On an action-filled 9th day at French Open, each one of men’s ‘Big Four’ and world no.1 Serena Williams won their matches to enter quarterfinals. However, reigning women’s champions Maria Sharapova got unlucky to lose against Czech Republic’s Lucie Safarova. Roger Federer had his match completed against Frenchman Gael Monfils and entered the quarterfinal to take on compatriot Stan Wawrinka next. Two other Frenchmen went out of contention, when Jeremy Chardy lost his match to Britain’s Andy Murray and Richard Gasquet fell easy prey to world no.1 Novak Djokovic. Defending champion Rafael Nadal lost a set against USA’s Jack Sock before winning. Serena Williams kept herself on course for another Grand Slam crown but women’s no.4 seed, Petra Kvitova suffered a shock fourth round defeat against Switzerland’s Timea Bacsinszky. Among women, Spain’s no.21 seed Garbine Muguruza defeated Italian Flavia Pennetta and Sara Errani reached the QF by winning against Julia Gorges of Germany.
Murray had a tough fourth round match against France’s Jeremy Chardy but the Scot managed to remain unbeaten on clay this season. In an engrossing encounter at Suzanne Lenglen, Murray faced problems in the first set before taking it at 6-4. In the second set, Chardy began with an early break to lead 3-1. The Frenchman continued with his audacious shot-making and won the second set at 6-3. Murray had to summon his full strength and drove Chardy into committing errors in the third set. On his serve in the 8th game, Chardy committed his 9th double fault and yielded at 5-3 advantage to Murray. After the Scot served out for the third set, he held an upper hand in the fourth. By this time, Chardy’s game had become too erratic and he looked like running out of ideas. Murray controlled the match and entered the quarterfinal with 6-4, 3-6, 6-3, 6-2 victory.
Since 2010, it was the first time that last year’s winner Maria Sharapova has made an earliest exit at Roland Garros. She had her match against Czech Lucie Safarova cancelled on Sunday. On Monday, however, Sharapova looked subdued against Safarova and made too many errors. The first set went to the tiebreak before the 13th seeded Safarova took it at 7-6, Safarova kept the momentum going with neatly placed drives that found the corners and beat Sharapova who couldn’t find her range of shots as she went down 6-7, 4-6. For the semifinal berth, Safarova will take on Spain’s Garbine Muguruza, who defeated Italy’s Flavia Pennetta 6-3, 6-4.
In the meanwhile, top seed Serena Williams suffered the first set debacle against countrywoman Sloane Stephens. Serena was broken thrice as she committed too many unforced errors and lost the first set 1-6. The world no.1 recovered in the second set somewhat as Stephens carried on the momentum but the world’s 40th ranked women couldn’t prevent Serena from taking the set 7-5. Both women fought hard in the decider but once Serena took a 3-2 lead, she managed to hold off Stephens and took the match 1-6, 7-5, 6-3.
Roger Federer and Gael Monfils returned to Philippe Chatrier to carry on from where they left on Sunday. Monfils had taken the second set earlier but as they began, Federer was unstoppable and finished the match in four sets 6-3, 4-6, 6-4, 6-1. In the quarterfinal, Federer will face compatriot Stan Wawrinka on Tuesday.
Finally, Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic are ready for the much-awaited quarterfinal showdown on Wednesday. It will also be a repeat of their championship match in 2014. On Monday, Nadal completed his 70th win at Roland Garros with a victory over USA’s Jack Sock. The nine-time champion took the first two sets but dropped the third. Then Nadal raised his game to emerge victorious at 6-3, 6-1, 5-7, 6-2. The fourth round loss against Sweden’s Robin Soldering is the lone defeat that Nadal has tasted at Roland Garros in a decade. His quarterfinal opponent and world no.1 Novak Djokovic didn’t face any problem in outplaying the 10th seeded Frenchman Richard Gasquet 6-1, 6-2, 6-3.
The best debut at Roland Garros belonged to Belgium’s world no.93 Alison Van Uytvanck, who has stunned everyone by reaching the quarter-finals in Paris on her first outing. The 21-year-old had little problems in getting past Romania’s world no.100 Andreea Mitu 6-1, 6-3. In the quarterfinal, Alison will take on 24th seed Swiss Timea Bacsinszky, who caused Monday’s biggest upset in defeating no.4 seed Petra Kvitova of Czech Republic 2-6, 6-0, 6-3. Two other tennis stars marched quietly into the quarterfinals on Monday. Spain’s David Ferrer defeated Croat Marin Cilic 6-2, 6-2, 6-4 while Italian 17th seed Sara Errani crushed Germany’s Julia Gorges 6-2, 6-2.
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