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Wawrinka was looking to stay warm while waiting for Serbian Viktor Troicki to finish receiving treatment from a trainer. His legs were bouncing as he sat impatiently. So he looked behind him to the ball boy.
“I asked him if he was playing tennis. I said, 'Okay, let's play',” Wawrinka said.
The smiling Swiss grabbed a racquet for himself and one for his new hitting partner. To roars from the fans at Philippe Chatrier Court, Wawrinka hit with the left-hander for about a minute.
“He wasn't afraid to be on the central court. He was a nice kid,” Wawrinka said.
The defending Roland Garros champion and ball boy then shook hands at the net, and Wawrinka got his racquet back. By then, Troicki was ready to play. “I thought it was nice. It was nice for him. It was fun for the audience, and it kept me busy,” Wawrinka said.
Maybe it helped the third seed, too. He went on to defeat Troicki 7-6(5), 6-7(7), 6-3, 6-2 and move into the quarter-finals.
"I was a little bit bored, I was talking to the ball kid. I asked him if he played tennis. I said, ok, let's play." pic.twitter.com/oT7ZqsW8ut— Roland Garros (@rolandgarros) May 29, 2016
A LOOK BACK
Citta’ Di Vicenza (Vicenza, Italy): Guido Andreozzi of Argentina picked up his second ATP Challenger Tour title of the year by defeating Pere Riba of Spain in the final. The Spaniard was forced to retire with a lower back injury after Andreozzi won the first set 6-0. Andreozzi also prevailed this February at the $50,000 event in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic.
Despite the unfortunate end, this was still Riba’s best week of the year. He arrived in Vicenza having not won a main draw match on the ATP Challenger Tour in 2016.
The upset of the week came from World No. 585 Viktor Galovic of Croatia, who upset #NextGen star Andrey Rublev of Russia in the opening round. The win was just his second ATP Challenger Tour match win in three years.
A LOOK AHEAD
Three Challengers are on the calendar this week, with the illustrious $125,000+H event in Prostejov, Czech Republic, taking top billing. Past champions include former Top 10 players Radek Stepanek, Guillermo Coria and Karol Kucera. All eight seeds are ranked inside the Top 100 of the Emirates ATP Rankings, with world No. 50 Ricardas Berankis of Lithuania holding the No. 1 seed and World No. 59 Lukas Rosol of the Czech Republic taking the No. 2 seed. Local favourite Jiri Vesely is the No. 3 seed and Inigo Cervantes of Spain is the No. 4 seed.
Other notable names in the draw include former World No. 8 Janko Tipsarevic of Serbia, as well as #NextGen stars Karen Khachanov of Russia and Elias Ymer of Sweden. Several ATP Challenger Tour winners this year are also in the draw, including Gastao Elias of Portugal. Andreozzi looks to continue his win streak after Vicenza when he plays No. 5 seed Damir Dzumhur of Bosnia in the opening round.
The popular $50,000+H tournament in Furth, Germany, reaches a notable milestone as it celebrates its 30th year. Three players ranked inside the Top 100 of the Emirates ATP Rankings are in the draw, with world No. 72 Malek Jaziri of Tunisia as the No. 1 seed, World No. 93 Taro Daniel of Japan taking the No. 2 seed and No. 3 seed Albert Montanes of Spain holding the No. 3 seed. Thomas Fabbiano of Italy, a winner this March in Shenzhen, China, is the No. 6 seed, while Jozef Kovalik, a winner this April in Napoli, Italy is the No. 8 seed. Another notable name in the draw is Gerard Melzer of Austria, who has won three ATP Challenger Tour titles this year.
Lastly, the grass season kicks off with the $50,000 event in Manchester, England, which returns for the 17th year. Seven of the eight seeds are in the Top 100 of the Emirates ATP Rankings, with Americans Denis Kudla and Rajeev Ram taking the No. 1 and No. 2 seeds, respectively. Local favourite Daniel Evans, a winner of two ATP Challenger Tour events this year is the No. 3 seed. Several other ATP Challenger Tour title winners this year are in the draw, including No. 8 seed Bjorn Fratangelo of the U.S., (Savannah) Mischa Zverev of Germany (Sarasota), Konstantin Kravchuk of Russia (Busan) and James Duckworth of Australia (Bangkok).
ATP CHALLENGER TOUR ON TWITTER: New in 2016, the ATP Challenger Tour has launched a dedicated Twitter account for the latest news and information about players and events. Follow @ATPChallengerTour at twitter.com/ATPChallengerTour.
The Bryans saved the match point at 5/6 in the second-set tie-break en route to beating No. 12 seeds Radek Stepanek and Nenad Zimonjic 4-6, 7-6(6), 6-3 in Paris. The Bryans failed to convert three set point opportunities at 6-5 in the second set.
The 2003 and 2013 titlists will now look to improve their 63-15 record at Roland Garros against No. 16 seeds Marcin Matkowski and Leander Paes, who beat this year's Australian Open champions Jamie Murray and Bruno Soares 7-6(5), 7-6(4) in one hour and 43 minutes.
Sixth seeds Rohan Bopanna and Florin Mergea knocked out Brian Baker and Marcus Daniell 6-2, 6-7(4), 6-1, while 2014 champions Julien Benneteau and Edouard Roger-Vasselin overcame Treat Huey and Max Mirnyi 6-4, 6-4. Pablo Cuevas and Marcel Granollers will face ninth seed Lukasz Kubot and Alexander Peya after a 7-6(3), 6-4 victory over Daniel Nestor and Aisam-Ul-Haq Qureshi.
Samantha Stosur is down 5-3 in the first set of her fourth-round clash with sixth seed Simona Halep as rain stops play.
Samantha Stosur is down 5-3 in the first set of her fourth-round clash with sixth seed Simona Halep as rain stops play.
Home, sweet home, at last.
For the first time in 13 tries, Richard Gasquet has reached the quarter-finals at Roland Garros, the Frenchman's home Grand Slam. The 29 year old upset fifth seed Kei Nishikori 6-4, 6-2, 4-6, 6-2 on Sunday to reach the final eight in Paris.
“[It was a] great match for me to win [against] the No. 6 in the world on central court in Paris,” Gasquet said. “I took a lot of confidence after winning that [first] set. I played much better in the second set, and also with the crowd cheering for me, it was a great moment.”
Gasquet had lost in the fourth round at Roland Garros four times previously (2011, 2012, 2013 and 2015). The ninth seed also had never taken a set off of Nishikori on clay, having lost in straight sets to to the Japanese twice earlier this month (Madrid, Rome).
But Gasquet owned a 6-2 advantage in their overall FedEx ATP Head2Head rivalry. With the French crowd behind him and his picturesque one-handed backhand firing, Gasquet achieved personal history by playing more aggressive from the baseline.
“I knew if I want to win [against] this guy, I need to play very, very deep and very fast... If I'm playing short like I did in Rome and Madrid, I have no chance to win,” Gasquet said. “You also need to be able to whack the ball from the baseline, and that's what I tried to do.”
He fell behind 2-4 before a 50-minute rain delay. When play resumed, though, Gasquet took over, winning 10 of the next 12 games to gain a two-set lead. Nishikori rebounded in the third, breaking Gasquet to force a fourth set.
But the Frenchman, wearing the blue, white and red of the French flag, broke Nishikori twice in the fourth and held at love to advance. Gasquet will face second seed Andy Murray in the quarter-finals. The Scot leads their FedEx ATP Head2Head rivalry 7-3, including their past five meetings. “It's always important to have the crowd cheering for you, as they did it on the court, and I admit it made a big difference for me,” Gasquet said. “Of course it will be the same on Tuesday, but for sure I need to play a big match to win [against] Andy.”
Nishikori was trying to reach the final eight for the second consecutive year and match his best showing in Paris. Had he won, he would have become the second Japanese man to reach multiple quarter-finals at Roland Garros (Jiri Sato, 1931, 1933). “It was heavy [conditions], and I couldn't really dictate with my forehand or backhand,” Nishikori said. “I think he played good tennis... I have to give him credit.”
Second seed Murray, who now owns a 6-0 FedEx ATP Head2Head edge over his American opponent, advanced to the last eight at the clay-court Grand Slam for the sixth time. It is the most quarters reached by a British man in Roland Garros history.
"I'm pumped to be in the quarters of a slam," said Murray, who will face home hope Richard Gasquet next. "Obviously the atmosphere will be tough, but I don't mind that. I played a number of times against French players here in difficult atmospheres and I managed okay."
Four of the previous six encounters between Murray and Isner had opened with a first-set tie-break, and the script would hold true to form on Sunday. Isner, who failed to convert on two break chances earlier in the set, battled back after conceding an immediate mini-break. He had a set point on his racquet at 6/5 after inducing an error off a Murray second serve, but the American left his approach shot short as he darted to the net to close out the opener. Murray slipped a backhand down the line for a sublime winner and the momentum shifted. Two more set points were saved by the Scot, who eventually converted the second of his own, pulling Isner out wide to the ad court and drawing an error to clinch the tie-break 11-9.
"I think it could have been a little bit different if I won that set," said Isner. "I had it on my racquet serving at 6/5. I had a short forehand, too, and didn't do anything with it. I hit it right back to him and he passed me up the line, because he's No. 2 in the world, and that's what he does. I didn't take advantage of that opportunity right there... I think I went with option D there. A, B, and C would have been better."
"The first set was key," said Murray. "I didn't have any chances until the tiebreak. I was a bit lucky on the 6/5 point. He had a great serve and I guessed the right way on his approach shot. That point was very important, for sure. And then after that I was starting to create a lot more chances on the return games. Most games I felt like I was having opportunities and wasn't giving him any chances on my serve."
The skies opened at 1-1 in the second set and a 50-minute rain delay would ensue. But Murray would not be rattled, eventually taking a two-set lead with a late break in the 10th game. In favourable heavy conditions, the World No. 2 took his first set point, chasing down an Isner drop shot and firing a volley into the open court. He continued to apply pressure on the 6'10" right-hander in the third set, breaking for 3-1 when an Isner drop shot found the net. Murray turned aside a break chance when serving for the match in the ninth game, emerging victorious after just under three hours. He withstood 18 aces from the big-serving American and saved all five break points faced. Murray has denied a combined 31 of 32 break chances in six encounters against Isner.
"The conditions were certainly slower and that would benefit me against someone that serves as well as John," added Murray. "I think when we came back out after the rain delay, the balls were getting heavy very quick. The beginning of the match it was fairly slow because there hadn't been any rain during the day. The balls weren't getting that heavy when we were going to the back of the courts and the covers. When we came back out the balls were extremely slow, so I was able to return a lot more serves, get a lot more in the service games, extend the rallies, and that's where I was able to dictate most of the points."
Murray extended his winning streak to nine matches after lifting the trophy at the ATP World Tour Masters 1000 event in Rome two weeks ago (d. Djokovic). He completed a pair of five-set wins to open the fortnight, including his ninth career 0-2 comeback over Radek Stepanek in the first round.
Isner, meanwhile, was seeking to become the first American to reach the quarter-finals on the terre battue since Andre Agassi in 2003. American men are now 0-7 in the fourth round in the past 13 years.
"I do think I did turn a corner on my season this week, considering how I was down and out in my first-round match," Isner added. "So I'm leaving this tournament with positive feelings going forward in my year here in 2016.
"It's not going to be a somber ride back to the States for me, whereas a lot of times this year I have left the tournament with a very bad taste in my mouth. It's not so much that this week."
"I was sort of just looking for another set of eyes to be a bit more efficient on grass, and I think people are seeing it as just for grass," said Raonic, after he lost to Albert Ramos-Vinolas in Paris. "It's about generally improving. I want to improve coming forward and I want to improve putting more pressure on my opponents.
"I feel like I was a lot more efficient at the beginning of the year coming forward, and it's something that I would like to put a lot of attention to. It just works out with grass that's probably the thing that will benefit me the most. Now, in the three weeks leading to Wimbledon, we are going to work, and really put some attention to that.
"[There are] other parts of my game that I can do a bit differently to be better, and it's not by any means just with the intention of Wimbledon. It's about generally improving."
McEnroe, who now works as a television commentator and is a part of the ATP Champions Tour, spent 170 weeks at No. 1 in the Emirates ATP Rankings.
"It's a great honour and there's a lot I want to achieve," said 25-year-old Raonic. "I'm maybe far from it today, but I feel like I'm a lot closer and I'm going to try to do everything I can to sort of maximise giving myself the opportunity to achieve those goals.
"At the end of the day of the day, every coach I have is to some extent an adviser, and it is my job personally, out of everything I hear, to weigh what it's worth and weigh what is best for me. I'm the CEO of the Milos Raonic Tennis. That's it... I know everybody I have around me wants to help me to the fullest.
"It's not a focus for just Wimbledon. It's John coming along to help me improve in general."
Stan Wawrinka appears to be honing his game just in time for the latter stages of Roland Garros. The Swiss moved into the quarter-finals in Paris for the third time in four years on Sunday, bypassing Serbian Viktor Troicki 7-6(5), 6-7(7), 6-3, 6-2 in three hours on Philippe Chatrier Court.
The defending Roland Garros champion used powerful serving – 19 aces – and opportunistic tennis to reach the final eight in Paris for the second consecutive season. He brings a favourable FedEx ATP Head2Head record into his next match as well: Wawrinka is 6-0 against unseeded Albert Ramos-Vinolas, who beat Milos Raonic 6-2, 6-4, 6-4.
"It's a great victory for me. I was trying to just stay calm with myself, find my game all over the match," Wawrinka said. "I managed to play better, I managed to find solutions."
Wawrinka entered Sunday's fourth-round match having not lost a set since his five-set battle against Lukas Rosol in the first round. But Troicki proved to be a tricky opponent early in their contest. He erased four break points to force a first-set tie-break. Wawrinka prevailed, though, and looked to have complete control of the match with an early break in the second.
But Troicki ran off the next four games to lead 4-1 before Wawrinka recovered to 4-all. Troicki, looking to reach his first Grand Slam quarter-final, evened the match on his fifth set point opportunity in the second-set tie-break.
The final two sets were all Wawrinka, though, as the third seed earned a break in the third and two in the final set. Wawrinka has now won eight consecutive matches, dating back to his title run two weeks ago in Geneva. His home title run marked the first time Wawrinka had reached the semi-finals of a clay-court tournament this season.
“Although the match was rather long, I know that I didn't expend any intellectual energy that much, because I was very serene. I was at peace with myself," Wawrinka said. "Being in the quarter-finals again is great. Of course I don't want to stop there, but I also want to enjoy what's happening.”
Troicki, No. 24 in the Emirates ATP Rankings, fell to 0-5 in fourth-round matches at Grand Slams, including 0-3 at Roland Garros (2011 l. to Murray, 2013 l. to Tsonga). The Serbian, who swept Gilles Simon in the third round, also dropped to 4-19 against Top 20 opponents at Grand Slams.
Ramos-Vinolas, the only left-hander remaining in the draw, recorded just his second Top 10 win in 23 attempts by beating eighth seed Milos Raonic 6-2, 6-4, 6-4 in two hours and 21 minutes.
"I'm very happy," said Ramos-Vinolas. "I didn't expect this. After losing last week 6-1, 6-1 against [Stan] Wawrinka, I was a little bit down because I was expecting a little more in Geneva last week. I don't know why things seem to be falling into place this week. Although this is not Raonic's favourite surface, I feel quite humbled to have won against him."
Raonic put Ramos-Vinolas under pressure in his opening service games, but the Spaniard held his nerve and broke twice en route to a 5-1 lead.
Raonic could have taken a 3-0 lead in the second set, however Ramos-Vinolas saved six break points in an 18-point third game. He went on to break Raonic to 30 for a 5-4 lead.
Ramos-Vinolas, who saved six of seven break points during the pair's second meeting, converted his third break point opportunity at 4-4 in the third set. Serving for the match, Ramos-Vinolas took a 40/15 lead, but was forced to save one break point prior to clinching his 18th match win of the season.
It was just his eighth victory at the four major championships (8-18 overall) and denied Raonic a spot in his second Roland Garros quarter-final and his 50th tour-level win on clay.
"I have to say [that] I'm disappointed I lost," said Raonic. "The main reason I think I lost was because the foundation of my game wasn't there. I didn't serve well... I gave myself opportunities on his serve, but the day is a lot easier for the other guy when I don't serve well. I fought as hard as I could. That's probably the thing I will be the most proud about."
Coming in, Ramos-Vinolas had not won a match on Parisian clay since 2011, but had ended a seven-match losing streak by beating No. 23 seed Jack Sock in the third round.
Darwin is set to host its first international hockey tournament in more than 12 years, when four teams including Australia's Hockeyroos hit the turf on Tuesday.
Daniel Ricciardo says his shot at victory at the Monaco Grand Prix was "screwed" after a farcical pit stop cost him valuable seconds.
Watch highlights as World No. 1 Novak Djokovic beat Aljaz Bedene at Roland Garros on Saturday for a place in the Last 16. Video courtesy of RolandGarros.com. Photo: Getty Images
Watch highlights as Dominic Thiem gets the better of #NextGen star Alexander Zverev on Saturday for a place in the Roland Garros fourth round. Video courtesy of RolandGarros.com. Photo: Getty Images
Bulldogs coach Des Hasler furious after forced to call up player who had played NSW Cup following Josh Morris' recall to Blues camp.
West Coast thumps struggling Gold Coast by 77 points at Subiaco Oval, as the Eagles add to their list of big wins on their home deck.
Albert Ramos-Vinolas reflects on a dream run at Roland Garros and missing his Dad's 60th birthday celebrations as a result. Photo: Getty Images
The Western Bulldogs run over the top of Collingwood to claim a 21-point AFL win at the MCG.
Parramatta has announced the immediate release of Junior Paulo, freeing him to join Canberra on the Raiders' push for a spot in the NRL finals.
The Raiders have consolidated their place in the NRL's top eight with a come-from-behind 32-20 win over an under-strength Canterbury at Canberra Stadium.