Kei Nishikori created history by becoming the second Japanese to reach men’s singles quarterfinals of the French Open in 82 years. In 1931 and 1933, Jiro Satoh of Japan had reached the semifinals and since then, no Japanese has reached the quarterfinals until Nishikori did that on Sunday. On a day interrupted by showers in the morning and bad light in the evening, local hope Jo-Wilfried Tsonga kept the French hopes alive by causing an upset as he beat Czech Tomas Berdych in his fourth round match. Tsonga will now take on Kei Nishikori in the quarterfinal. Switzerland’s 8th seed Stan Wawrinka was another man, who reached the quarterfinals after beating 12th seeded Frenchman Gilles Simon. Wawrinka will run into either Roger Federer or Gael Monfils, who were locked at one set all, when bad light shifted their match for the next day. The other star, whose match was cancelled due to poor light, was women’s defending champion Maria Sharapova. She will resume her last 16 clash with Lucie Safarova of the Czech Republic on Monday.
Sunday began with showers at the Roland Garros with both main courts covered. Proper play could resume only after two interruptions resulting into a combined delay of over 2 hours 40 minutes. At the Philippe Chatrier, local favorite and 29th seed Alize Cornet faced Ukraine’s Elina Svitolina. Many fans had sensibly brought umbrellas and raincoats with clouds rolling over Paris. Despite lack of crowd support, 19th-seeded Elina Svitolina took a 3-0 lead, before rains came again. When play resumed after 21 minutes, Svitolina carried the momentum to win the first set at 6-2 and despite a fight by Cornet, edged out the Frenchwoman in the second set tie-break. In another women’s fourth round match at Suzanne Lenglen, no.7 seed Ana Ivanovic of Serbia defeated Russian Ekaterina Makarova 7-5, 3-6, 6-1. For a place in the semifinal, Ivanovic will clash with Svitolina.
After three days of rest, Japanese Kei Nishikori looked fresh and energetic as he faced Russia’s Teymuraz Gabashvili in another fourth round match. The Japanese quickly raced to a 5-2 lead in the first set before winning at 6-3. Nishikori continued the momentum in the next two sets and finished an easy 6-3, 6-4, 6-2 victory over the Russian. Nishikori also became only the second Japanese to reach the last eight at Roland Garros after Jiro Satoh made it to semifinals in 1931 and 1933. Now to get a semifinal berth, Nishikori will have to get past Frenchman Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, who played marvelous tennis to ease out no.4 seed Tomas Berdych of the Czech Republic. Berdych, who has had a great 2015 season so far, faced a charged up Tsonga, who had the entire stadium rooting for him. The Frenchman took the first two sets 6-3, 6-2 before Berdych bounced back and took the third on the tiebreak. But Tsonga was not bothered as he continued the good work and finished the match with the score of 6-4 in the fourth set.
Eighth-seeded Stanislas Wawrinka was up against another Frenchman Gilles Simon in his fourth round match but the Swiss star dominated play with a thumping 6-1, 6-4, 6-2 victory in under 2 hours. Wawrinka’s quarterfinal opponent will either be compatriot Roger Federer or Frenchman Gael Monfils. The fourth round match between Federer and Monfils had to be suspended due to bad light, at which time the set scores were level at 1-1. Second seeded Federer began with a bang and took the first set at 6-3 in 29 minutes. The tenacious Monfils, however leveled things up by taking the second 6-4 before the match referee called both players and they all agreed that light was too poor to continue. Light conditions also prevented any play in the match between defending champion Maria Sharapova and no.13 seed Lucie Safarova and that between Garbine Muguruza and Flavia Pennetta. These matches will now be played on Monday.
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