Zhang Shuai ends Roland Garros journey, Djokovic wins five-set thriller

Xinhua | Updated: 2017-06-03 15:25

Zhang Shuai ends Roland Garros journey, Djokovic wins five-set thriller

China's Zhang Shuai congratulates Svetlana Kuznetsova, after losing to the Russian 7-6 (5), 4-6, 7-5 in the women's singles third round at Roland Garros on June 2, 2017 in Paris, France. [Photo/VCG]

PARIS - China's Zhang Shuai bid farewell to the 2017 French Open after losing to the eighth-seeded Svetlana Kuznetsova 7-6 (5), 4-6, 7-5 in the women's singles third round, while men's defending champion Novak Djokovic had to endure a five-set thriller to see off Diego Schwartzman here on Friday.

The No 32 seed Zhang set her personal best at Roland Garros by reaching the last 32 with two victories over unseeded players, before facing a tougher challenge from the two-time Grand Slam singles winner Kuznetsova.

Zhang suffered an early break in the first game with a poor backhand attack, before both players traded advantage to force a tiebreak, where Kuznetsova took the initiative at 5-1 before the Chinese won three points in a row.

However, Zhang still lost the tiebreak 7-5.

A crucial break in the ninth game of the second set earned Zhang a 6-4 win, but in the decisive set, Kuznetsova built a 4-1 lead.

The match was underway in a controversial manner when Kuznetsova led 5-3 and two players tied at 15 in the ninth game. Zhang's hit was ruled outside by the referee after an on-site inspection, and her challenge was later waved off.

Tears began to fall off Zhang's face. The Chinese top-ranked player had to hide her face in a towel.

Zhang made a quick adjustment when trailing 15-40, as she saved two match points from Kuznetsova, breaking to pull one game back, before continuing to hold her serve for a 5-5 tie.

Leading 6-5, Kuznetsova had another two match points in the 12th game. After a backhand attack went out, Zhang stopped her quest for a last 16 berth in the tournament.

China's Duan Yingying and Peng Shuai moved into last 16 of women's doubles with a 6-1, 6-3 victory over the Russian duo of Daria Kasatkina and Irina Khromacheva. Another Chinese women's player Xu Yifan and her French partner Fabrice Martin lost to the French duo of Chloe Paquet and Benoit Paire 6-2, 5-7, 10-5 in the first round of mixed doubles.

Djokovic had to bounce back from 2-1 down to move forward as he took the last two sets 6-1, 6-1. The Serbian booked a round of 16 clash with Spanish Albert Ramos-Vinolas, who also went through in five sets against local favorite Lucas Pouille.

The No 4 seed Rafael Nadal only surrendered a game in his three-set sweep over Nikoloz Basilashvili, and will next face Spanish compatriot Roberto Bautista Agut.

The fifth-seeded Milos Raonic and Argentine Horacio Zeballos went past the third round on their opponents' withdrawal due to an injury.

Women's reigning champion Garbine Muguruza overcame Yulia Putintseva 7-5, 6-2. Other seeded players including Venus Williams and Kristina Mladenovic also found their positions in last 16.

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