Radwanska loses but Federer and Djokovic through at French Open
PARIS // Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer passed tough four-set tests to reach the French Open last-16 on Friday where they were joined by outspoken Latvian Ernests Gulbis.
Second seed Djokovic, the 2012 runner-up, stretched his career streak over Croatia’s 25th seed Marin Cilic to 9-0 after a topsy-turvy 6-3, 6-2, 6-7, 6-4 win.
Djokovic, the 2012 runner-up, next faces either French 13th seed Jo-Wilfried Tsonga or Poland’s Jerzy Janowicz, the 22nd seed, for a place in the quarter-finals after seeing off Cilic who allowed 22 break points on his serve and committed 64 unforced errors.
A pulsating encounter on Suzanne Lenglen court ended when Cilic, rattled by a shout from the crowd, served up his fifth double fault.
“Marin is a tough player with plenty of strengths,” said Djokovic. “He is a great guy with lots of qualities. We’ve been friends for many years.”
Federer, the fourth seeded 2009 champion, needed more than three hours to record his fifth win in five meetings against Russian Dmitry Tursunov who twice needed treatment on a leg injury.
His 7-5, 6-7, 6-2, 6-4 win also gave him a fourth round spot for the 12th time beating the previous record of 11 set by Guillermo Vilas.
Federer, the 17 time major winner, next faces Gulbis who reached the last 16 for the first time since 2008.
“It was tough to lose the second set but nice to win the match,” said 32-year-old Federer, who is contesting his 58th straight grand slam tournament.
“It was not a straightforward win. I knew Dmitry would try different things, take big cuts at the ball but I am pleased to have played solid.”
Gulbis, the 18th seed, won a fractious third round clash against 35-year-old Czech veteran Radek Stepanek 6-3, 6-2, 7-5 in the Court One bullring, firing 19 aces and 45 winners.
Twelve months ago, Gulbis caused controversy when he described the sport’s big four of Federer, Rafael Nadal, Djokovic and Andy Murray as “boring”.
He especially pointed the finger at Federer, claiming that post-match interviews were becoming so polite and inoffensive that the fire in the belly of the sport was being doused.
On Friday, Gulbis turned his fire on women in tennis, claiming the sport is no place for female players.
“A woman needs to enjoy life a little bit more. Needs to think about family, needs to think about kids. What kids you can think about until age of 27 if you’re playing professional tennis, you know,” he said.
Gulbis and Federer last met in Rome in 2010, three years before the 25-year-old Latvian unleashed his Paris tirade.
Gulbis will be appearing in a fourth round for the first time in 22 majors and insists he already has a game plan to tackle the Swiss star.
“You don’t need to be scared to do certain things against him, because most of the people they go on the court and they lose already before it has started,” said the 18th seed. “I can tell you that’s not gonna be the case with me.”
Czech sixth seed Tomas Berdych, a semi-finalist in 2010, plays Spain’s Roberto Bautista Agut.
John Isner, the 10th seed and one of three American men left in the draw, tackles veteran Spaniard Tommy Robredo who made the last-eight in 2013.
Eighth seed Milos Raonic bids to become the first Canadian in history to make the fourth round in Paris.
He faces Frenchman Gilles Simon who he beat on clay in Portugal last month.
Earlier in the day, Croatia’s Ajla Tomljanovic made history in the French Open on Friday by upsetting third seed Agnieszka Radwanska of Poland 6-4, 6-4 in the third round.
The defeat meant that the tournament’s top three seeds had all been ousted inside six days, with top seed Serena Williams losing in the second round and second seed Li Na departing in the first.
It was the first grand slam in the Open era where the top three women seeds all failed to make the last 16.
Ranked 72nd in the world, Tomljanovic, 21, will next play Carla Suarez Navarro of Spain, who ended the challenge of 18-year-old American wildcard Taylor Townsend 6-2, 6-2, with a place in the quarter-finals at stake.
Fourth seed Simona Halep of Romania is the top seeded player left in the draw, having reached the third round on Thursday.
“After seeing the first two seeds go out you kinda feel like – hey I can do that too. I grew up with these girls that were doing that,” the Florida-based Tomljanovic said.
“I went out out there and I really felt that I could win. It showed and that was how I won.
“I have a fourth round next and obviously happy, but I do not want to get too happy about it either.”
Tomljanovic ended 2013 ranked 78th in the world, improving from 495th - the biggest ranking improvement by any player in the top 100.
This year she lost in the third round at the Australian Open but more recently failed to qualify for the main draw at Madrid and Rome in the buildup to Roland Garros.
For Radwanska it was the first time she had failed to make it past the third round at a Grand Slam event since the 2012 French Open.
Last year she was a semi-finalist at Wimbledon, a quarter-finalist at the Australian and French Opens and made the fourth round at the US Open.
Watched by Croatian 1997 French Open winner Iva Majoli, Tomljanovic quickly took control of a match played in front of a sparse centre court crowd.
She jumped out into a 5-1 before a shell-shocked Radwanska managed to break serve and get back to 5-4.
The Croatian made no mistake on serve in the following game though and an early break in the second set sent her on the way to the biggest win of her career.
While newcomer Tomljanovic was making the headlines on centre court, veteran Australian Samantha Stosur was stealthily moving through the draw out on the Suzanne Lenglen court.
The 19th seed, a finalist at Roland Garros in 2010, pulled off an impressive 6-4, 6-4 win over Australian Open finalist Dominika Cibulkova of Slovakia to reach the last 16 where she will play 2012 champion Maria Sharapova if the Russian defeats Paula Ormaechea of Argentina in her third round tie later on Friday.
Stosur, the 2011 US Open champion, had too much firepower for the dimunitive Cibulkova, taking an early lead in the first set and staying ahead after that.
The Australian lost to Sharapova in the third round of the Madrid Masters earlier this month, having also defeated Cibulkova in the previous round.
Stosur said she would have to be playing at the level she produced at Roland Garros in 2010 to have a chance against Sharapova.
“I know there are a couple of times I have beaten her I did things a little bit different or a little bit better,” she said.
“But I mean, at the end of the day ... I’ve got to do what I do well. Sometimes it doesn’t always match up great against her if I’m not doing it well enough.
“But, you know, we have never played here, so I will take that as a good thing.”
Also in action later Friday is Spanish sensation Garbine Muguruza, who defeated top seed Serena Williams in straight sets in the second round.
She goes up against Anna Schmiedlova of Slovakia, who defeated Venus Williams at the same stage of the tournament.
Eighth-seeded German Angelique Kerber takes on Slovak veteran Daniela Hantuchova, while fast-rising Canadian Eugenie Bouchard takes on Johanna Larsson of Sweden.
Women’s singles: Samantha Stosur (19) bt Dominika Cibulkova (9) 6-4, 6-4; Ajla Tomljanovic bt Agnieszka Radwanska (3) 6-4, 6-4; Carla Suarez Navarro bt Taylor Townsend 6-2, 6-2.
Men’s singles: Ernests Gulbis (18) bt Radek Stepanek 6-3, 6-2, 7-5; Roger Federer (4) bt Dmitry Tursunov (31) 7-5, 6-7 (7/9), 6-2, 6-4; Novak Djokovic (2) bt Marin Cilic (25) 6-3, 6-2, 6-7 (2/7), 6-4.
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Published: May 30, 2014 04:00 AM