Taiwan’s Chan sisters on Sunday were both victorious at the French Open, while Novak Djokovic doused Fernando Verdasco’s fire then aimed a dig at the organizers for not watering the courts as he moved confidently into the men’s singles quarter-finals at Roland Garros.
Eighth seeds Chan Hao-ching and Yang Zhaoxuan advanced to the quarter-finals of the women’s doubles with a 6-2, 6-4 victory over Sorana Cirstea of Romania and Sara Sorribes Tormo of Spain in 1 hour, 32 minutes.
The Taiwanese-Chinese duo converted five of 15 break points as their opponents sent to seven double faults, winning 82 of the 152 points contested to advance to a quarter-final against Romanians Irina Bara and Mihaela Buzarnescu, who defeated Americans Jennifer Brady and Vania King 6-4, 6-3.
In the second round of the mixed doubles, second seeds Latisha Chan and Ivan Dodig needed to win a tiebreak to oust King and Franko Skugor of Croatia 6-3, 3-6, 10-7 in 1 hour, 26 minutes.
The Taiwanese-Croatian duo saved four of six break points and converted two of two, winning 66 of the 127 points contested to advance to a quarter-final against Nicole Melichar of the US and Alexander Peya of Austria, who defeated Zhang Shuai of China and John Peers of Australia 6-4, 3-6, 10-7.
In the men’s singles, Verdasco gave 12-time Grand Slam champion Djokovic some tricky moments early on, but it was the slippery Court Phillipe Chatrier clay that raised the Serb’s hackles.
Djokovic appeared to lose his footing a few times during the first and second sets of his 6-3, 6-4, 6-2 fourth-round win and he made his feelings known to the chair umpire.
“It was a very warm day and after the first set they decided not to water the court, which I thought it was not the right decision,” Djokovic told reporters. “I just questioned the decision from the chair umpire... What I don’t like is that there is no participation of the players.”
Djokovic looked as though he would need a hose to cool down Verdasco’s thunderous ground strokes which, in the early stages, looked capable of knocking the 2016 champion off balance, but in the end he won with something to spare.
Having seen off Verdasco’s early charge he said he felt in control and was clinical in taking his break points.
“That was quite a beginning for both of us,” he said. “Very physical, very long games, a lot of exchanges. He’s got weapons everywhere. Serve, forehand, everything. He loves playing on clay, but I think in the most important moments today, I just managed to play an extra shot in the court, and just made him run and just made him uncomfortable.”
Staying home during a national lockdown to contain the COVID-19 pandemic is like “nirvana” for cricketers, as they generally have to live out of a suitcase, Australia head coach Justin Langer said yesterday. Australian cricket is in its off-season and has been largely insulated from the effects of the outbreak, which has suspended all of the country’s major sporting competitions that run during the autumn and winter. Some Australian players are signed with teams in the Indian Premier League, but the lucrative Twenty20 tournament has been postponed at least until the middle of next month and might end up being scrapped like
SCHEDULE CONFLICTS: While new dates have not been announced, somewhere around this year’s original dates would conflict with other major sports events next year The rescheduled Tokyo Olympics will require sacrifices and compromises by all involved, International Olympic Committee (IOC) president Thomas Bach said yesterday, before predicting the completion of “a beautiful jigsaw puzzle and wonderful Olympic Games.” “Our mission is to organize Games and make [the] dreams of athletes come true,” Bach said, adding that although the Olympics must be held before the end of summer next year, the as-yet-undecided dates would not necessarily be restricted to summer months. Japanese yesterday awoke to the deflating reality that the Olympics they had hoped to host in Tokyo this summer were now probably 16 months away. The IOC
NECESSARY SACRIFICE: ’We’re obviously in a high-cost, high-revenue industry and when the revenue dies, you’re left with high costs, so it’s a no-brainer,’ Ian Foster said All Blacks head coach Ian Foster yesterday said that he would take a pay cut and players would follow suit as New Zealand Rugby cuts expenses while professional competitions are shuttered during the COVID-19 outbreak. In a radio interview, Foster confirmed that he and other coaches had agreed to substantial pay cuts as long as New Zealand Rugby’s revenues are affected. He did not give a percentage figure. “Our coaching group has definitely taken a big cut,” Foster told radio Newstalk ZB. “It’s already been agreed to.” “With rugby, when there’s no games there’s no revenue and that’s a tough thing,” Foster said.
From perfecting pizza dough to fermenting tea, rugby players in Europe have found various ways to pass their time during the lockdown forced on them by the COVID-19 pandemic. Australia international Scott Higginbotham, who plays for Bordeaux-Begles, has been busy in his kitchen during the confinement period, which started in France on March 17. “My wife and I take turns in going out, and doing a bit of exercise and a lot of cooking. Every meal is made from scratch,” Higginbotham told reporters last week. “I made my own pizza dough the other day, which was quite nice. I do love pizza,