2015/05/28

Third Seed Simona Halep Ousted at French Open

Simona Halep

(May 27, 2015) Last year’s French Open finalist, No. 3 seed Simona Halep became biggest casualty of the tournament on Wednesday when she bowed out to the 70th ranked Mirjana Lucic-Baroni 7-5, 6-1 in the second round.

The 1999 Wimbledon semifinalist also knocked the Romanian out of last year’s U.S. Open.

“When I saw the draw and I saw who I was playing second round, I knew it was going to be really tough,“ said the Croatian. “I was going to have to play a great match again and back up sort of what I did at the US Open. Because, you know, sometimes people say, Oh, it’s one day everything went in, and I don’t look at it like that. I know I played really well. I have been working really hard, and I knew today I had to play some great tennis. I was ready for it. I have been feeling really good also in practices. Even though my results haven’t really been that great lately, I have been feeling great. I knew just it’s a matter of a moment coming, you know, winning few matches and results are gonna come. I’m glad I was able to do that again today.”
“I just tried to play really smart, really well and aggressive, not let her do what she likes to do,” Lucic-Baroni continued. “She moves the ball around really well. She’s an amazing athlete and super tough opponent. I was glad I was able to stay aggressive but not make too many unforced errors. That was the key for me.”
She played well. I couldn’t play my best today,” Halep said. “But, you know, she started to hit the ball very strong at the beginning of the match. So she was better than me today, and I have just to take, you know, this situation to handle it and just to go forward.”
Defending champion Maria Sharapova defeated Russian countrywoman Vitalia Diatchenko 6-3, 6-1. She’ll face 2010 Roland Garros finalist Samantha Stosur. Stosur destroyed French wild card Amandine Hesse 6-0, 6-1.

“Playing Maria is always a big challenge for me,” Stosur said. “No matter what surface it’s on, I don’t have a very good record at all. Obviously we played last year. That’s the last time we played against each other. So it’s always a big challenge, and I’ve got to be ready to have to play, you know, as well or maybe if not better than what I have been doing. So it’s one of those matches that’s a tough matchup, but I know I’ve got, you know, the game that can trouble here, and hopefully I can do it well and we will see what happens.”
“She’s always a tough opponent,” Sharapova said of Stosur. “She enjoys playing on clay, benefits a lot from this surface. Yeah, it will be a tough match. But, you know, I have a pretty good record against her. I enjoy our matches. I hope I can continue that.”

Stosur has a seven match win streak, winning the Strasbourg event on clay last week, her first title of the year.

Stosur credits her old coach David Taylor, who is back with her as of last month for her resurgence.

“I think going back with Dave, that’s given me confidence,” Stosur said. “That’s probably a contribution, and then playing on a surface that I feel good on. Been able to get over a couple of injuries again. It all I guess makes for a better kind of couple of weeks.”

Sharapova has a 14-2 record against the Australian.
Second seed Roger Federer defeated Marcel Granollers 6-2, 7-6 (1), 6-3, while his Swiss countryman Stan Wawrinka also reached the third round with a 6-3, 6-4, 5-7, 6-3 win over Dusan Lajovic.

Federer, who was approached by a fan on the court for a selfie in his last match, was happier with the on-court security on Wednesday.

“I think everybody is a little bit more alert,” he said. “That was the only wish I had. It’s just that the security is more alert. They don’t need to change anything that we need to have fences and all that stuff, not at all. Tennis is one of the most accessible sports out there, and we are unbelievably close with our fans. That’s what I love about it. So for me it was just more important that everybody was doing their job, taking it very seriously, wakes up and that they are standing in the right places and to keep an eye on what’s really important and not about just being there, you know. I think I felt that today. So now we have just got to all keep it up for years to come. I know it’s a lot of work, but it was a good exercise I think for everybody.”

American Steve Johnson has reached the third round. The world No. 56 defeated Sergiy Stakhovsky.

“He kind of came out and steamrolled me in the first set and early part of the second, but righted the ship a little bit. In the third I played a bad game to get broken back,” said the former NCAA champion. “I think it’s just a sign of maybe I’m maturing a little bit. Maybe in the past I would’ve lost my cool a little bit. I kind of stayed calm, won the breaker. In the fourth he started to serve much better. I didn’t have any looks. I think he made all kinds of first serves. I didn’t really have that many looks at seconds. So I was happy to have won that crazy last couple points in the breaker.”

It was a good day for French players 12th seed Gilles Simon, 14th seed Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, 13th seed Gael Monfils, unseeded Nicolas Mahut and unseeded Benoit Paire. All five men won, with Monfils having to survive a five set struggle 4-6, 6-4, 4-6, 6-2, 6-3 against Diego Schwartzman, Paire knocking out 28th seed Fabio Fognini in straight sets and Mahut upset 24th seed Ernest Gulbis in four sets.

 

“Actually, today I won because I had the crowd behind me,” Monfils said.

 

Nick Kyrgios, the 29th seed received a walkover into the third round as British qualifier Kyle Edmund withdrew with a stomach injury.

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Nadal Says He Did Request that Carlos Bernardes Not Umpire His Matches

Nadal at changeover

(May 26, 2015) Simon Briggs of the Telegraph reported last week that chair umpire Carlos Bernardes was “unlikely to officiate him (Rafael Nadal) at Roland Garros.” Nadal was upset with Bernardes’ officiating in Rio and had a disagreement.

Nadal addressed this in his post-match news conference on Tuesday.

Q.Can you tell me what happened with Bernardes? Is it true the situation he cannot umpire your matches, or do you know anything about it? Because I read it, but I have no exactly the clue what happened.

RAFAEL NADAL: Is easy, no? There is a lot of umpires on the tour. I respect a lot Bernardes. I consider him a great umpire and a good person, but I think when you have some troubles with the same umpire, sometimes it’s easy to stay for a while away, no? I think that’s the real thing. I think is better for both of us if we are not in court at the same time for a while after what happened in Rio de Janeiro. That’s it. No problem with him personally.
Q. But not your request?
RAFAEL NADAL: Yes, it was my request, and the ATP talking about — well, I asked if it’s possible, but nothing personal against him 100%. I respect him like umpire, I respect him like person, and I consider him a good person more than that. So for me is not — I am not happy with that situation. That’s the first thing. Because I would love to have Bernardes on the court again. Will happen, but, you know, I think for both of us it is better to have a break, you know. We had some problems. For me he hasn’t — he was not enough respectful with me in Rio de Janeiro . That was my feeling when I put my shorts the other way. He wants to put me warnings four times, that’s fine. But if I put my shorts other way and I ask him if I can change my shorts, I can put my shorts the right way, and his answer is, Yes, but you will receive a time warning. For me, that’s not fair, you know, (smiling.) When something like that, something like this did happen on court, that I think is not fair. I think is, you know, shows not respect, because I cannot play a full game with the shorts the other way. So it’s better. It’s better to be away for a while. That’s all. No personal problem with him, no? Seriously, I’m not saying that because I am in front of you. I respect him, I like him, but he was not right. And I believe that is for relationship and everything is better to be away for a bit.

 

In his news conference, Novak Djokovic was asked about umpires.

Q. Obviously players deal with the same umpires over and over again. You know them really well. Have you ever, in your entire career, felt the need or happen to ask for a certain umpire not to umpire your matches?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: No.

Q. Is it common practice or is it normal for that to happen?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: No, no, no. Honestly, I never thought of that. Chair umpires are humans, as well. We all make mistakes. Maybe periods of the year when a chair umpire is more or less confident to make certain calls and decisions, and of course, they need to be strongly participating in the match, as well. They need focus and attention, especially the surfaces where you don’t have marks like clay and have to make certain calls with, of course, a time limit that is now a new rule, puts a lot of pressure on them. So I understand it. Of course, you go through tense moments, emotions on the court, as a player and as a chair umpire. You make mistakes. There are some chair umpires in some matches that I remember that I wasn’t very happy with how they did their job, but I never thought of requesting a chair umpire not to ever or whatever, for a certain time, be a chair umpire in my matches. I don’t think that’s fair. I don’t think that’s fair to them. You know, they do their job as best as they can. Of course, sometimes they do it better or worse.

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Eugenie Bouchard Bounced Out of French Open in First Round

Eugenie Bouchard

Eugenie Bouchard

(May 26, 2015) After a year which saw her surge into the top ten, Canada’s Eugenie Bouchard’s 2015 has not lived up to her ranking of No. 6. Last year’s Wimbledon finalist and French Open semifinalist has made her first, first round exit at a major in her young career, falling to Frenchwoman world No. 44 Kristina Mladenovic 6-4, 6-4. The 21-yearold has now lost eight of her nine matches.

“I felt I was in the match,” Bouchard said. “But tennis-wise, I still knew I was far off from how well I can play. But, you know, I was in there, and I just felt like I couldn’t be as relaxed as I wanted to on the court.”

“Honestly I don’t know what to say. It’s been kind of the same as how I have been feeling recently on the court. Just not like myself.”
“I feel like I have been trying to work on what’s been going wrong, and I feel like I have been making progress. So to still have matches like this is actually disappointing. But, I mean, at the same time it’s just a tennis match and, you know, I need to not worry too much. Life is still good. Everyone has highs and lows in their career. This is a little bit of a low point for me.”

 

“On paper, that’s true, she’s had fewer wins, but, you know, last year her season was exceptional,” said Mladenovic. “So it is tough for her to have the same results. People are expecting a lot. And it’s true, people say that she’s lost some of her confidence. But, you know, for me I had to put out good tennis, because I felt, you know, if I was playing well at the right pace, the things she loves she would have beaten me, you know. And therefore, I focused on my game, I focused on my game. I tried to be smart, vary my game, and the things she doesn’t like to do I did them. I think I perfectly executed my plan today. Of course, I think she’s going through a more tricky moment for her. If you look at her results. But, you know, if you give her freedom on the court, she has a very high level. So as usual, I would say, you know, women’s tennis is so dense today. All players play well. For me and for her, I’d say, well, there’s nothing to be afraid of, given her level of game. She’s in the top 10, after all.”
Mladenovic escaped some second set drama letting a 5-0 lead slip to a 5-4 lead, but did finally serve out the match.

“It’s never easy to finish such a match with a crowd, as well,” said the Frenchwoman. “You know, they are frustrated, they are waiting for you. It’s not easy on your nerves, to be frank. I’m very satisfied, you know, in my head, first, to be able to finish the match, you know, 5-4, and I served well. Otherwise, you know, 5-5 could have been much more complicated.”
“Had I been afraid of winning, I wouldn’t have won this one, neither the first set nor the second one nor the whole match. If you’re afraid of winning, you will never make it, you will never win such a match. Against her on a Grand Slam on such a court, it’s a tennis match, it’s a sport. She relaxed a little. She was, her back on the wall, as we say. It’s never obvious, you know. We are all human beings. It’s never easy to finish such a match. As I said earlier on, she’s an excellent player. If you give her an opportunity, she will take it. She would seize it, and she had a number of winners. I didn’t make that many mistakes myself, and she played better. I was no longer in my game plan, and it was going her way for a while, and then I played well at 5-4. I had a good game.”
Bouchard will now head to the grass court season, hoping to right her game. “I expected a good season, better than that of last year, so I realized it won’t be the case all the time,” said Bouchard. “So I have learned a lot recently. Moreover, I have to be patient. The results won’t come immediately. I know I can go through difficult times.

 

 

 

ROLAND GARROS, PARIS, FRA
GRAND SLAM – €26,287,000
May 24-JUNE 7, 2015

RESULTS – MAY 26, 2015
Women’s Singles – First Round
(1) Serena Williams (USA) d. (Q) Andrea Hlavackova (CZE) 62 63
(4) Petra Kvitova (CZE) d. Marina Erakovic (NZL) 64 36 64
(5) Caroline Wozniacki (DEN) d. Karin Knapp (ITA) 63 60
Kristina Mladenovic (FRA) d. (6) Eugenie Bouchard (CAN) 64 64
(10) Andrea Petkovic (GER) d. Shelby Rogers (USA) 62 61
(16) Madison Keys (USA) d. Varvara Lepchenko (USA) 76(3) 63
(18) Svetlana Kuznetsova (RUS) d. Kiki Bertens (NED) 61 46 62
(23) Timea Bacsinszky (SUI) d. Lara Arruabarrena (ESP) 63 64
(Q) Sesil Karatantcheva (BUL) d. (25) Jelena Jankovic (SRB) 63 64
(32) Zarina Diyas (KAZ) d. (Q) Dinah Pfizenmaier (GER) 64 61
Silvia Soler-Espinosa (ESP) d. Pauline Parmentier (FRA) 64 63
Irina Falconi (USA) d. (WC) Manon Arcangioli (FRA) 62 60
Lourdes Dominguez Lino (ESP) d. Christina McHale (USA) 36 76(4) 64 (saved 2mp)
Julia Goerges (GER) d. CoCo Vandeweghe (USA) 62 57 61
Anna-Lena Friedsam (GER) d. (Q) Alexa Glatch (USA) 62 46 64
Francesca Schiavone (ITA) d. Qiang Wang (CHN) 36 63 64
Belinda Bencic (SUI) d. Daniela Hantuchova (SVK) 63 63
Tereza Smitkova (CZE) d. Taylor Townsend (USA) 63 64
Danka Kovinic (MNE) d. Klara Koukalova (CZE) 63 76(4)
Alison Van Uytvanck (BEL) d. Anna Karolina Schmiedlova (SVK) 76(4) 76(7) (saved 1sp in 1st set, 11sp in 2nd set)

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American Jack Sock Knocks Out 10th Seed Grigor Dimitrov at Roland Garros on ‘Favorite Surface’

Jack Sock

(May 26, 2015) Grigor Dimitrov became the highest men’s seed to take a tumble at Roland Garros on Tuesday. The 10th seeded Bulgarian fell to Jack Sock of the United States 7-6, (7), 6-2, 6-3 in the first round.

The last American man to lift the singles trophy at Roland Garros was Andre Agassi in 1999. Since then the U.S. men have not had much success on the red clay.

Twenty-two-year-old Sock who won a title last month in Houston on green clay calls clay: “my favorite surface.”

“This just suits my game very well,” Sock said. “Like I said, serve, forehand, I think it really complements those shots well for me. Serve is able to get up, forehand gets up, and it slows it down a little bit where I’m able to take my time and kind of maneuver the ball around. Movement is another big part of my game. I feel like on the clay get to a lot of balls, I can touch a lot of balls in the balls, which sometimes can frustrate guys when you get to one extra. Sometimes that can change a match.”

 

As for American men and their feeling about red clay, Sock said: “I hope as a whole for American tennis we can do well and we can get wins and kind of push to be somewhat where we were bunch of years ago when we had some of the American guys winning and doing well. But, yeah, as a whole we’re all pushing each other and trying to do very well. Each of us individually is also focusing on ourselves. I think when one of us does well it pushes the others to do well as well. I think that’s everyone’s mindset.”
Sock who began his 2015 season late due to a torn hips muscle, dealt with the illness of his older brother who had a lung infection.

“He’s doing much better now,” Sock said. “He’s got full I guess health back. He’s started working again. He teaches tennis back home in Kansas City with the coach I worked with growing up. Just the little things, strength and mobility, shoulder, he’s just had to do a lot of work to get back. He’s getting there and close to 100%.”

“It’s been a lot outside of tennis for me, a lot of stuff going on. It’s motivated me in a lot of ways to see a family member, and especially my brother — you know, I’m very close with him. To see him go through what he did… And I was in the hospital every day with him after I had surgery, so just back-to-back things that were very unfortunate. To see him battle and get through that when he was very close to not making, it was more inspirational I think than anything. Like people I think know in Indian Wells, when I started the year, I was out there and he was with me. I was playing for him, him and my family. Just doing the best I could for them and trying to make them proud. It’s kind of carried over every week.”

Sock’s countryman John Isner was winner on Tuesday as well. He beat Andreas Seppi 7-5, 6-2, 6-3. Isner isn’t afraid of the red dirt either.

“A lot is said about clay and how it’s a defensive surface,” Isner said. “It’s sort of I would say a misconception. I think clay is a very good attacking surface. A guy like Rafa(el Nadal), yeah, he plays great defense, but knocks the cover off the ball. He is greatest clay-court player of all-time. Me, on top of that, I’m a completely different animal than anyone. My serve is going to play no matter what the surface is and going to keep me in the match. So I’m comfortable on clay. I’ve played pretty well over here in Europe, which is nice. You know, I’ve had some bad European swings before, too. So feeling pretty good right now.”

 

 

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Business as Usual for Top Seeds Serena Williams, Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal at French Open

(May 26, 2015) It was smooth sailing for the most part, on day three of the French Open for top players Serena Williams, Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal. All three turned in straight-set victories.

During Serena Williams’ win over Andrea Hlavackova 6-2, 6-3, in the first set, the world No. 1 misjudged a lob which hit her in the arm. Williams laughed and delayed playing the next point, bending over her racquet trying to regain her composure while returning serve.

“I’m allegedly a professional tennis player. And I was thinking, `I’m going to hit a backhand.’ `I will hit a forehand.’ And, `I will run around and hit a backhand.’ `No, no, no, run around and hit a forehand.’ Next thing I know, it hit me in the back,” Williams said. “So I was, like, embarrassed. At the same time, I thought it was really funny. It happens to the best of us. Maybe not. But to me.”

Novak Djokovic, who was two points from losing the set before he won 22 out of the next 29 points in his 6-2, 7-5, 6-2 win over Jarkko Nieminen.

“It was a test, it was a challenge for me to come back to the court again after first match after Rome final,” said Djokovic. “And obviously it’s been a year since I played on Philippe Chatrier, and nice memories.

“Of course, I was aware of the quality and experience of my opponent today, who has shown, and especially in the second set, why he’s been around the tour and a successful, consistent player for so many years. He can play. He can swing through the ball and be very aggressive. And he was the better player for most of the second set. And then, I managed to come back and play some good shots, stayed patient, stayed calm. And overall it was a very solid performance.”

“I played a good match, a solid one,” Nadal said of his win over wild card Quentin Halys 6-3, 6-3, 6-4. “When I had some opportunities I seized them. The first four games in the first set, I mean, were tough. I made some mistakes, but then afterwards I was able to hit my shots. I had some problems with my serve, but on the whole, it was okay. From time to time the opponent served very well with a lot of power, but I managed to return quite well. He managed to hit shots that put me in a difficult situation at some times, but I was dominant on the whole during the match. I dominated the game. I managed to play some strokes down the line. So I handled the match very well. It’s a correct performance. I’m happy with it. He got lots of balls back, in fact, retrieving lots of them. A very good opponent.”
Nadal, the sixth seed, is aiming for an unprecedented 10th French Open title this year. He’ll play fellow Spaniard Nicolas Almagro in the second round.

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Murray, Sharapova Advance as Venus Williams Falls at Roland Garros

(May 24, 2015) Third seed Andy Murray and second seed Maria Sharapova had straight set wins on day two of the French Open, while former finalist and the oldest woman in the draw, 15th seed Venus Williams lost along with four other seeds on Monday in Paris.

Making her 18th appearance in Paris, Venus Williams’ Roland Garros was ended in the first round by American countrywoman Sloane Stephens 7-6(5), 6-1. Stephens became just the second American to ever defeat both Serena and Venus Williams at a major. Stephens beat Serena in the quarterfinals of the 2013 Australian Open.

After the loss, Venus declined to speak to media. She did issue a statement which said that Stephens “just played better than me today.”

Williams said that she will be turning her focus to grass-court season.

“I have a little while now between tournaments and so now I’ll just get ready for the grass at Wimbledon.”

She is facing a potential fine for not having a news conference.

“Obviously it’s a tough first round of a Grand Slam,” Stephens said. “So going into it I knew I was going to have to just come out and be really solid and play my tennis. I did that today. That was good.”

“I didn’t really know what to expect. I mean, obviously she’s a great player and a great champion. I knew I was just going to have to get out there and do my best.”

Defending champion Sharapova defeated Kaia Kanepi 6-2, 6-4 in her first round match. Sharapova nursing a cough during the match, declined an on-court interview, which lead to spectators booing her as she left the court.

“But it’s just the way it is. I’m getting over it, and hopefully it will pass by soon,” she said.

Andy Murray stretched his unbeaten streak during the clay court season to 11, with a 6-3, 6-3, 6-1 win over Argentina’s Facundo Arguello, who reached the main draw as a lucky loser.

The Scot talked about the windy conditions on court.

“I felt like it was difficult. The start was very windy on the court and cold, so it was quite slow conditions. I found it difficult at the beginning. Then I felt, you know, when the wind died down a bit in the second and third set, I felt that the level of tennis was better.”

Besides Venus Williams, four other seeds made exits on Monday including No. 11 Feliciano Lopez who lost to Teymuraz Gabashvili and former Wimbledon finalist No. 14 Agnieszka Radwanska 6-2, 3-6, 6-1 against Annika Beck.

Others who bowed out were No. 30 Adrien Mannarino and No. 22 Barbora Strycova.

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2015 Roland Garros – Day 2 Men’s Preview

Andy Murray with Madrid trophy

Andy Murray

Monday, May 25, 2015 First Round

No. 3 Andy Murray (GBR) v (LL) Facundo Arguello (ARG)

Two-time major winner Andy Murray will be looking to extend his 10-match unbeaten streak on clay this season when he plays Argentine qualifier Facundo Arguello on Court Philippe Chatrier. The world No. 3 won the first 2 clay court titles of his career – at Munich and Madrid-1000 – earlier this month.

This is the first meeting between the players.

This is Murray’s eighth Roland Garros appearance. He has lost in the first round in Pais just once before – in his debut in 2006 to Gael Monfils.

For lucky loser Arguello, who is ranked 137th in the world, this will be just his second appearance in the main draw of a major, his first was last year, also at the French Open.

 

 

No. 4 Tomas Berdych (CZE) v (Q) Yoshihito Nishioka (JPN)

Berdych is playing in his 12th straight Roland Garros. Last year here he lost to Ernests Gulbis in the quarterfinals. He has a 17- 11 record at the French Open

 

Berdych’s best result here came in 2010 when he broke through to his first Grand Slam semifinal
(l. Robin Soderling). His best result at a major is finishing runner-up at 2010 Wimbledon. He defeated No. 1 Roger Federer in the quarterfinals and No. 3 Novak Djokovic in the semifinals, before losing to No. 2 Rafael Nadal 63 75 64 in the final.

 

Berdych warmed up for Roland Garros by finishing runner-up at Monte Carlo-1000 (l. Djokovic), reaching the semifinals at Madrid-1000 (l. Nadal), and the quarterfinals at Rome-1000 (l. Federer).

 

Lefthanded qualifier Yoshihito Nishioka is making his Roland Garros debut. Nishioka defeated Jan Mertl (CZE) 64 63, Norbert Gombos (SVK) 26 62 86 and Guilherme Clezar (BRA) 62 61 in the 3 rounds of qualifying for this year’s Roland Garros.

 

Nishioka is trying to earn his first Tour-level match-win on clay. He recorded his first Tour-level match-wins earlier this year when he reached the quarterfinals as a qualifier at Delray Beach losing to Bernard Tomic.

This will be the first head-t-head meeting between both men.

No. 12 Gilles Simon (FRA) v (WC) Lucas Pouille (FRA)

Simon and Pouille go head-to-head in one of 2 all-French clashes in the opening round of the men’s draw – the first time there has been multiple clashes between French players in the first round here since 2011.

Simon and Pouille are 2 of the 14 Frenchmen to start in the men’s main draw here – the fewest Frenchmen to start in the men’s main draw at Roland Garros since 1999, when there were also 14. The fewest Frenchmen to reach the 2nd round at Roland Garros is 4 in 2000. This is their first meeting.

Simon is 13-9 at the French open while his opponent is 1-2. This will be Simon’s 10th appearance at Roland Garros and his 36th Grand Slam tournament overall.

Wild card Pouille is attempting to reach the second round here and equal his best Grand Slam result. Last year here as a wild card he lost in the first round to Juan Monaco.
No. 13 Gael Monfils (FRA) v (WC) Edouard Roger-Vasselin (FRA)

Monfils and Roger-Vasselin go head-to-head in one of 2 all-French clashes in the opening round of the men’s draw – the first time there has been multiple clashes between French players in the first round here since 2011.

 

Monfils has a 6-3 win-loss record against fellow Frenchmen at the Grand Slams, while Roger-Vasselin has a 0-4 win-loss record against French players at the majors.

 

Monfils and Roger-Vasselin are 2 of the 14 Frenchmen to start in the men’s main draw here – the fewest Frenchmen to start in the men’s main draw at Roland Garros since 1999, when there were also 14. The fewest Frenchmen to reach the 2nd round at Roland Garros is 4 in 2000.

Monfils is 25-9 at Roland Garros while his challenger is 5-6. This is Monfils’ 10th time playing at Roland Garros and his 34th major appearance. His best result in Paris was losing in the 2009 semifinals to Roger Federer.

Roger-Vasselin is making a 7th appearance at Roland Garros and his 24th at a Grand Slam overall. Monfils leads 1-0 in their head-to-head.

Roger-Vasselin is one of 39 men aged 30 or over to start this year’s Roland Garros main draw. This is a record for the most 30-somethings to start in the main draw at a Grand Slam. The previous highest number was 38 at 2014 Roland Garros.

No. 17 David Goffin (BEL) v Filip Krajinovic (SRB)

Goffin’s only meeting against Krajinovic came at the Scheveningen Challenger in 2014, won by the Belgian.

Goffin has a 3-3 career record at Roland Garros. Krajinovic is 0-1.

Goffin is bidding for his first win at Roland Garros since 2012. Last year here he lost in the 1st round to Jurgen Melzer. He also lost in the 1st round here in 2013 (l. Novak Djokovic).

 

Goffin is making his 4th consecutive appearance at Roland Garros and his 12th appearance at a Grand Slam event.

 

Goffin’s best Grand Slam performance is a round of 16 finish here in 2012 on his Grand Slam debut. He became the first lucky loser to reach the round of 16 at a Grand Slam since countryman Dick Norman reached that stage at 1995 Wimbledon and just the 8th lucky loser to reach the round of 16 at a Grand Slam in the Open Era.

Krajinovic is looking for his first Grand Slam match-win today.

Krajinovic is making his 4th appearance at a Grand Slam. He lost in the 1st round at each of his 3 previous majors – as a qualifier at both 2012 Roland Garros and the 2014 US Open
and as a direct acceptance at the 2015 Australian Open. He has attempted to qualify for the majors on 8 occasions, including unsuccessfully here in 2014.


No. 28 Fabio Fognini (ITA) v Tatsuma Ito (JPN)

This is will be their first head-to-head meeting.

Fognini’s best Grand Slam performance is reaching the quarterfinals in Paris in 2011 before giving a walkover to Novak Djokovic with a left thigh strain. He was the first Italian man to reach the last 8 at a major since Davide Sanguinetti at 1998 Wimbledon and he was the first player to give a walkover in the quarterfinals at a Grand Slam since Stefan Edberg at the 1989 Australian Open. He has a 4-3 win-loss record in 5-set matches at Roland Garros and a 9-9 win-loss record in 5-set matches overall.

 

On clay in 2015, Fognini finished runner-up at Rio de Janeiro. He defeated Rafael Nadal in the last 4 to end the Spaniard’s 52-match win-streak in Tour-level semifinals on clay. He also reached the quarterfinals at Sao Paulo and Barcelona the 3rd round at Rome-1000 and the 2nd round at Monte Carlo-1000, Munich and Madrid-1000. He also fell in the 2nd round at Buenos Aires after receiving a 1st round bye.

 

Ito is bidding to reach the second round at the French Open for the first time and equal his best Grand Slam result.

 

Ito is trying to earn his first Tour-level match-win on clay since May 2012, when he defeated Radek Stepanek at the World Team Cup in Dusseldorf. This is his first Tour-level appearance on clay since April 2013. He has a 4-8 Tour-level win-loss record on clay overall.

 

Ito’s best Grand Slam performance is reaching the second round at the Australian Open as a wild card in 2012 (l. Nicolas Mahut) and as a direct acceptance in 2013 (l. Marcos Baghdatis), and as a qualifier at the 2014 US Open (l. Feliciano Lopez).

Fognini is 12-6 at Roland Garros while his opponent is 0-1.
No. 30 Adrian Mannarino (FRA) v Jurgen Melzer (AUT)

Mannarino and Melzer are 2 of the 18 lefthanders to start in this year’s men’s main draw. Rafael Nadal is the only lefthander to win the Roland Garros title since Thomas Muster in 1995.

Mannarino is 1-6 at the French Open while Melzer in 15-12. Mannarino is looking to reach the second round at Roland Garros and equal his best performance there. Last year here he lost to Guillermo Garcia-Lopez in the 2nd round.

 

Mannarino has lost in the 1st round in Paris 5 times – in 2008-09 and 2011-13. This is his 7th appearance at Roland Garros and his 21st Grand Slam overall.

 

Mannarino is seeded No. 30 at this year’s Roland Garros – it is the first time he has been seeded at a Grand Slam event. He reached a career-high ranking of No. 29 in April this year and plays here ranked No. 32.

 

Mannarino is one of 14 Frenchmen to start in the men’s main draw here – the fewest Frenchmen to start in the men’s main draw at Roland Garros since 1999, when there were also 14. The fewest Frenchmen to reach the 2nd round at Roland Garros is 4 in 2000.

This is Melzer’s 13th consecutive Roland Garros appearance and his 51st Grand Slam overall. Last year here he lost to Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in the 2nd round.

 

Melzer’s best Grand Slam result is reaching the semifinals here in 2010. As No. 22 seed he upset No. 3 seed Novak Djokovic 36 26 62 76 64 in the quarterfinals for his first-ever comeback from 0-2 down, before losing to Rafael Nadal 62 63 76 in the semifinals.

 

Melzer warmed up for Roland Garros by reaching the 2nd round at Istanbul (l. Diego Sebastian Schwartzman) and Geneva (l. Joao Sousa). He failed to qualify for Houston and Rome-1000.

 

Melzer finished 2014 ranked No. 113 – the first time he has finished the year ranked outside the Top 100 since 2001. He spent 7 months away from the game with a shoulder injury, returning at 2014 Monte-Carlo-1000. Melzer is a former Top 10 player but plays here ranked No. 110.

(Q) Gastao Elias (POR) v Benoit Paire (FRA)
This will be the first meeting between the two. Elias is 0-1 in Paris while Paire is 4-5.

Qualifier Elias is bidding to record his first Grand Slam match-win.

This is Elias’ 3rd Grand Slam appearance. He lost in the 1st round at 2013 Wimbledon and as a qualifier at 2014 Roland Garros on his 2 previous appearances at a major. He failed to qualify for Roland Garros in 2012 and 2013.

Paire is bidding to reach the 2nd round at Roland Garros for the 4th straight year. Last year here he lost to Roberto Bautista Agut in the 2nd round.

 

Paire’s best performance at a major is reaching the 3rd round at Wimbledon in 2012 (l. Brian Baker) and in 2013 (l. Lukasz Kubot), at 2013 Roland Garros (l. Kei Nishikori) and at the 2014 Australian Open (l. Roberto Bautista Agut). This is his 6th straight Roland Garros appearance and his 18th Grand Slam overall.

 

Paire is a former Top 30 player, having reached a career-high ranking of No. 24 in August 2013. He missed 3 months of the 2014 season (Feb-Apr) with a knee injury sustained at the Australian Open before undergoing knee surgery in September. He returned to action at the 2015 Hopman Cup and plays here ranked No. 71.

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Steve Johnson Nets a Rare Five-Set Win on Day One of the French Open

(May 24, 2015) In the first five-setter of the French Open on Sunday, Steve Johnson of the United States knocked out 26th seed Guillermo Garcia-Lopez of Spain 6-3, 6-3, 6-7(1), 3-6, 6-3 to reach the second round. The marathon match lasted three hours and 26 minutes. For the 56th-ranked Johnson, it’s his second win in five setters all coming in the first round. Last year in Paris, Johnson bested Laurent Lokoli coming back from a two-set deficit.

Johnson took a 6-3, 6-3 lead and was two points away from a straight sets win in the third set, then Garcia Lopez came back in the match.

“I wasn’t like I guess panicking,” Johnson said. “I was up two sets. I played a good end of the third. He kind of buckled down and played some great defense in the last three sets. Felt like it was tough for me to hit a winner. He played great defense. He’s very comfortable on clay; he’s very comfortable out there. I don’t think at any moment, even down two sets, he thought it was far from over. Just fortunate – you know, I was down a break in the fifth – just to kind of compose myself. Played a great game to break back, a long game, and I think that swung the momentum a little bit in my favor.”
“I’ve had a bunch of tough five-set losses,” Johnson reflected. “A couple years ago here I played Montanes. He won the first, I won the second, he won the third, I won the fourth. You kind of get this emotion where you’re on this high, like you’re ready to go, ready to go. It’s just another match. It’s just another set. I’ve played a lot of tennis in my life, and I felt comfortable out there today in the fifth just to play regular tennis. You know, I didn’t need to raise my game to another level to win this one. So that kind of mentality. So I just buckled down and played the way I needed to play. You know, drew back from all those five-set losses. Had a five-set win here last year in the first round. So just another day at the office to take care of business and win three sets.”
In recent years U.S men have not been known for their clay court prowess or love for the surface. The last U.S. man to win the French Open was Andre Agassi in 1999.

Asked about if U.S. men have gained confidence on clay courts, Johnson said: “I think it’s just a mindset really. Maybe back in the day after the (Andre) Agassi kind of (Michael) Chang, those guys’ era who won here, there was maybe a bit of negativity. I don’t want to say that in a negative way to guys like James and Andy and Mardy (Fish). Those guys held the torch for American tennis and did more than anyone else really has, in my era at least. I think there was maybe a negative tone to coming here or being on clay in general. So it’s nice to have John (Isner) do well because he’s the leader of our pack right now. If he does well, you know, we all believe we can do well I feel like. It’s one of those things where you see your buddy win and you’re going to feel the same confidence. I think I was the only American to play today, to win. Maybe tomorrow the Americans will come out guns blazing and go out and take care of business. Just one of those things that confidence kind of breeds more confidence, and winning, just amongst the group, is always beneficial.”
Johnson, 25, played college tennis for the USC Trojans won the NCAA Men’s Singles Championship in his junior and senior seasons (2011–2012), and was a part of the USC team that won four straight NCAA Championships.

The Californian rates clay as his third favorite surface.

“I played on hard court my whole life,” Johnson said. “Feel like my game suits well for grass. Maybe haven’t had the success at Wimbledon as I would like, but that’s going to change I hope one day. I feel like I’m getting more comfortable. It’s funny, because I’ve had literally the last three years — all three years I’ve played on the tour full time it’s like once clay season comes I’ve struggled. Like two years ago in the challengers in the States it was like winning games, and then Bordeaux two years ago I won three games; I got killed. Then like I get to Roland Garros to play quallies two years ago and the ball kind of starts to roll and you figure it out. It’s a learning process. Every year I’ve felt like I’ve gotten here and everything has just started to click. I’ve had some rough practice days, matches, you name it, for the last two months. Now it’s like, Okay, everything I worked on, my coach and I, it happened today. It felt good. So it’s like one of those things where you get more comfortable the more time you play on it. You’re going to get here, and I don’t know what it is about here, but it’s a pretty special place to play. I just felt like the clay court game for me has clicked, which is good timing.”

Next up for Johnson in the second round will be the winner of the Sergiy Stakhovsky – Ricardas Berankis.

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Roger Federer Blasts French Open Security After Selfie-Seeking Fan Runs on Court

(May 24, 2015) Roger Federer began his French Open center court on with a 6-3, 6-3, 6-4 victory over qualifier Alejandro Falla n Paris on Sunday.

As Federer was leaving the court, a fan ran onto the court trying take a “selfie” with the world No. 2.

“Well, I’m not happy about it,” Federer said. “Obviously not one second I’m happy about it. It happened yesterday in the practice, too. It’s just a kid, but then three more kids came. And today on center court where you would think this is a place where nobody can come on, just wanders on and nothing happens. Happened during the finals in ’09 as well for me. So I definitely think this is something that something needs to happen quickly. Basically yesterday already. Not now, you know. But obviously want this to happen immediately. Normally I only speak on behalf of myself, but in this situation I think I can speak on behalf of all the players, that that’s where you do your job, that’s where you want to feel safe. And so clearly I’m not happy about it. But nothing happened, so I’m relieved. But clearly it wasn’t a nice situation to be in.”
A similar incident happened to Federer took place in 2009 during the French Open final, when the Swiss defeated Robin Soderling for his lone French Open title. A man ran out on the court and tried to put a hat on Federer.

“Gilbert Ysern (Roland Garros Tournament Director) already came and apologized to me, and we had a quick conversation,” Federer said. “I just told him what I think needs to happen. I told him about yesterday, as well, which he didn’t know about. Yeah, I’m sure they will take the necessary steps now, but this doesn’t only mean for this tournament for this year; it means for all the tournaments we play all the years coming up. We need to make sure that it’s safe out there and people don’t just wander on the court like a free pass, you know. That’s how it’s supposed to be.”
It also brought back painful memories of when Monica Seles was stabbed on-court by a fan in 1993 in Hamburg, Germany.

“Well, I know Monica very well,” Federer said. “I met her again in New York. It’s not that funny, that’s true, not at all, I’d say. I know that on these courts people are really close to the courts. It’s easy to jump above and be on the courts. I don’t know what we should do, what we should do to avoid these things. But it’s the reaction. You know, if these things happen and they should never happen, if people can get close to us, to me, you know, it shouldn’t happen. And then how they are going to change this? I don’t know. They will tell us. Of course, I couldn’t react, the kid was coming from behind me.”
As for his first round match, Federer hit 43 winners in the victory over the world No. 111.

Ysern held a news conference of his own later in the day.

“Well, I won’t react to his (Federer’s) comments, I will react to the facts,” Ysern said. “Of course his comments made sense. He was pissed off with what happened in court. He has good grounds for being unhappy. Well, I prefer to react to what happened. I think, well, some extent it’s not the end of the world. Of course we should not make too big a case of that, but it’s embarrassing, of course, for Roland Garros, when something like that happens. Well, it simply shows that we collectively as an organization made a mistake and we will have to correct that, of course, and make sure it doesn’t happen again.”

“I’m not going to tell you I’m happy with what happened this afternoon. But honestly, at this stage there is no reason for us to change the security procedures. They are organized; it was just a lack of judgment this afternoon. Clearly the security people who were on court did not do the job the way they should have done, of course, to say the least. Again, it’s a question of lack of judgment from them, and — well, we all know in tennis, like in other sports, the current approach consists in having the players — the crowds close to the players, you know, looking for signatures, autographs, and pictures, selfies and all that. Again, I think that’s where the lack of judgment this afternoon lays. I mean, the instinct and direction of security people must have been that it was something that was acceptable, which is clearly not. So again, I think we should understand that the issue here again is lack of judgment on the part of the people who are on court. It’s not the procedures that are in place that are wrong. No need to say that, of course, the message is passed again among all the security people. And tonight for sure we will reinforce the message again that clearly nobody is allowed to get on court in any case at any time for any reason. It has to be very clear. Of course, well, the fact that all you here is a good opportunity for me as well to remind everybody on court that this is still totally forbidden. And there are opportunities for the crowds to cheer for players, opportunities to get close to them. You know, we organize that, and the players are very helpful in that regard these days. They are giving some time to make themselves available for the crowds and the fans to get closer to them. But of course, the court is clearly forbidden for them to go on, and, well, they have to respect that. Of course, contrary to what happened this afternoon, we will enforce that rule more severely from today on and make sure it doesn’t happen again.”

 

Federer’s countryman Stan Wawrinka also advanced to the second round with a 6-3, 6-2, 6-3 over Marsel Ilhan.

Wawrinka is also upset with the French Open organizers complaining about a “completely stupid article” that he says appeared on the official http://www.rolandgarros.com tournament website on Saturday which touched upon his private life. The article was taken down.

Wawrinka said he spotted the article Saturday and “I told the tournament that I wasn’t really happy about it.”

“It’s official website of a Grand Slam, so I hope the guy who did that article is not a journalist. I also hope the guy who is supposed to check all the article on the website is not working anymore for the tournament. Because for me, for a Grand Slam website, it should be an article about the tennis and that’s it.”

I saw the article last night,” Wawrinka told media. “I told the tournament that I wasn’t really happy about it, and I don’t think it was great for the tournament to do that sh*t article. That’s it. But after that, you know, I’m here to play tennis and to focus on my game. I can put that on the side, and that’s it.”

Ysern also commented on the article:”We have to pay attention when we proofread the papers. But given what we have on the Internet, so many people write so many things, so many papers. So controlling this is complicated. It’s complicated to control all levels, but we have to do this. When we missed this yesterday, we tried to catch up. Of course, we got rid of this paper, and that’s all. Everybody has faults. We have to admit it.”

Kei Nishikori, the fifth seed  knocked out Paul-Henri Mathieu 6-3, 7-5, 6-1 to advance.

“I think it was solid match,” noted Japan’s top player.  “Second set he started playing much better. He was hitting the ball pretty well, especially his backhand. But, yeah, after that I was playing some good tennis on the court, and, you know, I think it’s not easy to play three straight sets easy. So, you know, there is some up and downs, and I think I fight through pretty well.”

Frenchman Jo-Wilfried Tsonga make his country very happy with a 6-1, 6-2, 6-2 win over Swedish qualifier Christian Lindell.

“Today I played a good match,” Tsonga said. “I was really in the match. I was solid from the very first minute, and therefore I was more relaxed afterwards. Then things went on well after that. I was aggressive the way I had to be. I played well. I played a good match, and therefore, I didn’t have to stay too long on the court. That’s it.”

Ernests Gulbis earned just his third match win on the year, defeating Igor  Sijsling in straight sets.
Ivo Karlovic became the first seeded man to fall at the French Open. The 25th seed lost 7-6 (5), 6-4, 6-4 to Marcos Baghdatis. Baghdatis was a 2006 Australian Open finalist.

In another surprise on the men’s side, Steve Johnson of the United States, squandered a two set lead, then rallied from a break down in the fifth set to defeat 26th seed Guillermo Garcia Lopez 6-3, 6-3, 6-7(1), 3-6, 6-3 to move into the second round. the match lasted almost three-and-a-half hours.

On the women’s side, third seed and last year’s losing finalist, Simona Halep held off Evgenia Rodina 7-5, 6-4. 

“It was a tough match, because it was first round and always is difficult to start the tournament,” Halep said. “But, you know, she played well. She’s playing well. Yeah, I did feel easy mistakes, but it’s normal and I accept that. Next round I will be better, for sure.”

2008 champion Ana Ivanovic rebounded from a first set loss to stop Yaraoslava Shvedova 4-6, 6-2, 6-0.

“It was a little bit of tough start,” said the Serb. “I didn’t have many matches coming into the tournament, so I was really happy that I manage in the second set to sort of play a little bit deeper and put a little bit more pressure on her. In the third set I really felt like, okay, I was playing my game.”

 

Caroline Garcia became the first upset victim on the women’s side. The 31st seed lost to Donna Vekic 3-6, 6-3, 6-2. 

“I am disillusioned, every French Open I can’t play tennis whether I’m playing a top-10 player or Vekic, who is a good player,” Garcia said. “I can’t make it here. It doesn’t depend on the opponent. It just depends on myself, and I can’t play here at the French Open and hope that it will change in the future.”

Another women’s seed exiting early was No. 25 Peng Shuai who retired with a back injury against Polona Hercog.

 

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2015 French Open Men’s Contender Profiles – Fast Facts with Jack Cunniff

(May 23, 2015) Profiles of the top Men’s Singles contenders for the 2015 French Open. Note: Grand Slam records for main draw matches only.  – by Jack Cunniff     http://twitter.com/jrcunniff

 

 

Novak Djokovic

2015 Record: 35-2

Grand Slam Record: 187-33

French Open Record: 42-10

French Open Best Result: RU (2012, ‘14)

Fast Fact: Djokovic’s 42 match wins at Roland Garros are the most in the Open Era among men who have never won the title.

 

Roger Federer

2015 Record: 25-5

Grand Slam Record: 281-46

French Open Record: 61-15

French Open Best Result: Won (2009)

Fast Fact: By winning Istanbul, Federer ended a streak of 11 straight claycourt events that he had lost.

 

Andy Murray

2015 Record: 31-5

Grand Slam Record: 140-34

French Open Record: 23-7

French Open Best Result: SF (2011, ‘14)

Fast Fact: Murray hasn’t lost prior to the quarterfinals in a Grand Slam event since the 2010 U.S. Open (3R, Wawrinka).

 

Tomas Berdych

2015 Record: 32-9

Grand Slam Record: 108-46

French Open Record: 17-11

French Open Best Result: SF (2010)

Fast Fact: Since the 2014 U.S. Open, Berdych has reached the quarterfinals in 14 of his last 15 events (l. to Andujar, 1R Valencia).

 

Kei Nishikori

2015 Record: 31-7

Grand Slam Record: 41-22

French Open Record: 5-4

French Open Best Result: 4R (2013)

Fast Fact: In 2015, Nishikori has a winning record (7-6) when losing the opening set of the match.

 

Rafael Nadal

2015 Record: 25-9

Grand Slam Record: 191-26

French Open Record: 66-1

French Open Best Result: Won (2005-08, 2010-14)

Fast Fact: Nadal is attempting to win his 6th consecutive French Open, which would give him the longest Grand Slam title streak of any man in the Open Era.

 

David Ferrer

2015 Record: 32-7

Grand Slam Record: 124-49

French Open Record: 36-12

French Open Best Result: RU (2013)

Fast Fact: In the opening round of the French Open, Ferrer will attempt to win his 300th career claycourt match.

 

Stan Wawrinka

2015 Record: 22-8

Grand Slam Record: 87-39

French Open Record: 20-10

French Open Best Result: QF (2013)

Fast Fact: Since starting the year 14-1, with two titles, Wawrinka has since compiled an 8-7 record, reaching the semifinals in one of six events.

 

Marin Cilic

2015 Record: 4-6

Grand Slam Record: 63-27

French Open Record: 13-8

French Open Best Result: 4R (2009, ‘10)

Fast Fact:   Dating back to 2014, Cilic has lost 9 of his last 13 matches.

 

Grigor Dimitrov

2015 Record: 18-10

Grand Slam Record: 23-18

French Open Record: 3-4

French Open Best Result: 3R (2013)

Fast Fact: Dimitrov has lost his opening round match only twice since the start of 2014 (2014 Cincinnati, 2014 Roland Garros), the same amount of opening round losses as Federer, and one fewer than Nadal.

 

Feliciano Lopez

2015 Record: 14-11

Grand Slam Record: 76-53

French Open Record: 8-14

French Open Best Result: 4R (2004)

Fast Fact: The 2015 French Open marks Lopez’ 53rd consecutive appearance in a Grand Slam event, placing him fourth all-time in the Open Era (trailing Federer, Wayne Ferreira, and Stefan Edberg).

 

Gilles Simon

2015 Record: 20-10

Grand Slam Record: 58-35

French Open Record: 13-9

French Open Best Result: 4R (2011, ‘13)

Fast Fact: Six of Simon’s last 10 matches at Roland Garros, including his last three losses, have gone to five sets.

 

Gael Monfils

2015 Record: 19-8

Grand Slam Record: 68-33

French Open Record: 25-9

French Open Best Result: SF (2008)

Fast Fact: Monfils has earned seven wins in Grand Slam events over Top Ten opponents, five of those have come at Roland Garros.

 

Jo-Wilfried Tsonga

2015 Record: 6-5

Grand Slam Record: 84-28

French Open Record: 20-7

French Open Best Result: SF (2013)

Fast Fact: Since defeating four consecutive Top Ten opponents (Djokovic, Murray, Dimitrov, Federer) to win the 2014 Canadian Open, Tsonga has compiled a 12-11 match record, and has gone 0-7 vs. Top Twenty.

 

Kevin Anderson

2015 Record: 19-12

Grand Slam Record: 33-24

French Open Record: 9-5

French Open Best Result: 4R (2013-14)

Fast Fact: Anderson has lost to a higher ranked opponent in 9 of his last 10 Grand Slam events (l. to Baghdatis, 2013 U.S. Open).

 

John Isner

2015 Record: 18-12

Grand Slam Record: 39-27

French Open Record: 8-6

French Open Best Result: 4R (2014)

Fast Fact: Isner is the only payer other than Djokovic to force Nadal into a fifth set at Roland Garros.

 

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