By Ros Satar, at Roland Garros
- Shock as No, 4 seed Kiki Bertens retires will illness, swiftly followed by Bianca Andreescu withdrawing with her continuing shoulder injury
- Meanwhile it was business as usual for leading ladies Sloane Stephens, Garbine Muguruza and Karolina Pliskova.
PARIS, FRANCE – Day Four at Roland Garros saw some highs and lows as one of the favourites had to retire, but for others it was simply business as usual.
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Bertens: ‘It’s just really annoying’
For many people Kiki Bertens was a nailed-on pick to at least get to the semi-finals, the finals and yes, whisper it, even win it. So to see her stop mid-game and ask for the doctor, while 1-3 down in the first set was indeed worrying.
She consulted with the doctor before calling it quits, and with that one of the best contenders we have seen for a maiden slam is done and dusted.
Talking to press after her retirement, she said: “Yesterday I felt good. No problems at all. I was practicing, resting, and I felt really well. Ready for today. And then this morning I woke up at 3:00, and then I felt really sick. Vomiting, diarrhoea all night long, all day long. I felt a little bit better before the match. I had some sleep, and I just wanted to give it a try, but then as soon as I start warming up right before the match, it started again. Yeah, there was not any energy left.
“It’s really bad timing, I would call it maybe that. It’s been a great few weeks, and then if you feel like this during a Grand Slam where you felt good, it’s just really annoying. I just hope I feel better soon but probably that will be the case.
“Raemon [Sluiter, coach] said to me, Okay, you just have to feel yourself, what do you want to do? If you cannot make the decision, I will make it for you. But I said, Okay, I just want to give it a try. I was feeling a little bit better before the match, but then, yeah, what I said, as soon as I started running, then, yeah, everything got out again.”
Hot on the heels of that news was Bianca Andreescu withdrawing with a shoulder injury.
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Business as usual for the leading ladies
Garbiñe Muguruza, Sloane Stephens and Karolina Pliskova were solid in their second-round matches. For Muguruza, her opening match saw her tested by Taylor Townsend, but this time around she was solid in all departments, easing into the third round.
“I think it was a better match than the first one. I think we had some great rallies. Johanna is an opponent that I have never faced before. So, I was looking forward for that. Yeah, I could control a little bit more my nerves this match. Yeah, pretty good one.”
She will face another favourite (certainly in times go by) Elina Svitolina. Maybe her injury in the build-up to this tournament has put her under the radar a bit, and that might be a a benefit for the Ukrainian.
Muguruza said: “I think it’s a great third round for both of us. Well, personally, it’s the type of matches that I want to play. It can be, you know, any deep-round match, but it’s in the third round. So, it’s going to be a good one.”
Sloane Stephens also laid down a marker, although had to maybe work a little harder for it, taken to a tie-break by Sara Sorribes Tormo, and it looks like her partnership with Sven Groenveld is working well, after he left his long-time coaching role with Maria Sharapova.
Stephens explained: “Obviously bringing on Sven I have had a lot of structure the last couple of weeks, at the amount of time we’ve been working. I feel like I’m in a good head space. I’m playing better. I’m seeing the court well, which I think is really important for me.
“My movement is good. Everything is just kind of falling into place, and that’s kind of what you want. Obviously, I had a good result in Madrid, but kind of, you want it to click here. This is obviously the most important period that it should click. So, yeah, I’m happy to be in this position and happy to be kind of getting better match by match.”
Second round play continues on Day Five at 11am (10am BST).
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