Roland Garros – Day 8, 9 (4R)
There are records that seem untouchable, one of them belonged through 86 years to Henri Cochet, who triumphed at Wimbledon 1927 coming back from two sets down in three consecutive matches, however, nothing lasts forever. In the Open era several players managed to win two matches in a row trailing 0-2 in sets, but no-one did it three times until Sunday, when Tommy Robredo produced arguably the most astonishing comeback in his career #. He had lost all five meetings against Nicolas Almagro prior to their fourth round match, and after losing first two sets, he won another three being a break down in every one of them: *1:4, 2:4* & 0:2* respectively. He was also 3:4 down in the decider, but repeated the feat of two previous sets winning all games since the opponent had won four in a set. Robredo during the match was supported by the Parisian crowd like never before outside Spain, the crowd was chanting “Tommy! Tommy!”, and it brought Robredo to tears in the end. “I played a player who is incredible on clay,” said Robredo about his 3-hour, 49-minute victory. “I’m not thinking about history. History is this match I played today. It’s not the score that counts. Nothing more than that.” Besides Robredo, all other quarter-finalists were expected at this stage of the tournament. David Ferrer and Jo-Wilfried Tsonga have advanced to the last eight not even dropping a set. No-one even played a tie-break against Ferrer, yet Marinko Matosevic led *3:0 against him in a 2nd set of their first round encounter before losing all games to the end of set, Tsonga in turn, was forced to fight off a set point against Jarkko Nieminen. It seemed Roger Federer would enter the quarterfinals with four straight set victories too, when he won easily 1st set against Gilles Simon and led 3:2* (30/0) in the 2nd. Since then, Simon turned the things around, but Federer subdued him from 2-all in the 4th set collecting seven games in a row. Simon saved a couple of break points to end that streak and gave the hope to his numerous supporters gathered on Philippe Chartier stadium for a magnificent comeback. Federer serving to win the match was able to play all the most important points hitting all 1st serves in, and saved two break points to notch a 6-1 4-6 2-6 6-2 6-3 victory just under three hours. 17-time Grand Slam champion Federer won a record-tying 58th match at Roland Garros (Nicola Pietrangeli, Guillermo Vilas). The Swiss has now won 900 main-level matches, this milestone accomplished only three players before. Rafael Nadal revealed that elbow-pain was the reason of his uncertain form in the first three matches. The 7-time champion celebrated his 27th birthday with no pain and quick destruction of Kei Nishikori (6-4 6-1 6-3). It’s just one match away from his anticipated semifinal against Novak Djokovic, who dropped his 1st set of the tournament against Philipp Kohlschreiber, to whom lost their only previous encounter in Paris, four years ago. Kohlschreiber won then three sets ‘6-4’, and repeated the same scoreline in the opening set. Djokovic snapped that streak thanks to very important two games in the mid-2nd set when he broke the German, then held his serve and it lasted 18 minutes (8, 10) – Kohlschreiber wasn’t the same afterwards. “We were very close throughout my whole life and she taught me a lot of things that are part of me, part of my character today. I have the nicest memories of her. She was 77 years old, and before she passed away two days ago, last week she was giving lessons to kids.” said Djokovic about his first coach, Jelena Gencic, who died on Saturday. Stanislas Wawrinka and Richard Gasquet played perhaps the match of the event on Suzanne Lenglen. The Swiss came back for the sixth time in career from two sets down while Gasquet suffered his fifth defeat despite winning the first two sets. The highlight came in the 8th game of the 4th set when both guys exchanged nine consecutive points concluded with spectacular winners (5-4 edged Wawrinka). After that Gasquet delivered a service winner to save fifth break point and had mini-match points in two following Wawrinka’s service games. When Gasquet started limping at the end of the 4th set, I expected the decider would be quick, but he somehow regrouped and had another mini-match points at 5-all in the deciding set, it was a double break point – Wawrinka escaped with brave attitude and converted his only break point of the set in the last game. “I played the best level I ever played at,” said Wawrinka, who was broken only twice in the match (at the beginning of the 2nd set & trailed 0:4 in the consequence). Gasquet, a Wimbledon semifinalist in 2007, can’t even reach a major quarterfinal since then, the loss to Wawrinka is his 11th fourth round defeat in the meantime – he’s been ousted in the last 16 of the last six Grand Slam events! Tommy Haas with an unexpected ease dismissed Mikhail Youzhny, to whom lost in straight sets recently in Rome. The 35-year-old Haas has now advanced to quarterfinals at all majors, he is the first German in the quarterfinals in Paris since 1996, and sixth German overall of the Open era in the last eight of the French Open.
Longest match: 4 hours, 16 minutes. Stanislas Wawrinka d. Richard Gasquet 6-7(5), 4-6, 6-4, 7-5, 8-6
Most aces: 13 – Wawrinka against Gasquet
5-set barometer: 22-17 Roger Federer, 20-14 Stanislas Wawrinka, 13-4 Tommy Robredo, 13-11 Nicolas Almagro, 12-7 Gilles Simon, 5-12 Richard Gasquet
# Comebacks from a two-sets-to-love deficit in three straight matches:
Henri Cochet – Wimbledon 1927
Q – Frank Hunter 3-6, 3-6, 6-2, 6-2, 6-3
S – Bill Tilden 2-6, 4-6, 7-5, 6-4, 6-3
W – Jean Borotra 4-6, 4-6, 6-3, 6-4, 7-5 – 6 m.p.
Tommy Robredo – Roland Garros 2013
2 – Igor Sijsling 6-7(2), 4-6, 6-3, 6-1, 6-1
3 – Gael Monfils 2-6, 6-7(5), 6-2, 7-6(3), 6-2 – 4 m.p.
4 – Nicolas Almagro 6-7(5), 3-6, 6-4, 6-4, 6-4
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