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  • Day 9 : Match Points - French Open 2017

    Reporter: Aditya Soni
    Published: Monday, 5 June 2017
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    The action continues at Roland Garros on the ninth day of the second Grand Slam of the year. Read our guide to the talking points, trending topics and what to watch on the second Monday.


    Learning

    Simona Halep's clay pedigree isn't in doubt: five of her 14 career titles have come on the terre battue, and she has compiled a 17-2 record on it this year. Curiously, though, the No.3 seed has made multiple quarterfinals at every Slam except Roland Garros, where her 2014 final run is so far the only time she has progressed beyond the fourth round.

    Carla Suárez Navarro's third-round win over Elena Vesnina marked just the second time this year that the Spaniard, whose start to the season was disrupted by a right shoulder injury, has won three consecutive WTA Tour matches. The previous occasion was on the hard courts of Monterrey, where she reached the semifinals in April.

    It took Karolina Pliskova 17 goes to make the fourth round of a Slam - but since reaching that milestone at the US Open last year, she is 2-0 at this stage.

    World No.290 Petra Martic entered the qualifying competition via protected ranking, having been ranked No.622 as recently as April. She is the lowest-ranked player to reach the fourth round of Roland Garros since No.279 Conchita Martínez in 1988. Only four players ranked lower have made the second week of a Slam since 1983. Three - Kim Clijsters at the 2009 US Open, Justine Henin at the 2010 Australian Open (both unranked) and No.349 Martina Hingis at the 2006 Australian Open - were former Slam champions at the start of a comeback. (Under present ranking rules, Henin and Clijsters would both have a ranking higher than Martic's.) The other was Tatiana Golovin at the Australian Open in 2004, as a 15-year-old wildcard ranked No.354.

    Martic is also the first qualifier to reach the second week of Roland Garros since Kiki Bertens in 2014.

    Yesterday's results guaranteed a new Slam champion after all four former winners in action lost. However, four former junior Roland Garros champions are still alive in the draw: Alizé Cornet (who beat Mariana Duque-Mariño in the 2007 girls' final), Simona Halep (who beat Elena Bogdan in 2008), Kristina Mladenovic (who beat Daria Gavrilova in 2009) and Elina Svitolina (who beat Ons Jabeur in 2010). In addition, Karolina Pliskova was the 2010 Australian Open girls' champion and Jelena Ostapenko won the junior trophy at Wimbledon 2014.

    Alizé Cornet will play the fourth round of a Slam for the fourth time today. She is 0-3 at this stage so far. At the 2009 Australian Open, she held two match points over eventual runner-up Dinara Safina before falling; she also lost to the eventual finalist Eugenie Bouchard at Wimbledon 2014; and at Roland Garros in 2015, Elina Svitolina defeated her in straight sets.

    No.2 seed Karolina Pliskova had won just two matches at Roland Garros before 2017. She's already surpassed that with her three victories this year.

    Elina Svitolina is yet to win a completed match against her opponent today, Petra Martic. The Croat was the victor in the first round of Katowice in 2013, but retired in the first set of their first round encounter at Roland Garros in 2015.

    Simona Halep leads the head-to-head against Carla Suárez Navarro 6-5. But the Spaniard has won each of their four meetings on clay: in Barcelona in 2010 (their first ever encounter) and 2012, in the first round of Roland Garros in 2013 and in the 2015 Rome semifinals.

    This is the third consecutive year that Veronica Cepede Royg has reached a Slam milestone at Roland Garros. She fell in Slam qualifying rounds 10 times - including four times in the final round - before coming through to make her main draw debut here in 2015. The following year, she qualified again - and won her first ever main draw Slam match, 6-2, 6-2 over Sabine Lisicki. This year, her fourth-round appearance isn't just a milestone for Cepede Royg but for her country: she is the first Paraguayan woman at this stage of a Slam since Rossana de los Ríos's fourth-round run at the 2000 French Open, and she is bidding to become the first ever Paraguayan woman in the quarterfinals of a Slam.

    Erstwhile Fed Cup teammates Alizé Cornet and Caroline Garcia have played just once before - in the first round of the ITF $100,000 event in Marseille in 2010. Garcia, a qualifier, beat the No.3 seed Cornet 7-5, 5-7, 6-3.

    It took Petra Martic three hours and nine minutes to complete her epic 7-6(3), 6-7(2), 7-6(5) final qualifying round win over Maryna Zanevska. Her three main draw matches put together have lasted just half an hour more.

    Trending



    Reading

    Petra Martic's path back to the second week has been an arduous one. Find out how she overcame years of injuries - and how she celebrates her wins - in Victoria Chiesa's in-depth feature on the Croat for the WTA.

    Slams are a showcase for the full spectrum of ways to win a tennis match. Michael Beattie breaks them down at RolandGarros.com, including a focus on Elina Svitolina and Jelena Ostapenko.

    The French Open crowd made its presence felt in a big way during yesterday's fourth round between Kristina Mladenovic and Garbiñe Muguruza. Steve Tignor delves into the audience's annual penchant for drama at Tennis.com.


    Watching

    Karolina Pliskova may be the No.2 seed, but she's been flying under the radar due to her lack of previous Roland Garros pedigree. Find out why the quietly confident Czech may have been underestimated.
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