving match points wasted), so that victory is really special for him. Richard Gasquet & Carlos Berlocq left the Suzanne Lenglen court on Thursday at two sets apiece. After the resumption on Friday afternoon, the Frenchman was on fire, clinched the final set in 30 minutes and the entire match 3-6 6-3 6-1 4-6 6-1.

First round: ATP

Milos Raonic is the only Top 20 player to withdraw from the tournament… Stan Wawrinka began his bid for a second Grand Slam title with a win over Marsel Ilhan on Sunday at Roland Garros. The eighth seed hit 42 winners and saved all six break points he faced to win 6-3 6-2 6-3 in 1 hour and 36 minutes. “It was a great start, a good match, [I’m] feeling the ball well,” said Wawrinka. “I had only one hour of practice here in Paris, so I’m really happy to play that way already. My game is there. I’m feeling great on the clay since few weeks now. ‘[I] got the confidence back and [I’m] playing well. So I’m happy to get through in three sets.” Last year, Wawrinka fell to Guillermo Garcia-Lopez in his opener to become the first reigning Australian Open champion to lose in the first round at the subsequent Roland Garros since Petr Korda in 1998. falla_federerMarcos Baghdatis, whose best showing in Paris was a fourth-round berth in 2007, beat No. 25 seed Ivo Karlovic 7-6(5) 6-4 6-4. He will next face Damir Dzumhur, who advanced when Mikhail Youzhny retired after two sets played due to back pain. Roger Federer got his quest underway Sunday for a second Roland Garros title and 18th Grand Slam crown. Second seed Federer improved to 8-0 lifetime against ‘lucky loser’ Alejandro Falla with a 6-3 6-3 6-4 at the start of his 62nd straight Grand Slam championship. Federer hit 42 winners, including eight aces, converting three of his 15 break point opportunities for victory in 1 hour and 49 minutes. Gilles Simon led the French charge on Monday at Roland Garros, hitting 30 winners to beat compatriot Lucas Pouille 3-6 6-1 6-2 6-4 on Court Philippe Chatrier. “Things went well for me today,” said Simon. “It could have been a lot worse. Lucas came in very strong with his well-known game play. He was very focused and really started very strong. He sent me a strong message in the first set; the message was that I had to play better.” Gael Monfils began his Roland Garros quest by beating compatriot Edouard Roger-Vasselin 6-2 6-7(5) 6-1 7-5. The No. 13 seed hit 68 winners en route to the second round. “I’m happy because I was quite zen,” said Monfils. “I saved my strength to be able to boost things up. So given the difficult conditions, I’m quite happy I played many winning shots today, but I had some problem finding the game I wanted to find because of the wind.” David Goffin, playing his first tournament as the highest ranked Belgian in history, hit 45 winners in his 3-6 6-2 7-6(3) 6-1 defeat of Serbian Filip Krajinovic. The Belgian [18] trailed *0:4 in the 3rd set. “It was not an easy round; I expected that,” said Goffin. “I knew it would be tough. He’s a really good player, and this is what I saw today. But I managed to remain calm and serene.” Andy Murray made a confident start on his eighth tilt at the Roland Garros title. The third seed extended his unbeaten record on clay in 2015 by beating ‘lucky loser’ Facundo Arguello, playing just his second match at a Grand Slam championship, 6-3 6-3 6-1 on Monday evening. “The first set, I didn’t feel like it was great; I felt like it was difficult,” said Murray. Rafael Nadal began his quest for a 10th Roland Garros title on Tuesday. The sixth seed improved to a 67-1 record at the clay-court major after he beat wild card Quentin Halys 6-3 6-3 6-4 in 1 hour and 50 minutes. “When I had the chance to play normal points, I think I changed [rallies with] good directions with my forehand [and] very good forehands down the line,” said Nadal. Nadal is attempting to become only the second player in tennis history to win 10 or more trophies at one Grand Slam championship. Australian woman Margaret Court captured the Australian title on 11 hamou_janowiczoccasions between 1960 and 1973. Nadal will next play fellow Spaniard Nicolas Almagro, who won two less points than Alexandr Dolgopolov in a 6-3 2-6 6-4 7-6(6) victory saving a set point in the tie-break with a service winner. Meanwhile, Jerzy Janowicz also advanced with a 6-7(4) 6-3 6-4 6-4 win over Frenchman Maxime Hamou. The 24-year-old fired 15 aces for a total of 80 winners in the match.But the main talking point occurred after the clash when the Pole grabbed his opponent’s hand at the net. After finally relinquishing their grasp, the pair start pointing at each other and exchange words – prompting a few boos from the crowd. Janowicz explained later that his anger stemmed from a moment during the match when he took exception to his opponent firing a return at him, despite the serve being called out. “I said: ‘You’re supposed to say sorry,'” Janowicz mentioned afterwards. Jack Sock [37] recorded one of the biggest wins of his career Tuesday. The 22-year-old American clinched just his 14th win on clay when he defeated Grigor Dimitrov, the No. 10 seed, 7-6(7) 6-2 6-3 for a place in the Roland Garros second round. “Today was a great match for me,” said Sock. “Things that I look to do well when I’m playing my matches I thought I did very well today: serving, forehand.” World No. 1 Novak Djokovic extended his winning streak to 23 matches on Tuesday as he started his 11th tilt at the Roland Garros title. Djokovic’s quest for complete a career Grand Slam began with a 6-2 7-5 6-2 win over Jarkko Nieminen in 2 hours and 4 minutes for a place in the second round. “It was a test, it was a challenge for me to come back to the court again after first match after Rome final,” said Djokovic. “And obviously it’s been a year since I played”. Nieminen had a break point leading 4:1 in the 2nd set, then at 5:3 (30/0) couldn’t deal with Djokovic’s two powerful forehand returns, and the Serbian never looked back. In the second round the best player in the world faces Gilles Muller, who came back from a *1:3 deficit in the 3rd set & 1:4 in the 4th set tie-break to beat Paolo Lorenzi 4-6 4-6 7-6(1) 7-6(5) 6-4 (the match was halted due to darkness at two sets apiece). David Ferrer recorded the 300th clay-court match win of his career on Tuesday. The seventh seed became just the second active player to reach the milestone (300-117 overall) on red dirt, joining Nadal – the player he lost to in the 2013 Roland Garros final. Ferrer struck 32 winners, including eight aces, and converted seven of his nine break point opportunities in a 6-1 6-3 6-1 victory over No. 94-ranked Lukas Lacko. Ninth seed Marin Cilic arnaboldi_rg15took out Robin Haase 6-2 6-4 6-2 in his first Grand Slam match since capturing the 2014 US Open title last fall. After being sidelined by a shoulder injury during the first three months of this season, the 26-year-old Croat knows each win will help rebuild his confidence. He will next play qualifier Andrea Arnaboldi, a 4-6 6-7(7) 7-6(4) 7-6(2) 6-0 4-hour 13-minute victory over James Duckworth. Arnaboldi hit 60 winners, including 13 aces. The 27-year-old Italian saved a match point in the 3rd set. It’s his third consecutive win in exceptional circumstances. In his second round qualifying match, Arnaboldi [187] co-created the longest match in qualies at Roland Garros, overcoming Pierre-Hugues Herbert 6-4 3-6 27-25 after 4 hours 26 minutes (previous longest set 22-20 in 1996) saving mini-match points in three different games. Fighting for a place in the main-draw, Arnaboldi defeated Marco Trungelliti 5-7 7-5 6-3 coming back from a 2:5* deficit in the 2nd set! One of the most experienced players in the Open Era in terms of number of tournaments, Mikhail Youzhny hurt his head during a match vs Nicolas Almagro seven years ago in Miami. The Russian was blooding after hitting his head a few times with a racquet. He did it again in Paris (hit himself 11 times in a row), this time after losing the first two sets to Damir Dzumhur, and decided to retire due to back injury…