French Open Round-up: Milos Raonic shown the door by World No. 55
- Fifth seed Kei Nishikori too joined Raonic on the sidelines on Day 8 of the 2016 French Open
On a day that saw play getting interrupted by rain multiple times, the 2016 Australian Open semi-finalist and eighth seed Milos Raonic’s fortunes turned as grey as the skies above as he fell to World No. 55 Albert Ramos-Vinolas in the fourth round of the French Open. Ramos-Vinolas has a few things common with the nine-time champion Rafael Nadal – they both hail from Spain and play with their left hands. The only difference – a major one – is that the 28-year-old, unlike Nadal, has never reached a Major quarter-final before, let alone being even in the third round of a Slam.
He doesn’t even have an ATP title to his name with his best achievement on the circuit being a final appearance at ATP Casablanca four years ago.
Yet in this David vs Goliath battle, it was the unheralded Spaniard who dominated, showing the door to the Canadian 6-2, 6-4, 6-4 to make the last-eight in his 19th Slam Championships.
What makes this victory even sweeter for the southpaw is that he had lost in the first round of Roland Garros in the last four years. But it surely gets tougher from here on as he next faces the third seed and defending champion Stan Wawrinka, who had thrashed him 6-1, 6-1 at the Geneva Open just a week before the French Open.
The Swiss had a few problems early on against the 22nd seed Viktor Troicki but he grew in confidence as the match progressed and eventually emerged a 7-6(5), 6-7(7), 6-3, 6-2 winner.
Lucky 13 for Gasquet
The crowd at the Philippe Chatrier court was thrilled to see the last Frenchman standing put up a brilliant display to keep the flag flying high. The ninth seed Richard Gasquet made his maiden quarter-final at home in his 13th attempt, outlasting the fifth seed Kei Nishikori 6-4, 6-2, 4-6, 6-2.
Few saw that coming. Gasquet and Nishikori played at the Madrid and Rome Masters earlier this year and each time, it was the Japanese who was the victor. To add to Gasquet’s miseries, he had a poor record in Paris, losing in the Round of 16 four times.
But the 29-year-old Frenchman blocked that out of his mind and let his backhand take the centre stage which Nishikori found too hot to handle. The ninth seed next faces the second-seeded Andy Murray, who dwarfed the 6’10’’ John Isner 7-6(9), 6-4, 6-3.
This is the Scot’s sixth quarter-final at the claycourt Major.
An emotional win for former ball-girl Shelby Rogers
The underdog trend continued on to the women’s side as well with former ball-girl Shelby Rogers clinching an emotional win over the 25th seed Irina-Camelia Begu 6-3, 6-4. The American, ranked 108th, became the lowest-ranked player since 2012 to make it through to the final eight.
The 23-year-old Rogers has been a giant-killer at this tournament having dispatched the 17th seed Karolina Pliskova in the first round, the Charleston finalist Elena Vesnina in the second round and the 10th seed Petra Kvitova in Round 3. This is an extremely impressive run considering that the youngster had never been past the third round at any Slam before.
Spain’s No. 1 player and fourth seed Garbine Muguruza, meanwhile, reached her third consecutive quarter-final in Paris. With her signature brand of aggressive tennis working splendidly, she fired 37 winners to crush the 2009 titlist Svetlana Kuznetsova 6-3, 6-4.
The only time Muguruza seemingly fumbled was when she was broken to 4-4 in the second set and then needed five match points to serve out the win.
The 22-year-old next plays Rogers for a spot in the French Open semi-finals for the very first time.
Second seed Agnieszka Radwanska and sixth seed Simona Halep’s matches were suspended because of rain. While the Pole was leading Tsvetana Pironkova 6-2, 3-0, Halep was up 5-3 over the 2010 runner-up Samantha Stosur.