Roger Federer had a tenacious opponent in Latvian Ernests Gulbis, who prevented the 17-time Grand Slam winner from entering the quarterfinals of the French Open for the first time in a decade. The shocked spectators watched with awe as Gulbis came through in five sets 6-7, 7-6, 6-2, 4-6, 6-3. In other matches played on Saturday and Sunday, Rafael Nadal went one step closer to his 9th French Open crown, defeating Argentine Leonardo Mayer, powerful Djokovic outplayed Frenchman Tsonga; David Ferrer beat Italian Andreas Seppi and Andy Murray survived a tough 5-set challenge from the German Philipp Kohlschreiber. Others progressing further at Roland Garros included; Tomas Berdych, Milos Raonic and Gael Monfils. Among women; Maria Sharapova survived a first-set scare from Sam Stosur; Angelique Kerber was done in by Eugenie Bouchard, Lucie Safarova beat Ana Ivanovic and Svetlana Kuznetsova beat Petra Kvitova in a classic encounter on Saturday.
Federer’s five-set defeat to Ernests Gulbis was the biggest news at the Philippe Chatrier court on Sunday. After taking the first set at 7-6, Federer led 5-3 in the second. From here, the match turned on its head. Federer allowed Gulbis to bounce back, when he had a chance to play decisive smash. Instead, Federer played weakly to Gulbis, who thumped a powerful winner. The Latvian went on to win the second set on tie-break. Gulbis dominated the third set but Federer won the fourth 6-4 to level set scores at 2-2. But Gulbis took the match 6-7, 7-6, 6-2, 4-6, 6-3 with Federer committing too many unforced errors in the decider.
In another match on Sunday, Novak Djokovic stamped his authority by scoring straight-sets victory over Jo-Wilfried Tsonga. Djokovic began with a 5-0 lead and finished the first set 6-1. In the second, Tsonga showed some resistance but the Serbian was too good to take it at 6-4. The third set went unnoticed in Djokovic’s favor with the Serb moving to the quarterfinal with a 6-1, 6-4, 6-1 victory. He now meets Milos Raonic for the semifinal spot. Besides Djokovic, Tomas Berdych’s clinical game resulted in his victory over American John Isner 6-4, 6-4, 6-4.
Dominant David Ferrer beat Italian Andreas Seppi 6-2, 7-6, 6-3 for a place in the fourth round. Ferrer was unrelenting against Seppi, except in the second set, which went to the tie-break. However, Wimbledon champion Andy Murray had the fullest stretch in his match against Germany’s Philipp Kohlschreiber, before winning the five-setter 3-6, 6-3, 6-3, 4-6, 12-10 in 4 hours and 7 minutes. After three sets, Murray led 2-1 with a 4-2 advantage in the fourth but the German pulled off a miracle, winning 4 straight games and leveled the set score 2-2. The final set went on serves until 7-7, when bad lights stopped play on Saturday. On Sunday, Murray took the final set 12-10 to set up his next clash with Spain’s Fernando Verdasco, who beat the 12th seed Richard Gasquet earlier on Sunday.
On Saturday, Rafael Nadal had a relatively easy time against Leonardo Mayer of Argentina. Nadal took the first set easily but Mayer broke him as he led 3-2 in the second. After some anxious moments, Nadal raised his game, caused a break-back and took the second set 7-5. The third set was over in no time with a 6-2 finish for Nadal, who next faces Dusan Lajovic of Serbia. In another match on Saturday, the Parisians didn’t know what to expect, when their favorite Gael Monfils fought a five-set duel with Fabio Fognini. The two guys traded service breaks in the first set before Fognini prevailed 7-5. But the Italian was no match to Monfils in the next two. In the fourth set, Monfils just existed as Fognini handed him a 6-0 crush. After some mid-field medical attention, Monfils rollicked in the final set to finish the match 5-7, 6-2, 6-4, 0-6, 6-2. Monfils’s fourth round opponent is Guillermo Garcia-Lopez, who beat Donald Young of US 6-2, 6-4, 2-6, 6-7, 6-4 in another five-set duel on Saturday.
In women’s singles fourth round match, Maria Sharapova lost the first set 3-6 to Australian Sam Stosur and trailed 3-4 in the second. But the Russian found her reserves to turn the match around and took nine straight games to close the match 3-6, 6-4, 6-0. Sharapova next faces Garbine Muguruza in the quarterfinals. In other women singles’ results; 6th seed Serbian Jelena Jankovic beat Romania’s Sorana Cirstea 6-1, 6-2, Simona Halep of Romania beat Spain’s Maria Teresa Torro-Flor 6-3, 6-0 and Canadian Eugenie Bouchard stunned 8th seed Angelique Kerber 6-1, 6-2 in just 52 minutes in a commanding performance. But the best women’s singles match involved Czech Republic’s Petra Kvitova and Russia’s Svetlana Kuznetsova. The two women captivated the crowd at the Philippe Chatrier Court in a slug-fest lasting over 3 hours, before Kuznetsova prevailed 6-7, 6-1 9-7. In the first set, Kvitova jumped to a 3-1 lead but the Russian came back to level 3-3. When the set went to the tie-break, Kvitova’s powerful game gave her the advantage as she took the set 7-6. In the second set, Kuznetsova rallied brilliantly to leave Kvitova dumbfounded. The thrills, however, returned in the third set, in which both women played marvelous tennis and it was really sad for Kvitova to lose 7-9 in the end.