French Open: Nadal, Djokovic, Serena Win; Paes Victorious

The top stars – Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic and Serena Williams continued their quest for the 2015 French Open on Thursday. While Rafa and Novak registered straight-set wins, Serena was stretched to three sets en route to reaching the third round.

However, it was the end of the road for fifth-seeded Caroline Wozniacki as she crashed out to her nemesis, Julia Georges in straight sets.

Amongst the Indian players in action on Day 5, Leander Paes was the only one who emerged victorious in mixed doubles. In a major disappointment, Sania Mirza and Rohan Bopanna both crashed out of mixed doubles competition.

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Leander Paes (second from left) celebrates his 700th career doubles match win at the French Open in Paris on Wednesday. Leander’s former doubles partner, Martina Navratilova (extreme right) joined in the celebrations.

Loss for Sania Mirza and Rohan Bopanna; Paes keeps the Indian flag flying

Veteran Leander Paes was the only Indian winner of the day as both Sania Mirza and Rohan Bopanna lost their respective mixed doubles matches.

There were a lot of expectations from the reigning US Open champions Sania Mirza and Bruno Soares who were also the top seeds. Unfortunately, the Indo-Brazilian pair looked totally out-of-sorts and were thoroughly outplayed by the defending champions Anna-Lena Groenefeld and Jean-Julien Rojer. The top seeds were broken six times in a 2-6, 2-6 defeat.

Rohan Bopanna too could not perk up Indian fans as he exited the mixed doubles competition in a super tie-breaker. Partnering Kazakh player Yaroslava Shvedova, the Indian ace bowed out with a 6(5)-7, 6-0, 3-10 loss to Lucie Hradecka and Marcin Matkowski.

It was finally left to the evergreen Leander Paes to bring back the smiles at the end of the day. Paes, who completed his 700th doubles match win on Wednesday, has teamed up with Swiss legend Martina Hingis with whom he won the Australian Open back in January.

The eighth-seeded Indo-Swiss pair hardly faced any trouble and coasted to an easy 6-2, 6-3 win over Juan Sebastian Cabal and Alla Kudryavtseva.

Rafa and Novak breeze into 3rd round; Andy drops a set

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Nicolas Almagro (left) and Rafael Nadal after the match

Nine-time champion Rafael Nadal and top-seeded Novak Djokovic both cruised to straight-set victories but third seed Andy Murray was tested.

Rafa rolled past compatriot Nicolas Almagro 6-4, 6-3, 6-1 to improve to a lifetime record of 68-1 at the French Open. Djokovic, who is in hot pursuit of his maiden French Open title, was all business and notched up a 6-1, 6-1, 6-4 triumph over Gilles Muller.

Andy Murray had to fight harder for a third round berth. The Scot dropped the second set to Portuguese Joao Sousa but finished with a 6-2, 4-6, 6-4, 6-1 victory.

Serena and Kvitova drop a set each

Top-ranked Serena Williams and fourth seed Petra Kvitova were both rusty but each of them managed to bounce back for a three-set triumph. While Williams overpowered an unheralded Anna-Lena Friedsam 5-7, 6-3, 6-3, Kvitova edged experienced claycourter Sílvia Soler-Espinosa 6-7(4), 6-4, 6-2.

Another big star winning on Day 5 was former world no. 1 Victoria Azarenka. The Belarusian reigned supreme 6-2, 6-3 over Lucie Hradecka. Azarenka thus set up a third round showdown with Serena which will be a much-awaited contest.

Wozniacki upset

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Caroline Wozniacki (left) with Julia Georges after the match

Caroline Wozniacki had lost her last two clay meetings against German Julia Georges. On Thursday, it was no different for the Dane as Georges kept on troubling her with the sheer depth of her strokes. With 39 winners, the German sent the fifth-seeded Wozniacki out of the French Open with a 6-4, 7-6(4) scoreline.

Schiavone outlasts Kuznetsova in epic

In a reprise of their classic fourth round showdown at the 2011 Australian Open, former champions Francesca Schiavone and Svetlana Kuznetsova battled for 3 hours and 50 minutes. Just like in 2011, this time also Schiavone scraped through 6-7(11), 7-5, 10-8 after saving a match point.

The match went on to become the third-longest women’s match ever played at Roland Garros in the Open Era.

Other big names who won on French Open Day 5:

US Open winner Marin Cilic was a 7-6, 6-1, 6-1 winner over Italian Andrea Arnaboldi while 2013 runner-up David Ferrer triumphed 6-3, 6-2, 6-1 over Daniel Gimeno-Traver. However, 22nd seed Philipp Kohlschreiber lost in five sets.

In women’s draw, 2014 semi-finalist Andrea Petkovic scrambled for a 4-6, 6-4, 6-4 victory over Lourdes Dominguez Lino. Meanwhile, Sara Errani, Madison Keys, Timea Bacsinszky all won but 12th seed Karolina Pliskova exited.

Marathon wins for young stars

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Thanasi Kokkinakis celebrates his win at the French Open

Australian Thanasi Kokkinakis and Croatian Borna Coric ensured two teenage boys will be there in the third round of the French Open for the first time since 2006.

19-year-old Thanasi Kokkinakis put in a massive effort to come back from 2-5 down and save match points en route to beating his senior compatriot, Bernard Tomic 3-6, 3-6, 6-3, 6-4, 8-6. 18-year-old Borna Coric equally thrilled the crowds with his maturity. The Croat reigned supreme over an opponent 15 years his senior – Tommy Robredo 7-5, 3-6, 6-2, 4-6, 6-4.

Another young gun, Jack Sock outslugged Pablo Carreno Busta to make it through to the third round.

Stars to grace on Day 6 of the French Open:

Roger Federer and Maria Sharapova will continue their quest for the year’s second Slam. Stan Wawrinka, Tomas Berdych and Ana Ivanovic will also be in action on day 6 of the French Open.




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