Aisamul Haq Qureshi moved one step towards his dream of representing Pakistan at the Olympics as he moved into the third round of the French Open with his doubles partner Jean-Julien Rojer courtesy a 6-3, 3-6, 7-6 win over Bjorn Phau and Adil Shamasdin.
The 10th-seeded duo of Aisam and Rojer hit five aces en route the win that will see them take on Treat Conrad Huey and Dominic Inglot.
Tsonga, Berdych into last-16
Meanwhile, Jo-Wilfried Tsonga did his part to keep alive home hopes of a first men’s champion at Roland Garros since 1983 when he swept past colourful Italian Fabio Fognini to reach the last-16 in the singles draw.
Fifth-seed Tsonga won 7-5, 6-4, 6-4 against the 45th-ranked Fognini and could meet compatriot Gilles Simon for a place in the last eight should the 11th-seed get past Stanislas Wawrinka, the 18th-seeded Swiss.
“I have had some difficult moments here, now I am happy to be having some good ones,” said Tsonga, who has now matched his best performances of fourth round runs in 2010 and 2011.
Seventh-seeded Czech Tomas Berdych ended Kevin Anderson’s hopes of becoming the first South African man to reach the last-16 of a Grand Slam for nine years in a third round slugfest. The 31st-seed from Johannesburg was attempting to match comptariot Wayne Ferreira who made the fourth round at the Australian Open in 2003.
But after taking a two sets to one lead, he ran out of steam in the final set, when he needed treatment on his left thigh at every changeover, and lost 6-4, 3-6, 6-7 (4/7), 6-4 6-4, eight minutes short of four hours.
Radwanska, Ivanovic crash out
Former women’s champion Svetlana Kuznetsova made a mockery of the seedings by outclassing third-seed Agnieszka Radwanska of Poland 6-1, 6-2 in the third round.
Radwanska was the highest seed to fall in the tournament so far as she had no answer to the all-court game of Kuznetsova, who won at Roland Garros in 2009, five years after she won the US Open, her only other Grand Slam title.
“I have not played so well in a long time, so I am really happy about that,” said Kuznetsova. “I have not had this feeling for quite some time. I have started to do things the right way off the court in practice. I am confident I am getting back to my game that brought me the victories I had.”
There was no such revival in fortunes for Ana Ivanovic, another former champion at Roland Garros who has found the going tough since her triumph in 2008. The Serb, a former world number one, but seeded just 13th this year, looked comfortable in the first set against claycourt specialist Sara Errani, but her game started to unwind in the second as the little Italian retrieved everything that came her way to run out a 1-6, 7-5, 6-3 winner.
Errani, who has won three claycourt titles this year already, will next take on Kuznetsova with the prize for the winner being a place in the quarter-finals.
Also through, but playing in the previous round, was second-seeded Maria Sharapova. The Russian pulled off a routine 6-1, 6-1 win over Ayumi Morita of Japan in a match that was held over from Thursday because of the marathon clash between Paul-Henri Mathieu and John Isner. (with additional input from AFP)
Published in The Express Tribune, June 2nd, 2012.
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