After a wild start to the 2014 French Open, which has seen the top two seeds on the women's side and the No. 3 seed on the men's side eliminated, there was at least a brief return to normalcy on Day 5.
Every once in awhile at Grand Slam events those upset runs pop up. All it takes is one shocker, in this case Guillermo Garcia-Lopez knocking off Stanislas Wawrinka, to give an instant boost of confidence to underdogs throughout the draw.
There were still some upsets on Day 5, but they were more of the minor variety. The big names that took the court on both sides of the draw, led by eight-time French Open champion Rafael Nadal, were able to find their way through to the next round.
Let's check out the results from the fifth day of play from Roland Garros along with some of the main takeaways from Thursday's action.
Day 5 Men's Results
|No. 1 Rafael Nadal def. Dominic Thiem||6-2, 6-2, 6-3|
|No. 5 David Ferrer def. Simone Bolelli||6-2, 6-3, 6-2|
|No. 7 Andy Murray def. Marinko Matosevic||6-3, 6-1, 6-3|
|No. 12 Richard Gasquet def. Carlos Berlocq||7-6, 6-4, 6-4|
|No. 14 Fabio Fognini def. Thomaz Bellucci||6-3, 6-4, 7-6|
|No. 19 Kevin Anderson def. Axel Michon||6-2, 6-3, 6-2|
|No. 23 Gael Monfils def. Jan-Lennard Struff||7-6, 6-4, 6-1|
|No. 24 Fernando Verdasco def. Pablo Cuevas||4-6, 6-7, 7-5, 6-4, 6-3|
|Donald Young def. No. 26 Feliciano Lopez||6-3, 7-6, 6-3|
|No. 28 Philipp Kohlschreiber def. Denis Istomin||6-3, 7-6, 6-2|
|No. 32 Andreas Seppi def. Juan Monaco||6-2, 6-4, 6-4|
|Guillermo Garcia-Lopez def. Adrian Mannarino||6-4, 6-3, 4-6, 6-0|
|Dusan Lajovic def. Jurgen Zopp||6-2, 6-4, 6-4|
|Ivo Karlovic def. Andreas Haider-Maurer||7-5, 6-3, 6-4|
|Leonardo Mayer def. Teymuraz Gabashvili||6-2, 4-6, 6-4, 6-4|
|Jack Sock def. Steve Johnson||7-5, 6-4, 6-2|
Day 5 Women's Results
|No. 4 Simona Halep def. Heather Watson||6-2, 6-4|
|No. 5 Petra Kvitova def. Marina Erakovic||6-4, 6-4|
|No. 6 Jelena Jankovic def. Kurumi Nara||7-5, 6-0|
|No. 10 Sara Errani def. Dinah Pfizenmaier||6-2, 6-4|
|No. 11 Ana Ivanovic def. Elina Svitolina||7-5, 6-2|
|No. 15 Sloane Stephens def. Polona Hercog||6-1, 6-3|
|Julia Glushko def. No. 21 Kirsten Flipkens||6-4, 3-6, 6-4|
|No. 22 Ekaterina Makarova def. Coco Vandeweghe||6-4, 6-3|
|No. 23 Lucie Safarova def. Casey Dellacqua||6-1, 5-7, 6-3|
|Kiki Bertens def. No. 24 Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova||5-7, 6-3, 3-0 (ret.)|
|No. 26 Sorana Cirstea def. Teliana Pereira||6-2, 7-5|
|No. 27 Svetlana Kuznetsova def. Camila Giorgi||7-6, 6-3|
|No. 28 Andrea Petkovic def. Stefanie Voegele||6-2, 4-6, 6-2|
|Kristina Mladenovic def. Alison Riske||7-6, 3-6, 6-3|
|Paula Ormaechea def. Monica Niculescu||2-6, 7-5, 6-2|
|Maria-Teresa Torro-Flor def. Magdalena Rybarikova||6-2, 2-6, 6-2|
|Pauline Parmentier def. Yaroslava Shvedova||1-6, 6-3, 6-3|
|Silvia Soler-Espinosa def. Yanina Wickmayer||6-2, 6-4|
Rafael Nadal Back in Form
There were questions about a possible drop off for Nadal leading into the French Open. He played four warm-up events on clay and won just one of them. While that's a success for most players, perfection is expected on the surface from the "King of Clay."
Then there's the ongoing issues with his balky knees. His all-out style of play has taken its toll after a decade on tour. He readily admitted in an interview with Sean Gregory of Time magazine that he still deals with the pain quite frequently:
"I'm still having pain a lot of days. The only thing I wish is that the pain is only minding me when I'm competing. Because I really like to enjoy the rest of the time of my life."
Yet, it seems like whenever he arrives at Roland Garros, any concerns quickly fade away. After a dominant showing against Robby Ginepri in the opening round, Nadal was able to cruise past rising star Dominic Thiem in much easier fashion than expected.
The Spaniard converted seven of his 10 break-point opportunities as part of a returning clinic that saw him outscore Thiem on his own serve (38-32). If Nadal's status as the favorite had wavered during his lackluster build-up, this performance reasserted him as the player to beat.
Sloane Stephens on the Rise
Stephens is one of the toughest players on either tour to figure out. One week the 21-year-old American will look like one of the sport's brightest young stars, and the next she'll lose to a lesser opponent in her opening match of an event, which has happened five times already this season.
That said, there's no doubting her talent when she's in good form. Add in the fact Serena Williams and Li Na are among the high-profile players already ousted from the season's second major, and Stephens is rising up the list of contenders.
The question is how she'll respond to the added pressure that comes with an increased chance of breaking through at a major. There were no signs of nerves in a straight-sets victory over Polona Hercog. As Jon Wertheim of Sports Illustrated points out, this looks like her chance to shine:
Sloane Stephens through ... Big opportunity— Jon Wertheim (@jon_wertheim) May 29, 2014
Ekaterina Makarova will present a tougher challenge in the third round. That said, if there are two different versions of Stephens, fans have witnessed the good one in the early rounds. A deep run is definitely in the cards if she can continue to build off that success.
Secondary Contenders Emerging
On the men's side, most of the focus surrounds a possible Rome Masters rematch between Nadal and Novak Djokovic in the final. Maria Sharapova, Simona Halep and Ana Ivanovic have taken center stage on the women's side with the top seeds out.
There are also some secondary contenders positioning themselves for a run at the title, though.
David Ferrer placed himself firmly in that group on Thursday with a second straight three-set win. He has reached at least the semifinals in Paris each of the past two years, including a loss in the final to Nadal last year, and is gearing up with an eye on finally winning his first major.
Andy Murray, who has struggled to find top form after battling injury at the end of last season, and Kevin Anderson are a couple of other winners from Thursday to keep an eye on. They are capable of making a run if the draw falls their way.
Along with the aforementioned Stephens, a couple names that stood out on the women's side on Thursday were Jelena Jankovic and Sara Errani.
Are early upsets in majors good for tennis?
Jankovic endured a lull after reaching the No. 1 ranking in 2008. She has made just one major semifinal in the five years that have followed. But she has been making steady progress and her quick triumph over Kurumi Nara is enough to start taking the No. 6 seed seriously.
Errani has enjoyed more success at the French Open than any other major. She reached the final in 2012 and the semifinals last year. A similar result, and potentially even a championship, is appearing more likely with each passing win. She had no problem with Dinah Pfizenmaier in Round 2.
All told, given the wide-open nature of the women's draw after the hectic start to the tournament, the number of potential champions is much higher than normal.