New Zealand captain Brendon McCullum batted with freedom in the nets on Wednesday and should…
PARIS:World No. 2 Agnieszka Radwanska suffered a monumental meltdown at a soggy Roland Garros on Tuesday, fizzling out with a 2-6, 6-3, 6-3 defeat to Bulgarian Tsvetana Pironkova in the fourth round.
Radwanska had been leading 6-2, 3-0 when rain halted play on Sunday but with the match resuming more than 40 hours later, following Monday’s washout, the Polish second seed seemed all at sea as she lost 10 games in a row against a player ranked 100 places below her.
With misty rain falling over Court Suzanne Lenglen, Radwanska struggled and lost six games in a row to surrender the second set with a forehand error.
A further two-hour 45-minute rain disruption failed to improve Radwanska’s mood or her fortunes as she fell 4-0 behind in the third set.
The 27-year-old, who needed treatment on her right hand midway through the decider, eventually halted Pironkova’s run by breaking the Bulgarian in the fifth game.
But, Radwanska could not avoid the embarrassment of being beaten by a player ranked outside the top 100 for the first time in more than seven years when she netted a forehand on Pironkova’s second match point.
Meanwhile, Samantha Stosur powered into the quarterfinals with a 7-6(0), 6-3 win against Simona Halep, adapting better to damp and heavy conditions than her higher-ranked Romanian opponent.
In a match between two former Roland Garros finalists that spanned three days and was twice suspended due to rain, the 21st-seeded Australian overcame a slow start to beat Halep for the first time in five attempts and reach the last eight for the fourth time.
The contest was halted late on Sunday due to rain, with Halep leading 5-3. But Stosur, was much sharper when the players resumed on Tuesday.
She consistently served faster than her opponent and peppered the lines on both sides of the court with forehand groundstrokes that gradually wore down Halep’s defences.
She won her serve to love and then broke Halep, whose play was littered with unforced errors as she struggled with the rain-sodden conditions, to square the match at 5-5 and, after two service holds, blitzing the tiebreak 7-0.
Stosur then broke again at the start of the second set and led 3-2 until play was suspended again when steady drizzle turned heavier, dropping just one further game to close out the match.
The 32-year-old Australian will next face Pironkova for a place in the last four.
A damp, chilly Roland Garros on Tuesday, after Monday’s complete washout, has left the likes of Novak Djokovic and Serena Williams facing a prospect of having to play on consecutive days right up to the final. Djokovic was 3-6, 6-4, 4-1 ahead of Roberto Bautista Agut in a last-16 clash. Three other men’s last-16 ties — Ferrer v Berdych, Goffin v Gulbis and Granollers v Thiem —were also to be completed. In the women’s singles, four last-16 ties had yet to start, including Serena Williams’s match against Elina Svitolina. Radwanska and Halep were left fuming after their defeats. “How can you allow players to play in the rain?” asked Radwanska. “I don’t think they really care what we think.” Halep said: “The court was not good. The balls were completely wet. I didn’t feel safe. No one cares about the players!” Roland Garros remains the only Grand Slam tournament to not have a court with a roof. Philippe Chatrier court is due to have a roof by 2020 at the earlies