Roger Federer’s 10th French Open campaign enjoyed a double boost yesterday when he negotiated his way past Sam Querrey and then saw possible quarter-final opponent Richard Gasquet pull out injured.
Top seed and world No. 1 Federer, still missing a Roland Garros title from his collection of 12 Grand Slam trophies, saw off world No. 40 Querrey 6-4, 6-4, 6-3 in just over 90 minutes.
“This was a potentially dangerous match so I’m happy to get through and reach the next round,” Federer said.
French eighth seed Gasquet, who was set to meet the Swiss in the quarter-finals, handed Federer a further boost by withdrawing from the tournament because of a left knee injury.
Gasquet, who was scheduled to play compatriot Florent Serra in the first round yesterday, has been replaced in the draw by Colombian Santiago Giraldo.
The 21-year-old Gasquet has had a disappointing season so far, winning 10 matches and losing as many, prompting a change of coach last weekend.
Organizers also said that German Florian Mayer, who was due to play Frenchman Fabrice Santoro, also withdrew because of gastro-enteritis. He will be replaced by Russian Evgeny Korolev.
Women’s third seed Jelena Jankovic, who reached the semi-finals of a Grand Slam event for the first time in Paris 12 months ago, enjoyed a 7-6 (7/3), 6-2 victory over Romanian lucky loser Monica Niculescu.
The 23-year-old will next meet either Italy’s Tathiana Garbin or New Zealander Marina Erakovic for a place in the third round as she plans to make the most of the shock retirement of Justine Henin, the winner here for the last three years.
“I don’t see myself as the favorite,” Jankovic said. “I am the No. 3 in the world. There are others who are favorites but I feel I have made improvements.”
“I am more mature. I have played in three Grand Slam semi-finals and lost to the eventual winner. Justine was the one against whom I always had the most trouble, so I have a better chance now,” she said.
China’s Yan Zi, whose dream of Olympic gold has kept her battling despite injury and tragedy at home, fell at the first hurdle yeterday.
The 23-year-old, who comes from the quake-hit area of Sizhuan, battled for just over two hours with her 108th-ranked opponent and a right thigh problem before falling 1-6, 6-4, 8-6 to French veteran Emilie Loit.
“I’ve had a right thigh problem for the past few weeks, but this year is important so I’m trying to play on,” explained the 42nd-ranked Yan.
Her dream of winning an Olympic medal has kept her focused despite the drama surrounding her family and friends in China.
“My mum and dad and all the family are there. All my team, coaches and other young players are also from there. Our home is okay, so that’s not too bad even if they are still worried because of the aftershocks,” said Yan, who was playing in Rome when news of the disaster came through.
“I kept trying to call and call but couldn’t get through, all the lines were down. I was really worried, it was more than a day before I got any news,” she said.
But even her determination was not enough to see her past a 28-year-old opponent who is playing in her 12th French Open.
Yan saved a match point in the ninth game of the second set, but despite fighting back in the third set could not stop an increasingly confident Loit, who sealed victory on her second match point, throwing her racket into the crowd in delight.
In the men’s tournament Cypriot Marcos Baghdatis, the 17th seed who spent his formative years in Paris, was knocked out 6-2, 6-4, 6-2 by Italy’s Simone Bolelli who goes on to face Juan Martin del Potro, one of 19 Argentinians who made the main draw.
“He has played more tournaments than I have recently, he hit the ball well and deserved to win,” said Baghdatis who was playing his first claycourt event of the season.
Guillermo Coria, the 2004 runner-up who is slowly trying to rebuild his career after a year on the sidelines because of a shoulder injury, gave Spanish 12th seed Tommy Robredo a scare when he took the first set before running out of steam.
Argentinian Coria, a former world number three and who squandered two match points in the 2004 final against compatriot Gaston Gaudio, has seen his ranking slump to 733.
He showed little sign of his problems when he took the first set off Robredo, a three-time quarter-finalist.
But after having played just four tournaments since the 2006 US Open, his lack of sharpness told and Robredo eventually ran out a 5-7, 6-4, 6-1, 6-4 winner and will next face either Serbia’s Victor Troiki or Marc Gicquel of France.
Also see: ‘Guga’ bows out after Paris defeat
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’SO CONSISTENT’: The victory gave the world No. 1 and world No. 2 a 21-1 win-loss record and their fourth title of the season after successes in Brisbane, Dubai and Doha Taiwan’s Hsieh Su-wei and Barbora Strycova of the Czech Republic on Sunday cruised to their fourth women’s doubles title of the season at the Internazionali BNL d’Italia in Rome in their first tournament back since the suspension of the WTA Tour due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The top seeds took just 63 minutes to complete a comprehensive 6-2, 6-2 victory over unseeded German-Romanian duo Anna-Lena Friedsam and Raluca Olaru at the Foro Italico. It was the Taiwanese-Czech pairing’s first outing since they won the Qatar Open in February. “After five months, you don’t know what to expect,” Strycova told the WTA Web site.
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