Serena fends off inspired effort from Mladenovic to advance on Day 7
A recap of the action on Day 7 on Saturday at the French Open in Paris, including results, tweets, hot shots, photos and more.
• In the “Next Gen” matchup of the tournament, No. 13-seed Dominic Thiem outlasted a strong fight from 19-year-old Alexander Zverev. The pair—both junior French Open finalists—played twice already this year, with Thiem winning both matches, and the 22-year-old continued his record against the young German with a 6–7, 6–3, 6–3, 6-3 victory on Saturday.
In the fourth round, Thiem will play Marcel Granollers, who got a walkover after Rafael Nadal’s withdrawal on Friday.
• Before the match was suspended for rain, France's Kristina Mladenovic was giving No. 1 Serena Williams a good fight on Chatrier. After going head-to-head for the first few games, Serena saved three break points in a long ninth game to break Mladenovic for the first time, before winning the first set 6–4.
In the second set, Mladenovic played some crafty dropshots and fought off nine break points to keep the match level at 4-all. Serena responded with a big hold for 5–4, but Mladenovic held her ground. As the rain started to come down in Paris, Mladenovic fired an ace to force a second set tiebreak.
After more than two hours of rain delay (and a universal power outage that affected broadcasting), Serena and Mladenovic returned to Chatrier to resume the match and the Frenchwoman came out firing. She quickly went up 3–0, but Serena steadied and earned herself a few points. A Serena backhand sent long put Mladenovic ahead 5–2, but back on her serve, the World No. 1 found a way to even the score at 5-all. From there, Mladenovic saved four match points before Serena was finally able to convert on the fifth to seal the win, 6–4, 7–6 (10).
"I think today in general I definitely didn't play my usual game, and some of those break points, most of them I should have won, and I didn't," Serena said after the match. "And lately I have been really converting those break points, but, you know, I have got to focus on the positives, I guess."
Serena will play Elina Svitolina in the next round.
• No. 18-seed Svitolina knocked out No. 14-seed Ana Ivanovic 6-4, 6-4 on Saturday to advance to the Round of 16. The former Roland Garros champion had beaten Svitolina in all seven of their previous meetings, including in Paris last year in the quarterfinals, but the eighth time proved to be the charm for Svitolina.
“My forehand wasn't really working today,” Ivanovic said after the match. “I was making a lot of errors. I managed to get back into match and then few disappointing errors always came in the wrong time. I felt like that was sort of throughout the match.”
• No. 9 Venus Williams took out France’s Alize Cornet 7-6(5), 1-6, 6-0 on Saturday to advance to the Round of 16 for the first time at French Open since 2010, and the third time in four majors.
• 2015 French Open semifinalist Timea Bacsinszky booked a spot in the Round of 16 on Saturday, beating Pauline Parmentier 6-4, 6-2. The Swiss awaits the winner of Venus Williams-Alize Cornet.
• After beating Andrea Petkovic in the second round, Kazakhstan’s Yulia Putintseva continued her form, defeating Karin Knapp 6-1, 6-1. In the fourth round, she’ll face Carla Suarez Navarro, who topped Dominika Cibulkova in three sets 6–4, 3–6, 6–1 on Saturday.
• No. 6-seed Jo-Wilfried Tsonga was forced to retire due to injury in the first set of his match against Ernests Gulbis. Tsonga was leading 80th-ranked Gulbis 5–2 when he pulled up during a point with an apparent thigh injury. Tsonga, who has had previous injury issues with his groin , left the court for treatment and ultimately withdrew from the match to send Gulbis into the Round of 16. He'll face the winner of David Goffin-Nicolas Almagro.
After the match, Tsonga talked about his injury.
"The problem is my adductor, the same thing I had before the tournament. I just came on court pretty good, and feeling really good. The first game of the match I do to slide, and on one of them I just felt a pain," he said. "Then I continued a little bit, and it was coming more and more painful, and I didn't know where exactly I felt the same pain. I knew it was over, because no chance I can play all match long like this and no chance, you know, I can defend on the next round. So I just decide to stop, and that's it."
• No. 15-seed Madison Keys beat Monica Puig 7-6, 6-3 to advance to the second week at the French Open for the first time. In the fourth round, she’ll play Kiki Bertens, who defeated Daria Kasatkina 6-2, 3-6, 10-8 to bring her match win-streak up to 10.
• No. 1 Novak Djokovic’s quest for that elusive French Open title will continue in the fourth round, as the Serb defeated Britain’s Aljaz Bedene 6–2, 6–3, 6–3 on Chatrier on Saturday.
• More notable results: Roberto Bautista Agut d. Borna Coric 6-2, 6-3, 6-3; Tomas Berdych d. Pablo Cuevas 4-6, 6-3, 6-2, 7-5; David Goffin d. Nicolas Almagro 6-2, 4-6, 6-3, 4-6, 6-2
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Ernests Gulbis has beaten Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in their last two meetings, but what do their Roland Garros stats say about their third-round matchup?
This post will be updated.