French Open: Wozniacki closer to Sharapova face-off

Murray progresses in pain; Nadal coasts through.


Afp May 31, 2012

PARIS: Former world number one Caroline Wozniacki stayed on course for a Roland Garros showdown with Maria Sharapova on Thursday in a quarter of the draw blown wide open by Serena Williams’ shock exit.

Wozniacki, seeded nine this year and a quarter-finalist in 2010, breezed past Jarmila Gajdosova 6-1, 6-4 for a sixth win in six meetings against the Australian. Denmark’s Wozniacki will face either Kaia Kanepi of Estonia or Romania’s Irina-Camelia Begu for a place in the last 16 where she had originally been scheduled to meet Serena Williams. But the great American’s stunning loss to France’s Virginie Razzano on Tuesday has removed the most formidable obstacle preventing a quarter-final between Wozniacki and Sharapova.

Fourth seeded Czech Petra Kvitova coasted into the third round with a 6-1, 6-3 win over Poland’s Urszula Radwanska. Wimbledon champion Kvitova, who only dropped three games in her opening win over Australian teenager Ashleigh Barty, needed 70 minutes to set up a clash with Russia’s Nina Bratchikova.

“She played well, she has good hands and a good touch,” said 22-year-old Kvitova of her 79th-ranked opponent. “But she wasn’t very aggressive so I was able to play my game.”

The first seed to lose on Thursday was Russian 16th seed Maria Kirilenko who, under the concerned gaze of ice hockey superstar boyfriend Alex Ovechkin, slumped to a 6-4, 3-6, 6-3 loss to the Czech Republic’s Klara Zakopalova. The Czech has made the third round for the first time in nine attempts and will face Russian 22nd seed Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova, who put out Melinda Czink of Hungary 4-6, 6-3, 6-3, for a place in the last 16.

Murray limps through, Nadal coasts

Andy Murray and defending champion Rafael Nadal both reached the third round of the men’s draw but their manner of going through could not have been more different.

The British fourth-seed defeated Jarkko Nieminen 1-6, 6-4, 6-1, 6-2, but he had looked down and out in the first few games of the match as he struggled to shake off back spasms and pain in his left leg. In stark contrast Nadal took his Roland Garros match record to 47-1 with a straightforward 6-2, 6-2, 6-0 win over Denis Istomin of Uzbekistan.

Elsewhere, fifth seed Jo-Wilfried Tsonga completed a 6-2, 4-6, 6-2, 6-1 win over German qualifier Cedrik-Marcel Stebe in a match interrupted by rain on Wednesday, while sixth seed David Ferrer of Spain coasted past Benoit Paire of France 6-3, 6-3, 6-2.

Murray’s next opponent in the third round will be Colombian Santiago Giraldo who defeated Australian 25th-seed Bernard Tomic 6-4, 6-1, 6-3. Another South American claycourter to make it through was 13th seed Juan Monaco of Argentina who stopped Lukas Rosol of the Czech Republic 7-6 (7/4), 6-0, 7-6 (7/5). Rising Canadian player Milos Raonic defeated qualifier Jesse Levine 6-4, 7-5, 6-2 meaning that five days into the tournament John Isner is the only surviving American player.

Published in The Express Tribune, June 1st, 2012.

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