Sunday, June 03, 2012

2012 FRENCH OPEN Day 8: Upsets Barely Avoided

Day 8 of the 2012 French Open, the middle Sunday of the tournament, was played in cold, damp, windy conditions, and this had a dramatic effect on the tennis played today. In the only men's match to be completed on Court Philippe Chatrier, the premier show court, World #1 Novak Djokovic was completely out of sorts and dropped the first two sets when he was outplayed by unheralded Italian journeyman Andreas Seppi. Even though Djokovic managed to win the next three sets and eke out a 4-6 6-7(5) 6-3 7-5 6-3 win in 4 hours and 18 minutes, he was clearly not remotely at his best. This was probably the best present World #2 Rafael Nadal could have received on his 25th birthday, which he celebrated today.

World #3 Roger Federer also had difficulty advancing to the quarterfinal round, needing to go through talented lucky loser David Goffin of Belgium, who was able to hold on to his serve for the first 90 minutes of the match. Goffin won the first set 7-5 on a blistering forehand down-the-line winner on breakpoint but then lost the second set when his idol (and opponent) was able to convert on his first breakpoint to even the match at 1-set all 5-7 7-5. From that point on Federer was able to impose his will and eventually reach his record 32nd consecutive quarterfinal in a row by winning 5-7 7-5 6-2 6-4.

Because of the length of the Djokovic match, the 4th round encounter between World #5 Jo-Wilfried Tsonga and Stanislas Wawrinka was not able to be completed, but was stopped at 6-4 7-6(6) 3-6 3-6 4-2 due to darkness. Similarly, the 4th round match between Tomas Berdych and Juan Martin del Potro was stopped with del Potro leading 2 sets to 1. These two matches will resume tomorrow when the bottom half of the draw plays their 4th round match.

The women's draw was upended when World #1 Victoria Azarenka was stunned by Dominika Cibulkova 6-2 7-6(4). In other 4th round action, Samantha Stosur eliminated Sloane Stephens 7-5 6-4, while Sara Errani eliminated Svetlana Kuznetsova (one round after the Russian demolished World #3 Aggie Radwanska) and lefty powerhouse Angelique Kerber advanced to the quarterfinals.

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