Sunday, June 7, 2015

French Open Day 14 recap: Serena wins 20th major

Serena Williams trails only Margaret Court and Steffi Graf in career Grand Slam
singles titles. 2014 photo by Tri Nguyen/TriNguyenPhotography.com
   Women's singles final -- Overcoming the flu and her nerves, top-seeded Serena Williams outslugged eighth-seeded Lucie Safarova of the Czech Republic 6-3, 6-7 (2), 6-2 for her 20th Grand Slam singles title and third in the French Open.
   Serving to lead 5-1 in the second set, Williams double-faulted twice in a row to get broken for the first time, then double-faulted again for 4-4. After dropping the second set, she trailed 2-0 in the third set before winning the last six games.
   The 33-year-old Williams trails only Margaret Court (24) and Steffi Graf (22) on the career list. Aside from passing them, all that's left for Williams to accomplish is a calendar-year Grand Slam. For the first time in her career, she's halfway there. 
   Men's semifinals -- Top-seeded Novak Djokovic completed a 6-3, 6-3, 5-7, 5-7, 6-1 victory over third-seeded Andy Murray. The match had been suspended by rain on Friday night.
   Djokovic, 28, is trying to become the eighth man to achieve a career Grand Slam. He also hopes to continue his bid for a calendar-year Slam. 
   Stars and stripes -- Third-seeded Ivan Dodig of Croatia and Marcelo Melo, a 6-foot-8 (2.03-meter) Brazilian, topped Southern California natives Bob and Mike Bryan, seeded first, 6-7 (5), 7-6 (5), 7-5 for their first Grand Slam title.
   The 37-year-old Bryan twins have won a record of 16 major championships in men's doubles but only one in their last seven Slams.
   In the first all-American singles final in the 68-year history of the junior boys event, 13th-seeded Tommy Paul defeated No. 2 Taylor Harry Fritz 7-6 (4), 2-6, 6-2.
   Paul joined John McEnroe (1977) and Bjorn Fratangelo (2011) as the only Americans to win the boys singles title at Roland Garros in the Open era, which began in 1968.
   Despite Fritz's loss, the 6-foot-4 (1.93-meter) San Diego-area resident will rise to No. 1 in the boys world rankings on Monday. He'll become the first American to hold that distinction since Donald Young in 2005.   
   Meanwhile, both U.S. teams lost in the boys and girls doubles finals. Unseeded Alvaro Lopez San Martin and Jaume Munar of Spain handled fourth-seeded Williams Blumberg and Paul 6-4, 6-2. Also, top-seeded Miriam Kolodziejova and Marketa Vondrousova of the Czech Republic routed No. 6 Caroline Dolehide and Katerina Stewart 6-0, 6-3.
   Northern California connection -- Williams won her third Bank of the West title at Stanford last year. The Bryans played at Stanford in 1997 and 1998, helping the Cardinal win the NCAA team title each year.
   Fast facts -- Williams has won the last three Grand Slam singles titles, becoming the first woman since Jennifer Capriati in 2001 to capture the Australian Open and French Open in the same year.
   Quote -- Williams: "When I was a little girl, in California, my father and my mother wanted me to play tennis. And now I'm here, with 20 Grand Slam (singles) titles."
   Men's singles final -- Djokovic (1) vs. Stan Wawrinka (8), today at 6 a.m. PDT on NBC.
   Djokovic leads the head-to-head series 17-3, but Wawrinka will be better rested after winning his semifinal against Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in four sets on Friday.
   Djokovic won the last meeting 7-6 (1), 3-6, 6-4, 4-6, 6-0 in the semifinals of this year's Australian Open. He proceeded to win his fifth title in the tournament.

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