2016 French Open: Highlights from the first week
- A recap of the action-filled first week of the 2016 French Open that was dominated by Nadal's withdrawal.
With rain having washed out the entire Day 9 of the 2016 French Open and with the Day 10 weather forecast looking equally grim, it is a good time to reminisce what transpired over the past one week in Paris. Injuries, upsets, fashion faux pas – the French capital served a handful of it these past eight days.
Here’s a recap of all the action so far:
The Rafa blow
The biggest shock of them all – quite literally a body blow – was delivered by the nine-time champion Rafael Nadal, who withdrew a day before his scheduled third round match against his countryman Marcel Granollers.
It was a left wrist injury that felled the 29-year-old who was looking very much a man on a mission in his first two rounds, having dropped just nine games. A sombre-looking Nadal revealed during a hastily-arranged press conference that he played his second round match with an anesthesia injection and playing on further might even snap the injured tendon sheath.
Without a doubt, that became the biggest talking point of Week 1 because nobody saw that coming especially after the tournament had already lost the 2009 winner Roger Federer to a back injury.
World No. 55 Albert Ramos-Vinolas, who had never been past Round 2 of a Slam and had never even won any ATP title, upended the eighth seed and 2016 Australian Open semi-finalist Milos Raonic to make his maiden Major quarter-final. This was the first time the Spaniard won back-to-back matches at Roland Garros since suffering first round defeats the last four years.
Kerber, Azarenka, Kvitova ousted
Angelique Kerber, Victoria Azarenka, Petra Kvitova – these are the names that you expect to see in the second week of a Slam. But each of these Grand Slam champions won’t feature in the next few days anymore.
While Kerber’s form had been inconsistent, a first-round exit is an absolute dampener from the reigning Australian Open champion. With her three-set loss to the 58th ranked Kiki Bertens, the German became the fifth Australian Open winner in the Open Era to suffer such humiliation in Paris.
The 10th seeded Kvitova, whose day-to-day form is hard to predict, took a turn for the worse as she was shown the door by the 108th ranked Shelby Rogers in the third round.
Azarenka’s story was a little different. The Belarusian, whose career has been plagued by injuries in recent times, made a painful departure from the French Open after having to retire in Round 1 against Karin Knapp. A right knee injury dashed her hopes.
The Tsonga heart-breaker
Two-time semi-finalist Jo-Wilfried Tsonga too bore the brunt of an injury that broke the hearts of the French crowd. Up 5-2 against fellow former semi-finalist Ernests Gulbis, the 31-year-old strained his grain and had to bid a tearful adieu to his adoring fans.
End of the Santina Slam dreams
This was a bolt out of the blue. Sania Mirza and Martina Hingis, who are the reigning Wimbledon, US Open and Australian Open champions, were sent packing by an unseeded Czech team comprising 20-year-olds Barbora Krejcikova and Katerina Siniakova. The score was even more shocking – 3-6, 2-6.