Nadal motors into last-eight round as women’s champion exits

Published June 5, 2017
PARIS: Garbine Muguruza of Spain hits a return during her 
fourth-round match against Kristina Mladenovic of France at Roland Garros on Sunday.—Reuters
PARIS: Garbine Muguruza of Spain hits a return during her fourth-round match against Kristina Mladenovic of France at Roland Garros on Sunday.—Reuters

PARIS: Nine-time champion Rafael Nadal surged into the French Open quarter-finals for a record-equalling 11th time on Sunday, while reigning women’s title-holder Garbine Muguruza crashed out in the last 16.

Nadal continued his ruthless form at Roland Garros by dispatching Spanish 17th seed Roberto Bautista Agut 6-1, 6-2, 6-2 to match Roger Federer’s mark of last-eight appearances in Paris.

The 14-time major winner is yet to drop a set, conceding just six games in the last two rounds as he strives to become the first man to win 10 titles at a single Grand Slam.

“I’m happy because Roberto is a very good player. It’s very important for me to be in the quarter-finals one more time,” said Nadal, who turned 31 on Saturday. “Probably I didn’t play as well as I did the other day, but I still played well.”

The fourth seed will meet compatriot Pablo Carreno Busta, through to his first Slam quarter-final, for spot in the last four after the latter stunned Canada’s Milos Raonic.

Carreno Busta, seeded 20th, needed seven match points to clinch a thrilling 4-6, 7-6 (7-2), 6-7 (6-8), 6-4, 8-6 win over the fifth-seeded Raonic in four hours and 17 minutes.

Defending champion Novak Djokovic will also become an 11-time quarter-finalist in Paris if he defeats Spain’s Albert Ramos-Vinolas later Sunday.

Japan’s Kei Nishikori fought off a fierce five-set challenge from rising South Korean talent Hyeon Chung to clinch a place in the last 16.

Eighth seed Nishikori led two sets to one but trailed by a double break at 3-0 down in the fourth set when rain halted play on Saturday.

Chung forced the contest into a deciding set as play resumed on Sunday, but the world No 67 double faulted on match point to gift Nishikori a 7-5, 6-4, 6-7 (4-7), 0-6, 6-4 victory.

“I think the rain helps me a lot, because I was really down in the fourth set and mentally I wasn’t ready,” admitted Nishikori. “I knew I had to change something to beat him today, so I think I made some adjustments to make little better than yesterday.”

It was the first third-round meeting between two Asian players at Roland Garros, with 2014 US Open finalist Nishikori going on to play Fernando Verdasco for a place in the quarter-finals.

Karen Khachanov will play Andy Murray in the fourth round after the giant Russian beat American 21st seed John Isner 7-6 (7-1), 6-3, 6-7 (5-7), 7-6 (7-3).

Kristina Mladenovic ensured France will have women in the quarter-finals for the first time since 1994 after dumping out fourth seed Muguruza 6-1, 3-6, 6-3.

The French 13th seed is through to just her second Slam quarter-final — after the 2015 US Open — and will face Venus Williams or Switzerland’s Timea Bacsinszky for a spot in the last four.

Danish 11th seed Caroline Wozniacki knocked off 2009 champion Svetlana Kuznetsova 6-1, 4-6, 6-2 to reach the last eight for just the second time.

Wozniacki, who made her only other quarter-final appearance at Roland Garros in 2010, will meet Latvian teenager Jelena Ostapenko next.

“Svetlana’s a great player, especially on clay so I knew it wouldn’t be easy,” said Wozniacki, a two-time US Open runner-up.

Second seed Karolina Pliskova advanced to round four with a 7-5, 6-1 victory over Germany’s Carina Witthoeft.

Pliskova, who had won just twice in five previous French Open appearances before this year, will face Paraguay’s Veronica Cepede Royg for a quarter-final spot.

World No 290 and qualifier Petra Martic reached the last 16 with a 6-1, 6-1 win over Latvian 17th seed Anastasija Sevastova.

Croatia’s Martic, a former top 50 player whose ranking slumped after a back injury sidelined her for 10 months, will face Ukraine’s Elina Svitolina.

“When I got injured, my only hope was that I would get a second chance so I can play some of my best tennis again,” said Martic. “I still can’t believe that I’m sitting here.” Fifth seed Svitolina downed Magda Linette of Poland 6-4, 7-5.

Sunday’s results (prefix number denotes seeding):

Men’s singles:

Fourth round:20-Pablo Carreno (Spain) bt 5-Milos Raonic (Canada) 4-6, 7-6 (7-2), 6-7 (6-8), 6-4, 8-6; 4-Rafa Nadal (Spain) bt 17-Roberto Bautista (Spain) 6-1, 6-2, 6-2.

Third round: 15-Gael Monfils (France) bt 24-Richard Gasquet (France) 7-6 (7-5), 5-7, 4-3 — Gasquet retired; Karen Khachanov (Russia) bt 21-John Isner (US) 7-6 (7-1), 6-3, 6-7 (5-7), 7-6 (7-3); 8-Kei Nishikori (Japan) bt Chung Hyeon (South Korea) 7-5, 6-4, 6-7 (4-7), 0-6, 6-4.

Women’s singles:

Fourth round: 13-Kristina Mladenovic (France) bt 4-Garbine Muguruza Blanco (Spain) 6-1, 3-6, 6-3; Jelena Ostapenko (Latvia) bt 23-Samantha Stosur (Australia) 2-6, 6-2, 6-4; 11-Caroline Wozniacki (Denmark) bt 8-Svetlana Kuznetsova (Russia) 6-1, 4-6, 6-2.

Third round: Veronica Cepede Royg (Paraguay) bt Mariana Duque (Colombia) 3-6, 7-6 (7-2), 6-3; 5-Elina Svitolina (Ukraine) bt Magda Linette (Poland) 6-4, 7-5; 2-Karolina Pliskova (Czech Republic) bt Carina Witthoeft (Germany) 7-5, 6-1; Petra Martic (Croatia) bt 17-Anastasija Sevastova (Latvia) 6-1, 6-1.

Published in Dawn, June 5th, 2017



By-election trends
Updated 23 Apr, 2024

By-election trends

Unless the culture of violence and rigging is rooted out, the credibility of the electoral process in Pakistan will continue to remain under a cloud.
Privatising PIA
23 Apr, 2024

Privatising PIA

FINANCE Minister Muhammad Aurangzeb’s reaffirmation that the process of disinvestment of the loss-making national...
Suffering in captivity
23 Apr, 2024

Suffering in captivity

YET another animal — a lioness — is critically ill at the Karachi Zoo. The feline, emaciated and barely able to...
Not without reform
Updated 22 Apr, 2024

Not without reform

The problem with us is that our ruling elite is still trying to find a way around the tough reforms that will hit their privileges.
Raisi’s visit
22 Apr, 2024

Raisi’s visit

IRANIAN President Ebrahim Raisi, who begins his three-day trip to Pakistan today, will be visiting the country ...
22 Apr, 2024


THE US has done it again. While officially insisting it is committed to a peaceful resolution to the...