Saturday, June 2, 2018

No. 10 Stephens survives major test in French Open

   Sloane Stephens breezed through her first two matches in the French Open.
   Not so in the third round.
   The 10th-seeded Stephens, who grew up in Fresno, outlasted Camila Giorgi of Italy 4-6, 6-1, 8-6 today in Paris. Stephens trailed by a service break three times in the third set of the 2-hour, 26-minute thriller.
   "She plays kind of crazy, but in a good way," Stephens, 25, told reporters. "She hits a lot of winners and plays very unpredictable, so it's hard to get a rhythm. I knew it was going to be a battle, and I just stuck in there and waited for my opportunities and took advantage of them when I could." 
   Stephens avenged a 6-3, 6-0 loss to Giorgi in the first round at Sydney in January. The rout came during Stephens' eight-match losing streak that followed her first Grand Slam title in the U.S. Open.
   Stephens reached the fourth round of the French Open for the fifth time. Either she or 25th-seeded Anett Kontaveit of Estonia will advance to the quarterfinals at Roland Garros for the first time when they meet for the first time Sunday between 7 and 9 a.m. PDT at 14,840-seat Court Philippe-Chatrier. Tennis Channel or NBC will televise the match.
   Kontaveit, 22, upset eighth-seeded Petra Kvitova 7-6 (6), 7-6 (4).
   Unseeded Serena Williams dispatched No. 11 seed Julia Goerges of Germany 6-3, 6-4 to set up a "showdown" against No. 28 Maria Sharapova, who demolished No. 6 Karolina Pliskova 6-2, 6-1 in 59 minutes.
   Williams is 19-2 against Sharapova with 18 consecutive victories. They will meet for the first time since Williams' 6-4, 6-1 victory in the quarterfinals of the 2016 Australian Open.
   Both Williams (maternity leave) and Sharapova (drug suspension) are multiple French Open champions trying to regain their form. And both are scheduled to play in the inaugural Mubadala Silicon Valley Classic, July 30-Aug. 5 at San Jose State.
   No. 1 seeds Simona Halep and Rafael Nadal won in straight sets, as did No. 3 Marin Cilic and No. 5 Juan Martin del Potro.
   In men's doubles, No. 13 seeds Rohan Bopanna of India and Edouard Roger-Vasselin of France ousted No. 1 Lukasz Kubot of Poland and Marcelo Melo of Brazil 6-4, 7-6 (1) to reach the quarterfinals. Roger-Vasselin and Melo won the French Open men's doubles title in 2014 and 2015, respectively, with different partners.
   In the second round of women's doubles, Eri Hozumi and Makoto Ninomiya of Japan surprised No. 11 seeds Raquel Atawo of Sacramento and Anna-Lena Groenefeld of Germany 2-6, 6-2, 6-0.

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