On a rain-marred Day 8 at the 2015 French Open, former champion Ana Ivanovic made her way into the Roland Garros quarter-finals for the first time since winning the Coupe Suzanne Lenglen in 2008. On the other hand, luck ran out for men’s fourth seed Tomas Berdych as he succumbed to 14th seeded Frenchman Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in four sets.
Schedules went for a toss because of the rain and one such truncated match was the highly-anticipated Roger Federer v Gael Monfils showdown. As darkness descended in Paris, the match remained evenly poised at one set all and will be resumed on Monday.
Amongst the Indians, Sania Mirza was the only one who emerged victorious. The top-seeded women’s doubles team of Mirza and Martina Hingis entered the quarter-finals. But curtains came down on the campaigns of Leander Paes and Rohan Bopanna.
Junior tennis action also got under way on Sunday and India’s top junior girl Pranjala Yadlapalli crashed out in a tight two-setter in the first round.
Ana Ivanovic returns to French Open quarters
Since achieving crowning glory at Roland Garros in 2008, Ana Ivanovic has struggled for consistency and continued to slide down the rankings. After years of succumbing to early defeats, the former top-ranked Serbian finally lived up to the expectations at the claycourt Slam this year.
Rain and blustery conditions did not make it easy. The match got suspended for two hours after just five games. When seventh-seeded Ana Ivanovic and ninth-seeded Ekaterina Makarova returned to the court, Ivanovic looked the more confident of the two. She squeaked out the first set 7-5 but an aggressive Makarova came out of the blocks to grab the second set 6-3.
In the deciding set, Ivanovic’s groundstrokes started showing more precision and she managed to close it out 7-5, 3-6, 6-1.
The 27-year-old Serb will face an opponent seven years her junior in the quarters. 19th seeded Elina Svitolina has been one of the fastest-rising players and she battled her way past Alize Cornet for her maiden Grand Slam quarter-final berth. It was a topsy-turvy match in which Svitolina had the early momentum but the 29th seeded Frenchwoman kept on grinding and refused to bow out.
It was in the second set tie-break where the Ukrainian finally managed to reach the finish line. Svitolina silenced the Philippe Chatrier crowd with a 6-2, 7-6(9) victory.
The day’s other ladies fourth round matches – Maria Sharapova v Lucie Safarova and Flavia Pennetta v Garbine Muguruza were postponed to Monday.
Tsonga sends Berdych packing
After the defeat of Alize Cornet, Jo-Wilfried Tsonga lifted the spirits of the home crowd with his fiery display. It was a solid performance from the home hope that inflicted Tomas Berdych his first defeat this year before the quarter-finals.
With a 6-3, 6-2, 6-7(5), 6-3 victory, Tsonga reached his third quarter-final at Roland Garros. He will next face the in-form fifth seed Kei Nishikori who blitzed past Teymuraz Gabashvili 6-3, 6-4, 6-2. Nishikori thus became the first Japanese man to reach the Roland Garros quarter-finals since Jiro Satoh who made the semi-finals in 1931 and 1933.
Swiss no. 2 Stan Wawrinka also secured his place in the French Open quarter-finals for a second time with a 6-1, 6-4, 6-2 win over 12th seeded Frenchman Gilles Simon.
Federer and Monfils to resume battle on Monday
All eyes were on the Roger Federer v Gael Monflls encounter. However, rain denied the completion of the match. The Swiss maestro took the first set 6-3 while Monfils roared back to take the next set 6-4 when play was called off.
Disappointment for Indians; Sania Mirza was the only shining star
Top seeds Sania Mirza and Martina Hingis cruised to a 6-1, 6-4 win over No.14-seeded Italian pair of Karin Knapp and Roberta Vinci. In the quarters, the Indo-Swiss duo will take on the winner of seventh seeds Safarova/Mattek-Sands and Bencic/Siniakova.
In men’s doubles, the tenth-seeded pair of Leander Paes/Daniel Nestor fell to the Australian Open champions Fabio Fognini/Simone Bolelli 2-6, 4-6.
Ninth seeds and Madrid Masters winners Rohan Bopanna and Florin Mergea fought hard but went down in three sets to fifth seeds Jean-Julien Rojer/Horia Tecau. Rojer and Tecau triumphed 6-3, 6-7, 6-3.
In girls’ singles first round, Pranjala Yadlapalli fell 6-7, 4-6 to Australian Priscilla Hon.
Stars to grace on Day 9:
It is a packed day on Monday at the French Open. While the Federer-Monfils fourth round contest will be completed, Maria Sharapova will also finally get to play her Round of 16 match. Other top stars who will be looking for a quarter-final berth are Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic, Andy Murray, Serena Williams and Petra Kvitova.