1. Murray is Kyrgios’ slam stumbling block
Just as he did at the Australian Open earlier this year, Andy Murray put an end to Nick Kyrgios’ run at Roland Garros today. The match featured some of NK’s classic big hitting and some really flashy play, but Murray gives the Australian very little to build upon and was ultimately too steady for his younger opponent.
The language in this match was RIDICULOUS. We all know that Murray is prone to a few f-bombs, but put him and Kyrgios on the same court and it all becomes a little bit Wolf of Wall Street. Absolutely no warning came out of the mouth of Umpire Damien Dumusois however, and Kyrgios was even able to get away with shouting out mid-point without a hindrance being called. The one and only warning in the match was for ball abuse, with the Australian firing a ball out of the court in frustration.
Kyrgios’ is suffering from a trapped nerve in his elbow, which explains why he was having to roll his serves into play rather than firing at full power and suggesting that this match could have been a lot more than it was. Honestly though, there’s something about Murray’s game that seems to flatten Kyrgios.
Murray faces Chardy in the next round.
Andy f***ing Murray through, 6-4 6-2 6-3
2. Cows are better than hippos
Madison Keys lost in straight sets to the on-form Timea Bacsinszky of Switzerland today, the latter looking the far more secure throughout the encounter. Keys later compared herself to a ‘hippo on ice’ on the clay – a throwback to Maria Sharapova’s famous claim that the surface rendered her a ‘cow on ice’.
Keys might be hoping that one day her hippo might transform into the clay court champion that Sharapova’s cow has become.
Bacsinszky through, 6-4 6-2
3. Van Uytvanck or Mitu will be a quarter-finalist
Belgium’s Alison van Uytvanck put an end to Kristina Mladenovic’s home slam journey today with a handy straight sets victory. Van Uytvanck had only previously won one grand slam match in her career and now finds herself in the fourth round with a real chance of progressing further. This is huge for the Belgian’s confidence and ranking – currently she sits at no.93.
The same can be said of world no. 100 Andreea Mitu, who put an end to former champion Francesca Schiavone’s tournament today. Schiavone had already made waves with a thrilling win over Svetlana Kuznetsova in the second round, but her legs were bound to be tired coming into this encounter. Mitu hits the ball with pace and is certainly not an easy competitor – she’ll be looking to take full advantage of a handy draw.
Whichever of these two women comes through R4 will face either Bacsinszky or Kvitova in the quarter-final.
Van Uytvanck through, 6-4 6-1
Mitu through, 7-5 6-4
4. Nadal looks comfortable (and still GREAT in the blue)
No really, if you don’t like the blue you’re completely insane.
Rafa Nadal had no problems today coming through against Russia’s Andrey Kuznetsov. Although the world no.120 gave the match his best shot, there was nothing he could do to really challenge the 9 time Roland Garros champion. Nadal will be happy with his progress through the draw so far, wasting no energy in preparation for a seeded quarter-final match versus Novak Djokovic.
Nadal will face tougher competition in R4 however, with America’s Jack Sock playing fantastic tennis so far this week. Sock was a comfortable winner over young-hope Borna Coric, his fierce forehand dominating the play and preventing Coric from ever getting a handle in the match.
Sock’s forehand versus Nadal’s forehand could prove to be one of the most exciting match ups of the tournament so far. Make sure you tune in.
Nadal through, 6-1 6-3 6-2
Sock through, 6-2 6-1 6-4
5. You should never ignore Errani on clay
Confession: I had totally forgotten about Sara Errani coming into this tournament.
Errani has quietly made her way through to the fourth round, taking out no.10 seed Andrea Petkovic and setting up a match with Germany’s Julia Goerges. With Petkovic and Wozniacki out of the competition, Errani is now the favourite in this section of the draw to reach the quarter-finals and likely face Serena Williams.
Errani through, 6-3 6-3
6. Novak has completed a comfortable first week
As Andy Murray took out one young Australian hopeful, world no.1 Novak Djokovic took out another. Thanasi Kokkinakis has impressed at Roland Garros with his tremendous come back victory over compatriot Bernard Tomic, and many were excited to see how he would manage against the best player in the world. The match wasn’t a simple one for Djokovic, his young opponent fighting hard for a respectable scoreline, but the Serbian is so strong in 2015 that it takes something extraordinary to steal a set.
Djokovic is looking to win his first French Open, and he really wants to complete his collection of slams, so a comfortable first week is the perfect preparation for him as he gears up for a challenging second week. He’ll face France’s Richard Gasquet in R4.
Djokovic through, 6-4 6-4 6-4
7. Serena Williams and Victoria Azarenka must play tennis, always
Why are injuries a thing? No, seriously, WHY?
One of the great rivalries we’ve been robbed of because of injuries in recent times is this amazing Williams/Azarenka match up. I know we all say it, and we say it all the time, but Victoria Azarenka is nothing but fantastic news for women’s tennis. Which is not to say that the field isn’t healthy anyway, it really is, but Vika is simply the one player who you feel can actually beat an on form Williams.
Put peak Serena Williams on a court versus anyone else and Serena Williams will win. Put peak Serena Williams on a court versus peak Victoria Azarenka and it’s a coin flip. Now, I don’t think Azarenka is at her peak yet and I certainly don’t think Williams is currently at her peak, but still they create a delicious draw that you absolutely have to tune in for.
Today it looked for a moment like Azarenka might knock Williams out of Roland Garros and really announce that her extended(!) comeback is complete. She didn’t quite manage it, but the signs were extremely encouraging. Azarenka looks like a player finding her footing again, ready to build her ranking back up to the no.1 spot that she feels she is right for.
Williams, for her part, proved that she really does bring her best fight against the greatest of foes. This is what is likely to push her on through the rest of this draw: from now on, her competitors are either people with whom she has an established rivalry or, probably, current or former Top 10 players. Williams will turn up for those matches. Hampered by niggling injury or not, Williams has turned up for this slam.
There was also controversy today, as umpire Kader Nouni overruled a call of ‘out’ on an Azarenka groundstroke, which the Belarussian then felt should have led to her being awarded the point. Nouni insisted on a replay of the point which was, crucially, set point for Williams. On the replay, Williams took the point and the set. During all of this, THIS HAPPENED:
When you’re both like “Bye, Felicia” pic.twitter.com/2UcRjo12RD
— WTA Reactions (@WTAreactions) May 30, 2015
That might be my new favourite tennis gif of all time. Despite the controversy, it is great to see Serena’s words of appreciation for Azarenka in press and the fact that tennis fans aren’t the only one who totally ship (did I just say “totally ship”?) Vika and shorts:
Vika and I are really close. We text each other. She’s a really, really good person. I really like her. I’m obsessed with her shorts. I told her, God, I love those shorts. So she gave me a pair. She promised me a pair, and she gave me a pair.
This is not the first time, by the way, I’ve heard a tennis player use “we text each other” to confirm a friendship, which is a weird little quirk I enjoy. Oh also, THIS:
Serena supports Azarenka’s call for instant replay: “Think that would be really cool because” PAUSE FOR EFFECT “you may or may not footfault — Christopher Clarey (@christophclarey) May 30, 2015
We hear you, Serena. We hear you.