Promising star-studded Friday
Roger Federer’s French Open campaign gained momentum as the Swiss second seed eased past France’s Julien Benneteau 6-3, 6-4, 7-5 to reach the fourth round in awe-inspiring fashion on Friday.
There was the usual array of running aerial forehands, gravity-defying drop shots and whipped backhands from the former world number one who booked a meeting with American Sam Querrey, the 18th seed, or French 15th seed Gilles Simon.
Benneteau, the 30th seed, broke in the first game to open a 2-0 lead but 17-time Grand Slam champion Federer kept his cool and turned the situation around in no time. Benneteau, who has been struggling with a groin problem, bowed out on the first match point when he could not retrieve another powerful Federer forehand.
Federer left Court Philippe Chatrier on a standing ovation from the Paris crowd. ‘You are so nice to me,’ Federer said courtside with a smile. ‘I’m sorry for Julien, he looked diminished,’ he added after a 91-minute tennis masterclass. Serena Williams coasted into the last 16 of the French Open on Friday with a 6-0, 6-2 win over Sorana Cirstea of Romania.
In another Roland Garros mismatch involving the in-form top seed, the 31-year-old American was in control from the start on the Suzanne Lenglen showcourt, winning the first set in just 23 minutes.
Cirstea was facing an embarrassing whitewash, but she rallied briefly at the start of the second set and even had two break points to lead 3-2.
But she failed to take either of these and Williams simply stepped on the accelerator again to race away and end the remaining pockets of resistance from the Romanian.
The win was the 27th in a row for Williams - the best unbeaten run of her career - and it took her into a fourth round match against the winner of the tie between Roberta Vinci of Italy and Petra Cetkovska of the Czech Republic.
Defending champion Rafael Nadal stuttered for the second time so far at the French Open before moving through to the third round with a 4-6, 6-3, 6-3, 6-3 victory over Slovakia’s Martin Klizan on Friday. The Spaniard, looking for his eighth Roland Garros title, looked ill at ease as fellow left hander Klizan came out swinging and dropped the first set before raising his game enough to claim victory in two hours 44 minutes.
Defending champion Maria Sharapova showed no mercy to Nike stable-mate Eugenie Bouchard at the French Open on Friday, swatting aside the Canadian teenager 6-2, 6-4 to reach the last 32.
In a second round match held over from Thursday evening due to rain with the Russian second seed up a set and 4-2, it took just four more games for her to complete the task, sealing the win when her opponent hit long under pressure.
‘It was such a long day yesterday and it is always difficult to come back out, so it was important to get off to a good start and I am just happy to finish the match today,’ she said. Italy’s Sara Errani beat Sabine Lisicki 6-0, 6-4 to continue her good run.
Meanwhile, Jo Wilfred Tsonga eased into the last 16 after beating fellow frenchman Jeremy Chardy (25) in 6-1, 6-2, 7-5 in straight sets. Spaniard and fourth seed David Ferrer made light work of Feliciano Lopez 6-1, 7-5, 6-4. Amongst others Serbia’s Janko Tisparevic (8), Germany’s Tommy Haas (12), France’s Richard Gasquet (7) all registered victories on Friday