- Associated Press - Wednesday, June 1, 2016

PARIS (AP) - The Latest on the French Open (all times local):


9:35 p.m.

Sam Stosur knows what it’s like to be a Grand Slam champion. She also knows what it’s like to be an afterthought.

Entering Wednesday, she was four years removed from her most recent quarterfinal appearance at any major tournament. With a 6-4, 7-6 (6) victory over Tsvetana Pironkova of Bulgaria, the 21st-seeded Australian is back in the semifinals at the French Open.

“You can have a great year or two, and then you have a slump, and everyone writes you off,” Stosur said. “I think even people write off Roger (Federer) and Rafa (Nadal). If they will write them off, they will write off everyone else.”

Stosur was the runner-up at Roland Garros in 2010. The next year, she won the U.S. Open, beating Serena Williams in the final. And in 2012, she got to the semifinals of the French Open and quarterfinals of the U.S. Open.

And then she suddenly had trouble getting to the latter stages of tennis’ most important tournaments.

But now, at 32, she is back in business.

“There has obviously been a few dips along the way there,” Stosur said. “It’s important to, I guess, really believe in yourself and what you’re doing and know, ‘If I keep doing this, I can turn it around.’”

She had her problems against the 102nd-ranked Pironkova. Stosur trailed 4-2, 0-40 in the first set, but erased those break points. And in the second-set tiebreaker, Stosur was down 5-1, then faced set points at 6-4 and 6-5 but pulled it out.

Now comes a semifinal against No. 4 Garbine Muguruza, with a second major title ever closer.

“Yeah,” Stosur said, “four of us left out of 128 - 25 percent chance of winning at the moment.”


9:25 p.m.

Having reached the French Open semifinals for the first time, No. 4-seeded Garbine Muguruza will be drawing on the experience of reaching the Wimbledon semis last year to soothe her nerves.

“There is always a little bit of stress,” she said. “I have already experienced that situation at Wimbledon, so you see things differently and you know what you have to do.”

After losing in the quarterfinals the past two years at Roland Garros, the 22-year-old Spaniard overcome that hurdle by beating American Shelby Rogers 7-5, 6-3.

Now Muguruza is focusing on clearing her mind completely before facing No. 21-seeded Samantha Stosur - who will be playing in her fourth semifinal in Paris and reached the final in 2010.

“It’s very difficult to maintain your peace of mind when you reach the semifinal of a Grand Slam,” Muguruza said. “You have to do away with the secondary thoughts.”

Speaking to the media can prove a distraction for Muguruza, who prefers to stay out of the limelight.

“I try to isolate myself, because you have to answer lots of questions during the interviews,” she said. “I want to remain in my bubble.”


9 p.m.

Shelby Rogers did not feel overwhelmed in her first Grand Slam quarterfinal.

The 23-year-old American lost in straight sets, yes, but the moment did not seem like too much to take.

“It’s the biggest match of my life, and it’s hard not to think about that,” said Rogers, who is from South Carolina. “But I thought I handled it pretty well. You know, I wasn’t too nervous, so I did a good job in the beginning, kind of just breathing and controlling myself.”

And then she added: “Hopefully many more to come.”

Rogers, who is ranked 108th, beat three seeded opponents on her way to facing No. 4 Garbine Muguruza for a spot in the semifinals. And Rogers started well Wednesday, breaking in the opening game en route to a 5-3 lead.

But that’s when Muguruza, the 2015 Wimbledon runner-up, took over, reeling off seven consecutive games on the way to a 7-5, 6-3 victory.

“She definitely knew what she wanted to do with the big points,” Rogers said. “I think that was the biggest thing.”

Now the tour moves to grass, with Wimbledon starting June 27, and Rogers is looking forward to that.

She said she’ll stay in Europe, rather than heading home to the U.S.

That doesn’t mean she won’t take a bit of a break, though.

“Definitely a few days off, I think, is in order,” Rogers said. “It’s been a lot on my body these last couple of weeks. And mind. But it’s been a lot of fun.”


8 p.m.

No. 21-seeded Samantha Stosur has reached the French Open semifinals for the fourth time after beating Tsvetana Pironkova of Bulgaria 6-4, 7-6 (6).

Stosur has won all four of her quarterfinals at Roland Garros, and the 32-year-old Australian remains on track to reach her second final. She lost the 2010 final to Francesca Schiavone.

She next faces No. 4-seeded Garbine Muguruza of Spain.

Stosur was in trouble in the first set, trailing 4-2 and facing triple break point. But she held and then broke back for 4-4.

Pironkova, a 2010 Wimbledon semifinalist whose left thigh was heavily wrapped, led 5-1 in the second-set tiebreaker and then had two set points - but Stosur fought back and sealed victory on her first match point.


7:05 p.m.

No. 4-seeded Garbine Muguruza of Spain has reached the French Open semifinals for the first time after beating American Shelby Rogers 7-5, 6-3.

After losing in the quarterfinals the past two seasons, Muguruza’s joy was evident as she threw her racket up into the air after clinching victory with a forehand winner on her first match point.

She next plays either No. 21-seeded Samantha Stosur of Australia, a 2010 finalist, or unseeded Tsvetana Pironkova of Bulgaria.

Rogers was playing in her first Grand Slam quarterfinal, while Muguruza is through to the semis of a major for the second time. She reached last year’s Wimbledon final.


6:10 p.m.

Because of the all the rain delays, organizers have a heavy schedule to cram everything in before the weekend’s finals.

That means players in action every day, rather than getting a day off between matches.

“It’s something you just get used to. It’s totally fine,” top-ranked Serena Williams said. “In Miami and Indian Wells you just play every day.”

She got through to the quarterfinals on Wednesday but her older sister Venus Williams went out in the fourth round.

Still, even at nearly 36 years old, Venus would not mind playing every day.

“Oh, back to back is fine,” she said. “But two matches in one day, especially if the rest of the draw isn’t doing it, I don’t think that’s a good idea.”

Tomas Berdych, who next plays top-ranked Novak Djokovic in the quarterfinals, spoke with an air of resignation.

“There is nothing else that you can do,” he said. “We have to take it as it is.”


5:55 p.m.

French Open organizers are defending their decision to pull Novak Djokovic and Roberto Bautista Agut off court because of rain after 2 hours, 1 minute of play on Tuesday, saying the timing wasn’t because they didn’t want to refund tickets.

On courts that see less than two hours of play, ticket holders can apply for refunds - either in full when there is less than one hour of play or half for between 60 minutes and 1:59.

In a statement , tournament director Guy Forget noted that “not refunding spectators with tickets to the Philippe Chatrier Court has caused frustration and anger.”

He said tournament referee Stefan Fransson decides when to suspend or resume matches and “respect for the game always takes precedence.”

Forget added that the French Open’s insurer, not the tournament itself, would have had to foot the bill for refunds if they had been paid to Chatrier ticket holders.

“We acted with the best of intentions,” Forget said.

Holders of tickets on other courts that saw less than two hours of play can apply for half of it back.

Djokovic won in four sets when the fourth-round match resumed Wednesday.


5:45 p.m.

Andy Murray overcame his own frustration as much as his French opponent and a partisan crowd Wednesday, beating No. 9 Richard Gasquet 5-7, 7-6 (3), 6-0, 6-2 to reach his fourth semifinal at Roland Garros.

Often pointing at his temple between points, Murray would mutter to himself or yell at members of his entourage over the nearly 3½-hour quarterfinal.

He alternated between brilliant and bad before finally seizing control by taking the last six points of the second-set tiebreaker, then grabbing 12 of the final 14 games.

The No. 2-seeded Murray ran his winning streak to 10 matches, all on clay, and now takes on defending champion Stan Wawrinka. Murray enters that match with an 0-3 record in French Open semifinals.


5:20 p.m.

Stan Wawrinka is the first player through to the French Open semifinals.

The defending men’s champion beat Albert Ramos-Vinolas 6-2, 6-1, 7-6 (7) to become the only Swiss man other than Roger Federer to have reached the semifinals of the clay-court major tournament multiple times. Federer, absent this year with an aching back, has played in seven semifinals and five finals, winning the title once, in 2009.

The third-seeded Wawrinka was never really troubled by his left-handed opponent, who was playing his first fourth-round match at a Grand Slam.

Ramos-Vinolas had only four break points in the match on Court Suzanne Lenglen and won just one of them, in the third set.

Wawrinka improved his career record against Ramos-Vinolas to 7-0. He will play either Andy Murray or Richard Gasquet in the semifinals.


4:30 p.m.

Ernests Gulbis got some things off his chest after his fourth-round loss to David Goffin at the French Open.

The Latvian lost 4-6, 6-2, 6-2, 6-3 Wednesday in a match that was scheduled to start on Monday, when play was completely washed out.

Then, on Tuesday, the players came on court in the rain and came off with Goffin leading 3-0 in the first set.

“I don’t think the players should walk on court while it’s raining,” said Gulbis, a semifinalist in Paris in 2014. “If it starts raining while we play, then we keep on playing until it’s playable. But to walk on with rain, I don’t think it’s right.

“We had to play in Munich when it was snowing,” Gulbis said. “You know, we’re not in a winter sport.”

Another thing that annoyed Gulbis was Goffin’s actions early in the match.

“It was strange from Goffin, when he wanted to stop after 2-0 (in the first set) before my serve,” Gulbis said. “I didn’t think it was really, really correct. You know, he can stop before his serve.”


4:10 p.m.

Timea Bacsinszky’s on-court ruthlessness at the French Open doesn’t extend to ladybugs.

The eighth-seeded Swiss, who hasn’t dropped a set in her march to the quarterfinals, has a soft-spot for the insects, regarding them as “a lucky charm.”

She posted a picture of one she spotted on a tennis ball during practice. She says she saved another from a probable squishing at Roland Garros, guiding it off court during one of her matches.

“Why should I step on it? I’m not saying we should be super careful about every insect and animal, but (you) just don’t need to murder a poor insect because it’s bothering you,” she said after beating Venus Williams in fourth round. “You can just push it a little bit. Like, ‘Go on. Go away.’ That was my feeling about this poor ladybug.”


3:25 p.m.

Tomas Berdych set up a French Open quarterfinal match against Novak Djokovic by beating 2013 runner-up David Ferrer 6-3, 7-5, 6-3.

Advancing beyond the fourth round at Roland Garros for only the third time in 13 attempts, the seventh-seeded Czech player saved all nine break points he faced in the match that was postponed Monday because of rain and started Tuesday only to be interrupted by more rain in the first set.

Although the match lasted 2 hours, 12 minutes, Berdych said they took “almost three days to finish this.”

David Goffin is also through to the quarterfinals, completing another rain-interrupted fourth-round match. The 12th-seeded Belgian beat Ernests Gulbis 4-6, 6-2, 6-2, 6-3.

In his first quarterfinal at a Grand Slam, Goffin will play Dominic Thiem in a battle of upcoming younger players. Thiem is 22, Goffin 25.


2:45 p.m.

Dominic Thiem reached his first Grand Slam quarterfinal on Wednesday, beating Marcel Granollers 6-2, 6-7 (2), 6-1, 6-4.

The 22-year-old Austrian’s previous best at a major was making the fourth round at the U.S. Open in 2014.

The match started Tuesday but was interrupted by rain and resumed Wednesday on Court 2 at one-set each. Serving with three match points, the 13th-seeded Thiem won with an angled forehand drop shot from the back of the court that Granollers couldn’t reach.

Granollers benefited from a walkover into the fourth round when nine-time French Open champion Rafael Nadal withdrew with a left wrist injury.


2:25 p.m.

She has rubbed shoulders with Donald Trump, but Serena Williams seemingly won’t be voting for the presumptive Republican presidential nominee - because she doesn’t vote at all.

Adroitly sidestepping a question about Trump at the French Open, where Williams is the defending champion, she says she is “not involved at all” in politics.

Williams, a Jehovah’s witness, adds “I don’t vote. It goes back to my religion.”

She says she has met Trump “several times,” because she lives in Palm Beach, Florida, and he has a 17-acre estate, the Mar-a-Lago Club, there.

Williams says “everyone in Palm Beach kind of knows each other.”


1:55 p.m.

Novak Djokovic got just what he wanted as he pursues a first French Open title, wrapping up a rain-interrupted victory with a minimum of trouble to get to the quarterfinals.

Aiming to win a fourth consecutive major trophy and complete a career Grand Slam, the No. 1-seeded Djokovic needed only 71 minutes Wednesday to finish off a 3-6, 6-4, 6-1, 7-5 win against No. 14 Roberto Bautista Agut of Spain. The match was suspended because of rain on Tuesday, with Djokovic leading 4-1 in the third set.

He needed only seven minutes of action to claim that set when they resumed, taking the first two games played Wednesday.

After completing the victory, Djokovic played to the crowd at Court Philippe Chatrier, first cajoling a ball boy to join him in bowing for the spectators, then donning a yellow rain hat handed to him by Fabrice Santoro, a former player who conducted the post-match interview.

Because rain created a compressed schedule, Djokovic will be on court for a third day in a row on Thursday.


1:30 p.m.

Unseeded Yulia Putintseva reached the quarterfinals at a major tournament for the first time, beating 12th-seeded Carla Suarez Navarro 7-5, 7-5 Wednesday at the French Open.

Navarro won less than half of all points on her serve, made 21 unforced errors and was broken four times in losing the first set.

Serving for the match after breaking her Spanish opponent twice, the 60th-ranked Putintseva had three match points after an angled backhand volley at the net. She converted the first, when Navarro netted a backhand service return.

Putintseva has yet to lose a set in her march to the quarterfinals, and lost only eight games in the previous rounds before her first-ever fourth-round match at a major.

She will play defending champion Serena Williams in the quarterfinals.


12:40 p.m.

Venus Williams failed in her bid to reach the French Open quarterfinals for the first time in a decade, losing to eighth-seeded Timea Bacsinszky of Switzerland 6-2, 6-4 in the fourth round Wednesday.

The ninth-seeded Williams, a seven-time major champion, started well enough, taking a 2-0 lead, before dropping eight games in a row. She was the runner-up to her sister Serena at Roland Garros in 2002, but her most recent trip to the quarterfinals in Paris came in 2006.

Against Bacsinszky, Williams managed to produce only six winners, while committing 24 unforced errors.

The match originally was supposed to be played Monday, but was postponed twice because of rain.

Backsinszky, a semifinalist at the French Open last year, can make it back to that stage if she beats 58th-ranked Kiki Bertens next.


12:35 p.m.

Kiki Bertens of the Netherlands reached her first Grand Slam quarterfinal by beating 15th-seeded Madison Keys of the United States 7-6 (4), 6-3 at the French Open on Wednesday.

The 58th-ranked Bertens eliminated a seeded player for the third time in the tournament, after upsetting No. 3 Angelique Kerber, the Australian Open champion, in the first round and No. 29 Daria Kasatkina in the third round.


12:20 p.m.

Wasting no time at all after waiting two days to play, Serena Williams moved closer to her record-equaling 22nd Grand Slam title by easily reaching the French Open quarterfinals.

The top-seeded Williams dominated from start to finish during a 6-1, 6-1 victory over 18th-seeded Elina Svitolina of Ukraine in only 62 minutes Wednesday.

The match originally was scheduled for Monday, but showers forced cancellation of an entire day of play at Roland Garros for the first time in 16 years. Then, on Tuesday, more rain allowed for a total of only 2 hours of play around the grounds, and Williams’ match was postponed again.

Finally in action, in Wednesday’s opening match at Court Philippe Chatrier, Williams looked very much like a 21-time Grand Slam champion facing a 21-year-old who has only reached one major quarterfinal, losing at that stage in Paris last year.

Williams, the defending French Open champion, is trying to match Steffi Graf’s Open-era mark of 22 major titles.


11:05 a.m.

After two days of almost incessant rain, the covers have come off the courts at the French Open and the skies, while still thick with clouds, have stopped dropping rain.

Serena and Venus Williams play first on Court Philippe Chatrier and Court Suzanne Lenglen, respectively, in fourth-round matches carried over from Monday, when rain washed out the whole day of play for the first time in 16 years.

Defending champion Serena plays No. 18 Elina Svitolina. Venus takes on No. 8 Timea Bacsinszky.

Because of scheduling problems, after rain continued for most of Tuesday, too, matches are also spread on other courts. Kiki Bertens vs. No. 15 Madison Keys is on Court 1; No. 12 Carla Suarez Navarro vs. Yulia Putintseva of Ukraine is on Court 2.

Copyright © 2018 The Washington Times, LLC.

The Washington Times Comment Policy

The Washington Times welcomes your comments on Spot.im, our third-party provider. Please read our Comment Policy before commenting.


Click to Read More and View Comments

Click to Hide