Paris: Hitting sublime backhands, defending champion Stan Wawrinka surged 7-6 (5), 6-7 (7), 6-3, 6-2 into the French Open quarterfinals, so in control against Viktor Troicki on Sunday that he amused himself and the crowd by hitting with a ball boy while the Serb took time out for treatment in the third set.
After lending the lucky lad a racket for their impromptu hit-about, the third-seeded Swiss got back to business, securing his win in cold and humid conditions on Court Philippe Chatrier in just under three hours. Also through to the quarters: second-seeded Andy Murray, in a rain-interrupted 7-6 (9), 6-4, 6-3 victory over big-serving American John Isner.
“It was far from easy with tough conditions -- heavy and cold, but I am happy to have come through it,” 31-year-old Wawrinka said.
Garbine Muguruza also advanced to the quarterfinals for a third straight year. The array of shots and maturity the 22-year-old deployed in an intensely fought 6-3, 6-4 win against 2009 champion Svetlana Kuznetsova strengthened the argument that Muguruza could soon be challenging Serena Williams for the top spot in women’s tennis.
Standing in the way of the fourth seed’s second semifinal at a major tournament is Shelby Rogers. The 108th-ranked American who had never made it out of the third round at one of the Grand Slams beat Irina-Camelia Begu 6-3, 6-4. The Romanian, seeded No. 25, is the third seeded player to fall to Shelby in her march to the quarterfinals.
“I’m definitely outside of my comfort zone already, and I keep telling myself, ‘You belong here, you belong here,’” Shelby said.
Albert Ramos-Vinolas, a 55th-ranked Spanish player who had never made it past the second round of 18 previous Grand Slam tournaments, also is on a roll. He ousted Milos Raonic 6-2, 6-4, 6-4 - breaking the eighth-seeded Canadian five times and saving six of seven break points — to play Wawrinka in the quarterfinals.
“I have no words to explain how I feel,” Ramos-Vinolas said. “It was four years in a row losing in the first round.”
First Published: May 30, 2016 08:40 IST