Saturday, June 5, 2021

Czech it out: Stephens reaches round of 16 in Paris

Unseeded Sloane Stephens, who grew up in Fresno, Calif., defeated No. 18 seed
Karolina Muchova 6-3, 7-5 today in the third round of the French Open. 2019
photo by Mal Taam
   Resurgent Sloane Stephens is set to face her third consecutive Czech on Monday in the fourth round of the French Open.
   The unseeded Stephens, the 2018 runner-up at Roland Garros who grew up in Fresno, Calif., defeated No. 18 seed Karolina Muchova, an Australian Open semifinalist in February and Wimbledon quarterfinalist in 2019, 6-3, 7-5 today in Paris. 
   Stephens, who eliminated No. 9 seed Karolina Pliskova in the second round, is scheduled to meet unseeded Barbora Krejcikova for the first time.
   Krejcikova, who won her first WTA title in Strasbourg last week and reached the Dubai final in March, ousted fifth-seeded Elina Svitolina, a three-time French Open quarterfinalist from Ukraine, 6-3, 6-2. 
   Of the top six seeds, the only one remaining is No. 4 Sofia Kenin, the Australian Open champion and French Open runner-up last year.
   Krejcikova, 25, also remains alive in women's doubles, in which she won the 2018 title with compatriot Katerina Siniakova, and mixed doubles.
   On the men's side, No. 8 seed Roger Federer, playing in the French Open for only the second time since 2015, topped German left-hander Dominik Koepfer 7-6 (5), 6-7 (3), 7-6 (4), 7-5. Koepfer, the runner-up in the 2019 Aptos (Calif.) Challenger, led 4-2 in the third set.
   Next for Federer, who will turn 40 on Aug. 8, is No. 9 seed Matteo Berrettini. The 25-year-old Italian beat Kwon Soonwoo of South Korea 7-6 (6), 6-3, 6-4 to reach the round of 16 at Roland Garros for the first time.
   Federer is 2-0 against Berrettini, a 2019 U.S. Open semifinalist. They will meet on clay for the first time. 
   In the second round of women's doubles, unseeded Irina-Camelia Begu of Romania and Nadia Podoroska of Argentina surprised No. 4 seeds Shuko Aoyama and Ena Shibahara of Japan 7-5, 3-6, 6-3. Shibahara was born in Mountain View in the San Francisco Bay Area and starred at UCLA.
   In the first round of mixed doubles:
   —No. 2 seeds Nicole Melichar, a Czech-born American, and Rajeev Ram, a volunteer assistant coach at the University of California, Berkeley from Carmel, Ind., defeated French wild cards Caroline Garcia and Nicolas Mahut 7-6 (4), 6-4.
   —Giuliana Olmos, a product of Fremont in the Bay Area who plays for Mexico, and Juan Sebastian Cabal of Colombia edged Bethanie Mattek-Sands of Phoenix and Jamie Murray, Andy's older brother, of Great Britain 7-6 (4) 6-7 (3) [10-6].
   ATP Challenger Tour — In a late doubles semifinal in the rain-delayed $52,080 Little Rock (Ark.) Open, unseeded Christopher Eubanks of Atlanta and Roberto Quiroz of Ecuador outplayed No. 2 seeds Dennis Novikov of San Jose, Calif., and Goncalo Oliveira of Portugal 6-3, 6-3.

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