The Latest: Johnson appreciates Thiem’s compassionate words
PARIS (AP) — The Latest from the French Open (all times local):
Steve Johnson was touched by his opponent’s consoling words after his defeat in the third round of the French Open.
Playing through grief following the recent death of his father, a tennis coach who helped Johnson learn the game back home in California, the 25th-seeded American lost to sixth-seeded Dominic Thiem of Austria 6-1, 6-7 (4), 6-3.
Thiem, a semifinalist at Roland Garros last year, celebrated modestly. He had some kind words for Johnson at the net.
“That means a lot,” Johnson said. “There’s life outside of sport and he gets that. He’s a standup guy.”
Johnson says his family will have a “celebration for his (father’s) life” after Wimbledon.
“It’s going to be held at the high school where we grew up playing tennis and he played tennis, and my mom and my sister went to school and played all kind of sports,” Johnson said. “So it’s going to be a place where it has a lot of meaning. Right now, I’m just trying to honor his name as best I can and just be a competitor. I know he’ll look down proudly.”
Novak Djokovic hopes it’s just the beginning of a fruitful working relationship with Andre Agassi.
With his new coach watching, Djokovic ground out a 5-7, 6-3, 3-6, 6-1, 6-1 win against unheralded Argentine Diego Schwartzman.
He needed Agassi’s soothing words and calm analysis after a much tougher match than most expected.
“I hope that we can create something that is going to go long term,” said the second-seeded Djokovic, the defending French Open champion. “He’s someone with a very positive mindset about tennis and life in general. He likes to just focus on the right frames and just get the best out of it.”
Djokovic has won 12 Grand Slam titles, while the 47-year-old Agassi won eight majors and, like Djokovic, is one of the rare players to have won all four of them.
“You get that sense from him that he knows exactly what he’s talking about. One of his virtues is the ability to actually simplify and make it very clear,” Djokovic said. “He is very bright, very genuine. Very good soul, good heart, cares about the game, cares about others and always tries to be kind to others.”
Former No. 1 Caroline Wozniacki’s third-round French Open match against 18-year-old CiCi Bellis of California has been suspended because of darkness.
Wozniacki took the first set 6-2, but Bellis was leading 5-2 in the second and about to serve for it when play was halted Friday night.
When Wozniacki was down 3-2 in the second set, with rain falling, she complained to the chair umpire that it was too dark to continue.
“I literally cannot see,” Wozniacki said.
She resumed her plea to stop after dropping the first point of the next game, but was told by the chair umpire to continue. Wozniacki then walked over to the side of the court to talk to an official sitting in the stands.
They played on before eventually stopping. The match will resume Saturday.
The third-seeded American twins Bob and Mike Bryan lost in the second round of the French Open, beaten by Sam Groth of Australia and Robert Lindstedt of Sweden 7-6 (4), 6-3.
The Bryans have won a record 16 Grand Slam men’s doubles titles as a pair, including two at the French Open, in 2003 and 2013.
Only two rounds into the tournament, the top four teams all already are out of men’s doubles.
Venus Williams has reached the French Open’s fourth round by beating an opponent who is 15 years younger than she is.
Williams, who turns 37 this month, did not get much of a test during a 6-3, 6-1 victory over 60th-ranked Elise Mertens of Belgium that lasted just over an hour at Court Philippe Chatrier.
The 21-year-old Mertens was playing in only her second Grand Slam tournament.
Williams is a seven-time major champion and was the runner-up at Roland Garros in 2002.
“Today I had experience,” Williams told the crowd afterward, “and that helped a lot.”
This is her record 20th appearance in the French Open.
“I’ll be honest: There won’t be 20 more,” Williams said with a laugh. “I will be watching in 20 years with all of you guys.”
Former champion Svetlana Kuznetsova has reached the fourth round of the French Open after a grueling match lasting more than three hours.
The eighth-seeded Russian beat No. 32 Zhang Shuai of China 7-6 (5), 4-6, 7-5, improving to 5-1 in their head-to-head matches.
Kuznetsova wasted two match points serving at 5-3 and 40-15, and then dropped her serve. Zhang let out a loud scream when she held to love for 5-5.
But after holding her next serve, Kuznetsova took her chance on her third match point when Zhang’s scooped shot from the back of the court sailed long.
Kuznetsova, who won at Roland Garros in 2009, next plays either No. 11 Caroline Wozniacki of Denmark or American Catherine Bellis.
Defending champion Novak Djokovic has reached the fourth round of the French Open after rallying to beat Diego Schwartzman 5-7, 6-3, 3-6, 6-1, 6-1.
Djokovic sealed victory on his first match point with a forehand winner down the line, completing the win in 3 hours, 19 minutes.
The second-seeded Serb gave Schwartzman a hug and a part on the head at the net — and then joined in the applause as the Argentine player walked off Court Philippe Chatrier.
“I was expecting a difficult game with a lot of rallies from the baseline, because the conditions are heavy,” Djokovic said moments after his win. “I want to congratulate Diego for a great battle, because he played very well.”
Schwartzman needed some treatment to his back late in the fifth set.
Novak Djokovic has pushed his tighter-than-expected match in the French Open third round to a fifth set.
Djokovic trailed by two sets to one against Diego Schwartzman at Court Philippe Chatrier before taking the fourth 6-1.
It wasn’t all easy for the No. 2 seed. Serving at 4-0, Djokovic was given a second time violation and so lost his first serve.
The clearly rattled defending champion was muttering away to himself shortly afterwards, having netted a backhand to give Schwartzman a break point.
Djokovic was then given a code violation and began to argue with the umpire.
“What’s wrong with you? What did I say? Did I hit the ball towards you?” Djokovic questioned.
After being told it was because of his poor attitude, he added: “What attitude? What attitude?”
Dominic Thiem had comforting words for Steve Johnson after beating him in the third round of the French Open.
Johnson has played through grief following the recent death of his father and Thiem consoled him after their match.
“I said that I’m very sorry what happened. That he’s a great guy and a great player,” the sixth-seeded Thiem said after beating the 25th-seeded American 6-1, 6-7 (4), 6-3. “I think it was unbelievable tough for him to even play here.”
Defending champion Novak Djokovic is one set away from losing at the French Open.
The second-seeded Djokovic trails Diego Schwartzman 7-5, 3-6, 6-3 in the third round.
Defending champion Novak Djokovic has leveled his third-round match against Diego Schwartzman at the French Open by winning the second set 6-3.
Schwartzman, who is ranked 41st, clinched the first set 7-5.
Steve Johnson, still grieving the recent death of his father, lost to sixth-seeded Dominic Thiem 6-1, 6-7 (4), 6-3 in the third round of the French Open.
The 25th-seeded American had burst into tears after his second-round victory over Borna Coric on Wednesday.
There was no such display of emotion after he lost to Thiem, who spoke to Johnson at the net and gave him a consoling hug.
Defending champion Novak Djokovic has lost the opening set of his third-round match against Diego Schwartzman at the French Open.
The second-seeded Djokovic saved four set points before Schwartzman, who is ranked 41st, clinched it 7-5 on his next opportunity when the Serb hit a backhand long.
No defending male champion has lost before the fourth round at Roland Garros since 2004. Schwartzman is hoping to beat a top-10 player for the first time.
Kristina Mladenovic is through to the French Open fourth round after beating Shelby Rogers of the United States 7-5, 4-6, 8-6 from 5-3 down in the last set.
The 13th-seeded Frenchwoman secured victory on her first match point with a forehand winner, and threw both arms in the air to the roar of the crowd.
“I went through so much emotion in this match, I don’t know what to say,” said Mladenovic, praising the fans. “I don’t have words to describe the love I have for you and what you bring me.”
Rogers was serving for the match at 5-3 when she was broken to love. Mladenovic then held to love for 5-5 to turn the match around.
At 6-6, Rogers was broken to love again, giving Mladenovic the chance to serve for victory.
Mladenovic, who took three hours to beat Jennifer Brady in the first round, next plays defending champion Garbine Muguruza of Spain.
Rafael Nadal dropped just one game on his way to a straight-set victory over Nikoloz Basilashvili.
It was Nadal’s 100th best-of-five-sets match on clay. He has a 98-2 win-loss record.
With the rainclouds rolling in, Nadal seemed keen to get his third-round match over as quickly as possible and the No. 4 seed took 90 minutes to win 6-0, 6-1, 6-0.
“I don’t know if it was perfection,” said Nadal, who turns 31 on Saturday.
“I went on court thinking it was going to be a tough match ... I believe I played the best match since a while.”
This update corrects spelling of Basilashvili.
Fifth-seeded Milos Raonic advanced to the fourth round of the French Open when opponent Guillermo Garcia-Lopez retired from the match with a left thigh injury.
Raonic was leading 6-1, 1-0 when Garcia-Lopez stopped. The Spaniard had already received treatment at the end of the first set.
It was the second retirement of the day. David Goffin was forced out with an injured right ankle.
Defending champion Garbine Muguruza advanced to the fourth round of the French Open by beating Yulia Putintseva 7-5, 6-2.
The fourth-seeded Spaniard broke her opponent’s serve three times in the second set.
Muguruza will next face either Shelby Rogers of the United States or 13th-seeded Kristina Mladenovic of France.
David Goffin retired from his third-round match at the French Open after injuring his right ankle against Horacio Zeballos.
The 10th-seeded Belgian was leading 5-4 in the first set when he limped off court with two trainers helping him. Zeballos carried Goffin’s bag.
Goffin was serving for the first set and led 40-0 but allowed Zeballos back into the game.
The Argentine had a break back point and, at the end of a long rally, Goffin got to a tough ball. He won the point to get back to deuce but slid after he hit it, catching his foot on the tarp at the back of the court.
Defending champions Novak Djokovic and Garbine Muguruza both play Friday in the third round of the French Open.
The fifth-seeded Muguruza is up first on Court Philippe Chatrier against No. 27 Yulia Putintseva.
Rafael Nadal will then continue his bid for a 10th French Open title against Nikolz Basilashvili, and the second-seeded Djokovic follows against Diego Schwartzman.
Venus Williams is last on the main court, against Elise Mertens.
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