Getty Images

Nadal wins his 200th career Grand Slam match

Leave a comment

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

4:05 p.m.

Novak Djokovic is now the seventh man with at least 50 match wins in the French Open.

Next on his agenda: joining the other six on that list with a title at Roland Garros.

Trying to complete a career Grand Slam, the top-seeded Djokovic moved into the third round by beating 161st-ranked qualifier Steve Darcis of Belgium 7-5, 6-3, 6-4 on Thursday, overcoming 42 unforced errors on a windy afternoon.

That improved Djokovic’s career record in the clay-court tournament to 50-11. He’s made it to the final three times in the past four years but lost each time.

The other men with 50 victories at the French Open – Rafael Nadal, Roger Federer, Guillermo Vilas, Ivan Lendl, Andre Agassi and Nicola Pietrangeli – all won the championship at some point.

3:10 p.m.

Eugenie Bouchard attributes her early exit from the French Open more to her mind than her tennis.

After her 6-4, 6-4 second-round loss to Timea Bacsinszky, the 2014 Wimbledon finalist says “tennis is 90 percent mental” and that “the brain is like a muscle” that needs workouts.

The 47th-ranked Canadian says her mentality used to be “my amazing strength” and that “I feel like I’ve not used that as much in the past year or so,” during which the 22-year-old Canadian’s ranking has slipped.

2:50 p.m.

Once Rafael Nadal got past the briefest of slow starts, he was just fine, easily collecting the 200th Grand Slam match victory of his career.

Nadal fell behind 2-0 against 99th-ranked Facundo Bagnis of Argentina, then cleaned up his act and took 14 of the next 15 games Thursday en route to winning 6-3, 6-0, 6-3 in the second round of the French Open.

Nadal has won 200 of 230 matches in majors, a winning percentage of .870. Only seven other men have earned that many victories at Grand Slam tournaments; Roger Federer holds the record of 302.

The fourth-seeded Nadal owns 14 Grand Slam titles – tied with Pete Sampras for second-most behind Federer’s 17 – including a record nine at Roland Garros.

2:10 p.m.

Ana Ivanovic has reached the third round of the French Open for the 10th time, beating Kurumi Nara 7-5, 6-1.

Ivanovic, who won the title at Roland Garros in 2008, is seeded No. 14 this year.

Also, 28th-seeded Andrea Petkovic was eliminated, losing to Yulia Putintseva 6-2, 6-2.

1:50 p.m.

Malek Jaziri has failed in his bid to become the first Tunisian man in 53 years to reach the third round of the French Open.

Jaziri lost to seventh-seeded Tomas Berdych 6-1, 2-6, 6-2, 6-4.

Berdych, the 2010 Wimbledon finalist and French Open semifinalist, says he was “really pushed and I was able to come back and win.”

The last Tunisian to reach the third round at Roland Garros was Mustafa Belkhodjia in 1963.

1:20 p.m.

With a victory over Marcos Baghdatis in the second round French Open, Jo-Wilfried Tsonga would become only the third Frenchman with 100 wins in Grand Slam tournaments.

The others were Jean Borotra, with 103, and Henri Cochet, with 102.

Footage from The Associated Press archives – dated exactly 84 years ago – of Borotra playing Fred Perry shows how dramatically tennis has changed.

12:50 p.m.

Eighth-seeded Timea Bacsinszky, a French Open semifinalist last year, advanced to the third round at Roland Garros by beating Eugenie Bouchard 6-4, 6-4.

Bacsinszky was broken in her first service game, but the 2014 Wimbledon finalist couldn’t hold the lead. The Swiss broke back in the seventh game, broke Bouchard again with a backhand winner for a 5-4 lead, and served out the first set.

Trailing 5-0 in the second set and with Bacsinszky serving for the win, Bouchard got back into the match, saving a match point and earning two break points that would have leveled the score at 5-5 but she failed to convert.

After making the semifinals at Roland Garros in 2014, Bouchard lost in the first round last year. From a career-high year-end ranking of seventh, the 22-year-old Canadian slipped out of the top 40 in 2015 and struggled with an eating disorder she says she has since conquered.

11:35 a.m.

Rafael Nadal can win his 200th Grand Slam match on Thursday if he beats Facundo Bagnis of Argentina in the second round of the French Open.

Nadal, a record nine-time champion at Roland Garros, would become the eighth man in history to win 200 matches at major tournaments. The man with the most wins is Roger Federer, who has 302 over his career but is missing from this year’s French Open because of injury.

Novak Djokovic, the current top-ranked player, can win his 50th match at Roland Garros by defeating qualifier Steve Darcis of Belgium. But the milestone that really matters to Djokovic is winning his first French Open, the only Grand Slam he hasn’t won .

Top-seeded Halep survives marathon match

AP
Leave a comment

MELBOURNE, Australia (AP) Top-seeded Simona Halep served for the match four times before prevailing 4-6, 6-4, 15-13 over American Lauren Davis in a marathon match at Rod Laver Arena.

Halep saved three match points in the 22nd game of the third set at 0-40 and Davis saved five break points in the 23rd game in the 3 hour, 45-minute match. The final set took 2 hour, 22 minutes and Halep won on her first match point when Davis hit a forehand wide along the sideline.

Davis twice had medical timeouts in the final set to have blisters on both feet treated.

Halep will play the winner of Saturday’s later match between local hope Ashleigh Barty and Naomi Osaka.

In other women’s third-round matches, sixth-seeded Karolina Pliskova beat Lucie Safarova 7-6 (6), 7-5 and No. 8 Caroline Garcia beat Aliaksandra Sasnovich 6-3, 5-7, 6-2. Garcia will play Madison Keys in the fourth round.

 

More AP coverage: http://www.apnews.com/tag/AustralianOpen

Wozniacki still in frame for return to No. 1

Getty Images
Leave a comment

MELBOURNE, Australia (AP) Caroline Wozniacki had just been beaten by Kim Clijsters in the 2012 Australian Open quarterfinals, causing her to lose her No. 1 ranking on the WTA Tour, and she had some fighting words.

“I will get it back eventually, so I’m not worried,” she said. “The media talks to me like I’m finished … the fact is I still have quite a few good years in front of me.”

Fast forward to this year’s Australian Open, where Wozniacki’s win in the third round on Friday leaves her with a chance to regain the No. 1 ranking – six years later.

If so, it would be the longest gap between stints at the top since the WTA’s computer rankings were introduced in 1975. She might take some solace from the fact that the current longest streak between players returning to No. 1 is held by Serena Williams at 5 years, 29 days.

The 27-year-old Wozniacki also faced criticism during her first stay at No. 1 – which included year-end top rankings in 2010 and 2011 – that she’d never won a major, unlike Williams’ current 23. And that hasn’t changed either.

Maybe this year.

On Friday, two days after she came back from a 5-1 deficit and saved two match points in the third set to beat Jana Fett in the second round, she had a 6-4, 6-3 win over Kiki Bertens that wasn’t without late drama, both with closing out the match, and with her criticism of the chair umpire.

Wozniacki had to save four break points while serving for the match but clinched it on her fourth match point.

After coming so close to being knocked out of the tournament, she sounded like a gambler with cash in her pocket.

“Right now, playing with house money,” Wozniacki said in an on-court television interview. “Nothing to lose. I got a second chance. I’m just going to try and take it and see how far I can go.”

Wozniacki wasn’t happy with chair umpire Renaud Lichtenstein. She had complained about a few line calls, and that the court was slippery in several areas.

“I’ve never had this guy before … but I think he did a poor job today,” Wozniacki said. “If the court is wet, I think it’s normal to ask for a towel. I don’t think someone needs to be rude, and I told him so. I think there were some questionable calls, as well.”

Watching from Wozniacki’s support section was former NBA player David Lee. In November, the former New York Knicks forward proposed to her during a holiday on the French Polynesian island of Bora Bora.

“All I’ll say is it was a surprise, it was amazing,” Wozniacki said earlier this week of Lee’s proposal. “Had the best off-season. We had a great time traveling a little bit, exploring some new places. I was really recharged when I finally got back on the court again.”

Perhaps enough to get her back to No. 1.