Kristina Mladenovic pulled off another Houdini act at Roland Garros, this time against Shelby Rogers in the third round on Friday, as she came back from 2-5 down in the final set to defeat the American and reach the last-16 for the first time in her career.
Mladenovic showed some incredible tennis in the tail-end of that decider, and lots of heart, to overcome Rogers, who was a quarter-finalist in Paris last year.
As she mounted her comeback in the third set, Mladenovic celebrated by pointing her finger to her head, the same way Stan Wawrinka celebrates his own successful moments on court.
The three-time Grand Slam champion has become renowned for that celebration but Mladenovic wanted to set the record straight.
“Well, that’s obviously a Stan thing, because people know more Stan than me, but this is also something I was doing from long time ago. This is also a Kiki thing. But people will start to notice that, I guess,” the French No1 said in her post-match press conference.
“Yeah, I can say it can be a copy of Stan, because he’s a great champion and I respect him a lot. He’s a big inspiration. But it didn’t start because of him, but something I was doing also from long time.”
Guys, you’ve been warned. From now on it’s a ‘Kiki thing’.
Meanwhile, there was more injury heartbreak on court on Friday as David Goffin hurt his right ankle while reaching for the ball at the back of the court and accidentally tripping on the tarp that covers the clay when it’s raining. The injury forced him to retire, which is hugely unfortunate, especially considering he was one of the strong contenders for the title here in Paris.
As Goffin was taken by the doctors off court, his opponent Horacio Zeballos showed great kindness when he went to the Belgian’s bench and packed his bag for him and carried it off court. Just 24 hours after Juan Martin del Potro showed great sportsmanship by comforting Nicolas Almagro through his injury retirement, Zeballos showed us all that this is not a rarity, but a common theme in tennis.
Svetlana Kuznetsova supports that theory.
“I see it all the time, I think in tennis the people in general the people are very kind,” said the Russian two-time Grand Slam champion.
“Yes there is crazy rivalry sometimes, we’re not perfect, but most of the time we care. I care for most of the players, I just saw Serena (Williams) in the locker room I hugged her, I congratulated her, I was so happy for her. I don’t know. I think kindness makes you feel better, to improve your life and be happy and what destroys you it’s all negative things like hate, war, jealousy and negativity.”
We couldn’t agree more, Sveta!
Here are other things you may missed from day 6 at Roland Garros…
58 — Novak Djokovic claimed his 58th Roland Garros match win today to tie Guillermo Vilas in third place on the all-time list of victories at the French Open.
All-time match wins @rolandgarros— Reem Abulleil (@ReemAbulleil) June 2, 2017
94% — of the time of his third round against Diego Schwartzman, Djokovic took more than 20 seconds between serve points (via Tennis Channel).
100 — Rafael Nadal contested his 100th best-of-five match on clay on Friday. His record is a stunning 98-2.
“I finally got my third win in a row. Hey. Wait. Champagne (holding a bottle of Perrier).”
— Timea Bacsinszky is very happy to reach the fourth round.
“I do it on my own time, I do it on my own dime, my own money, I don’t want anything, I don’t need anything. I want to help him. And it helps the game and I think he should be – him at his best is good for the game and it’s a way I can contribute, hopefully.”
— Andre Agassi reveals he isn’t getting paid to coach Djokovic.
Q. I think it was a year ago here you dubbed yourself the CEO of Milos Raonic Tennis. If there was a shareholders meeting, what’s your annual report on your last 12 months?
Milos Raonic: “No cause for panic. Stay healthy” (smiling).
“That’s amazing, incredible. I know he had many, many wins but not that many.”
— Roberto Bautista Agut when told that Nadal has a 98-2 win-loss record in best-of-five matches on clay. We understand if he’s slightly intimidated.
“It is so difficult. I don’t know the secret.”
— Pablo Carreno Busta when asked if there’s a secret to returning the Milos Raonic serve.
“Math was the only subject that I (pointing downwards with his thumb) failed in the last year that I had the chance to go to school. That doesn’t mean that the numbers don’t worry me.”
— Nadal when asked if he was good at math so he can keep track of his incredible records on clay.
“He’s much, much better player than I am obviously. And it’s going to take a lot of work if I want to play on center court and play good match against him.”
— Nikoloz Basilashvili tells it like it is after his 6-0, 6-1, 6-0 loss to Nadal.
“I guess it would be a nice, romantic love story where there’s hopefully still a great finish at the end.”
— Sam Stosur on what genre she’d pick if she ever wrote a story about her relationship with Roland Garros.
“It took me a while to notice, because I was packing my stuff. I could see that everyone was clapping and that Djoko was clapping and looking my way. Then finally I understood, and I thought, okay, get your kit in the bag and try and enjoy the moment. It’s a truly extraordinary thing.”
— Diego Schwartzman on the standing ovation he got after his five-set defeat to Djokovic.
Pablo Carreno Busta  bt. Grigor Dimitrov  7-5, 6-3, 6-4
The Spaniard was my tip as a dark horse this tournament and he didn’t disappoint against the 11th-seeded Dimitrov. Granted Dimitrov has never made it past the third round in Paris before, but he has more experience at the Slams compared to Carreno Busta, who is now into the second week at a major for the first time.