Paris, France (Sports Network) –
Rafael Nadal continued his quest for a third straight French Open title with another straight-set win Saturday, while fellow top seeds Andy Murray and David Ferrer also moved on to the second week with comfortable third-round wins.
Nadal is gunning for a seventh title overall at Roland Garros and on Saturday advanced with a 6-1, 6-3, 6-4 victory over Argentina’s Eduardo Schwank. The second-seeded Spaniard has yet to be seriously tested, as he dropped just five games in the first round and four in the second before Saturday’s methodical triumph.
Next up for the 10-time Grand Slam champ will be another Argentine in Juan Monaco, who pulled out a grueling 6-7 (5-7), 6-3, 6-7 (5-7), 6-3, 6-4 slugfest against Canadian Milos Raonic. The 13th-seeded Monaco has never been past the fourth round in a major and will have his hands full trying to do so next week against Nadal, who owns a 3-1 record in the lifetime series with all three wins coming on clay.
“We know each other very well, personally speaking, but also from the point of tennis,” said Nadal about facing Monaco. “We spend a lot of hours together. We practice very often together. So we both know what we’re going to try and do when we play together. We’ll try and be very aggressive. We’ll try and speed up and change gears. And we’ll see who’s going to win.”
Paris, France (Sports Network) –
Maria Sharapova continued to dominate her early opposition at the French Open, while defending champion Li Na and reigning Wimbledon winner Petra Kvitova each came away with tough wins on Saturday.
Sharapova needs only a French Open title to complete a career Grand Slam and has simply rolled through the first three rounds. The second-seeded Russian had her toughest match to date on Saturday with a 6-2, 6-1 pasting of China’s Peng Shuai.
“I just see it as I played really good matches, beat great players,” said Sharapova. “And I’ve got to keep moving forward and try to do that again.”
Another unseeded player awaits Sharapova in the fourth round, as Klara Zakopalova of the Czech Republic dumped 22nd-seeded Russian Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova, 6-3, 7-5, on Saturday.
It wasn’t nearly as easy for Li or Kvitova.
Li, who beat Schiavone in last year’s final at Roland Garros to become the first Asian player to win a Grand Slam event, had to rally for a 3-6, 6-2, 6-1 victory over American Christina McHale.
The fourth-seeded Kvitova also had to go the distance, claiming a 6-2, 4-6, 6-1 triumph over Russian Nina Bratchikova. Next up for the Czech star will be American Varvara Lepchenko, who took out Schiavone, 3-6, 6-3, 8-6.
“Tennis is the best of three sets,” said Li. “In the first set, I always followed what she did. I changed a little bit in the beginning of the second set and [got her] to play my way.”
The seventh-seeded Li will next meet Kazakhstan’s Yaroslava Shvedova, who advanced Saturday with a 6-4, 7-5 win over Spain’s Carla Suarez Navarro.
Former world No. 1 Caroline Wozniacki made another early exit at a major, as Estonia’s Kaia Kanepi sent the ninth-seeded Dane home with a 6-1, 6-7 (3-7), 6-3 defeat. It marked Wozniacki’s second straight third-round setback at the French.
Wozniacki, despite finishing the 2010 and 2011 seasons as the top-ranked player, has never won a Grand Slam event. She reached one final, losing to Kim Clijsters at the 2009 U.S. Open, and her best result on the storied red clay of Paris was a quarterfinal in 2010.
PARIS — Milos Raonic came up short in the longest match of his professional career.
Raonic missed out on tennis history Saturday, failing to become the first Canadian man to reach the fourth round of the French Open as he lost to Argentina’s Juan Monaco 6-7 (5), 6-3, 6-7 (5), 6-3, 6-4.
It was also the first time the 22-year-old from Thornhill, Ont., played a five-set match on the ATP Tour.
“I wish I could have played better,” said Raonic, who will start his grass campaign in just over a week at Halle, Germany. “I really didn’t do a lot of things well so I was just trying to make the most of it and I was able to have my opportunities — to have my chances.”
Raonic is the fifth Canadian to get this far in Paris, after Robert Murray in 1936, Robert Bedard and Lorne Main in 1954, and Greg Rusedski in 1994.
Raonic, the tournament’s 19th seed, duelled Monaco for four hours 33 minutes before going down as his forehand hit the net to end the match. Raonic saved two match points late in the fifth set to prolong his time on the court.
“I hung in but I wasn’t winning many of the rallies — I wasn’t hitting my forehand well and I was making a lot of mistakes with it,” said Raonic. “My backhand had fewer mistakes but it wasn’t doing anything.”