#RG16 Day 5: Nadal ruthless, Serena advances

Published by Leigh Rogers


It was a star-studded schedule on day five of Roland Garros and it did not disappoint.

King in control…
With nine titles, Rafael Nadal is the undisputed King of Roland Garros. It’s clear it is a place he feels right at home at too – the fourth seed has lost only nine games in reaching the third round. Rafa was clinical in a 6-3 6-0 6-3 thrashing of Argentinean Facundo Bagnis – his 200th career Grand Slam win.

World No.1 Novak Djokovic didn’t have it quite so easy, pushed by Belgian qualifier Steve Darcis 7-5 6-3 6-4.

Either did Frenchman Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, who had to fight back from a two-set deficit against Cypriot Marcos Baghdatis to eventually prevail 6-7(6) 3-6 6-3 6-2 6-2.

“(I) prefer when it’s easier, but he did a good match. He just played perfectly, tactically in the first two, and he pushed me to give the best of myself. So I’m really happy to win today because it was not easy,” Tsonga said.

Out on court 14 it was a battle between two young talents – Australian Bernard Tomic and Croatia’s Borna Coric. It was the 19-year-old Coric who advanced in an enthralling 3-6 6-2 7-6(4) 7-6(6) battle.

Top women progress….
For those doubting top seed Serena Williams’ title chances, it might be time to reconsider. The world No.1 hit 31 winners and lost only nine points on serve in a 6-2 6-1 demolition of Brazilian claycourter Teliana Pereira.

Not to be outdone, older sister Venus followed on Suzanne Lenglen Court and posted an identical 6-2 6-1 victory over American qualifier Louisa Chirico.

Eighth seed Timea Bacsinszky also advanced, shaking off a challenge from Canadian Eugenie Bouchard in a match full of twists and turns. After a slow start, the Swiss won 10 straight games in the middle of a 6-4 6-4 win.

“It’s unacceptable really to lose ten games in a row in a match,” Bouchard surmised post-match.

The day wasn’t without drama – and of course it was Alize Cornet who delivered. It was a tense finish as the cramping Cornet defeated German Tatjana Maria 6-3 6-7(5) 6-4 much to the delight of local fans.

Keep an eye on…
Two former finalists go head-to-head on Philippe Chatrier Court on day six when Australian No.21 seed Sam Stosur meets Czech No.11 seed Lucie Safarova. The left-handed Safarova has won 11 of their 14 previous encounters – but expect a tough tussle.

Australian Nick Kyrgios follows, facing French favourite Richard Gasquet. It will be the seventh meeting between the pair and if previous matches have taught us anything, this is one not to miss. Who remembers Kyrgios saving nine match points to beat Gasquet at Wimbledon in 2014?

Sixth seed Simona Halep should be on upset alert – she faces rising big-hitter Naomi Osaka.


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