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Farah Hits 200 In Paris

  • Posted: May 29, 2018

Farah Hits 200 In Paris

Skupskis defeat Bryan/Querrey to reach second round

Robert Farah clinched his 200th tour-level doubles victory on Tuesday, defeating Max Mirnyi and Philipp Oswald 7-6(3), 7-6(4) alongside partner Juan Sebastian Cabal at Roland Garros. The fifth seeds advanced to the second round after one hour and 52 minutes, winning 76 per cent of second-serve points.

Farah, who turned professional in 2010, recently won his 11th tour-level title with Cabal at the Internazionali BNL d’Italia, beating Pablo Carreno Busta and Joao Sousa in the championship match.

The Colombian Power await Argentina’s Guido Pella and Diego Schwartzman or Antoine Hoang and Ugo Humbert in the second round.

Great Britain’s Ken Skupski and Neal Skupski took just 67 minutes to produce a big upset on Court 15, defeating Americans Mike Bryan and Sam Querrey 7-5, 6-4.

The Open Sud de France champions won 88 per cent of first-serve points (31/35) and converted the only two break points of the match en route to victory. The British brothers, competing for the first time together on the Parisian clay, now hold an 8-3 record at tour-level this season.

Mike Bryan, a two-time champion at the event (2003, 2013), was competing without his injured brother, Bob Bryan, for the first time at a Grand Slam. Bryan/Bryan had contested the past 76 majors together, dating back to 1999 Roland Garros.

Skupski/Skupski will meet German duo Maximilian Marterer and Philipp Petzschner or Italians Daniele Bracciali and Andreas Seppi for a place in the third round.

Reigning Nitto ATP Finals champions Henri Kontinen and John Peers comfortably secured their position in the next round, beating Ilya Ivashka and Karen Khachanov 6-3, 6-2.

Kontinen and Peers wasted little time, cruising past the unseeded duo in 52 minutes, with three breaks of serve. The third seeds will meet Mirza Basic and Damir Dzumhur in the second round. Basic and Dzumhur defeated Albert Ramos-Vinolas and Jiri Vesely 6-4, 6-3.

Mutua Madrid Open champions Nikola Mektic and Alexander Peya continued their fine form on red dirt, defeating Gazprom Hungarian Open winners Dominic Inglot and Franko Skugor 6-4, 6-3. Also in that section of the draw, Raven Klaasen and Michael Venus overcame Frenchmen Corentin Denolly and Alexandre Muller 6-3, 6-3.

The 10th seeds will face another French duo in the second round, after Jonathan Eysseric and Hugo Nys defeated David Marrero and Fernando Verdasco 6-3, 7-5.

Rohan Bopanna and Edouard Roger-Vasselin took just over an hour to defeat #NextGenATP stars Taylor Fritz and Frances Tiafoe 6-3, 6-1, while fellow seeds Julio Peralta and Horacio Zeballos also dropped just four games, beating Hugo Gaston and Clement Tabur 6-2, 6-2.

Unseeded Dutchmen Robin Haase and Matwe Middelkoop charged into the second round after 43 minutes, comfortably beating Japan’s Yoshihito Nishioka and Yuichi Sugita 6-1, 6-2.

Wesley Koolhof and Artem Sitak came from a set down to beat fellow unseeded pairing Andre Begemann and Antonio Sancic 6-7(4), 6-2, 6-4.

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I felt like a superhero – a queen from Wakanda, says victorious Williams

  • Posted: May 29, 2018
French Open 2018
Venue: Roland Garros, Paris Dates: 27 May-10 June
Coverage: Daily live radio and text commentaries on BBC Radio 5 live, the BBC Sport website and app.

Serena Williams said she felt like a “superhero” in the black catsuit she wore during the 7-6 (7-4) 6-4 win over Kristyna Pliskova at the French Open.

The temperature hit 25C in Paris but it did not seem to affect the 23-time major winner in her first Grand Slam match since giving birth last September.

“I feel like a warrior wearing it, a queen from Wakanda [referring to the Black Panther movie] maybe,” she said.

“It was comfortable to wear.”

The 36-year-old added: “I’m always living in a fantasy world. I always wanted to be a superhero, and it’s kind of my way of being a superhero.”

I’m not putting any pressure on myself as I normally do

Serena Williams

The contest between the two big servers – who fired down 28 aces between them – was a tight affair. The opening set went with serve and eventually to a tie-break in which Williams bounced back from 3-0 down to clinch it.

In contrast, the service game of both players dipped markedly in the second set, with points won on the first serve falling by an average of 27%.

However, it was Williams who made the fewer errors and secured the most important break to take a 4-3 lead before she sealed victory in the 10th game.

The three-time French Open singles champion will now play Australia’s Ashleigh Barty in the next round.

Williams, who returned to tennis in March, was asked about her chances at Roland Garros – a tournament she last won in 2015.

She said: “I don’t know. I’m definitely here to compete and do the best that I can do.

“I’m not putting any pressure on myself as I normally do.”

The American was also asked whether her experience of being at a Grand Slam had changed since becoming a mother.

“The biggest difference is definitely I’m semi on time today,” she continued. “It’s because I want to get home to see [daughter] Olympia, because I have been here all day.

“There were a couple of rain delays so I wasn’t able to [see her]. If I’m not practicing, we’re hanging out.

“I’m concerned how that’s going to work out for me, because normally in Grand Slams I do spend a lot of time at the site. She’s so young, I don’t really bring her.”

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Kyle Edmund could contend at 2018 French Open – Pat Cash

  • Posted: May 29, 2018
French Open 2018
Venue: Roland Garros, Paris Dates: 27 May-10 June
Coverage: Daily live radio and text commentaries on BBC Radio 5 live, the BBC Sport website and app.

British number one Kyle Edmund is among the group of younger players who could challenge 10-time champion Rafael Nadal at the French Open, says former Wimbledon champion Pat Cash.

Nadal, 31, is the favourite to win again at Roland Garros this year.

Edmund, who has risen to 17th in the world, reached his first Grand Slam semi-final in Australian in January.

“Kyle loves the clay,” said Cash. “He has got that little bit of extra time to get round on that big forehand.”

Describing the Briton’s forehand as “a massive weapon”, Cash added: “He is faster and fitter, his backhand is very solid – it isn’t a weakness like it was – and his serve has got better.”

  • How far can Edmund go in Paris? Listen to 5 live’s tennis’ predictions
  • 5 live tennis podcast: Edmund could contend in Paris – Cash

Edmund lists clay as his favourite surface, although the 23-year-old Yorkshireman has never gone past the third round at Roland Garros in three attempts.

He started his latest campaign in Paris – his first Slam as a seed and as Britain’s leading male – with a clinical straight-set win over Australian teenager Alex de Minaur on Tuesday.

Cash says Edmund can be ranked just behind German second seed Alexander Zverev and Austrian seventh seed Dominic Thiem – the only player to have beaten Nadal on the red dirt in the past two years – as potential heirs to the Spaniard, who is known as the ‘King of Clay’.

“Kyle is up there when people say ‘who are the new guys coming though on clay?'” Cash told BBC Radio 5 live Tennis.

“Zverev and Thiem have already come through and Kyle is in that handful of players who will definitely be up there in the next few years – and maybe this year.”

Highest ranked players 23 or under
Name Age Ranking
Alexander Zverev 21 3
Kyle Edmund 23 17
Chung Hyeon 22 19
Nick Kyrgios 23 23
Denis Shapovalov 19 25

However, Cash describes beating Nadal on clay as the “toughest thing in sport” and also believes 2016 champion Novak Djokovic – who has only recently returned from an elbow injury – stands little chance of competing for a 13th Grand Slam title.

“Novak just hasn’t played a lot of matches – you have to have matches under your belt to be successful on the clay,” the Australian, who is coaching American women’s 15th seed Coco Vandeweghe, said.

“I’m not sure he can get that far.”

  • Serena Williams wins on Grand Slam return
  • Nadal beats Bolelli to start hunt for 11th French title
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Nadal completes first-round victory over Bolelli

  • Posted: May 29, 2018
French Open 2018
Venue: Roland Garros, Paris Dates: 27 May-10 June
Coverage: Daily live radio and text commentaries on BBC Radio 5 live, the BBC Sport website and app.

Rafael Nadal began his campaign for an 11th French Open title with a rain-delayed 6-4 6-3 7-6 (11-9) win over Italy’s Simone Bolelli.

Resuming 3-0 down in the third set, Nadal swiftly recovered the break but was pushed hard by the world number 129.

The Spaniard saved three set points from 6-3 down in the tie-break before prevailing in damp conditions.

Nadal will play Argentina’s Guido Pella in the second round.

Argentina’s Juan Martin del Potro started slowly before overcoming French wildcard Nicolas Mahut, beating the world number 116 1-6 6-1 6-2 6-4.

Elsewhere third-seeded Croat Marin Cilic, who has reached the final of two of the past three Grand Slams, saw off Australia’s James Duckworth 6-3 7-5 7-6 (7-4).

American ninth seed John Isner hit 28 aces as he overcame compatriot Noah Rubin via two tie-breaks, 6-3 7-6 (9-7) 7-6 (9-7) while US Open runner-up Kevin Anderson also had a straight-set win, beating Italy’s Paolo Lorenzi.

Nadal, who will match Margaret Court’s all-time record for most singles titles at the same Grand Slam event if he lifts the title again, won the 2017 crown without dropping a set.

He frequently looked unsettled by Bolelli’s bold baseline hitting and claimed afterwards that the surface was different to what he was used to at a venue where he has won 80 of his 82 matches.

“The court is more slippery than usual and I slid a lot when I started off or when I moved to another side, and it was quite complicated,” he said.

“You can see that there are many more whiter zones than other years, because there are little pebbles underneath, and that’s why you don’t have the proper grip on the court.”

  • 5 live tennis podcast: Edmund could contend in Paris – Cash
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Del Potro Overcomes Mahut, French Faithful

  • Posted: May 29, 2018

Del Potro Overcomes Mahut, French Faithful

Ymer, Fognini also advance on day three

For a half hour on Tuesday at Roland Garros, 36-year-old Nicolas Mahut turned back time. The French wild card was dominating fifth seed Juan Martin del Potro, drop shotting the 6’6” Argentine and serving and volleying as if he was on the The Queen’s Club grass.

Twenty-five minutes into their first-round match, Mahut led 6-1 and had the French crowd on Court Suzanne-Lenglen eager for more. But the party soon ended.

Del Potro, perhaps nervous about testing his injured groin, eventually settled his game and started to solve Mahut’s serve-and-volley style. The Argentine sprinted through the second set in 31 minutes, and repeated the act two more times to advance 1-6, 6-1, 6-2, 6-4.

I know he starts very slow, and it’s not as though if I play from the baseline that I’m going to win. So I had to play at the front part of the court as much as possible. I played well. I broke, and I served well,” Mahut said of the beginning of the first-round contest. “But the more the match was going on, the more I understood that he was really regaining all of his potential.”

Del Potro broke twice in the third and once more in the fourth, smacking a forehand behind Mahut for a 4-2 advantage. “I didn’t play my best tennis basically at the beginning of the match, but then I felt a little better,” Del Potro said. “I had a lot of doubts in the beginning, and luckily I got over that. I felt much more comfortable on the clay surface and in the game.”

His status for Roland Garros was unclear after he retired from his third-round match against David Goffin because of a groin injury at the Internazionali BNL d’Italia in Rome on 17 May.

Read More: Six Who Could Challenge Rafa

He left Rome, saying he’d undergo health exams. But the 2009 semi-finalist didn’t seem bothered by it against Mahut, who tested it often with his crafty touch.

“Thanks to the very good professionals that’s around me, I was able to play,” Del Potro said. “The doctor gave me some ten days, we respected this pause of ten days, and now I’m back.”

He will next meet Frenchman Julien Benneteau or countryman Leonardo Mayer. Their match was suspended Tuesday night with Mayer leading 6-2, 4-3.

Swede Elias Ymer earned his first Grand Slam victory on his sixth try, beating Israeli Dudi Sela 7-6(3), 6-3, 6-1. Ymer, who is coached by two-time Roland Garros finalist Robin Soderling, won exactly half of his return points (54/108), and will next face 18th seed Fabio Fognini. Italy’s No. 1 beat Marrakech champion Pablo Andujar of Spain 6-4, 6-2, 6-1 in less than two hours.

Watch: Ymer Visits His Ethiopian Roots

In Rome, Fognini was a set away from becoming the fourth man to beat Nadal at least three times on clay (Novak Djokovic, 7; Dominic Thiem, 3; Gaston Gaudio, 3).

Did You Know?
Del Potro has never lost to a player at his home Grand Slam. He is 5-0 against Frenchmen at Roland Garros and 3-0 against Americans at the US Open. He has never played against an Australian at the Australian Open or a Brit at Wimbledon.

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Coach Moya's Takeaways From Nadal’s Win

  • Posted: May 29, 2018

Coach Moya’s Takeaways From Nadal’s Win

Moya analyses Rafa’s first-round victory at Roland Garros with

Carlos Moya, coach of world No. 1 Rafael Nadal, will be breaking down Rafa’s performances for Nadal hopes to lift the trophy for the 11th time.

On Tuesday, the defending champion defeated Simone Bolelli 6-4, 6-3, 7-6(9) to advance to the second round, where he’ll face Guido Pella for a place in the Round of 32. Moya lists five key takeaways from Nadal’s opening-round match.

A Victory — With Its Ups And Downs
Today’s match wasn’t the prettiest, but he still managed to win. Getting through the early rounds at a Grand Slam is an ordeal. Yes, he came through in three sets, but the match was a lot tougher than the score suggests [Nadal trailed 6/3 in the third set tie-break and saved four set points]. Rafa had several ups and down, but in the end he came through and that’s what matters. This win will give him confidence going to the later rounds.

Just Roll With The Punches
Rafa has maintained a positive outlook, despite the weather conditions and the rain delay. He understands not everything will go his way and he has taken this in stride. Some elements of his game have been on point while others will come as he gets more matches in. That’s why I’m not too concerned that he wasn’t at his best today.

Let’s Think Positive Thoughts
At one point during the match [against Bolelli], Rafa seemed to be taking his game to the next level. He earned that break point at 3-3 in the second set and I thought Rafa would sprint to the finish. That wasn’t the case, obviously, and maybe some doubts set in when things didn’t go that way. Still, we’re staying positive and hoping to make some corrections ahead of the next match.

We’ll Get There When We Get There
Last year’s results here at Roland Garros can’t be repeated. [Nadal didn’t drop a set en route to his 10th Roland Garros title in 2017]. Just because he didn’t get off to the ideal start doesn’t mean we’re panicking. Looking back, Rafa’s start to the US Open last year was difficult as well, and he wound up winning the tournament. We just need to get through the early rounds, find our rhythm and everything else will fall into place.

Bolelli Was Taking His Chances
Bolelli did what he had to do. Some points were like a coin toss; he just went for it. That was the Italian’s best option against Rafa, and Rafa knew his best option was to try and neutralise that sort of playing style. So Rafa did his all to eliminate the element of luck by limiting Bolelli’s shot selection. Like I said, we still have areas in which we need to improve and make opponents feel even less settled. It was difficult to achieve that against Bolelli in the first round.

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French Open 2018: Britain's Kyle Edmund through to round two

  • Posted: May 29, 2018
French Open 2018
Venue: Roland Garros, Paris Dates: 27 May-10 June
Coverage: Daily live radio and text commentaries on BBC Radio 5 live, the BBC Sport website and app.

British number one Kyle Edmund reached the French Open second round for the fourth successive year with an opening win against Australian Alex de Minaur.

Edmund, who is seeded at a Grand Slam for the first time, won 6-4 6-2 6-3 at Roland Garros.

De Minaur, 19, is considered a rising star of Australian tennis, but could not cope with 16th seed Edmund’s accuracy and power.

The Briton will play Hungary’s Marton Fucsovics in the second round.

  • Muguruza reaches second round in Paris
  • Live scores, schedule and results
  • 5 live tennis podcast: Day Three at Roland Garros

Fucsovics, ranked 45th in the world, progressed with a 6-3 6-3 7-6 (7-5) victory over Canada’s Vasek Pospisil.

Edmund is the third Briton through to the second round in Paris, following opening victories for Cameron Norrie and Heather Watson on Monday.

Meanwhile, compatriots Ken and Neal Skupski ousted 16th seeds Mike Bryan and Sam Querrey in the men’s doubles 7-5 6-4, but Dominic Inglot and his Croatian partner Franko Skugor lost 6-4 6-3 to eighth seeds Nikola Mektic and Alexander Peya.

Edmund revels under the spotlight

Edmund has enjoyed a rapid rise over the opening five months of the season, climbing to a career-high world ranking of 17 and taking the scalp of 12-time Grand Slam champion Novak Djokovic in Madrid.

He took over from the injured Andy Murray as the British number one in March, meaning it is the first Grand Slam since the 2006 US Open that the three-time major champion has not been ranked as the country’s leading man.

Edmund said he felt no added pressure or expectation from the dual position as a top-16 seed and Britain’s leading hope – and a ruthless performance against De Minaur bore that out.

“The way it has gone with Andy obviously not playing very much and me becoming British number one, there is just a bit more attention, media, maybe a bit more expectation from people,” he said.

“But that’s just part of the territory with sport.

“There has been a little bit more buzz around the matches, nothing complicated. It’s not like it’s my first time at a Grand Slam so you know what to expect.”

The Yorkshireman cruised to the opening set in just 29 minutes, breaking De Minaur’s opening serve and breaking again for a 4-1 lead.

A hold-to-love put Edmund within a game of the first set and, after missing a set point to break the Australian, he cleaned up on his own serve.

Edmund staved off three break points in the second set before seizing the momentum to go 3-2 and 5-4 ahead after the pair traded breaks, using his trademark thumping forehand to seal the second set.

De Minaur started to lose his temper towards the end of the second set, frustrated with his inability to build on that break of serve.

His mood was not improved when Edmund broke again in the opening game of the third set, the Briton going on to see out victory in just one hour 56 minutes.

Edmund’s experience proves too much

De Minaur has a soaring reputation on the ATP Tour after reaching his first final at the Sydney International in January, shortly after a victory over former Wimbledon finalist Milos Raonic on his way to the Brisbane quarter-finals.

Murray was impressed by the teenager’s performances, praising his attitude and flair during the Australian Open on social media.

So it did not look like the easiest draw for Edmund, especially on a clay surface that suits De Minaur’s sharp movement.

Edmund already had experience of beating De Minaur, however, winning in straight sets at the Estoril Open this month, and he refused to allow him back into a match that ended with the Briton winning 85% of his first-serve points and hitting 28 winners.

“I was pleased with how I managed my game,” he said.

“I did the controllables really well in terms of my game and serving well and when I am on the front foot, not laying back on the point.

“It was good to really execute well, especially against a guy like Alex where it can get quite tough easily if you don’t play well.”


British number three Naomi Broady on BBC Radio 5 live sports extra

It was a job very well done by Kyle Edmund – he played fantastically. Alex de Minaur was not an easy draw, especially on clay because he is such a good mover.

Kyle was in great form mentally as well, which is sometimes even more important.

When you’re looking to get into the second week you know you have to play the top players so you want to save energy at the start of the tournament.

If you can be as clinical as Kyle was then, it helps going forwards.

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Muguruza overcomes Kuznetsova to reach second round in Paris

  • Posted: May 29, 2018
French Open 2018
Venue: Roland Garros, Paris Dates: 27 May-10 June
Coverage: Daily live radio and text commentaries on BBC Radio 5 live, the BBC Sport website and app.

Third seed Garbine Muguruza won a tricky encounter with Svetlana Kuznetsova in a French Open first-round match between two former champions.

After a 90-minute rain interruption at 5-5 in the first set, Wimbledon winner Muguruza triumphed 7-6 (7-0) 6-2.

Kuznetsova of Russia, who won the title in 2009, pushed the Spaniard hard but was undone by the 2016 champion’s attacks at the net.

Day three features other ex-champions Serena Williams and Maria Sharapova.

  • Follow live text & radio coverage of Briton Edmund’s first-round match
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After Passing Of His Mother, RBA Claims Gritty, Emotional Win

  • Posted: May 29, 2018

After Passing Of His Mother, RBA Claims Gritty, Emotional Win

Spaniard outlasts Istomin over five sets in opening round at Roland Garros

The past several days have been difficult ones for Roberto Bautista Agut after the passing of his mother, Ester, one week ago. Things didn’t get any easier on Monday, but the Spaniard persevered and battled his way into the second round at Roland Garros by defeating Denis Istomin 6-2, 6-7(3), 1-6, 6-4, 6-4 in three hours and 30 minutes.

“That was a very emotional match, especially with everything that’s happened in the past week,” Bautista Agut said. “It was an encounter filled with highs and lows … it isn’t easy to keep your mind on the court when you’ve got all these thoughts and feelings inside your head.”

The 13th seeded Spaniard managed to gather himself going into the fourth set and finished the match with a total of 48 winners, 18 of those coming in the final two sets.

“When I was two sets to one down, I knew I had no choice but to raise my game and intensity, and I ended up playing really well from that point on,” Bautista Agut said.

Bautista Agut, who meets Colombia’s Santiago Giraldo in the second round, is determined to stay upbeat following the death of his mother and is at peace with his decision to play in Paris.

“The past few days have been difficult and it isn’t easy to get through circumstances like the one I’m in right now,” Bautista Agut said. “I believed the best thing to do would be to come (to Roland Garros) and move forward, not stay at home or hide from it all but rather keep fighting, just as I did here today.”

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