The 2015 French Open was left reeling from a major shock on Day 9 as defending women’s champion Maria Sharapova was shown the exit door by 13th seeded Czech Lucie Safarova. An aggressive Safarova toppled the second seeded Russian 7-6(3), 6-4 to make her maiden Roland Garros quarter-final.
Meanwhile, world no. 1 Serena Williams survived a huge scare against young American Sloane Stephens but fourth seed Petra Kvitova crashed out to 23rd seeded Swiss Timea Bacsinszky.
On the men’s side, nine-time winner Rafael Nadal and top seed Novak Djokovic set up their much-anticipated quarter-final showdown. Roger Federer and Andy Murray too progressed with a pair of four-set victories.
Amongst the Indian juniors, Sumit Nagal won his first round boys’ singles match while Pranjala Yadlapalli advanced in girls’ doubles competition.
Sharapova’s run ends at the French Open
Maria Sharapova had not lost before the quarter-finals at Roland Garros since 2011. Most importantly, the Russian had gone on to make the final the last three years. But on Monday, Sharapova’s sizzling run in Paris came to an end as a determined Lucie Safarova rose to the occasion on Court Philippe Chatrier.
The left-handed Safarova had always been a dangerous proposition for Sharapova. A quick look at their past three matches will give an idea as all three went the distance. This time, the Czech was quick to make use of her opportunities and kept the five-time Grand Slam champion under the gun throughout the contest with her fabulous forehand returns.
The pace from the Czech’s racquet troubled Sharapova and the Russian went down 6-7, 4-6 to give Safarova her first win over the Russian since 2010.
Up next for Safarova is Spanish 21st seed Garbine Muguruza. The 21-year-old who shellshocked Serena Williams last year, made a return trip to the French Open quarter-finals by virtue of a 6-3, 6-4 triumph over Italian Flavia Pennetta.
Petra Kvitova ousted
In the last match of the day, Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova was bundled out in chilly conditions by Swiss Timea Bacsinszky. The Swiss who has made an inspiring return to tennis after dabbling in bakery, rebounded from a first set loss to oust Kvitova 2-6, 6-0, 6-3. This is Bacsinszky’s first ever Grand Slam quarter-final.
The Swiss will take on unheralded Belgian Alison van Uytvanck for a spot in the semis. In a match of two fourth round debutantes, it was the 93rd ranked Van Uytvanck who pummelled No. 100 Andreea Mitu 6-1, 6-3.
Serena survives Sloane storm
Young American Sloane Stephens who had upset Serena Williams at the 2013 Australian Open, looked to be notching up her second Slam victory over the mighty world no. 1. Sloane came out all guns blazing and raced to take the first set 6-1 over Serena.
In the second set, the youngster was just three points away from victory as Serena was serving at 4-5. But the senior American turned the match around from there, grabbing both the last two sets to win 1-6, 7-5, 6-3.
Serena will next face 2012 runner-up Sara Errani who saw off Julia Georges 6-2, 6-2.
Lucie Safarova v Garbine Muguruza,
Ana Ivanovic v Elina Svitolina,
Timea Bacsinszky v Alison Van Uytvanck,
Serena Williams v Sara Errani.
Clash of the Titans: It’s Rafa v Novak on Rafa’s birthday
The 2015 French Open finally got the quarter-final match that everybody was waiting for. Rafael Nadal continued his quest for a 10th title at Roland Garros with a 6-3, 6-1, 5-7, 6-2 triumph over talented American Jack Sock. The fourth round win is Nadal’s 70th win at the claycourt major out of 71 matches.
Up next is a very familiar foe – someone Rafa has met 43 times in his career, Novak Djokovic. The top-ranked player routed Frenchman Richard Gasquet 6-1, 6-2, 6-3 to continue his bid for his maiden Slam title in Paris. The quarter-final clash which happens to be on Rafa’s 29th birthday, will be the seventh French Open meeting between the two titans of the game.
Nadal has won all 6 of the previous encounters and leads their head-to-head record 23-20.
Federer, Murray, Ferrer in quarters
Roger Federer and Andy Murray washed out French hopes with defeats over Gael Monfils and Jeremy Chardy respectively. While the 2009 champion Federer completed Sunday’s suspended match with a 6-3, 4-6, 6-4, 6-1 victory, Murray reigned supreme over Chardy 6-4, 3-6, 6-3, 6-2.
Federer goes on to meet countryman Stan Wawrinka in his 11th quarter-final at Roland Garros. Murray, meanwhile set up a showdown with 2013 runner-up David Ferrer whom the Scot has never beaten on clay. The Spaniard advanced with a clinical 6-2, 6-2, 6-4 win over ninth seed Marin Cilic.
Rafael Nadal v Novak Djokovic,
Andy Murray v David Ferrer,
Roger Federer v Stan Wawrinka,
Jo-Wilfried Tsonga v Kei Nishikori.
Indian juniors win
Sumit Nagal opened his boys’ singles campaign with a 6-3, 7-5 victory over Yosuke Watanuki of Japan. In girls’ doubles, seventh seeds Pranjala Yadlapalli and Wushuang Zheng thrashed the French pair of Cindy Castille/ Carla Hassaine 6-0, 6-1 in the first round.
Quarter-finals Day coming up:
Day 10 is the first of the quarter-finals day at the 2015 French Open. The matches that are scheduled on Tuesday are – (Women’s): Ana Ivanovic v Elina Svitolina, Garbine Muguruza v Lucie Safarova; (Men’s): Roger Federer v Stan Wawrinka, Kei Nishikori v Jo-Wilfried Tsonga.