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The Draw: 30 June

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Thursday, 31 May 2018 08:57 AM BST
Roland-Garros Day 4: Halep finally under way. rounds up the action from day 4 at Roland-Garros 2018. READ MORE

Halep gets going

After a four-day wait, Simona Halep finally got her quest for her first Grand Slam title under way. 

Originally scheduled at the end of Tuesday, an early evening deluge forced Halep’s match against Alison Riske to Wednesday.

After a wet, tense night in Paris, the top-seeded Romanian got off to a shaky start, trailing the 83rd-ranked Riske 5-0 before righting the ship to win, 2-6, 6-1, 6-1.

“I had a slow start because it's always tough to start this tournament,” said Halep, who was stunned by Latvia’s Jelena Ostapenko in last year’s final.

“It's a pleasure to come here and to play,” she said. “So always I feel nervous at the beginning.”

Djokovic’s journey continues

Despite Rafael Nadal telling reporters Jaume Munar’s chances against Novak Djokovic were “practically nil”, the 21-year-old Spaniard put up a strong fight against the 2016 champion from Serbia, ultimately falling 7-6(1), 6-4, 6-4.

Munar, who practices at Nadal’s academy on the Spanish island of Mallorca, did his mentor proud against the former top-ranked Djokovic, who has struggled with form and confidence since making a comeback from elbow surgery in January.

After blowing a 5-2 lead in the first set, Djokovic had to battle hard to come out on top in the tiebreak before eventually prevailing in straight sets.

“At times I do lose maybe a comfort level on the court and confidence, and that's something that I'm still building gradually, obviously,” Djokovic told reporters. “The more matches I play, the better it is. The more I win, of course, the better it is.”

Wozniacki’s Paris spring

There is an unusual spring in Caroline Wozniacki’s step at Roland-Garros, the first major event since she ended her Grand Slam drought at the Australian Open in January.

The slow clay isn’t her preferred surface, but this spring in Paris, the Danish No.2 seed is playing some impressive tennis.

Up against Spanish qualifier Georgina Garcia Perez, who claims to have the fastest serve on the women’s Tour, Wozniacki broke five times to finish the match dropping just one game in 51 minutes.

“I neutralised her serve, which was the main thing,” Wozniacki told reporters. “There is no real easy matches ever, and especially on clay,” said Wozniacki, a two-time quarter-finalist in Paris who plays France’s Pauline Parmentier in the next round.

Lost in translation

The Roland-Garros press centre has hundreds of journalists from all over the world, and sometimes, things can get lost in translation.

When asked by a British reporter about why he hasn’t yet won a Grand Slam despite some big wins on the men’s Tour, Alexander Zverev was dumbstruck.

“Where you from, buddy?,” he asked the reporter, who informed the German No.2 seed that he was from Yorkshire, England.

“Nice,” said Zverev, who had just battled past Serbia’s Dusan Lajovic in five sets. “If they ever make a tournament there I'm coming just because of that accent. Love it. I didn't understand a word you're saying, but it's not important.”

Grigor’s knees up

Having scraped past American Jared Donaldson for four hours, 19 minutes in a physical contest on the new sunken Court 18, Bulgaria’s Grigor Dimitrov lifted his knees to kiss his legs after winning a tense, see-saw five-set match.

It was the kind of match the Bulgarian No.4 seed may have lost a few years ago as he battled with his fitness.

But this time, it was his opponent who struggled physically, even hitting two under-arm serves in the final stages of the match as he was cramping.

“It was the legs,” Dimitrov said. “I thought I could have fought a little more. But I was like, you know what? I'm just going to kiss the knees.”

He credited his fitness trainer with getting him fit.

“After playing for about, what, a little over four hours, it's great. I mean, I just -- I felt good. I thought I had quite a little bit left in the tank, so that was great. And I think it meant a lot to the whole team, but especially to my fitness guy, to Sebastien.”

Williams sisters win

A day after what ESPN called “the mother of all comebacks” Serena Williams continued her winning ways at Roland-Garros with a victory in the women’s doubles with her sister Venus.

Dressed in the same catsuit that captivated the world’s media after her first Grand Slam match since winning the Australian Open last year when she was pregnant with her first child, the Williams sisters overcame a slow start to beat Japanese pair Shuko Aoyama and Miyu Kato 4-6, 6-4, 6-1 on a packed Court 3.

It was the first doubles victory for the Williams sisters, the 1999 and 2010 French Open champions, since they won the 2016 Wimbledon title.

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