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Rediff.com  » Sports » French Open: Venus sent packing, Nishikori wins all-Asian battle

French Open: Venus sent packing, Nishikori wins all-Asian battle

Last updated on: June 04, 2017 23:55 IST

Images from the matches played on Day 8 at the Roland Garros on Sunday

Venus sent packing by Bacsinszky in Paris

Timea Bacsinszky

IMAGE:  Timea Bacsinszky of Switzerland serves. Photograph: Julian Finney/Getty Images

Venus Williams' chances of adding a first French Open title to her collection of seven grand slams faded on Sunday after the 36-year-old was beaten 5-7, 6-2, 6-1 by Swiss Timea Bacsinszky in the French Open fourth round.

It was the second year running that Williams, seeded 10th and competing in her 20th French Open, lost to the Swiss in the Roland Garros fourth round even though she fought back from 5-1 down to rattle off six straight games to win the first set.

"She just played well. She just came out with great tennis a lot of the time. The risk was rewarded for her," Williams said.

"I feel I played well today but I did not quite figure out the solution in time."

Williams, whose sister Serena is not playing in the tournament as she is expecting her first child, ran out of steam in the last two sets.

The 27-year-old Bacsinszky, who had wasted two set points in the first set, frustrated the American by playing a string of drop shots and won the next two sets with ease. The Swiss clinched the match with a delectable drop shot.

"The first set I had a big lead but I started making catastrophic errors," Bacsinszky said.

"I then threw some cold water on my face and told myself not to finish the Sunday like that. So I came back and played a more versatile game."

Bacsinszky, the only woman to have reached the Roland Garros quarter-finals in 2015, 2016 and 2017, will face local favourite Kristina Mladenovic in the last eight after she eliminated defending champion Garbine Muguruza.

Nishikori wins all-Asian battle

Kei Nishikori

IMAGE: Kei Nishikori of Japan reacts following victory during the men’s singles third round match against Hyeon Chung of Korea. Photograph: Adam Pretty/Getty Images

Kei Nishikori survived a two-set blackout to beat Chung Hyeon 7-5, 6-4, 6-7(4), 0-6, 6-4 in their rain-delayed French Open third round tie on Sunday, winning the first ever all-Asian battle at this stage of the tournament.

Japanese eighth seed Nishikori looked to be cruising into the fourth round on Saturday after grabbing the opening two sets against the in-form 21-year-old South Korean, who is ranked 67th in the world.

Chung battled back to force a tiebreak in the third, which he won, and then raced to a 3-0 lead before rain saved the day for Nishikori, who slammed his racket onto the ground in frustration just before the rain interruption.

On a sun-kissed Court One on Sunday, Chung, Asia's rising tennis star, picked up where he had left off on Saturday to hand Nishikori his first grand slam bagel in six years.

The experienced 27-year-old, in his 100th Tour-level claycourt match, recovered his composure in time though, taking more risks and playing the angles to stretch Chung.

He earn a break to go 4-1 up and won the three-hour, 51 minute marathon when Chung double-faulted on matchpoint.

King of errors Raonic stumbles out

Milos Raonic

IMAGE: Milos Raonic of Canade looks on. Photograph: Clive Brunskill/Getty Images

Fifth seed Milos Raonic had only himself to blame after he was dumped out of the French Open fourth round by claycourt specialist Pablo Carreno Busta 4-6 7-6(2) 6-7(6) 6-4 8-6 on Sunday, with the Canadian committing a staggering 84 unforced errors.

The world number six fired an eye-popping 25 aces in an error-ridden performance and fought off six match points before the Spaniard grabbed victory with a volley to earn his first-ever grand slam quarter-final and a matchup with nine-times champion Rafael Nadal.

Carreno Busta, who recorded his first win over a top-10 player after 16 failed attempts, traded sets with Raonic, who had littered the court with errors throughout, before the Canadian grabbed a break to go 3-1 up in the fifth.

The 25-year-old Spaniard responded with a break of his own but wasted three matchpoints at 5-4 and another two at 7-6 before carving out his seventh to finally finish off Raonic with a volley after four hours and 17 minutes.

Thiem times march through Paris to perfection

Dominic Thiem

IMAGE:   Austria's Dominic Thiem in action. Photograph: Justin Setterfield/Getty Images .

Dominic Thiem moved into the quarter-finals of the French Open on Sunday with another quietly devastating performance.

The Austrian sixth seed swept aside Horacio Zeballos 6-1, 6-3, 6-1 to book a last-eight clash with either Novak Djokovic or Albert Ramos-Vinolas.

On form, Thiem is positioning himself as the main threat to Rafael Nadal winning a 10th crown here. The pair could meet in the semis.

Gasquet says thigh injury led to his Roland Garros exit

Richard Gasquet

IMAGE:   Richard Gasquet of France looks dejected. Photograph: Adam Pretty/Getty Images.

Frenchman Richard Gasquet said a painful nerve injury in his thigh caused him to retire from his French Open third-round match against compatriot Gael Monfils midway through the third set on Sunday.

Monfils advanced to the fourth round with a 7-6(5), 5-7, 4-3 win, and will now face third seed Stanislas Wawrinka of Switzerland.

"Nothing's ever written in stone," a disappointed Gasquet told reporters at Roland Garros. "I had had back problems for the past two, three weeks with a kind of neuralgia in the leg. No sensation in the thigh. Very painful, but my back is better.

"I did my best for this neuralgia to disappear. I think the nerve is probably still a bit irritated. I tried as much as I could but towards the middle of the second set I understood it was going to be very hard.

"So disappointed, of course. My back doesn't hurt so much, but I simply couldn't go on any longer."

Gasquet said he would have a scan to assess the problem and denied that his decision to pull out of the match had anything to do with his friendship with Monfils.

"Gael or anyone else, it would have been the same thing. It's a tennis match. It's just that I couldn't play. Of course he's a friend but I couldn't play. I had reached the end of my tether. It was too painful to go on," he added.

"I'm going to get an MRI. My back's better. I think it's not as serious as what it was before but this area there is affected and I really can't push my thigh anymore."

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