French Open memories in the first week of the 2019 tournament at Roland Garros:
Sunday, May 26
Federer ‘on edge’ despite winning return
— Roger Federer marked his return to Roland Garros after a four-year absence with a 6-2, 6-4, 6-4 win over Italy’s Lorenzo Sonego, admitting he “felt on edge”.
“I felt on edge at the start, my heart was beating crazily,” said Federer after his win on the new-look Philippe Chatrier.
Monday, May 27
Serena, ‘mother, champion, queen, goddess’
— Serena Williams admitted the ‘mother, champion, queen, goddess’ logo which adorned her was “a lot to carry, but so is being Serena”.
The 37-year-old American survived a first-set scare before defeating Russia’s Vitalia Diatchenko 2-6, 6-1, 6-0.
The legend of ‘mother, champion, queen, goddess’ was written in French in a nod to her hosts.
“It was just to remind everyone that they can be champions and are queens,” she said of her 2019 dress and cape.
“It’s a lot to carry, but so is being Serena Williams.”
Tuesday, May 28
‘Never so nervous’ Osaka two points from defeat
— Japan’s Naomi Osaka admitted she has “never been so nervous” after coming within just two points of a sensational first round exit.
The world number one battled back from a set and a break down to defeat Slovakia’s Anna Karolina Schmiedlova 0-6, 7-6 (7/4), 6-1 to extend her winning streak at the Slams to 15 matches.
“I think this is the most nervous I have ever been my entire life during a match,” said Osaka.
“First time playing a Grand Slam as No. 1. I have won the last two, so I kind of want to win this one really bad.
“I kind of feel like I’m having the thought of wanting to prove myself again.”
Wednesday, May 29
Paire wins over home crowd in the gloom
— Benoit Paire won a four-hour, 33-minute epic to knock out French compatriot Pierre-Hugues Herbert 6-2, 6-2, 5-7, 6-7 (6/8), 11-9.
“I felt the public is not going to make me win this match,” said Paire, who unleashed 84 winners.
“There were so many people in my mind already that I didn’t need anyone else.”
Thursday, May 30
Delpo beats and bows to Nishioka
— Eighth seed Juan Martin del Potro showed his appreciation for the effort put in by Yoshihito Nishioka in their second-round clash, bowing to the Japanese player after the final point in a show of respect.
The former US Open champion, who is 11 inches (28 cm) taller than Nishioka, came through a gruelling battle 5-7, 6-4, 6-2, 6-7 (5/7), 6-2.
“I played a Japanese player, and I saw all the Japanese people doing like that and it was, like, respect for him. It was great.”
Friday, May 31
Playing Nadal — enough to make you faint
— Juan Ignacio Londero fell to the ground after beating Corentin Moutet in five sets to reach the last 16 and admitted he almost fainted.
“I felt that I was going to faint. I don’t know if it was the nerves, the sun,” he said, after celebrating his victory by lying flat on his back on the clay.
Saturday, June 1
Farewell Naomi and Serena
— Williams suffered her earliest Grand Slam exit since 2014 when she crashed out 6-2, 7-5 in the third round at the hands of Sofia Kenin, ending her bid to win a record-equalling 24th major, just hours after Osaka also suffered a shock defeat.
The 37-year-old Williams’s bid to equal Margaret Court’s all-time record of majors has stalled since her 2017 Australian Open win, a title secured when she was pregnant.
Osaka’s hopes of winning a third successive Grand Slam ended when she was knocked out by Katerina Siniakova of the Czech Republic, 6-4, 6-2.
“Losing is probably the best thing that could have happened,” said the 21-year-old Japanese.
“I felt very tired. I had headaches, maybe that’s the stress.”
Sunday, June 2
Stan still the man in Tsitsipas epic
— 2015 champion Stan Wawrinka downed sixth seed Stefanos Tsitsipas 7-6 (8/6), 5-7, 6-4, 3-6, 8-6 in an epic five hours and nine minutes on Court Suzanne Lenglen to make the quarter-finals and a clash against Roger Federer.
Wawrinka hit 62 winners and saved 22 of 27 break points in the third longest match at Roland Garros in the last 20 years.
“It’s for these kind of emotions that I live for after coming back from injury,” said Wawrinka who underwent two knee surgeries in 2017.
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