Saturday, June 6, 2015

French Open Day 13 recap: Wawrinka reaches final

Stan Wawrinka, shown at Indian Wells in March,
beat Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in four sets in the French
Open semifinals. Photo by Paul Bauman
   Men's semifinals -- In a battle of 30-year-olds, eighth-seeded Stan Wawrinka reached his first French Open final with a 6-3, 6-7 (1), 7-6 (3), 6-4 victory over No. 14 Jo-Wilfried Tsonga.
   Wawrinka, who ousted Swiss countryman Roger Federer in the quarterfinals, lost in the first round at Roland Garros last year. But that likely was because he hadn't recovered from the hoopla surrounding his first Grand Slam title in the 2014 Australian Open.
   Tsonga was trying to become the first Frenchman to win the singles title at Roland Garros since Yannick Noah in 1983.
   The other semifinal was suspended by rain with top-seeded Novak Djokovic leading No. 3 Andy Murray 6-3, 6-3, 5-7, 6-3 in a match featuring many breathtaking, grueling rallies.
   The showdown is scheduled to resume today at 4 a.m. PDT.
   Djokovic -- who turned 28 on May 22, one week after Murray did -- is trying to become the eighth man to achieve a career Grand Slam. He also hopes to continue his bid for a calendar-year Slam.  
   Stars and stripes -- Seventh-seeded Bethanie Mattek-Sands of Phoenix and Lucie Safarova of the Czech Republic will play for their second consecutive major women's doubles title.
   The reigning Australian Open champions outlasted No. 9 seeds and 2011 French Open titlists Andrea Hlavackova and Lucie Hradecka of the Czech Republic 6-2, 5-7, 6-4.
   Mattek-Sands and Safarova will face 12th-seeded Casey Dellacqua of Australia and Yaroslava Shvedova of Kazakhstan. They dismissed No. 2 seeds and 2011 French Open champs Ekaterina Makarova and Elena Vesnina of Russia 6-3, 6-2.
   For the first time in the 68-year history of the French Open junior boys event, two Americans will play in the singles final. Second-seeded Taylor Fritz dominated No. 4 Corentin Denolly of France 6-1, 6-2, and No. 13 Tommy Paul outclassed No. 6 Michael Mmoh of the United States 6-4, 6-3.
   Either Fritz or Paul will join John McEnroe (1977) and Bjorn Fratangelo (2011) as the only Americans to win the boys singles title at Roland Garros in the Open era, which began in 1968.
   In the junior girls semifinals, fourth-seeded CiCi Bellis of the United States lost to No. 16 Anna Kalinskaya of Russia 6-2, 6-1.
   The United States also has one team in both the boys and girls doubles finals. Fourth-seeded William Blumberg and Paul will meet unseeded Alvaro Lopez San Martin and Jaume Munar of Spain. Also, No. 6 Caroline Dolehide and Katerina Stewart will take on No. 1 Miriam Kolodziejova and Marketa Vondrousova of the Czech Republic.
   Northern California connection -- Murray won the now-defunct SAP Open in San Jose in 2006 at 18 years old and repeated in 2007. He also won the Aptos Challenger in 2005.
   Bellis, 16, lives in Atherton in the San Francisco Bay Area.
   Fast facts -- Wawrinka saved 16 of 17 break points.
   Among Switzerland's Federer, Wawrinka and Timea Bacsinszky, the first to bow out of the French Open was Federer.
   Quote -- Tsonga, on the temperature topping 90 degrees (32 Celsius) at Court Philippe Chatrier: “Heat didn’t bother me. My opponent made my life difficult.”
   Today's women's final -- Serena Williams (1) vs. Safarova (13), 6 a.m. PDT, NBC. Williams leads the head-to-head series 8-0 but is battling the flu.

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