Tuesday, 19 June, 2018

Fernando Verdasco downs Grigor Dimitrov in straight sets at French Open

GrigorDimitrov- cropped Grigor Dimitrov in action at the French Open
Eugene Bates | 06 June, 2018, 01:43

He came up against an inspired Cecchinato though and wasted three set points to drag the match, played out in a soccer-like atmosphere on Court Suzanne Lenglen, into a decider.

Djokovic somehow regrouped to win the third set at a canter, and a suddenly frustrated Cecchinato was hit with a point penalty.

Meanwhile, another potential contender for the French Open title, German Alexander Zverev survived a scare from Damir Dzumhur before finally coming through with a 6-2, 3-6, 4-6, 7-6 (7-3), 7-5 victory, spending nearly four hours on court.

"I'm just not thinking about tennis at the moment".

"Maybe I'm sleeping. It's fantastic, it's unbelievable for me".

Unseeded Italian Marco Cecchinato caused a major upset at the French Open by knocking out former champion Novak Djokovic to reach the semi-finals.

In the women's quarterfinals, No. 10 Sloane Stephens beat No. 14 Daria Kasatkina of Russian Federation 6-3, 6-1, and No. 13 Madison Keys eliminated unseeded Yulia Putintseva of Kazakhstan 7-6 (5), 6-4.

"I know how to handle a Grand Slam now, how... to get that deep in such a tournament, and I think everything gets better with experience".

Keys's close friend Sloane Stephens, the US Open champion, takes on Russia's Daria Kasatkina who put out Wozniacki.

Two years ago, his career was nearly derailed when he became embroiled in match fixing allegations.

"Considering all the circumstances in the last 15 months it is quite an achievement to get to the quarters of a Slam", said Djokovic, who has also reached the Roland Garros last eight for a ninth successive year.

Cecchinato said he was stunned by his triumph, coming just two years after his career was nearly derailed when he became embroiled in match fixing allegations.

Stephens beat Keys in the U.S. Open final last September, and their rematch on Thursday will be the first all-American women's semifinal at the French Open since Serena Williams defeated Jennifer Capriati in 2002.

"First week, my goal is to get to the second week", said 23-year-old Keys.

Dimitrov said he had lost his "nerve" after dropping the opener and said he would take a little time off to reflect on a European clay court season that began with a semi-final run in Monte Carlo but ended with a whimper.

Like her compatriot and good friend Keys, US Open champion Stephens is in the quarter-finals for the first time and hoping to set up a repeat of last year's final in NY. How hard is it to accept defeat in such good grace in the same manner as you can accept victory?

Earlier in the day Keys, the 13th seed, reached the semi-finals for the first time by seeing off Kazakhstan's Yulia Putintseva 7-6 (7/5), 6-4.

The 25-year-old, who was ranked 957 just six weeks before her maiden Grand Slam triumph last year after a series of injury problems, is now into the last four of a major for the third time.

Craig O'Shannessy, the strategist for the ATP Tour and an adviser to Djokovic, was impressed with the Italian's game plan, suggesting he could even threaten Nadal, should they both make the final.

But he didn't seem to be, you know, under impression of the big stadium or big match.

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