French Open 2016: Day 11 Review

On a busy day following the first complete washout on Monday, the first since May 30, 2000, and a curtailed Tuesday, six matches were completed and all the fancied players advanced on Wednesday. While Novak Djokovic, Dominic Thiem, Tomas Berdych and David Goffin reached the last eight, defending champion Stanislas Wawrinka and Andy Murray booked a semi-final showdown to be played on Friday.

Top seeded Novak Djokovic completed his rain interrupted match against the 14th seeded Spaniard Roberto Bautista Agut 3-6, 6-4, 6-1, 7-5. The Serb stays on course to complete a career slam and non-calendar grand slam next faces the dangerous but under achieving Tomas Berdych in the last eight.

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The 7th seeded Czech defeated the 11th seeded Spaniard David Ferrer 6-3, 7-5, 6-3. The 2013 finalist Ferrer (loss to Nadal) had a 7-6 edge in career meetings against Berdych who has now reached the last eight at Roland Garros for the third time in his career. Berdych, who is, an unenviable 2-23, against Djokovic will be hoping he can repeat the result he had at Wimbledon 6 years ago. Djokovic, needless to say, will be hoping to continue to extend his domination of the Czech No.1

The promising Austrian, Dominic Thiem, dropped the second set in a tie-break to the Spaniard Marcel Granollers. The right handed Granollers had a walkover from the nine time champion Rafael Nadal in the third round. Thiem won 6-2, 6-7(2), 6-1, 6-4 and will now play the Belgian David Goffin in the last eight tomorrow.

The 12th seeded Goffin beat the Latvian Ernests Gulbis who too had advanced after Tsonga had conceded his third round match after injuring his groin. The 2014 semi-finalist Gulbis took the first set 6-4, but could make little impression in the next three as Goffin prevailed 4-6, 6-2, 6-2, 6-3.

Andy Murray has ended the hopes of a first French winner since Yannick Noah won the title in 1983, as he rallied after dropping the first set against the ninth seeded Gasquet. Murray was up 5-3 in the first set but lost the next four as Gasquet fought back and clinched the first set 7-5.

Murray then took the next set in a tie-break and then won 12 out of 14 games as he won 5-7, 7-6(3), 6-0, 6-2 to record his tenth straight win on clay which includes a maiden Italian Open on his birthday on May 15 (beat Djokovic).

The defending champion Stanislas Wawrinka powered to a 6-2, 6-1, 7-6(7) win over the unseeded Spaniard Albert Ramos-Vinolas. Wawrinka saved two break points in the first game and then took a 3-0 lead before he got another break in the eighth game to seal the set 6-2. The third seeded Swiss looked set for a straight sets win but squandered a service break as the 55th ranked Spaniard who had upset Milos Raonic in the fourth round fought back to force a tie-break.

Wawrinka saved a set point at 6-7, but then closed out the match taking the next three points. It will be Wawrinka’s fourth semi-final appearance in a grand slam since the Australian Open last year. Murray has a 7-6 edge in career meetings against the 31 year old Wawrinka.

The following is the remaining quarter-final line up with my pick mentioned first:-

Novak Djokovic (1) v. Tomas Berdych (7)
Dominic Thiem (13) v. David Goffin (12)

On an equally busy day for the Women, the defending champion Serena Williams overpowered the Ukrainian Elina Svitolina 6-1, 6-1 and next faces the unheralded Yulia Putintseva of Kazakhstan who upset the 12th seeded Spaniard Carla Suarez Navarro in a keenly contested two setter, 7-5, 7-5.

The other William sibling Venus was beaten by last year’s semi finalist Timea Bacsinszky in straight sets while Kiki Bertens of Netherlands beat the promising American Madison Keys also in straight sets. Serena plays Putintseva, while Bacsinszky faces Kiki Bertens in the last eight.

Later in the day last year’s Wimbledon finalist Garbine Muguruza, the fourth seed had a 7-5,6-3 win over the American Shelby Rogers to enter the semi-final. She will next play the 2010 finalist Samantha Stosur of Australia who beat the Bulgarian Tsvetana Pironkova 6-4,7-6(7) in the final match of the day.

– 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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