By Ros Satar
(June 5, 2013) PARIS – After the ups and down in the two women’s quarterfinals, not to mention the excitement after Jo-Wilfried Tsonga’s dispatch of Roger Federer, there were high hopes that the remaining two men’s quarterfinals would match them.
For Novak Djokovic, the progression was rapid, as he put paid to the last of the 8 men in last 16 to use a single-handed backhand.
The first set lasted only half an hour, with two breaks in quick succession to take the first set 6-3 over Tommy Haas.
Haas put up more of a battle in the second set, despite getting hardly points off the Djokovic serve, and had actually built up a 4-2 lead in the tiebreak, before finally losing the second set 76(5).
Nerves finally seemed to get to the Serbian, who failed to convert a match point on Haas’ serve, and then getting broken himself as he was serving for the match at 5-4.
Haas brought things back on terms at 5-5, but was broken for Djokovic to take another spin at serving out for the match,
This time he took no chances, closing out his place in the semi-final in a time just short of two-and-a-quarter hours.
He will face, defending champion Rafael Nadal who crushed Stanislas Wawrinka in a little under two hours, for the loss of just six games – 6-2, 6-3, 6-1.
Wawrinka found himself broken right at the start of the match, much like one of his racquets, with his obvious frustration showing.
In the second set, Nadal took an early lead, but this time Wawrinka was able to find a chink in his armor, breaking to get things back on serve.
Nadal’s response was to win the next three games and with it a two-set lead.
Wawrinka was all but done, as Nadal quickly built up a 5-0 lead, relenting enough to let the Swiss get one game on the board, before holding to love to sweep into the semi-final clash with Novak Djokovic.
Prior to the event, Djokovic was reluctant to discuss the draw, and dismissed questions about it ahead of the semifinal.
He said: “It’s not the first time I’m playing him. We played over 30 times.
I’m sure that we know each other’s game really well.”
He continued: “As I said, we are in good form. This is the biggest matchup of our Roland Garros 2013 campaign for both me and him.”
Nadal has played himself into better form over the last three matches.
He said: “I’m happy the way that I played today especially. [It] was my best match on the tournament without any doubt.
“Now I am in semifinals, three matches in a row without losing a set. Last two matches I only lost one serve.”
Looking ahead to the semifinal, he echoed some of the guarded statements of Djokovic.
He said: “For me, it’s the semifinals, and doesn’t matter if it’s against Novak or against another player, because the player who not [going to] win the semifinals is not the champion of Roland Garros.
“He’s just the semifinalist. That’s the big difference.”
(June 3, 2013) Rafael Nadal flew into the French Open quarterfinals with an easy straight set win on his birthday while Stanislas Wawrinka had to fight back from a two-set deficit on Monday to win in Paris.
Celebrating his 27th birthday, the Spaniard routined No. 13 Kei Nishikori 6-4, 6-1, 6-3.
“I played much better today than the first three matches. No doubt about that,” Nadal said. “I started to have feelings with my forehand when I had a chance to hit my forehand. I started to change directions well. I started to feel that I can hit the ball longer and having more confidence in every stroke.”
Nishikori started out well but could not really compete with the seven-time Roland Garros champion. “One bad game for me,” Nishikori said, “and he start(ed) playing well.”
“The second set, I think I was a little bit, you know, too passive or like defensive. He was hitting more forehand. I was running side to side more than first set. You know, he was playing more inside of the court.”
After the victory, Nadal was presented with a birthday cake and gifts as he was serenaded by the crowd with the tune of “Happy Birthday” in French.
“I just can say thank you very much all the crowd for making me feel this special moment very nice,” said Nadal. “And thank you very much to Roland Garros for give me the presents on court. It was very nice from Roland Garros, the organization.
“So just can say thank you very much to give me the chance to enjoy the moment with all the crowd here in Philippe Chatrier in probable the most emotional court for me on tour.”
Switzerland’s Wawrinka’s match was no cakewalk. He had to battle back from a two-sets to one deficit against a Frenchman in France.
Wawrinka advanced to the quarterfinals of Paris for the first time by defeating Richard Gasquet 6-7 (5), 4-6, 6-4, 7-5, 8-6.
No. 7 seed Gasquet was well on his way to a straight set victory when tempers flared in the third set. Wawrinka complained to the Chair Umpire that a line judge needed to be changed.
The No. 2 Swiss tennis player turned the match around. Gasquet grew tired and had some leg pain.
“I was really tired during the fifth set,” Gasquet said.
“I had no choice. The crowd was incredible. They supported me, and they did what they had to do. But I’m disappointed to have lost. That’s all I can do. I can’t give more than I gave today.
“I had some break points, that’s true. You have to find the right dosage between being an attacker or playing from the baseline. He played such incredible shots. I remember this passing shot during the fifth set. It was incredible.”
For his efforts, Wawrinka will play Nadal for a place in the semifinals.
Tommy Haas become the first German in 17 years, and the oldest man since 1971, to reach the quarterfinals in Paris when he demolished Mikhail Youzhny 6‑1, 6‑1, 6‑3
“These are cool stats sometimes to hear and to know about,” said Haas. “You know, makes you proud in the end of the day.
“But, yeah, what I’m really proud is that I reached, you know, the quarters here for the first time, you know, not knowing if that was ever going to be possible.
“And to have done that and, you know, to have a chance to play a quarterfinal match here, it’s a great success for me.”
Haas will take on top seed Novak Djokovic in the quarterfinals.
( June 1, 2013) No. 12 seed Tommy Haas resisted a comeback from 19th seed John Isner to squeak past the American on match point number 13, 7-5, 7-6 (4), 4-6, 6-7 (10), 10-8 in four hours and 37 minutes. Haas recovered from going down a break in the fifth set to earn the victory.
Isner served for the match at 5-4 in the fifth set. Isner mishit a backhand in a rally and Haas came back to break serve.
At 35, the German Haas is the first man of that age to reach the Roland Garros fourth round since Jonas Bjorkman in 2007.
Despite his age, Haas seemed to be the much fresher of the two combatants, with Isner having played a five-set match on Friday where he came back to win from being down two sets to none.
Isner is no stranger to five-set matches. In addition to having been victorious in the longest match in tennis history back in 2010 when he beat Nicholas Mahut at Wimbledon in 11 hours and five minutes over three days, a year ago at Roland Garros Isner lost 18-16 in fifth set inthe second round to Paul-Henri Mathieu – that match lasted 5 hours, 41 minutes.
Isner is now 5-12 in five set matches. With the loss, no American men are left in the singles draw.
Haas is to face No. 29 Mikhail Youzhny of Russia for a spot in the quarterfinals.
Update to follow..