FRENCH OPEN 2015: Day 8 Preview

Nine time champion Rafael Nadal, top seeded Novak Djokovic and third seeded Andy Murray all made short work of their opposition to advance to the last 16 of the French Open 2015. The trio advanced in straight sets on Saturday; Djokovic beating the Australian Thanasi Kokkinakis while Andy Murray accounted for the other Special K from Australia Nick Kyrgios. Both Djokovic and Murray are 13-0 this year on European clay with Djokovic on a 25 match winning streak. Nadal was also impressive in his win over the Russian Andrey Kuznetsov.

Joining them were the reigning U.S. Open champion Marin Cilic of Croatia who finally seems to have found form after missing the first two months of 2015 with a shoulder injury. He beat the Argentine Leonardo Mayer who was the hero of the Davis Cup win over their South American neighbours Brazil in straight sets. The Spaniard David Ferrer surprisingly needed five sets to beat the Italian Simone Bolleli coming from 1-2 behind in sets. Ferrer won 12 of the last 13 games. There was a good win for the lone American left in the draw Jack Sock who easily beat the Croatian teenager Borna Coric in straight sets. Coric who had an energy sapping five set win against the veteran Spaniard Tommy Robredo in the previous round, was demolished in the first two sets and despite a better effort in the third, never recovered.

There were two French winners on a somewhat lacklustre day, Jeremy Chardy and Richard Gasquet made it five Frenchmen in the last 16 stage. Jo Wilfred Tsonga, Giles Simon and Gael Monfils had progressed earlier on Friday. Both men defeated players ranked above them in ATP rankings, Chardy won in straight sets against the little Belgian David Goffin while Richard Gasquet took four sets to knock out the tall South African Kevin Anderson in four sets to set up a clash against Djokovic. The other pre-quarter finals to be played on Monday, Murray plays Chardy, Nadal faces Sock while Ferrer will battle against Cillic.

The pre-quarter final line up to be played on Day 8 in the men’s section with my pick mentioned first :-

Kei Nishikori (5) v. Teymuraz Gabashvili
Tomas Berdych (4) v. Jo Wilfred Tsonga (14)
Stanislas Wawrinka (8) v. Giles Simon (12)
Roger Federer (2) v. Gael Monfils (13)

In the ladies singles, the reigning Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova played her best match of the tournament to beat the Romanian Irina-Camelia Begu 6-3,6-2 while Allison Van Uytvanck put out the Frenchwoman Kristina Mladenovic 6-4,6-1. The young American Sloane Stephens also had the same scoreline against Tsvetana Pironkova. The former champion Francesca Schiavone bowed out to the Romanian Andrea Mittu 7-5,6-4 while the Swiss Timea Bacinsky and the German Julua Goerges accounted for the Americans Madison Keys and Irina Falconi respectively.

The former finalist Italian Sara Errani was too strong for the German Andrea Petkovic but the best match of the day concluded the day’s proceedings on court Phillipe Chatrier as the top seeded American Serena Williams battled against the former world number one Victoria Azarenka of Belarus. In a match worthy of a grand slam final Azarenka coasted throught the first set 6-3 and looked poised for an upset as she led 4-2 with a service break only for the 19 time major winner to claim the next four and with it the second set 6-4. Azarenka the 27th seed broke in the opening game of the final set and led 2-0, but almost inevitably Williams reeled off the last six games to clinch the decider 6-2 in the 2 hour 2 minute match.

– Rasesh Mehta [Rasesh Mehta is an analyst with the Tennis Galaxy.You can reach him at the email: sportzcosmos@gmail.com]

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