King of clay Nadal eyes record French title
After two weeks of intense play during the French Open in Paris, big fish have fallen and minnows have raised their heads.
With two major upsets in the women’s championship already, only the bravest will survive a final week that culminates with the women and men’s finals, on Saturday and Sunday respectively.
Nine-time men’s champion Rafael Nadal will take on Spanish compatriot Roberto Bautista Agut in a last-16 match today.
Agut is ranked outside the top 200 and, if that is anything to go by, it should be a walk in park for in-form Nadal, who won three consecutive clay titles – Monte Carlo, Barcelona and Madrid – before his loss in the Italian Open last month.
Defending men’s champion Novak Djokovic, who struggled in the last 32 to come from a set down to beat Argentine Diego Schwartzman (5-7, 6-3, 3-6, 6-1, 6-1) takes on Spaniard Albert Ramos Viñolas.
No French player has won a Grand Slam title since 1983 and chances of a win on home soil this year significantly lessened with the exit of men’s world No 11 Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, who was eliminated by Argentine Renzo Olivo on Wednesday.
On the women’s side, the biggest shock of the French Open was definitely world No 1 Angelique Kerber’s loss on the first day, as she became the first women’s top seed to lose in the opening round of the tournament. Her loss to Russian Ekaterina Makarova (6-2, 6-2) was followed by the defeat of eighthseeded Johanna Konta of the UK by Taiwan’s Hsieh Su-wei on Tuesday.
Defending champion Garbiñe Muguruza will be hoping to take another step towards defending her title when she plays Kristina Mladenovic today.
Muguruza progressed to the last 16 after a win against 29th seed Yulia Putintseva on Friday.
ON COURSE Rafael Nadal will play against countryman Roberto Bautista Agut today