Franch Open Day 11: Djokovic through, semis taking shape

Published by Paul Moore

Novak Djokovic wrapped up the win after three days on Chatrier. Photo: Getty Images
Djokovic and Serena march into the quarters as Murray and Wawrinka book their semifinal spots.

Zut alors! They finally managed to get through a day’s worth of tennis at Roland Garros. Yes, on a busy (albeit grey and cold) day at the French Open, the fourth round finally wrapped up and the pointy end of the tournament got underway.

The men’s matches:
Let’s start with the matches that felt like they were never ending. Novak Djokovic finally made his way into the quarterfinals after wrapping up an epic three-day 3-6 6-4 6-1 7-5 win over Roberto Bautista Agut. The Serb, who became the first man to earn $100m in career prize money in the process, finished things off relatively quickly as the rain threatened to fall once again.

“It was mentally and physically tough to win. I’m very glad to have finished the match today,” Djokovic said. “I had to play concentrated and with intensity.

“I was able to save some energy for tomorrow.”

Which is exactly the opposite of what Tomas Berdych was hoping to hear after he dismissed David Ferrer 6-3 7-5 6-3 on Suzanne-Lenglen. The Czech has beaten Djokovic twice in their previous 25 meetings so, well, he’ll be hoping the World No.1 is a little more knackered than he’s actually letting on.

Two other fourth round matches wrapped up in the rain yesterday, with David Goffin ending Ernests Gulbis 4-6 6-2 6-2 6-3 and Dominic Thiem downing Marcel Granollers 6-2 6-7(2) 6-1 6-4.

Moving swiftly in to the quarterfinals and Andy Murray overcame a habitual French Open blip to wander blithly past the last Frenchman in the draw, Richard Gasquet. The French favourite started strong and took the opener 7-5, wasn’t so strong in the second and lost it 6-7(3) and then got wiped off the court by the No.2 seed 0-6 2-6 to leave the dreams of a French French Open winner crumpled in the soggy mud for another year.

Defending champion Stan Wawrinka found life a bit more straightforward, and booked his spot in the semifinals with a 6-2 6-1 7-6(7) shellacking of Albert Ramos-Vinolas.

The women’s action:

After so many delays, it’s no wonder that Serena Williams was in such a hurry to get things done and dusted against Elina Svitolina. The World No.1 was in utterly ruthless form against a dangerous opponent, sweeping her aside 6-1 6-1. It’s the 18th straight set that Serena has won since the start of the tournament in Rome.

Life wasn’t so peachy for big sister, Venus, who found herself on the end of a 6-2 6-4 walloping from Timea Bacsinszky. Bacsinszky, who has a stunning capacity to be both ‘on’ and ‘off’ at the same tournament, will go on to face the unheralded Kiki Bertens for a spot in the semifinals. Bertens downed American Madison Keys 7-6(4) 6-3.

Sam Stosur’s dream run at the French Open continued, the Australian smashing Tsvetana Pironkova 6-4 7-6(6). After a slow start, Stosur fought back from 2-4 and three break points to sweep the first set 6-4. The second was a much tighter affair, with Sam getting the win in a nervy breaker.

“I love playing here. I love this (centre court),” Stosur said. “I’m very fortunate to have had many good tournaments here. This is another one, it’s great.”

In the other quarterfinal Garbine Muguruza put an end to Shelby Rogers dream tournament. The Spanish No.4 seed booked her spot in the semifinals with a 7-5 6-3 win.

Ones to watch:

Men’s quarterfinals day is always a good one, but it would be a brave soul who backed Berdych for the win over Djokovic later today. Goffin v Thiem should be a lot of fun, though.

On the women’s side, it’s hard to see Yulia Putintseva putting the fear of God into Serena Williams but you never know. And Kiki Bertens v Timea Bacsinszky might not say blockbuster but it is. Obviously. And who knows who is going to win that one?

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