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Zverev-Thiem; Djokovic-Cecchinato: Previewing Tuesday's Roland Garros QF

  • Posted: Jun 04, 2018

Zverev-Thiem; Djokovic-Cecchinato: Previewing Tuesday’s Roland Garros QF

Zverev could reach his first Grand Slam semi-final

Alexander Zverev will go for personal – and possibly Grand Slam – history when he meets Dominic Thiem in the Roland Garros quarter-finals on Tuesday. Novak Djokovic, meanwhile, a man very familiar with this stage in Paris, will try to stop first-time Grand Slam quarter-finalist Marco Cecchinato of Italy. previews Tuesday’s Roland Garros quarter-finals.

[2] Alexander Zverev (GER) vs. [7] Dominic Thiem (AUT)
Thiem leads
FedEx ATP Head2Head series 4-2

The last time they met, a maiden ATP World Tour Masters 1000 title was on the line for Dominic Thiem. But it was Alexander Zverev, loser of all three of their prior clay-court matches, who came through to win his third Masters 1000 title, and second on clay, at the Mutua Madrid Open last month.

Thiem, however, will go for a bit of revenge in Paris as the Austrian looks to reach his third consecutive Roland Garros semi-final. He’s had good luck avenging prior losses so far this fortnight.

In the second round, Thiem beat #NextGenATP Greek Stefanos Tsitsipas, whom he had lost to at the Barcelona Open Banc Sabadell in April; and in the fourth round, the 24-year-old right-hander knocked out Japan’s Kei Nishikori, whom he had never taken a set off in their prior two contests.

You May Also Like: The History Books Await Zverev

I really like best of five, doesn’t matter against who. If it’s against Sascha or anybody else,” said Thiem, whose 33 victories this season are second to only Zverev’s 34.

No one in the draw has become as familiar with five-setters as Zverev has the past 10 days. He became just the eighth player in the Open Era (April 1968) to win three consecutive five-setters in Paris, and the first since Tommy Robredo in 2013. Advance in five against Thiem, and the 21-year-old German will become the first player ever to win four consecutive five-setters at a Grand Slam. He’ll also celebrate making his first Grand Slam semi-final.

It’s not about learning anymore. It’s about trying to find a way and trying to win. That’s what I have been able to do in the last few matches, and I’m very happy about that. I’m very happy about being in the quarter-finals here with going the hard way, going the long distance every single time and showing myself, showing everybody that I can play for as long as I need to,” Zverev said.


[20] Novak Djokovic (SRB) vs. Marco Cecchinato (ITA)
First FedEx ATP Head2Head meeting

This might be their first tour-level meeting, but Marco Cecchinato, who’s from Italy, and Novak Djokovic, who lives in nearby Monte-Carlo, have known each other for years and have practised together often, Djokovic said, as recently as before the Rolex Monte-Carlo Masters in April.

Few, however, including Djokovic, would have predicted they’d be meeting in the quarter-finals. Before Roland Garros, Cecchinato had been 0-4 in Grand Slam matches: 2015 US Open (l. Mardy Fish); 2016 Australian Open (l. Nicolas Mahut); 2016 Roland Garros (l. Nick Kyrgios); and 2017 Wimbledon (l. Nishikori). Cecchinato fell in the final round of Roland Garros qualifying last year.

Read More: Cecchinato: ‘This Is The Best Moment Of My Life’

Before his maiden ATP World Tour title at the Gazprom Hungarian Open in April, Cecchinato had been 5-29 in all tour-level matches. Yet the 25-year-old Italian, No. 72 in the ATP Rankings, has flipped the switch. He became the lowest-ranked man to reach the quarter-finals in 10 years (No. 80 Ernests Gulbis in 2008).

Cecchinato, who beat eighth seed David Goffin in the fourth round, will go for the biggest win of his career against the 2016 champion Djokovic. The Serbian has reached his second quarter-final of 2018, after making the Rome semi-finals last month.

Beat Cecchinato and Djokovic will reach his 32nd Grand Slam semi-final – and ninth Roland Garros semi-final – and surge to second place on the all-time Open Era list.

Most Grand Slam semifinal appearances (Open Era)


Number of appearances

Roger Federer


Novak Djokovic


Jimmy Connors


Ivan Lendl


Rafael Nadal


Andre Agassi


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French Open 2018: Rafael Nadal beats Maximilian Marterer in last 16

  • Posted: Jun 04, 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.

Ten-time French Open champion Rafael Nadal moved into the 2018 quarter-finals with a 6-3 6-2 7-6 (7-4) victory over Germany’s Maximilian Marterer.

Nadal, 32, lost his opening service game and trailed 2-0 in the first set in Paris before recovering well.

He broke Marterer’s serve early in the second set and fought back from 3-1 down in the third for a straight-set win against the unseeded 22-year-old.

The Spaniard will play 11th seed Diego Schwartzman, 25, in the last eight.

  • Live scores, schedule and results
  • Williams withdraws from French Open because of injury
  • Second seed Wozniacki beaten by Kasatkina

The Argentine recovered from two sets down to beat South African sixth seed Kevin Anderson 1-6 2-6 7-5 7-6 (7-0) 6-2 to move into the second Grand Slam quarter-final of his career – and first at Roland Garros.

Nadal, meanwhile, has reached at least the quarter-finals in 12 of the 14 years he has played in the French Open.

The world number one has won 37 consecutive sets in the tournament, though he needed a tie-break in the third set to secure Monday’s win over world number 70 Marterer.

Nadal, who celebrated his birthday on Sunday, is now third on the all-time list for most match wins at Grand Slams, moving clear of Jimmy Connors with his 234th.

“I don’t feel old, but I am 32, and I have been here since 2003, so it’s a long way, a lot of years,” said Nadal.

“I started very young. That’s a real thing. But, no, I feel happy to be here. I hope to keep doing this for a while.”

Schwartzman delight at ‘David and Goliath’ win

Schwartzman, who is 5ft 7in, said his victory over 6ft 8in Anderson was like “David and Goliath”.

“I read it when I was young in school, and I just try to think that when I see Kevin or the guys who are two metres (tall),” he said.

“When you’re not as strong or you’re not as tall as Anderson, you can still win the match. I think people like me more, as well, for that, because they were supporting me.

“They wanted me to remain in the game and the fact he was twice as tall as me was a reason for me to try and remain. But you can have a very good serve whether you’re tall or small. That didn’t have anything to do with it.”

Nadal, who has won all his five previous meetings with Schwartzman, said of the Argentine: “It’s always good to see him in the quarter-final because he’s a good friend, a good person.

“He’s a worker, and I’m happy to see him having all this success. Hopefully not too much.”

Schwartzman’s compatriot Juan Martin del Potro also moved into the last eight with a 6-4 6-4 6-4 win over American ninth seed John Isner.

Del Potro, seeded fifth, faces either third seed Marin Cilic of Croatia or Italian 18th seed Fabio Fognini in the quarter-finals.

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'It was so painful': Injured Williams pulls out of French Open

  • Posted: Jun 04, 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 pulled out of the French Open before her fourth-round match with Maria Sharapova because of an injury that affected her serve.

The 23-time Grand Slam winner recently returned to tennis after giving birth to her first child, but looked in good form in her opening matches.

“I’ve had issues with the right pectoral muscle to the point where I can’t serve,” said the 36-year-old.

“I’ll have a scan. I won’t know about Wimbledon until I get the results.”

Williams said she first felt the problem during her third-round win over German 11th seed Julia Gorges on Saturday.

She played in a doubles match with sister Venus on Sunday, saying she wanted to try to manage the problem before her match with Sharapova.

“I tried lots of taping and support to see how it felt in match circumstances,” Williams said.

“It is hard to play when I can’t physically serve. I’ve never had this injury before, I’ve never felt it in my life and it was so painful.

“I don’t know how to manage it.”

Williams said she will have an MRI scan in Paris on Tuesday and will stay in the French capital at least until the extent of her injury is clear.

Sharapova said she was “looking forward” to playing Williams and “disappointed” the American had to withdraw.

“I wish her a speedy recovery and hope she returns to the tour soon,” she added.

The 31-year-old Russian, a two-time winner at Roland Garros, will play 2016 champion Garbine Muguruza. The Spaniard was 2-0 up in the opening set of her match against Lesia Tsurenko when the Ukrainian retired hurt.

Rivalry was set to be renewed

The possibility of Williams facing Sharapova had been grabbing attention since the draw was made at Roland Garros 10 days ago.

And the meeting of the two former champions, both making comebacks at Roland Garros this year, was set up when Williams beat Gorges shortly after Sharapova beat Czech sixth seed Karolina Pliskova.

Williams has recently returned after giving birth to daughter Olympia in September, while 28th seed Sharapova is back in the draw after being refused a wildcard last year as she returned from a 15-month drugs ban.

The pair have had a frosty relationship since they first met on court in 2003, although Williams said in her pre-match news conference on Saturday that she did not have any “negative feelings” towards the Russian.

There has not been much of a rivalry on court in recent years, Williams having won 19 of their 21 meetings. Both of Sharapova’s wins came in 2004 – including that year’s Wimbledon final.

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Six matches in six days takes its toll – analysis

Tennis correspondent Russell Fuller at Roland Garros

Williams had been in astoundingly good form in the first week, but footage of the final set of Sunday’s doubles – which she and sister Venus lost 6-0 – showed Serena rolling in a number of slow first serves.

The three-time champion chose to play doubles as well as singles because she knew she needed matches under her belt. But six matches in six days – after just four in the previous 16 months – appears to have taken its toll. A pectoral injury is most commonly associated with overuse.

Tuesday’s MRI scan will reveal more, but if there is no serious damage, then Wimbledon may still be very much within Williams’ sights. There are still four weeks to go, and not being able to play a grass-court warm-up event beforehand should not be a concern: only twice in her career has she done so.

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Lopez/Lopez Save 1 MP To Beat Kontinen/Peers

  • Posted: Jun 04, 2018

Lopez/Lopez Save 1 MP To Beat Kontinen/Peers

Spaniards led 6-4, 3-0 before eventually securing SF spot

Feliciano Lopez and Marc Lopez saved one match point to book their place in the Roland Garros semi-finals on Monday, defeating third seeds Henri Kontinen and John Peers 6-4, 6-7(2), 7-6(3).

The 2016 champions moved one step away from their second final in three years at the clay-court Grand Slam championship, saving match point at 4-5 (30/40) in the deciding set before breaking serve and securing victory after two hours and 21 minutes.

The Spaniards, who won their third team title at the Barcelona Open Banc Sabadell in April, led by a set and a double break before the Nitto ATP Finals champions rallied to force a decider. Kontinen and Peers broke first, but the No. 12 seeds held their nerve, breaking back in the 10th game to extend the match before clinching victory on their first match point in the third-set tie-break.

Lopez/Lopez won 70 per cent of first-serve points throughout the last-eight contest and converted four of nine break points en route to victory. They will meet fifth seeds Juan Sebastian Cabal and Robert Farah or ATP Doubles Race To London leaders Oliver Marach and Mate Pavic for a place in the final.

Did You Know?
Feliciano Lopez and Marc Lopez are bidding to become the first Spanish duo in the Open Era to win multiple titles at Roland Garros. In 2016, they became just the second all-Spanish team to lift the trophy in the Open Era, following in the footsteps of 1990 champions Sergio Casal and Emilio Sanchez. Sanchez did win two doubles titles at the event, but his first triumph in 1988 came alongside Ecuador’s Andres Gomez.

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French Open: Caroline Wozniacki beaten by Daria Kasatkina in last 16

  • Posted: Jun 04, 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 sports extra, the BBC Sport website and app.

Australian Open champion and second seed Caroline Wozniacki is out of the French Open, beaten 7-6 (7-5) 6-3 by Daria Kasatkina in the last 16.

Russia’s Kasatkina, 21, raced away with the last three games of a match that had been halted at 3-3 in the second set on Sunday because of bad light.

The 14th seed will face American 10th seed Sloane Stephens in the last eight.

World number one Simona Halep, runner-up in 2014 and 2017, beat 16th seed Elise Mertens of Belgium 6-2 6-1.

The Romanian, 26, broke her opponent’s serve six times as she won in 59 minutes, with the second set taking just 22 minutes.

“I was a bit nervous at the start of the match but I played my best match here at Roland Garros,” said Halep.

“I need to be more aggressive and try to finish the points because I don’t hit so many winners.”

Halep will take on either seventh seed Caroline Garcia of France or German 12th seed Angelique Kerber in the last eight.

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