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Russia’s Maria Sharapova serves to Argentine’s Paula Ormaechea during their French tennis Open third round match at the Roland Garros Stadium in Paris on May 30. (AFP)
Djokovic, Federer pass tough tests Sharapova ruthless, Tomijanovic makes history

PARIS, May 30, (AFP): Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer passed tough four-set tests to reach the French Open last-16 on Friday where they were joined by where they were joined by outspoken Ernests Gulbis who found himself accused of sexism. Second seed Djokovic, the 2012 runner-up, stretched his career streak over Croatia’s 25th seed Marin Cilic to 9-0 after a topsy-turvy 6-3, 6-2, 6-7 (2/7), 6-4 win. Djokovic, the 2012 runner-up, next faces French 13th seed Jo-Wilfried Tsonga who beat Poland’s 22nd seed Jerzy Janowicz 6-4, 6-4, 6-3 for a place in the quarter-finals after seeing off Cilic who allowed 22 break points and committed 64 unforced errors. A pulsating encounter on Suzanne Lenglen court ended when Cilic, rattled by a shout from the crowd, served up his fifth double fault.

“Marin is a tough player with plenty of strengths,” said Djokovic. “He is a great guy with lots of qualities.
“Physically I had to work very hard, because he was very aggressive, and I could expect that. I came into the match knowing that he’s going to take his chances.” Federer, the fourth seeded 2009 champion, needed more than three hours to record his fifth win in five meetings against Russian Dmitry Tursunov who twice needed treatment on a leg injury. His 7-5, 6-7 (7/9), 6-2, 6-4 win also gave him a fourth round spot for the 12th time beating the previous record of 11 set by Guillermo Vilas.

Federer, the 17 time major winner, next faces Gulbis who reached the last 16 for the first time since 2008.
“It was tough to lose the second set but nice to win the match,” said 32-year-old Federer, who is contesting his 58th straight Grand Slam. “It was not a straightforward win. I knew Dmitry would try different things, take big cuts at the ball but I am pleased to have played solid.” Gulbis, the 18th seed, won a fractious third round clash against 35-year-old Czech Radek Stepanek 6-3, 6-2, 7-5 in the Court One bullring, firing 19 aces and 45 winners. After the match, Gulbis caused a stir by claiming tennis is no place for female players.

“A woman needs to enjoy life a little bit more. Needs to think about family, needs to think about kids. What kids you can think about until age of 27 if you’re playing professional tennis, you know,” said the 25-year-old. Gulbis, whose last fourth round appearance at a major came in 2008 when he made the quarter-finals in Paris, insists he already has a game plan to tackle Federer. “You don’t need to be scared to do certain things against him, because most of the people they go on the court and they lose already before it has started,” said the 18th seed. “I can tell you that’s not gonna be the case with me.” Milos Raonic became the first Canadian man in history to reach the last 16 at Roland Garros.

The 23-year-old number eight seed defeated France’s 29th seed Gilles Simon 4-6, 6-3, 2-6, 6-2, 7-5 in a match which ended in the gloom at 2130 local time (1930GMT). Raonic will face either Martin Klizan of Slovakia or Spain’s Marcel Granollers for a place in the quarter-finals. Granollers was ahead two sets to one when play was called off for the night. American 10th seed John Isner made the last 16 for the first time with a 7-6 (15/13), 7-6 (7/3), 6-7 (5/7), 7-5 win over Spanish 17th seed Tommy Robredo on the back of 77 winners and 17 aces balanced out by 74 unforced errors.

Isner, who has now played eight tiebreaks in 11 sets so far, carved the only break on Friday in the 11th game of the fourth set.
Isner is the first American in the last 16 since Robby Ginepri in 2010 and with Jack Sock and Donald Young still to play, the US could have three men in the fourth round for the first time since 1995.
Isner next faces Czech sixth seed Tomas Berdych, a semi-finalist in 2010, who beat Spain’s Roberto Bautista Agut 6-1, 6-2, 6-7 (4/7), 6-4.
Maria Sharapova moved a step closer to winning a second French Open crown on Friday on a day when Croatia’s Ajla Tomljanovic made history by upsetting third seed Agnieszka Radwanska in the third round.
The Pole’s 6-4, 6-4 defeat meant that the tournament’s top three seeds had all been ousted inside six days, with top seed and defending champion Serena Williams losing in the second round and second seed Li Na departing in the first.


It was the first Grand Slam in the Open era where the top three women seeds all failed to make the last 16.
Playing later in the day, seventh seed Sharapova dodged the debris to inflict a 6-0, 6-0 thrashing on hapless Paula Ormaechea of Argentina.
Asked if she saw herself now as the favourite win the tournament, The Russian replied: “Its tough to talk about favourites, but there is no reason why I shouln’t be the favourite — I have won four Grand Slams.”
Ranked 72nd in the world, 21-year-old Tomljanovic will play Spanish 14th seed Carla Suarez Navarro, who ended the dream run of 18-year-old American wildcard Taylor Townsend 6-2, 6-2, with a quarter-final place at stake.
Fourth seed Simona Halep of Romania is the top seeded player left in the draw, having reached the third round on Thursday.


“After seeing the first two seeds go out you kinda feel like — hey I can do that too. I grew up with these girls that were doing that,” the Florida-based Tomljanovic said.
“I went out out there and I really felt that I could win. It showed and that was how I won.
“I have a fourth round next and obviously happy, but I do not want to get too happy about it either.”
Tomljanovic ended 2013 ranked 78th in the world, improving from 495th — the biggest ranking improvement by any player in the top 100.
This year she lost in the third round at the Australian Open but more recently failed to qualify for the main draw at Madrid and Rome in the buildup to Roland Garros.
For Radwanska it was the first time she had failed to make it past the third round at a Grand Slam event since the 2012 French Open.

Last year she was a semi-finalist at Wimbledon, a quarter-finalist at the Australian and French Opens and made the fourth round at the US Open. Watched by Croatian 1997 French Open winner Iva Majoli, Tomljanovic quickly took control of a match played in front of a sparse centre court crowd. She jumped out into a 5-1 before a shell-shocked Radwanska managed to break serve and get back to 5-4. The Croatian made no mistake on serve in the following game though and an early break in the second set sent her on the way to the biggest win of her career. While newcomer Tomljanovic was making the headlines on centre court, veteran Australian Samantha Stosur was stealthily moving through the draw out on the Suzanne Lenglen court.

The 19th seed, a finalist at Roland Garros in 2010, pulled off an impressive 6-4, 6-4 win over Australian Open finalist Dominika Cibulkova of Slovakia to set up a last 16 meeting with Sharapova. Stosur, the 2011 US Open champion, had too much firepower for the dimunitive Cibulkova, taking an early lead in the first set and staying ahead after that. The Australian lost to Sharapova in the third round of the Madrid Masters earlier this month, having also defeated Cibulkova in the previous round. “I love playing here and have had some great moments and some of the best matches in my career, so hopefully I can still have a few more matches this year,” she said.

Also flying the flag for Spain was Garbine Muguruza, who defeated Serena Williams in straight sets in the second round. Unseeded Muguruza scored a 6-2, 6-4 win over Anna Schmiedlova of Slovakia, who defeated Serena’s big sister Venus in the second round. In later matches, eighth-seeded German Angelique Kerber moved past Slovak veteran Daniela Hantuchova 7-5, 6-3, while fast-rising Canadian Eugenie Bouchard defeated Johanna Larsson of Sweden 7-5, 6-4. Finally France’s Pauline Parmentier became just the fourth wildcard to reach the women’s last 16 at Roland Garros in the Open era, outlasting Germany’s Mona Barthel 1-6, 6-1, 7-5.

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