Despite early concerns about the weather, the 2014 French Open is cruising toward its second week. The top contenders are still heavy favorites at this point, but, as we move toward the third round, their matches are no longer tune-ups for more difficult competition.
Indeed, we're starting to see a few more upsets of fringe contenders, though nothing along the lines of the seismic shock that occurred when Serena Williams was ousted. Within a few days, the true cream of the crop should rise to the top of the championship hunt.
Here are all the notable scores from the Day 5 action at Roland Garros, as well as analysis of the headline matches.
|(1) Rafael Nadal vs. Dominic Thiem||Nadal 6-2, 6-2, 6-3|
|(5) David Ferrer vs. Simone Bolelli||Ferrer 6-2, 6-3, 6-2|
|(7) Andy Murray vs. Marinko Matosevic||Murray 6-3, 6-1, 6-3|
|(12) Richard Gasquet vs. Carlos Berlocq||Gasquet 7-6, 6-4, 6-4|
|(14) Fabio Fognini vs. Thomaz Bellucci||Fognini 6-3, 6-4, 7-6|
|(19) Kevin Anderson vs. Axel Michon||Anderson 6-2, 6-3, 6-2|
|(23) Gael Monfils vs. Jan-Lennard Struff||Monfils 7-6, 6-4, 6-1|
|(24) Fernando Verdasco vs. Pablo Cuevas||Verdasco 4-6, 6-7, 7-5, 6-4, 6-3|
|(26) Feliciano Lopez vs. Donald Young||Young 6-3, 7-6, 6-3|
|(28) Philipp Kohlschreiber vs. Denis Istomin||Kohlschreiber 6-3, 7-6, 6-2|
|(32) Andreas Seppi vs. Juan Monaco||Seppi 6-2, 6-4, 6-4|
|(4) Simona Halep vs. Heather Watson||Halep 6-2, 6-4|
|(5) Petra Kvitova vs. Marina Erakovic||Kvitova 6-4, 6-4|
|(6) Jelena Jankovic vs. Kurumi Nara||Jankovic 7-5, 6-0|
|(10) Sara Errani vs. Dinah Pfitzenmaier||Errani 6-2, 6-4|
|(11) Ana Ivanovic vs. Elina Svitolina||Ivanovic 7-5, 6-2|
|(15) Sloane Stephens vs. Polona Hercog||Stephens 6-1, 6-3|
|(21) Kirsten Flipkens vs. Julia Glushko||Glushko 6-4, 3-6, 6-4|
|(22) Ekaterina Makarova vs. Coco Vandeweghe||Makarova 6-4, 6-3|
|(23) Lucie Safarova vs. Casey Dellacqua||Safarova 6-1, 4-7, 6-3|
|(24) Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova vs. Kiki Bertens||Bertens 5-7, 6-4, 3-0 (ret.)|
|(26) Sorana Cirstea vs. Teliana Pereira||Cirstea 6-2, 7-5|
|(27) Svetlana Kuznetsova vs. Camila Giorgi||Kuznetsova 7-6, 6-3|
|(28) Andrea Petkovic vs. Stefanie Voegele||Petkovic 6-2, 4-6, 6-2|
Rafael Nadal may not be the overwhelming favorite he typically is at this tournament, but the top seed continued his quest for his ninth French Open title with a straight-sets victory over 20-year-old Dominic Thiem, one of the up-and-coming stars on the tour.
Thiem actually played fairly well, but Nadal overpowered the youngster with a series of forehands in the early sets, extracting plenty of unforced errors from the young Austrian. After a disappointing clay court tune-up season that saw him lose three of the four tournaments he entered, Nadal believes he is beginning to recapture his top form:
The Spaniard will face Leonardo Mayer in the third round, where he should once again remain a heavy favorite. Nadal appeared to receive a favorable draw before the tournament, and things have only gotten easier with Stan Wawrinka and Feliciano Lopez bowing out already.
At this point, Nadal's next true test likely will not arrive until the quarterfinals, when he could face fellow countryman David Ferrer. Ferrer did beat Nadal on clay earlier this season in the quarters of the Monte Carlo Masters, so the competition could spike in difficulty soon for the eight-time champ.
Stephens Moves On
Sloane Stephens has had a difficult year, as the 21-year-old billed as the next great American star had a losing singles record coming into the French Open. However, with a dominating 6-3, 6-1 second-round victory over Polona Hercog, Stephens is flashing the form that earned all the hype in the first place.
There were virtually no pre-tournament signs that Stephens was on her way to a potential second-week run. Apart from a three-set loss to Li Na in Madrid, Stephens had not even appeared competitive against top-notch competition. Of course, she has yet to face that at Roland Garros, but her domination of unseeded opposition is already a step forward.
Stephens broke out in 2013 largely because of her success in grand slams, making her visible to casual tennis viewers. By dropping just four games in 74 breezy minutes, Stephens is once again peaking on the national stage:
She'll take it, given how she can toil: Second shortest win (time) for Sloane Stephens in 2014 (WTA/Slams).— Ravi Ubha (@raviubha) May 29, 2014
The American could be an underdog in her next match, as she will face No. 22 seed Ekaterina Makarova for a spot in the Round of 16. If Stephens continues her form, she could potentially face off against 2008 champion Ana Ivanovic after that.
Andy Murray hasn't been known for his success at the French, as it remains the only grand slam in which the Scot has not at least reached a final. However, after making the quarters last year, and the semis in 2012, Murray has his eyes set on a larger prize.
Murray cruised over Marinko Matosevic in the second round, hardly breaking a sweat due to plenty of unforced errors from the 28-year-old Australian. After dropping a set in the first round against Andrey Golubev, it was reassuring to see the seventh seed recapture his form.
It's been a frustrating year for Murray, who has not won a singles title and holds a pedestrian 21-9 singles record. Murray has clearly had issues at times after having offseason back surgery, but with Stan Wawrinka being eliminated in the first round, Murray could have a clear path into the semifinals. For his part, Murray is playing down the significance of the open draw:
Murray played down significance of Wawrinka exit: "If I lose before the quarter-finals it has no relevance to me." http://t.co/hR475vtiCQ— tennishead (@tennishead) May 27, 2014
Murray has the correct mindset, for his third-round match against No. 28 seed Philipp Kohlschreiber is no walkover. The veteran German beat Murray in their only clay-court meeting, though it was back in 2010 at Monte Carlo. Regardless, he will provide the first stiff test for one of the "Big Four" of men's tennis.