Keys, Nishikori, Zverev & Djokovic reach French Open last 16


PARIS, June 1: American 13th seed Madison Keys overcame a second-set wobble to beat Japan’s Naomi Osaka 6-1 7-6(7) and reach the last 16 of the French Open for the second time on Friday.
A match between two of the biggest hitters on the WTA Tour failed to really catch fire on a cool and half-empty Suzanne Lenglen Court with Keys helped on her way to the first set by a succession of wild errors from Osaka.
Keys broke for a 3-1 lead in the second set and looked to be closing in on a straightforward victory when 21st seed Osaka suddenly found her range and levelled the set.
Osaka’s mini-revival looked to have fizzled out when she dropped serve with a double-fault at 4-4.
Keys squandered a match point in the next game, however, and the 23-year-old U.S. Open runner-up looked increasingly tight as the set moved into a tiebreaker.
Kei Nishikori
Japan’s Kei Nishikori made short work of hom00e hope Gilles Simon as he cruised into the French Open fourth round for the fifth time on Friday.
The 28-year-old, seeded 19 in his first Grand Slam since Wimbledon last year after struggling with injury, saw off Simon 6-3, 6-1, 6-3.
Nishikori could next face a clash with two-time semi-finalist and seventh seed Dominic Thiem, who plays Italian Matteo Berrettini later in the third round.
Alexander Zverev
German second seed Alexander Zverev saved a match point and survived a second successive French Open scare on Friday, coming back to defeat Bosnia’s Damir Dzumhur 6-2, 3-6, 4-6, 7-6 (7/3), 7-5 to reach the fourth round for the first time.
Zverev, 21, who is seen as Rafael Nadal’s principal obstacle to the Spaniard’s expected coronation as champion for an 11th time, endured a nightmare outing before claiming victory after almost four hours on Court Philippe Chatrier.
He hit 73 unforced errors, dropped serve eight times and served up seven double faults.
He had to save a match point in the 10th game of the decider before breaking and holding to make the last-16 where he will face either French 15th seed Lucas Pouille or Russia’s Karen Khachanov.
“It was an amazing, high level match,” said Zverev, bidding to become the first German men’s champion in Paris since 1937.
“It was the first time I have won on this court and I hope there are many more to come.”
Novak Djokovic
Former champion Novak Djokovic claimed a hard-fought 6-4, 6-7 (6/8), 7-6 (7/4), 6-2 victory over a grieving Roberto Bautista Agut on Friday to book his spot in the French Open fourth round.
The 31-year-old former world number one struggled at times on Suzanne Lenglen court, but eventually came through the four-set battle in three hours and 48 minutes with 13th seed Bautista Agut.
He has now made the last 16 of a Slam for the 43rd time, tying Jimmy Connors on the all-time list. Bautista Agut was playing in Paris despite the death of his mother last week.
Djokovic, seeded 20 after struggling to find his best form since returning from an elbow injury, will take on Fernando Verdasco for a last-eight place after the Spaniard knocked out fourth seed Grigor Dimitrov.
The Serbian has also reached the second week at Roland Garros for the last nine years in a row.
“Fours hours for the match, I’m a bit tired, Bautista Agut plays with too much patience for me, but I’m very happy to have won the match,” said Djokovic, who holds a 10-4 head-to-head record over Verdasco. (AFP)