Fourth-round play on the men’s and women’s side Sunday at the French Open saw a former champ barely hang on, a former champ down on her luck knock off a Top 10er, and the 30-over generation reassert themselves.
Top-seeded Serena Williams and No. 4 Aggie Radwanska advanced easily, but a former champ and former finalist came through with Herculean efforts.
Unseeded former champ Svetlana Kuznetsova gained the quarterfinals with a three-set upset over No. 8 seed Angie Kerber 6-4, 4-6, 6-3.
“Grand Slams always bring the best out of me,” Kuznetsova said. “It just comes naturally and I don’t have to push myself to find that extra level here because it’s the French Open. I kind of get into the zone automatically.”
No. 5 seed and former runner-up Sara Errani also advanced with a mighty effort, coming from a set down to stop hot-handed Spaniard and No. 20 seed Carla Suarez Navarro 5-7, 6-4, 6-3.
“I started to feel pain, like a knife below my ribs,” said Errani who struggled with an odd injury during the match. “Every time I was breathing it was very painful. It wasn’t muscular, but I couldn’t stay up. So I called the physio and she told me I had my diaphragm totally blocked. She tried to release it a bit, and then after that it was much better.”
Williams defeated No. 15 Roberta Vinci 6-1, 6-3, and Radwanska stopped No. 14 seed and former champion Ana Ivanovic 6-2, 6-4.
“I don’t know the statistics, but that’s for sure one of my best matches of the year for sure, and especially on clay,” said Radwanska, who will next meet Errani. “I’m just very happy about it. Everything was working for me. I’m very, very happy to reach my first quarterfinal here. It’s been great, especially on a surface I didn’t really have good results on before, especially this year. So I’m just very excited about this.”
Williams will next face Kuznetsova, who she lost to at Roland Garros in 2009.
“It will be a good match — I mean, the last time we played here, she won,” Williams said. “That will probably get her pumped up, and she’s on a comeback, and she has nothing to lose and everything to gain. She’s also won this tournament before. So it’s not going to be an easy match for me, for sure.”
On the men’s side Roger Federer put down a stern test, and veteran comeback player Tommy Robredo incredibly won a third straight match from two sets down.
The No. 2-seeded Swiss came from 1-2 sets down to defeat No. 15 Gilles Simon 6-1, 4-6, 2-6, 6-2, 6-3, while The No. 32 seed Robredo upended Spanish countryman and No. 11 Nicolas Almagro 6-7(5), 3-6, 6-4, 6-4, 6-4.
“I played a player who is incredible on clay,” Robredo said. “I’m not thinking about history. History is this match I played today. It’s not the score that counts. Nothing more than that.”
Federer recorded career win No. 900 against Simon.
“I’m just happy I have been able to win a lot of matches throughout my career, [giving] myself an opportunity over and over again. I love this game,” Federer said. “It’s been an amazing run and I’m happy I’m still on it.”
Other winners on the day were No. 4 David Ferrer drumming No. 23 Kevin Anderson 6-3, 6-1, 6-1, and No. 6 Jo-Wilfried Tsonga defeating unseeded Serb Viktor Troicki 6-3, 6-3, 6-3.
“It’s always good to win in straight sets,” Tsonga said. “I don’t spend too much energy like this. I’m playing well, so all the lights are green.”
Fourth round matches continues on Monday with Francesca Schiavone vs. (3) Victoria Azarenka, (1) Novak Djokovic vs. (16) Philipp Kohlschreiber, (3) Rafael Nadal vs. (13) Kei Nishikori, (17) Sloane Stephens vs. (2) Maria Sharapova, (12) Tommy Haas vs. (29) Mikhail Youzhny, unseeded Bethanie Mattek-Sands vs. (12) Maria Kirilenko, (9) Stan Wawrinka vs. (7) Richard Gasquet in the battle of backhands beautiful, and unseeded Jamie Hampton vs. (18) Jelena Jankovic.
TENNIS-X NEWS, NOTES, QUOTES AND BARBS
American Sloane Stephens on her unique uniqueness: “Hopefully it never stops. I mean, there are no other 20-year-olds like me. There might be a few, like Miley Cyrus, but other than that I’m pretty much riding solo on this train…I think it’s just I’m really enjoying myself off the court. I mean, more shopping — like every day I’m buying stuff. People don’t understand, at 20 years old I can do whatever I want.” Girl you so special!…Rafael Nadal is pissed off with the rain scheduling at Roland Garros that tournament organizers are giving preference to singles players that are also in the doubles draw…Janko Tipsarevic on dropping an f-bomb on a French Open fan in the stands: “I just snapped, because you could really see they didn’t really care what the score was or even who was playing. They just wanted to look nice and be at the French Open. They had no respect to the players in terms of being quiet or whatever. So at one point I was getting ready to serve at, I think, 30-15 on my serve and one of the guys just started screaming, calling somebody to the stands. There is no excuse for my behavior. I think basically the problem was that I used the F word and that was not pretty. But, on the other hand, I just snapped. It happens to everyone.”…Happens to us with the interns all the time…We’ve got an idea ITF — why don’t they seed 64 players at the Slams so the top players can get even easier routes to the latter rounds, and we can get even shittier early-round matches?…Bethanie Mattek-Sands on style vs. function: “It’s funny — I haven’t worn anything too crazy on court for a few years now. Off-court obviously, I had the Wimbledon player party dress last year. But other than that, I feel like my racquet has been doing a lot of the talking. As for the socks, there’s a reason I wear them. They’re compression socks, so I actually wear them for a reason — I have bad circulation, so that’s why I have been wearing them.” And on her recent discovery of food allergies: “I did the test in the off-season and it came up that I had like 26 different food allergies. The main ones are gluten and dairy, but I had random ones like pineapple, peaches, papaya, tomatoes, garlic. I have done well eating out in restaurants — it gets a little tricky, especially when you don’t speak the language, but it’s made a world of difference for me. I have more energy. I’m recovering better. One of the issues I had was I have a lot of inflammation in my blood markers and stuff, and that’s gone down because of the diet change. I feel like a different person.”
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