After a dry start in Paris on Saturday, the rain arrived during the late afternoon and didn’t stop meaning that four third round matches are still to be finished. While it was dry… Alizé Cornet delivered a superb display out on Philippe Chatrier court to defeat a below-par, Agnieszka Radwanska, 6-2 6-1. A win for Cornet was pretty special considering Radwanska had won seven of their last eight encounters. That scoreline though… wow.
Firstly, the positives for Cornet. The Frenchwoman played a tactically sound match – she was better at the net, produced a handful of quality drop shots and was more decisive in attack. Cornet hit six double faults and had a couple of emotional outbursts, but on the whole played a fine match.
I had been quite encouraged by Radwanska’s first two matches but not so much today. She didn’t hold serve once and was broken in all seven of her service games. I was taken by how unconvincing Radwanska was at the net and in her approaches – Radwanska won less than half of the points she played at the net, just nine out of 22. As the match wore on, Radwanska struggled more and more to put Cornet away and hit through the court. A rough day but grass is coming, which is Aga’s best surface. It has been a place where she has turned her fortunes around before so let’s wait and see…
Carla Suárez Navarro is into the last 16 of the French Open for the fourth time in the last five years, beating Elena Vesnina, 6-4 6-4. The match was closer than the scoreline suggested with a couple of really lengthy deuce games – Vesnina held an 11-deuce game and saved seven break points to hold to 3-2 in the second set! Suárez Navarro held on in the end and seems to be rounding into form at just the right time.
In another extra-time finish, Caroline Garcia held her nerve to edge Hsieh Su-Wei, 6-4 4-6 9-7 and reach the second week of a Slam in singles for the first time in her career. This was a really entertaining encounter and both players had chances to serve it out in the third set – Garcia missed at *5-3 and Hsieh at *6-5. Garcia made her move at 8-7 for an emotional win.
Really happy for Caroline after a tough year! 🙂
Simona Halep produced a resilient second set display against Daria Kasatkina, saving four set points to advance in straight sets, 6-0 7-5. Halep had been absolutely cruising at 6-0 3-1*. Kasatkina hit a couple of flashy winners to save a break point in the next service game. This gave her a platform to build on and she played much, much better and with more aggression. Halep was a tad flat and didn’t match Kasatkina’s level for a time.
Kasatkina’s injection of intent faded, rather predictably, when serving for the set as she missed out on one set point. Kasatkina stepped it up again with Halep serving to stay in the set at *4-5 – the Russian player hit two excellent forehands and had a slice of net luck go her way. Kasatkina had another three set points but just couldn’t convert, even with the ascendancy on two of the set points with Halep battling well.
When Halep levelled up at 5-5, it was kind of inevitable as the Romanian player quickly wrapped up the final two games of the match. I cut Kasatkina some slack because of the ankle heading into Roland Garros but it was sadly, the same old story in terms of struggling to find an aggressive streak on a consistent basis and in the pressure moments.
Daria’s such a sweet person and I loved that she went in for the hug with Simona at the net!
In a match that was carried over from Friday due to rain, Caroline Wozniacki beat CiCi Bellis in three sets, 6-2 2-6 6-3. Wozniacki closed out the match with back-to-back aces!
Sunday’s schedule will feature the remaining R3 matches from the bottom half:
Elina Svitolina vs. Magda Linette
Anastasija Sevastova vs. Petra Martic
Veronica Cepede Royg vs. Marina Duque-Mariño
Karolina Pliskova vs. Carina Witthoeft
Since i’m excited by the line-up of R4 matches on Sunday from the top half, a pair of previews is now up on the blog for Venus Williams vs. Timea Bacsinszky and Svetlana Kuznetsova vs. Caroline Wozniacki.
And finally, yay Petra!