French Open lookahead: Federer faces Wawrinka in Paris
PARIS (AP) — Swiss fans can rub their hands in delight: They’re guaranteed to have a man in the semifinals at Roland Garros.
It will be either Roger Federer or Davis Cup teammate Stan Wawrinka, who are facing off in the French Open’s quarterfinals Tuesday.
“It (will be) a special match,” said Federer, the 2009 champion. “It is not a traditional match. There aren’t too many Swiss players in the draw. It’s always special to play each other.”
It’s been a good French Open for Swiss tennis so far, with 23rd-seeded Timea Bacsinszky also reaching the quarterfinals in the women’s draw.
Federer and Wawrinka will be facing each other for the 19th time, with the 17-time Grand Slam winner having won 16 of their previous meetings. Federer has won all four of their matches at Grand Slam tournaments.
However, Wawrinka, the 2014 Australian champion, has solid credentials on clay. His two wins over Federer came on the slow surface, most recently in the Monte Carlo Masters final last year.
Here’s a look at what else is happening at the French Open on Tuesday:
NISHIKORI’S HISTORIC MARCH
Playing in his first quarterfinal at the French Open, fifth-seeded Kei Nishikori is trying to emulate Jiro Satoh, the only Japanese man to reach the tournament’s last four, all the way back in 1931 and 1933. Nishikori’s opponent is Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, who made it to the semifinals in Paris two years ago. The last French man to win the trophy at Roland Garros was Yannick Noah, 32 years ago.
TSONGA’S CLAY CONCERNS
Bad news for Tsonga: Nishikori has won his past seven matches against French players in Grand Slam tournaments. Also, Nishikori has beaten Tsonga four of the previous five times they’ve played. And given Nishikori’s current form, the fact that they never met on clay before is not even reassuring.
“He had very good results on clay. He won tournaments (on clay), which I didn’t. Not even one time,” Tsonga said. “He is a good player on clay. He is able to play on every surface.”
IVANOVIC LOOKING TO EXTEND RENAISSANCE
Seventh-seeded Ana Ivanovic, the 2008 champion, will open play on center court against Elina Svitolina. Ivanovic is looking to return to her first semifinal at a major since her only Grand Slam title.
“That would be amazing, obviously,” said Ivanovic, who is unbeaten is six matches against the 19th-seeded Ukrainian. “The exciting part that I feel is that I can still improve.”
Back on court a day after eliminating defending champion Maria Sharapova, 13th-seeded Lucie Safarova is up against Spanish rising star Garbine Muguruza in the other quarterfinal on the schedule.
Safarova and Muguruza have never met.
“Safarova plays so well at such a high level that she is impressive,” said Muguruza, who played on Monday, too. “It’s going to be a tough match.”