FRENCH OPEN 2015: Day 9 Preview

The Frenchman Jo Wilfred Tsonga overcame the loss of the third set to outlast the fourth seeded Tomas Berdych of the Czech Republic in four sets 6-3,6-2,6-7(5),6-3 to reach the quarter-final of the French Open 2015 at the stade Roland Garros in Paris. The 14th seeded Tsonga was denied at the first attempt when serving at 5-4 in the third set and had to fight back from a service break down in the fourth set before finally sealing the 2 hour 58 minute showdown on court Phillipe Chatrier in front of a partisan crowd. Berdych who had a 35-9 record this year and had reached atleast the quarter-final of all the nine tournaments that he has played this year – without a title was always fighting with his back to the wall against an inspired Tsonga.

The Frenchman whose previous best showing was a semi-final loss to the Spaniard David Ferrer in 2013 now faces Kei Nishikori of Japan who was too clinical for the unseeded Russian Teymuraz Gabashvili winning in straight sets 6-3,6-4,6-2. The 74th ranked Gabashvili had not dropped a set in three matches at the Open but the gulf in ranking with the 5th ranked Nishikori who had a walkover from the German Benjamin Becker in the round of 32 clearly showed on the 1 hour 55 minute match on court Suzanne Lenglen.

Meanwhile the 2014 Australian Open champion Stanislas Wawrinka of Switzerland wasted little time in dispatching the local favourite Giles Simon. Simon, seeded 12th, is the highest ranked Frenchman with ATP ranking of 13. Simon who had too claw back from a 1-2 down in sets against countryman Nicholas Mahut looked completely off colour and the hard hitting 8th seed ran away a 6-1,6-4,6-2 winner.

He now awaits the winner of the highly anticipated showdown between his fellow Swiss Roger Federer and the Frenchman Gael Monfils. Federer got off to a quick start breaking serve in the second game and won the first set 6-3 in 29 minutes. Monfils who has a 4-8 head to head record responded brilliantly as he broke serve in the second game of the second set and looked poised to even the score at one set apiece. Federer  broke in style in the ninth game and it seemed to be headed for a tie-break. Monfils though had other ideas and hit two ferocious forehand winners to claim the second set 6-4. The match will be concluded on Monday on court Phillipe Chatrier.

The pre-quarter final line up to be played on Day 9 in the men’s section with my pick mentioned first :-

Novak Djokovic (1) v. Richard Gasquet (20)
Rafael Nadal (6) v. Jack Sock
Andy Murray (3) v. Jeremy Chardy
Marin Cilic (9) v. David Ferrer (7)
Roger Federer (2) v, Gael Monfils (13)

In the women’s section the 2008 champion Ana Ivanovic defeated the Russian Ekaterina Makarova 7-5,3-6,6-1 and now goes on to face the Ukrainian Elina Svitolina who ended the hopes of the last remaining Frenchwoman Alize Cornet 6-2,7-6(9). Both matches were interrupted by rain, for about 2 hours 30 minutes . Cornet saved five match points in the second set tie-break but Svitolina was not to be denied and in the end she was a worthy winner. The other two matches scheduled for the day have been postponed to Day 9. The defending champion Maria Sharapova who won this title in 2012 and 2014 is pitted against Lucie Safarova of the Czech Republic while the Spaniard Garbine Muruguza takes on the Italian Flavia Penneta.

The line-up for the other women’s singles matches in the last 16 is as under :-

Serena Williams v. Sloane Stephens
Timea Bacinsky v. Allison Van Uytvanck
Petra Kvitova v. Andreea Mittu
Sara Errani v. Julia Goerges

– 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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