French Open 2016: Day 8 Review

After two five set matches in the first two rounds, Andy Murray has now beaten two of the most lethal servers in the men’s game back to back at the Roland Garros in Paris. On Sunday he overcame the American John Isner in straight sets, just two days after he beat the all time leader in aces served, Ivo Karlovic of Croatia also in straight sets.

Murray has been joined in the last eight by the defending champion Stanislas Wawrinka, the last remaining French hope Richard Gasquet and the Spanish left hander Albert Ramos Vinolas. The world no. 2 ranked Scot Andy Murray booked a third consecutive appearance in the quarterfinals in Paris with a 7-6(9), 6-4, 6-3 win over the 15th seeded American and improved to 6-0 in career meetings against the 6 ft 10 inch Isner.

It is also the sixth time that Murray has reached the last eight stage, the most quarters reached by a British man in Roland Garros history. Murray saved four set points in the first set including two in the tie-break, and converted on his second set point. After a 50 minute rain delay, the Dunblane native wasted little time and secured his ninth consecutive win of which five came in his title winning effort in Rome.

The defending champion Stanislas Wawrinka of Switzerland split the first two sets in tie-breaks against the Serbian Victor Troicki. The world No. 4, the highest ranked Swiss in the absence of Roger Federer, then stamped his authority on the 22nd seeded Serb to complete a 7-6(5), 6-7(7), 6-3, 6-2. The match was highlighted by Wawrinka playing with a ball kid as Troicki was receiving on court treatment from a trainer on court Philippe Chatrier.

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The remaining two spots have been secured by players from injury affected France and Spain at the expense of the promising sixth seeded Kei Nishikori of Japan and the eighth seeded Milos Raonic of Canada. Richard Gasquet, who is the lone Frenchman left in the draw following the withdrawal of the top ranked Frenchman Jo Wilfred Tsonga, relied on his trade mark one handed backhand to knock out Nishikori 6-4, 6-2, 4-6, 6-2.

Despite the withdrawal of nine time champion Rafael Nadal, there is still a Spanish left hander remaining in the draw as 55th ranked Albert Ramos-Vinolas produced some blistering stroke play to beat the out of sorts Milos Raonic of Canada 6-2, 6-4, 6-4. Vinolas next plays Wawrinka, while Murray takes on Gasquet.

The following is a list of matches in the round of 16 to be played on Monday with my pick mentioned first:-

Novak Djokovic (1) v. Roberto Bautista Agut (14)
Tomas Berdych (7) v. David Ferrer (11)
Dominic Thiem (13) v. Marcel Granollers
David Goffin (12) v. Ernests Gulbis.

Only two matches were completed in the ladies section of the draw as the 108th ranked Shelby Rogers of USA beat the Romanian Irina-Camelia Begu 6-3, 6-4 and last year’s Wimbledon finalist Garbine Muguruza of Spain beat the 2009 winner Svetlana Kuznetsova of Russia by an identical scoreline 6-3, 6-4.

The 2014 finalist, Simona Halep of Romania leads the 2011 U.S. Open champion and the 2010 runner up in Paris Samantha Stosur of Australia, 5-3 in the first set. The second seeded Agnieszka Radwanska of Poland was up 6-2, 3-0 against the Bulgarian Tsvetana Pironkova.

– 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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