Things We Learned On Day 5 Of The 2015 French Open


1. Mladenovic loves the home crowd

Kristina Mladenovic is better known for her grand slam winning doubles play than her singles game, but she has a great opportunity to go as far as the quarter-finals at home in Paris courtesy of a section of the draw that has lost all of its seeds. While it was Mladenovic herself who downed Bouchard [6] in R1, the rest of the seeds feel today in R2 as K.Pliskova [12] fell to Mitu, Kuznetsova [18] fell to Schiavone (more on that later), and Diyas [32] fell to Van Uytvanck.

Mladenovic plays particularly well in front of a raucous home crowd and looked far more confident than Danka Kovinic out on Philippe Chatrier. If Roland Garros continues to place her on the main court this will fire her up, and she is at very least the second favourite behind former champion Schiavone to reach the last eight.

Also, if you listened to our preview podcast, you’ll remember I picked Mladenovic to do well in this draw while Lindsay picked Kovinic.

Lindsay, you Mlad? (YEARS i’ve been waiting to make that joke).

Mladenovic through, 6-3 7-5.

2. Australian tennis is healthy

At this point we’re all familiar with Bernard Tomic and Nick Kyrgios. The former has had a tumultuous relationship with the tour, at first looking like he might take the world of tennis by storm and then fading from form, the latter currently still in the first throws of ecstasy as he takes on and defeats the best in the world. One Australian figure who is perhaps thus far under the radar is Thanasi Kokkinakis – already a popular figure among fans but without the big time platforms of his compatriots.

It was against compatriot Tomic today that Kokkinakis really showed that he is a player to watch, coming back from not only two sets down but also from 2-5 down in the final set and saving three match points along the way.

There was plenty of personality on show throughout the match, not least in Kokkinakis’ celebration upon finally taking the win, and this new crop of talent really feels like an exciting glimpse of what the future might hold for tennis when the era of the Big 4 eventually comes to a close. (Sorry, it’s gotta happen some time!)

Kokkinakis through, 3-6 3-6 6-3 6-4 8-6.

3. The Heather Watson domination is over

Moment of silence for the end of the weirdest head-to-head in tennis. Until today Heather Watson had never lost to Sloane Stephens in four previous encounters. Just think about that.

Stephens finally got her revenge today, looking very secure indeed against the British no.1 who started slowly and was never really able to pick up her game and get into the match.

Stephens through, 6-2 6-4.

4. Paris is dangerous for birds

Bird on a wire, etc.. (Note: the pigeon is fine, he/she survived and will not be attempting to watch tennis without a ticket again any time soon).

5. Serena Williams vs Victoria Azarenka is ON

Williams looked very unsteady today but managed to fight through in three sets against world no.105 (!) Anna-Lena Friedsam, while Azarenka came through in straight sets against the Czech Republic’s Lucie Hradecka. The very fact that Azarenka and Williams are facing as early as R3 at a slam is RIDICULOUS but rankings are rankings and draws are draws.

Honestly, I expect Williams to pick up her game from here on – she plays extremely well when faced with one of the world’s best and is far more vulnerable against lower ranked players who can surprise her with good form. That said, Azarenka is one of the few players on tour who can really challenge Williams at her best so it will be interesting to see which gear these two shift into.

Are you excited, tennis fans?? I’m excited.

Williams through, 5-7 6-3 6-3

Azarenka through, 6-2 6-3



1. John Isner, you are ridiculous.

I follow John Isner pretty closely, not just because he’s American but also because he’s from my hometown (where I also currently reside), so there’s more tennis coverage devoted to him here than Serena or Federer combined.

I want Isner to do well. I think he’s capable of being a consistent top-10 player. I think he should at least be making one Slam quarterfinal a year–really it should be two.

But then he goes and loses to Jeremy Chardy for the third straight time–he’s in fact never beaten Chardy–and while I respect Chardy and it is France, I still have to roll my eyes. Because THOSE are the matches that Isner has to win if he’s going to do things bigger than winning Atlanta.



Hey kids: Google before you ask publicly. Because we will judge.

3. Francesca Schiavone and Svetlana Kuznetsova both need to keep playing tennis forever.

All of the frustrations in the world are worth it for matches like today. Just an excellent contrast of styles and showcases of heart and grit. The dominance and rivalries at the top of the ATP have been great for the game over the years. But is there anything on the men’s tour that can compare to Schiavone and Kuznetsova?

Some multi-media celebrations of Fran’s 6-7(11), 7-5, 10-8 second-round victory over Sveta:

Please never leave us.

4. Jack Sock impressed me today.

As Isner was wilting, Sock found away to turn around a match that wasn’t in his favor and defeat the adorable Pablo Carreno Busta, 6-7, 7-6, 6-1, 7-6. After his hip surgery that caused him to miss the Australian Open, and the scary illness that his brother had, I really do feel like Sock has matured and is ready to take his tennis seriously.

5. You are something else, Borna Coric.

I am SO EXCITED to see this Coric/Sock third-round match. One of them will be into the fourth round! How fun!!


(Madison Keys and Sloane Stephens are both playing fabulous tennis right now. Shhhh, don’t scare it away.)

7. Faves.

I try not to give the favorites *too* much attention during the first week on here, but I do have to ask you guys–are we supposed to be concerned about this Nole injury? What’s the buzz? It didn’t look good at all, but then it looked fine, and I’m really so bad at gauging these things.

Also, I wrote about Serena in Struggle Mode for Bleacher Report–can she make it through the first week?

8. Random Tweets I Favorited.

9. I’m not Mlad, Andrew. And I Danka care for your attitude.


2 Responses

  1. Patrick of La Verne
    Patrick of La Verne May 28, 2015 at 8:49 pm |

    Francesca, brava bravissima, O soave fanciulla!

    Svetlana, ‘There will be our turn to triumph!’ {Russian proverb}

  2. qthetennisfan (@qthetennisfan)
    qthetennisfan (@qthetennisfan) May 28, 2015 at 11:28 pm |

    I think sock will soon be US #1 player, he’s found some good form lately. Coric v Sock should be good if they can recover well. Happy for chardy’s win (commiserations Lindsay)

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