Roland Garros Day 10: Radwanska and Halep Are Out
The cold, rainy weather at Roland Garros created all kinds of problems for the big stars at the French Open – especially Agnieszka Radwanska and Simona Halep.
Number two seed Radwanska crashed out to the little-known Bulgarian, Tsvetana Pironkova. The popular Pole needed medical attention to a sore right hand and wrist at 0-3 in the third, though some massage from the trainer kept her in the fight for a while longer. She did at least claw her way back into contention, though it wasn’t enough.
A deep, wounding backhand did terminal damage on the second match point and Pironkova clenched her fists in near disbelief. For Radwanska, another Parisian campaign was over.
Simona Halep suffered a similar reversal of fortunes in the rain-delayed denouement to her clash with Samantha Stosur, the veteran from Down Under who will now play Pironkova in the quarter-finals.
Novak’s vulnerability on his own serve and an uncharacteristic lack of ruthlessness when he had break points will be two of the most worrying features of his mediocre performance when the great man looks back on this one.
As for Serena Williams, she will hardly be discouraged by the news that two of her main rivals for the Roland Garros crown are no longer a threat.
And she couldn’t turn the match around in the second set, so Stosur became the unlikely winner, 7-6, 6-3 and still gunning for glory at the age of 32, when many might have imagined her best tennis days were already behind her.
When the rain came down once more, late in the afternoon, Djokovic appeared to have averted the worst of the crisis that had seen him lose the first set to Roberto Bautista Agut 3-6.
The 28-year-old Spaniard was solid and plucky, refusing to let his head go down when broken. But it was Djokovic who really looked out of sorts early on.
Novak’s statistics at that stage made for surprising reading. He had made 15 unforced errors in that first set and achieved only 38% success on both his first and second serves.
Djokovic had five break points in Bautista Agut’s first two service games in the second set. He squandered them all. At one point he had converted just one of eight break points in the match, though he did soon improve on that wastefulness to take the second set 6-4.
Instead the world number one recovered to take a 4-1 lead in the third before the elements delayed proceedings further still.
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