Rain shortened the day on Friday at the French Open, but not before a giant upset took out one of the favorites at Roland Garros.
No. 4 Elina Svitolina, a contender not only for the title but to finish the tournament with the No. 1 ranking, fell 6-3, 7-5 to No. 31 seed Mihaela Buzarnescu.
The Romanian Buzarnescu, a journeywoman until the last year of so when she began playing her best tennis at the age of 30, was making her French Open main draw debut.
“I only wanted to be aggressive and wait for the good shots and just go for it, play angles and move on, move on in the court,” Buzarnescu said afterwards. “Because, otherwise, she would just take advantage of every short ball that I was hitting. Of course, when you start seeing that you’re kind of winning and leading in the match, thoughts are coming. So I had some ups and downs, but I really managed to get through it and play a good match today.”
Dr. Buzarnescu has a Ph.D. in sports science, and began last year ranked outside the Top 500. In 2017 she won seven singles titles on the minor league ITF tour.
The 30-year-old Romanian had never won a main draw match in a Grand Slam event before this week. She struck 31 winners in the match to Svitolina’s 11.
Buzarnescu will next face No. 13 seed Madison Keys, who beat No. 21 seed Naomi Osaka 6-1, 7-6(7).
“She’s really great player with aggressive game and good shots,” Buzarnescu said of Keys. “But, you know, I’m just going to play my own game and just go on the court as a normal match against a player like me.”
No. 2 Caroline Wozniacki and No. 14 Daria Kasatkina lined-up a 4th round meeting when the Dane bageled French wildcard Pauline Parmentier 6-0, 6-3, and the Russian weathered a slump to defeat Greece’s Maria Sakkari 6-1, 1-6, 6-3.
“I feel pretty good,” said Wozniacki, who has lost to Kasatkina twice this year. “I think I played some solid tennis, and I’m happy to be through to the fourth round here again.”
After a troubling second set Kasatkina ran away with the third against Sakkari.
“She was fighting really, really good,” Kasatkina said. “In the second, I got a little bit tight and she came back. I was kind of ready for this because she’s a big fighter for sure. In the third set…I came back with different thoughts in my head.”
Also meeting in the 4th round will be No. 26 Barbora Strycova and Kazakhstan’s Yulia Putintseva. Strycova beat fellow Czech Katerina Siniakova 6-2, 6-3, and Putintseva put down China’s Qiang Wang1-6, 7-5, 6-4, saving two match points.
Saturday’s embarrassment of riches at Roland Garros includes (3) Garbine Muguruza vs. Sam Stosur, (6) Karolina Pliskova vs. (28) Maria Sharapova, (11) Julia Goerges vs. Serena Williams, (8) Petra Kvitova vs. (25) Anett Kontaveit, (12) Angie Kerber vs. (18) Kiki Bertens, (10) Sloane Stephens vs. Camila Giorgi, (1) Simona Halep vs. Andrea Petkovic, and (16) Elise Mertens vs. (24) Daria Gavrilova.
You Might Like:
Kvitova Strong In Birmingham, Buzarnescu Beats Svitolina For Second Time This Month
Kvitova Comes From a Set Down at WTA Prague, 3rd Title of 2018
Buzarnescu Wallops Sakkari for 1st Career Title at WTA San Jose
Halep Escapes 1st Round Upset; Serena, Maria Up Thursday at French Open
Streaking Svitolina Weathers Wozniacki For 2nd 2017 Title at Dubai