Day 4 recap: Federer, Sharapova win in straight sets; Johnson advances
PARIS – Catch up on the news and results from Day 4 at the French Open in Paris.
Steve Johnson earns a shot at No. 8 Stan Wawrinka: The American didn't let his big opportunity go to waste. After beating No. 26 Guillermo Garcia-Lopez in the first round to open up his draw, Johnson played two fantastic tiebreaks to beat Sergiy Stakhovsky 2–6, 6–3, 7–6, 7–6 to make his second straight third-round of a Slam.
"I've never played Stan, never hit with Stan," Johnson said. "It's one of those things, couple years ago I would've been so happy to get to the third round. It's like, Great. I exceeded expectations by getting to this point. In my mind I'm here to win. I'm not here to be complacent making it to Friday. I'm going to walk out on the court on Friday or whatever with the mentality that I'm going to come out a winner."
No. 3 Simona Halep bows out to Mirjana Lucic-Baroni (again): Backing Halep to go one better than last year was a risky proposition given how unreliable she was during the clay lead-ups. Halep has not looked like herself since the tour moved to clay. Lucic-Baroni once again blasted her off the court, sending the No. 3 seed packing with a 7–5, 6–1 win.
Maria Sharapova, Roger Federer and Kei Nishikori roll: The threesome didn't lose a set to advance to the third round. Sharapova rolled past Vitalia Diatchenko 6–3, 6–1, hitting just three groundstrokes for unforced errors. Federer rallied from a break down in the last two sets to beat Marcel Granollers 6–2, 7–6, 6–3. And Nishikori looked steady in the trickiest match-up of them all, beating a red-hot Thomaz Bellucci 7–5, 6–4, 6–4.
Here's a unicorn sighting: An audible obscenity from Mr. Federer:
Seeds carnage: After a relatively calm first three days, the upsets came fast and furious on Wednesday. Last year's semifinalist, No. 24 Ernests Gulbis still could not put together back-to-back wins this year, losing 6–3, 3–6, 7–5, 6–3 to Nicolas Mahut. No. 32-seed Fernando Verdasco completely fell apart against Benjamin Becker, losing 6–4, 0–6, 1–6, 7–5, 10–8. No. 28 Fabio Fognini played like a man who wasn't in the mood to fight with the partisan crowd, losing 6–1, 6–3, 7–5 to Benoit Paire. Lukas Rosol knocked out No. 19 seed Roberto Bautista Agut 6–4, 6–2, 6–2.
Requisite Gulbis racket-break GIF:
Dark horse alert: No. 26 Sam Stosur extended her win streak to seven matches with a 6–0, 6–1 win over French wildcard Amandine Hesse. She plays Sharapova next.
The French are flying: Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, Alize Cornet, Gilles Simon, Gael Monfils and Benoit Paire all moved through into the third round.
More notable winners: Angelique Kerber (d. Tomljanovic), Sabine Lisicki (d. Gavrilova via retirement), Pablo Cuevas (d. Thiem), Lucie Safarova (d. Nara), Damir Dzumhur (d. Baghdatis), Donna Vekic (d. Jovanovski).