Nine time champion Rafael Nadal made his first appearance at the Stade Roland Garros on Day 3 of the Championship where he owns a 66-1 record and like his friend and rival Roger Federer registered a 6-3,6-3,6-4 win over wildcard Quentin Halys of France. The world number One Novak Djokovic followed him on Court Phillipe Chatrier and began his quest for completing a career slam as he won an entertaining match against Finland’s Jarrko Nieminen. The Serb had to come from a break down in the second set before winning 6-3,7-5,6-2.
There were also wins for the 2013 finalist David Ferrer of Spain, the reigning US Open champion Marin Cilic of Croatia, the South African Kevin Anderson, the stylish French duo of Richard Gasquet and Jeremy Chardy, American John Isner and the Argentine Davis Cup heroes Leonardo Mayer and Carlos Berlocq who came through five setters against the Czech Republic’s Jiri Novak and Ukranian Illya Marchenko respectively. Nadal will play fellow Spaniard Nicholas Almagro who edged the talented Ukranian Alexander Dolgopolov nicknamed ‘The Dog’ in four sets. However the biggest upset of the tournament so far the 10th seeded Bulgarian Grigor Dmitrov was sent packing by the American Jack Sock in three sets 7-6(7),6-2,6-3. The 37th ranked Sock who won his first title on the clay courts of Houston in April relied on his big serve and once the first set was decided in a tense tie-break Dmitrov’s miserable year reached its all time low.
The bottom half matches to be played on Day 4 in the men’s section with my picks mentioned first :-
Kei Nishikori (5) v. Thomaz Bellucci
Fernando Verdasco (32) v. Benjamin Becker
Juan Monaco v. Teymuraz Gabashvili
Jo Wilfred Tsonga (14) v. Dudi Sela
Phillipe Kohlschreiber (22) v. Pablo Andujar
Tomas Berdych (4) v. Radek Stepanek
Fabio Fognini (28) v. Benoit Paire
Stanislas Wawrinka (8) v. Dusan Lajovic
Steve Johnson v. Sergiy Stakhovsky
Giles Simon (12) v. Martin Klizan
Ernest Gulbis (24) v. Nicolas Mahut
Gael Monfils (13) v. Diego Schwartzman
Pablo Cuevas (21) v. Dominic Thiem
Marcos Baghdatis v. Damir Dzumhur
Roger Federer (2) v. Marcel Granollers
Roberto Bautista Agut (19) v. Lukas Rosol
The reigning Wimbledon champion in the ladies section Petra Kvitova survived a scare against the unseeded Kiwi Marina Erakovic before coming through 6-4,3-6,6-4. Former World number one and the 2009 champion Svetlana Kuznetsova of Russia prevailed over the Dutchwomen Kiki Bertens 6-1,4-6,6-2. The top seed Serena Williams also advanced after a comfortable win over Andrea Hlavackova of the Czech Republic 6-2,6-3. However the French crowd was treated to a home win as Kristina Mladenovic caused a major upset as she beat the sixth seeded Canadian Eugene Bouchard 6-4,6-4. Mladenovic almost choked at 5-0 up in the second set as Bouchard got two service breaks back before the Frenchwoman finally managed to serve out the match. In action on Day four will be the defending champion Maria Sharapova of Russia and the runner up Simona Halep of Romania.
– Rasesh Mehta [Rasesh Mehta is an analyst with the Tennis Galaxy.You can reach him at the email: firstname.lastname@example.org]