Fri, Jun 08, 2018 - Page 16 News List

Chan and Dodig to face top seeds in final

By Dave Carroll  /  Staff reporter, with Reuters, PARIS

Doubles partners Latisha Chan, left, and Ivan Dodig pose on Wednesday at the French Open in Paris.

Screen grab from Facebook

Taiwan’s Latisha Chan and Ivan Dodig on Wednesday rallied from a set down to win their mixed doubles semi-final at the French Open, while Garbine Muguruza was ruthless as she demolished two-time former champion Maria Sharapova in the quarter-finals of the women’s singles.

Second seeds Chan and Dodig edged eighth seeds Anna-Lena Groenefeld of Germany and Robert Farah of Colombia 4-6, 7-5, 10-8 in 1 hour, 36 minutes at Roland Garros.

The Taiwanese-Croatian duo saved two of six break points and converted four of six, winning 74 of the 146 points contested to advance to the final.

Chan and Dodig were due to face top seeds Gabriela Dabrowski of Canada and Mate Pevic of Croatia, who defeated Katarina Srebotnik of Slovenia and Santiago Gonzalez of Mexico 6-4, 6-4 in 61 minutes.

Yesterday’s match was to be the second Grand Slam mixed doubles final of Chan’s career, having finished runner-up with Paul Hanley at the Australian Open in 2011.

The women’s singles, Spain’s Muguruza insisted she is enjoying herself at the French Open, even if she does not look it, but do not expect her to smile too much until she gets her hands on the Suzanne Lenglen trophy for the second time in three years.

The third seed crushed Sharapova 6-2, 6-1 on the Philippe Chatrier Court to head into her fourth Grand Slam semi-final.

Considering she had never beaten Sharapova in three previous meetings, Muguruza could have been excused some outpouring of emotion as the Russian dumped a backhand into the net on match point. Instead, there was just the smallest of fist pumps and a look that said “job done, now on to the next one.”

Muguruza, 24, is now favorite to reclaim the title she won two years ago by beating Serena Williams, even if top seed Simona Halep would be a formidable semi-final foe.

Asked if it was purely business, the reining Wimbledon champion said: “No. ‘Business’ is an ugly word.”

“I love playing tennis. You’re probably not smiling when you’re playing tennis, but I love playing on Chatrier. It’s one of my favorite courts. The crowd, the big stage,” she said. “So deep inside it’s a great moment, even though you’re not, you know, smiling out there.”

She is yet to drop a set in Paris this year and spent only six hours on court to reach the final four.

Sharapova, 31, was supposed to provide her first real test, but Muguruza swatted away the Russian with contemptuous ease.

While Sharapova’s 27 unforced errors, including six double faults, made ugly reading — many of them as a result of the pressure building from the other side of the net where Muguruza’s heavier shots left her opponent huffing and puffing from the word go.

“I knew it was going to be an intense match, because I hadn’t played her for a long time. I knew she was a difficult player,” said Muguruza, who was beaten by Sharapova in the quarter-finals in 2014. “When you play and you win against an ‘old-time’ player with a lot of experience, it gives you a lot of trust. These matches are the way you need to travel to get to the end of the tournament.”

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