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French Open findings - day 7

Roland Garros Day 1.
by Alexandra Willis
Saturday 1 June 2013

Wimbledon.com's thoughts on the pick of the action from day seven at Roland Garros...

In memory
The tennis world was saddened to learn of the passing of Jelena Gencic, former coach to Novak Djokovic and a driving force for Serbian tennis.  

Marathon men
Tommy Haas and John Isner.
Before Roland Garros 2013, John Isner had never successfully come back from two sets to love down. He had tried five times. Until his win over Ryan Harrison, 8-6 in the fifth on Friday. And then on Saturday, he came within inches of achieving the same, recovering from a two-set deficit against the 35-year-old German, saving an astonishing 12 match points in the process. Haas clung on to win 10-8 in the fifth, his legs not quite as done in as Isner's, in the end. But it was a remarkable display from the two men, Isner especially, who is no stranger to marathon matches. 

His record-breaking buddy Nicolas Mahut even tweeted him some support... "Such a great fighter John ! Come on @JohnIsner"

Big win
Jamie Hampton.
 One of the many of the American legion of women on the up, Hampton held her nerve to produce the win of her career, beating Petra Kvitova 6-1, 7-6(7) to reach the fourth round of a Grand Slam for the first time. Kvitova was her usual unpredictable self, failing to hold serve once during the first set, before racing back to lead by a break in the second. But Hampton battled back, and on her third match point took the seventh seed down. 

In other upsets, Mikhail Youzhny sent Janko Tipsarevic home in rather rapid fashion, knocking out the eighth seed 6-4, 6-4, 6-3, and the resurgent Jelena Jankovic upset ninth seed and former finalist Sam Stosur in three sets.  

Easy does it
Defending champion Maria Sharapova sidled past Zheng Jie 6-1, 7-5, despite trailing in the second set, while 2010 champion Francesca Schiavone scorched past Marion Bartoli 6-2, 6-1. She seems to be particularly enjoying herself, saying: "I am in love with everything I do, I in love with my job, with this clay, with Paris. I even love of my opponents." No retiring soon then. 

Rafael Nadal meanwhile advanced to the fourth round with a straightforward-seeming three-set win over Fabio Fognini, but he still looked less than his best. Title No.8 is still alive though. 

Richard Gasquet and Novak Djokovic also cruised through. 

Golden oldies
Francesca Schiavone (51) and Marion Bartoli (45) brought a combined 96 Grand Slams to their third round encounter. They are the two players with the longest major participation still active on the WTA.

Not since...
1938 has Japan had a man in the fourth round of Roland Garros. Kei Nishikori overturned that statistic with his four-set win over Benoit Paire. No more marshmallow-munching for Benoit then. Stick to pizza. 

Tussles
Victoria Azarenka needed three sets to get past Alize Cornet 4-6, 6-3, 6-1 and is not quite looking like a Grand Slam champion. Yet. The French Open is the only one of the four majors where Azarenka hasn't advanced beyond the fourth round. 

Americans on the up
First, Sloane Stephens, who produced a confidence-boosting three-set win over Marina Erakovic to put together her first run of three wins in a row since the Australian Open. Sharapova is next for Sloane, and she said she would " really, really, really love to win this," whilst admitting it's a long shot. Hampton made it four American women into the fourth round with her big win, the most in any Grand Slam fourth round since 2004.

Soon after, Bethanie Mattek-Sands produced another recovery from a set behind to beat Paula Ormaechea and continue her French Open fairytale. It's her second Grand Slam fourth round, after Wimbledon in 2008, and Maria Kirilenko stands in between the 28-year-old and a first major quarter-final.

Get your phones
Bob Bryan became the latest player to whip out his smartphone to dispute a line call, and received a warning from the umpire for doing so. There was further controversey in the Nishikori-Paire match, with the Frenchman docked a point for coaching, and in the Zheng-Sharapova match, with the Chinese player pointing the umpire towards the wrong mark.

The rise of the one-hander?
The last 10 years in tennis have seen less and less players learn a single-handed backhand, the two-hander offering much better defence and flexibility (see Nadal, Djokovic and Murray). But coach and commentator Brad Gilbert made an interesting observation, suggesting that perhaps the one-hander is back on the up...

"Sensing interesting trend with 1handed Backhand having a strong tourney,Dimitrov,Hanescu,Kohly,Youzney,Haas,Stan W,Gasquet,Trob,Almagro Fed", he tweeted. 

Eight of them in total. 

Anger management
For Benoit Paire. The Frenchman crushed his racket during his defeat to Nishikori. 

Coming up on Sunday

Philippe Chatrier
Svetlana Kuznetsova v Angelique Kerber
Serena Williams v Roberta Vinci
Jo-Wilfried Tsonga v Viktor Troicki
Gilles Simon v Roger Federer 

Suzanne Lenglen
David Ferrer v Kevin Anderson
Tommy Robredo v Nicolas Almagro
Carla Suarez Navarro v Sara Errani
Agnieszka Radwanska v Ana Ivanovic

 

What did we miss? Let us know in the comments below...

Follow the French Open live on ITV and at rolandgarros.com



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