Archive for May, 2011

31
May
11

Schiavone claws her way into the semi finals where she will meet Bartoli.

Francesca Schiavone

Defending champion Francesca Schiavone fought back from a set and 4-1 down to beat Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova and reach the semi-finals of the French Open. Pavlyuchenkova, the Russian 15th seed, broke three times to take the first set 6-1 and was within two games of her first Grand Slam semi-final. But the Italian fifth seed turned the match on its head, edging a thrilling final set to triumph 1-6 7-5 7-5. Schiavone will next play  Marion Bartoli. Schiavone became the first Italian woman to win a Grand Slam when she beat Sam Stosur in last year’s final while Marion Bartoli became the first Frenchwoman since 2005 to reach the last four of the French Open when she defeated 2009 champion Svetlana Kuznetsova 7-6 (7-4) 6-4 on Tuesday.

Bartoli, the 11th seed, will tackle defending champion Francesca Schiavone, who beat Russia’s Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova in three sets, for a place in Saturday’s final. An untidy first set, which featured seven breaks of serve in 13 games, was predictably settled by a tie-break. Bartoli clinched it when Kuznetsova, the Russian 13th seed, misdirected a forehand off a deep approach. The 26-year-old Frenchwoman, a Wimbledon runner-up in 2007, was a break ahead in the opening game of the second set and backed it up with another break to lead 5-2. But the experienced Russian clawed a break back in the eighth game as Bartoli served for the match. Kuznetsova held for 4-5 but Bartoli claimed victory on her first match point when Kuznetova ballooned a forehand into the stands of Court Suzanne Lenglen.

 

 

 

31
May
11

Andy Murray is through to the last eight of the French Open after beating Viktor Troicki 7-5 in their thrilling final-set decider in Paris on Tuesday.

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The Scot – who has been struggling with an ankle problem – had battled back from two sets down to level at 2-2 (4-6 4-6 6-3 6-2) before bad light had ended play at Roland Garros on Monday night. Murray, the number four seed, faced defeat in the decider as he trailed 5-3 and 30-0 on Court Suzanne Lenglen, but he got the break back and also broke in the Serb’s next service game. He then served out the match, despite squandering three set points, to win five games in a row and he will now play Juan Ignacio Chela on Wednesday. The fourth seed had certainly been in the ascendancy when play was called off but the real worry for the Scot’s fans was the manner in which he had started the match.

With his ankle clearly still a problem, the 24-year-old lost the opening five games in double-quick time, and it was not until the joint loosened up that he managed to play anything like his best tennis.

 

30
May
11

Sharapova and Azarenka book their places in the quarter finals

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Maria Sharapova continued her impressive form at the French Open as she booked her place in the quarter-finals with a straight-sets win over Agnieszka Radwanska. The Russian saw off the world number 12 7-6 (7/4) 7-5 on Philippe Chatrier and had to come through the sort of test that will stand her title bid in good stead. She was on the verge of being taken into a third set when she faced up to five set points, only to come back and take the match. The first set was a stern examination for her too, having fallen 4-1 behind early on, with the unforced error count 10-0 against her at that point. But she pulled things back to 4-4 and then won the first set on a tie-break courtesy of a mini-break on the fourth point. There were three breaks of serve in the second set, but crucially Sharapova prevented a fourth when she trailed 4-5, seeing off five set points to keep herself in the set. She then took complete control to set up a tie with Andrea Petkovic.

Victoria Azarenka continued to avoid the clatter of seeds in the women’s draw at the French Open as she eased through to the quarter-finals with a 6-2 6-3 victory over Ekaterina Makarova. The fourth seed was the favourite for the title before the tournament started despite never previously having been past the last eight at a grand slam, and she is the highest-ranked player left after early exits for Caroline Wozniacki, Kim Clijsters and Vera Zvonareva. Azarenka did not have things all her own way against Makarova and was twice a break down early in the second set, but the Russian struggled to hold her serve and in the end had no answer to her opponent’s power.

Azarenka will now play Li Na, who won six games in a row in a 2-6 6-1 6-3 victory that ended the hopes of ninth seed and dark horse Petra Kvitova.

 

 

30
May
11

Gael Monfils will play Roger Federer in the last eight of the French Open.

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Gael Monfils will play Roger Federer in the last eight of the French Open for the second time in three years after he overcame seventh seed David Ferrer in a five-set epic. Monfils took his fourth match point to claim a 6-4 2-6 7-5 1-6 8-6 victory on Court Suzanne Lenglen. It looked like the home favourite had blown his chance when he tightened up serving for the match at 5-3 in the decider and squandered two match points. Ferrer duly broke back and then saved another match point on his own serve, but when Monfils moved 0-40 ahead in the Spaniard’s next service game, there was no way back and the 24-year-old brought the crowd to their feet with a forehand winner.

The result was something of a surprise given seventh seed Ferrer’s form this year and it initially looked like he had taken control of the match. Play was called off on Sunday night for darkness with the Spaniard 2-0 up in the fourth set and he raced through that to level the match but could not complete the job.

Monfils, who is set to rise to No 8 in the 2011 ATP rankings on Monday, hit 57 winners and 11 aces overall in the four-hour and seven-minute encounter which was his third straight win against Ferrer.

 

30
May
11

Li Na won six games in a row to reach the French Open quarter-finals with a 2-6 6-1 6-3 victory over Petra Kvitova

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The Chinese player, beaten by Kim Clijsters in the final of the Australian Open in January, was overpowered by her Czech opponent in the first set but turned things around in the second. She moved Kvitova, who could be a big danger at Wimbledon, around the court extremely well and used her superb accuracy to great effect. The Czech ninth seed looked like she had wrested back control of the match when she won the opening three games of the decider but Li dug deep and clinched victory when Kvitova fired a backhand wide. Li changed her coach following a poor run after Melbourne, swapping husband Jiang Shan for Denmark Fed Cup captain Michael Mortensen. This tournament is the last of a trial period that has also included semi-final appearances in Madrid and Rome, but Li admitted she does not know if Mortensen will want to take up the position on a permanent basis.

She said: “I would like to carry on working with him. But after this tournament I will have to ask him if he has the time to travel with me, because he has a family.”

 

30
May
11

Novak Djokovic closes in on the #1 ranking as he moves straight into the French Open semi-finals as Fabio Fognini withdraws with a leg injury.

Fabio Fognini

Fognini beat Spain’s Albert Montanes 4-6 6-4 3-6 6-3 11-9 on Sunday to reach his first Grand Slam quarter-final. But while trailing on Sunday, Fognini winced in pain at the baseline after hitting a serve and clutched his leg. “I’m not really happy right now,” said the 24-year-old. “It’s the best tournament of my career.”

Fognini was the first Italian to reach the men’s quarter-finals at the French Open since Renzo Furlan, who lost to Sergi Bruguera in straight sets in 1995. He was also the first Italian to make it to the last eight at any major men’s tournament since 1998. “The doctors say if I play on Tuesday maybe it can be dangerous,” he added. Djokovic has won all of his 41 matches in 2011 and has an overall winning streak of 43 straight matches, but he will not be credited with a victory over Fognini because the Italian withdrew. The Australian Open champion could meet third seed and 2009 winner Roger Federer in the semi-finals if the Swiss gets through his quarter-final against the winner of the clash between Gael Monfils and David Ferrer. A win for Novak to put him into the final will ensure his status as the new #1 player on the WTA tour!

 

29
May
11

Francesca Schiavone remains on course to defend her French Open title after beating Jelena Jankovic.

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The Italian, a surprise winner at Roland Garros 12 months ago, came through a topsy-turvy encounter as a 6-3 2-6 6-4 winner. Schiavone made a flying start, moving 5-1 ahead, but it was a sign of things to come when Jankovic picked up a couple of games before the fifth seed served out the set. The roles were reversed in the second when Jankovic took an early advantage, wobbled, and then pulled away again to level. All the games were close and it really was anybody’s match going into the decider. Schiavone made the first move by breaking for a 3-2 lead but Jankovic, who was looking for a fourth semi-final appearance in five years at Roland Garros, promptly hit straight back. When she lost her serve in the ninth game, though, there was no way back, with Schiavone finally bringing the contest to a conclusion after two hours and 38 minutes and then kneeling down to kiss the clay, as she had after her triumph last year.

Schiavone will now play Russian Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova for a place in the semi-finals.

Marion Bartoli reached the quarter-finals of her home Grand Slam for the first time at the French Open on Sunday. Bartoli progressed when opponent Gisela Dulko retired early in the second set, the Frenchwoman having won the first. The Argentinian, who beat last year’s finalist Samantha Stosur in the third round, received treatment to her left thigh early in the match and then again after Bartoli had won the opening set 7-5. But she played only one game of the second, in which it was clear her movement was severely inhibited, before calling it a day. Bartoli, best known for reaching the Wimbldon final back in 2007, will now face either Svetlana Kuznetsova or Daniela Hantuchova in the last eight.

 

 

29
May
11

Djokovic and Federer set more records as they both move on to the final eight.

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Richard Gasquet was no match for Novak Djokovic at the French Open on Sunday as the Serb made it 43 wins in a row. The in-form French hope had been tipped in some quarters to cause Djokovic problems in their fourth-round clash, especially with the second seed playing for a third successive day, but just like all the other opponents who have faced Djokovic this season, he came off second best. The Australian Open champion was again in sparkling form as he eased to a 6-4 6-4 6-2 victory on Court Philippe Chatrier. He has now won 43 consecutive matches – taking him within three of Guillermo Vilas’ all-time best winning streak of 46. He will equal that mark if he wins the title in Paris. Djokovic, who only needs to reach the final to usurp Rafael Nadal as world number one, was rarely in any danger against Gasquet. He cracked 34 winners to the Frenchman’s 16 and saved all three break points he faced.

Roger Federer booked his place in a record-breaking 28th successive Grand Slam quarter-final by beating Stanislas Wawrinka at the French Open. Federer saw off the man who partnered him to Olympic doubles gold 6-3 6-2 7-5 to move past Jimmy Connors’ mark of 27 consecutive Grand Slam quarter finals. The last time the Swiss great did not reach the last eight of one of the four majors was at Roland Garros in 2004. Another quarter-final appearance was never really in doubt on Sunday, with the 16-time Grand Slam champion on top from the outset. With Federer having won eight of the pair’s nine previous meetings it was no great surprise.

 

 

29
May
11

Vera Zvonareva became the latest big name to exit the French Open on Sunday.

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Last year’s Wimbledon and US Open finalist was beaten 7-6 (7/4) 2-6 6-2 by fellow Russian Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova. It means the top three seeds in the women’s singles have all failed to make it into the second week of the tournament, with Victoria Azarenka now the highest-seeded player left in the draw. Zvonareva made things hard for herself by losing a rollercoaster first set she really should have won. After Pavlyuchenkova had grabbed an early break, Zvonareva won five games on the spin.

However, it soon went wrong for last year’s Wimbledon runner-up as she allowed her opponent to break back. Zvonareva still managed to create a set point when leading 6-5 but Pavlyuchenkova saved it and forced a tie-break which she duly dominated. Zvonareva regrouped at the start of the second set though and raced into a 4-0 lead. This time she made no mistakes, serving out to level the match. However, after the decider began with little between the duo, Zonareva’s level dropped again. This time it was Pavlyuchenkova, still only 19, who reeled off five straight games. From 1-2 down, she took control to book her place in the quarter-finals where she will meet either defending champion Francesca Schiavone or Jelena Jankovic.

 

28
May
11

Djokovic extends his win streak to 42-0 with an impressive victory over Del Potro.

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Novak Djokovic moved into the last 16 of the French Open on Saturday as Juan Martin Del Potro’s challenge melted away. Djokovic had looked in a spot of bother on Friday evening when his Argentine foe took the second set to square their third-round match. However, when play resumed in brighter, hotter conditions, Djokovic was clearly the better player as he posted his 42nd consecutive match win thanks to a 6-3 3-6 6-3 6-2 victory. Despite playing some spectacular tennis in patches, Del Potro faltered at the key moments. Upon the resumption, the former US Open champion blew two break points in the fifth game of the third set and was made to pay. Djokovic grabbed the first chance that came his way – in the very next game – with the Argentine netting tamely.

The second seed went on to take the set before a familiar pattern unfolded in the fourth. Del Potro double-faulted to hand Djokovic a 2-1 lead and in his next service game he sent a backhand wide when break point down. To his credit the 25th seed, on his way back up the rankings following a 2010 season ruined by injury, quickly recovered one of the breaks, setting up the chance by superbly chasing down a drop shot to hit a cross-court winner. However, in the next game he received a warning for a time violation which didn’t help his cause and he duly surrendered his serve for the third successive time. Djokovic finished the contest in the next game, producing an excellent drop shot on match point to clinch his place in the fourth round. Now just four wins short of Guillermo Vilas’ record of 46 consecutive victories, Djokovic will face home hope Richard Gasquet on Monday for a place in the quarter-finals.

 




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