French Open Round-up: Agnieszka Radwanska and Simona Halep fall on another rain-marred day
When play had stopped on Sunday evening at the 2016 French Open, second seed Agnieszka Radwanska and sixth seed Simona Halep were both cruising in their fourth round matches. When they got a chance to resume their matches on Tuesday – which turned out to be yet another rain-marred day – their fortunes slipped just like the soggy clay on the court.
Not much action could happen on Day 10 of the claycourt Major as the tournament came under severe criticism a day after witnessing a complete washout for the first time in 16 years. The clamour for the roof is getting louder by the day as are players’ complaints about putting them into risky situations on the wet, heavy clay.
Only two hours of play was possible on a day that was originally supposed to have been the first of the quarter-finals day. And in that period, both Radwanska and Halep lost from a winning position, making the only headlines of Day 10.
For the second-seeded Pole, the red dirt is definitely not her favourite surface. Still the 2013 quarter-finalist was looking quite impressive and was ahead 6-2, 3-0 over former Wimbledon semi-finalist and World No. 102 Tsvetana Pironkova.
But things took a dramatic turn on resumption and the Bulgarian looked the more composed of the two as she rattled off 10 consecutive games. After another rain delay, she finally finished with a stunning 2-6, 6-3, 6-3 victory over the World No. 2 to reach her maiden quarter-finals in Paris.
Radwanska furious with the tournament organisers
The 27-year-old was understandably not happy with the tournament organisers and did not mince her words.
“I’m just so surprised and angry that, you know, we have to play in the rain,” Radwanska told the media. “I mean, it’s not a 10,000 tournament. It’s a Grand Slam. How can you allow players to play in the rain? I cannot play in those conditions.”
“I don’t know who allows us to play in that kind of condition,” she added. “I mean, I don’t think they really care what we think. I think they care about other things, I guess. So, well, I’m just p*****. I just cannot play in [those] conditions. I mean, I’m not healthy enough.”
Halep bundled out
2014 runner-up Simona Halep too was looking to make her way into the last eight in Paris again. But she absolutely fell apart against a very determined 21st seed Samantha Stosur, who had been a runner-up as well in 2010.
The two had met as recently as the first week of May at the Madrid Open semi-finals where the Romanian had thoroughly destroyed Stosur. But under those difficult conditions in Paris on Tuesday, Halep looked a totally different player who was unable to solve the Stosur riddle.
The 24-year-old gave back the precious break she had earned on Sunday and let the Australian feel confident and come back into the match. It was not long before the former US Open winner produced the 7-6(0), 6-3 upset win.
Halep too spoke about her agony at having pushed to play in such inclement weather, emphasizing that the tournament needs to be more concerned about players’ safety.
“I cannot comment about the conditions,” Halep said. “I have no words. It was impossible to play, in my opinion. And to play tennis matches during the rain, I think it’s a bit too much … No one cares about the players, in my opinion.
“I don’t care that I lost the match today, but I was close to [getting] injured with my back, so that’s—that’s a big problem. But like I said, no one cares. We [just have] to go and play,” she added.
Djokovic leads Bautista-Agut
Among the men’s fourth round matches that could be started, World No. 1 Novak Djokovic was leading 14th Roberto Bautista Agut 3-6, 6-4, 4-1 when play was called off. Marcel Granollers, who benefitted from nine-time champion Rafael Nadal’s withdrawal, was locked at a set apiece – 2-6, 7-6(2) – with the 13th seed Dominic Thiem.