Frustrating for the players and the crowd – the French Open 2016 was hit by a rain delay which resulted in abandoning of all the matches on the day 9th of the tournament, with the matches scheduled to be played on the next day – extending the calendar for the tournament.

The world no.1 men’s seed in Novak Djokovic faced Bautista Agut in round of 16 clash of the French open mens draw – due to rain, his match got delayed by a day and they took on each other on the reserved 9th day. The frustration due to the constant rain delays and wet court was visible on Djokovic’s face and his game – making a shocking 13 unforced errors in the first set which pretty much was enough at this level to hand over the crucial set to Bautista Agut; who looked confident inspite of the conditions.

For the major part of the second set, Agut hung in to show some fight against Djokovic but as is usually the case with greats of the game; they always find a way to fight back. The match stopped for a while in the second set too but after that, the Djokovic that returned was much more composed and concentrated on the task at hand – sure, he still looked out of sorts in a few rallies but overall he was a tough egg to beat.

Beating Agut in 4 sets, Djokovic seized the crucial match from a set-down 3-6 6-4 6-1 7-5 to set up the quarter final clash with Tomas Berdych.

Tomáš Berdych had his round 16 clash with the Spaniard in David Ferrer – someone whose been an active part of the tennis circuit for the last decade or so but has been often outshined by the Spain legend in Rafael Nadal, also adds to the fact is his lack of grand slam tally to show from; Ferrer has all the potential but often loses out in the crucial end stages of a grand slam.

Berdych on the other hand is a Wimbledon finalist of 2010 and is looking very strong at this year’s Rolland Garros. In his top 16 clash with Ferrer; the match was expected to be a nail-bitter with both the players having similar styles and it’s hard to pick a favorite among the two but Berdych came out with an easy with over his Spanish opponent – squeezing the first set 6-3, with a fighting one serve break of Ferrer clinching the 2nd set 7-5 and then showing total command to win the last 6-3 – qualifying for the quarter finals to face off with Novak Djokovic.

Andy Murray had a big task on his plate; that of beating the home boy and the only French survivor in the tournament in Richard Gasquet – least to say, the crowd knew who they had to cheer for but then Andy Murray is one of those sportsperson who likes to have the crowd against it; for it motivates him and gives him a reason to prove himself – his pedigree is to fight and fight; not let the contrary situation get the better off him.

After losing the first set to the home boy in Gasquet who broke Murray’s serve and just clinched the set without letting it go to the tie-break winning 7-5, the next set was all about the mental strength more than the physical strength of it – 2 set down would’ve pretty much seized the match in Gasquet’s favor as the rain delay and Murray’s 2 5 setters in the last week would make him vulnerable and the fatigue would start to kick in – also taking into fact the home support for Gasquet, the second set was crucial for Andy Murray.

Showing signs of impeccable mental strength and physical power to hit some of the most amazing cross court smashes is how the second set play of Murray can be best summarized – both the players hung onto their serves and the set went into a tie-breaker.

In the tie-break, Murray’s strong serve and the ability to get the rally going for one additional shot by pushing the ball from sidelines is what resulted in the downfall of Gasquet – who was unable to return even close to Murray, losing the tie break 7-6 (7-3).  Once Gasquet lost in the tie-break, he lost the mental game of it, pretty much looking out of the match and the tournament. Murray taking advtange of the situation; didn’t let the game let loose and won the 3rd and 4th set without any troubles whatsoever, 6-0 (shocking from Gasquet, unable to win a single game in the set) and then 6-2 in the final and deciding set. Murray has set up his quarter finals clash with Wawrinka.

Stan Wawrinka’s top 16-clash against Ramos Vinolas was a cake-walk for the top Swiss seed at this year’s Rolland Garros due to absence of Roger Federer – winning the first 2 sets 6-2 6-1 gave the indication that Wawrinka was at his impeccable best with his backhand smash to perfection making Vinolas look miserable to return the volleys. The 3rd set however did have some tough fight going between the two but a 7-6 (9-7) victory in favor of Wawrinka meant that he had a straight-set victory in the clash and set up a quarter final clash with Andy Murray – what an epic match that will be.

In the women’s draw the world no.1 seed in Serena Williams was yet again unstoppable, with signs of impeccable court coverage and speedy serves – winning the clash against Svitolina 6-1 6-1; it seems Serena Williams is on the verge of finally equaling Steffi Graf’s record of 22 grand slams.

While there was some pleasant news for Williams’s family with Serena’s qualification to the quarter finals; the day also marked the end of Venus Williams campaign at the Rolland Garros 2016. Venus lost to Backsinszky 6-2 6-4 and with that went the possible semi-final clash of the William sisters.

Another shocking exit from the women’s draw came in the exit of world no.2 seed in Radwanska who lost to the world no. 102 Pironkova. In spite of leading the match with victory in the 1st set, Radwanska was frustrated by a rain delay which perhaps gave Pironkova the edge with the break lasting a few hours – return upon the court, the dynamics changed and while Radwanska was leading, she lost in 3 sets 3-6 6-3 6-3.

For the Indian tennis fans, the French open day 9 came as a huge upset as the Indian tennis stars in Bopanna and Paes with their respective men’s doubles partners crashed out of this year’s Rolland Garros – this follows the exit of women’s doubles top seed in Sania Mirza and Martina Hingis exit from the tournament just a few days prior.

A photo posted by Sania Mirza (@mirzasaniar) on

Mirza and Paes are still in hunch to win the Rolland Garros with them winning their respective mixed doubles matches – something for the Indian fans to be optimistic about.

French Open 2016 Highlights

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