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Tennis

Roland Garros: 5 things we learned on Day 6 - Nadal keeps it simple while Petra fries Karolina

Rafael Nadal beat David Goffin in four sets to reach the last 16 at the French Open.
Rafael Nadal beat David Goffin in four sets to reach the last 16 at the French Open. Pierre René-Worms

Defending champion Rafael Nadal blows hot, cold and hot while Roger Federer kicks back with the kids.

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Rafael Nadal tells it like it is

Rafael Nadal, he who has 11 titles, belted through the first two sets of this third round match against the 27th seed David Goffin. It was 6-3, 6-1. The reason? “I played unbelievable, I think, so, so good,” said Nadal. “Then a good second set, too.” And then it didn’t go so well because Goffin, as Nadal explained is a good player. “When he's playing well, he's a player that already showed to everybody that he can win against every player in this world.” Refreshingly honest.

A shock is shocking

Petra Martic, the 31st seed, staged the upset of the day with her 6-3 6-3 win over the second seed Karolina Pliskova. Perhaps it shouldn’t have been so surprising. The pair had met four times before and Martic had won three of the clashes. Pliskova carped. She said she found the pace of centre court very slow and she admitted she hadn’t played very well. Martic revealed that her game plan was simple: don’t let Pliskova dictate the exchanges. It worked a treat and the 28-year-old Croatian is into the last 16 for the second time in three years.

No shocks for Roger

The review feels unhappy because we have been denied our chance to use the headline: “Ruud awakening”. We had it all lined up for Roger Federer’s defeat to the unseeded Norwegian Casper Ruud. The loss didn’t happen. But the third seed did have to toil somewhat. He was taken to a tiebreak in the third set and squandered two match points before having to save a set point. He won the shootout 10-8 to advance to the last 16.

Jolly Roger. He's the daddy

After dispatching 20-year-old Casper Ruud on Court Suzanne Lenglen, 37-year-old Federer was accosted by the former player Cedric Pioline for the on-court interview. Pioline asked him what it was like playing a youngster and Federer said it was always exciting playing an older experienced player. “Just like when I played you 20 years ago.” The spectators lapped it up as the 49-year-old grinned wryly. He soldiered on. "So what now Roger?" The father-of-four replied: "I'm going home to look after the kids and get to bed early." My, how the people chuckled.

Money, money, money

My, how those same fans were distinctly unamused when they discovered that the Stan Wawrinka v Grigor Dimitrov clash scheduled for Suzanne Lenglen had been transferred to Court Number One. Problem was that there’s not enough space for all the punters from Lenglen. While they were festering in their discontent, their noisy demands for compensation could be clearly heard on the centre court which had thousands of spare seats for the slugfest between Stefanos Tsitsipas and Filip Krajinovic. Centre court did seem to fill up. Odd that.

 

 

 

 

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