x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 22 July 2017

Former Wimbledon champion Virginia Wade calls out world No 4 Andy Murray

Rafael Nadal says he has no specific plans for his birthday June 3; Virginia Wade stirs up controversy by siding with Jarkko Nieminen.

Rafael Nadal says he has no specific plans to celebrate his birthday on June 3 while he's participating at the French Open.
Rafael Nadal says he has no specific plans to celebrate his birthday on June 3 while he's participating at the French Open.

Scot's volley

Virginia Wade, the last British singles title winner at Wimbledon, has stirred up some trouble by saying that she had more sympathy for defeated Jarkko Nieminen than British No 1 Andy Murray, who defeated the Finn after overcoming a back spasm on Thursday. Murray called for the trainer four times during the match and Wade said you "cannot play against someone who is being a drama queen". Murray was quoted in British newspapers Friday as retorting, suggesting that Wade "should be supportive or maybe ask me a question first before commenting on it". He told The Guardian: "To me that's quite disappointing, to be honest. I know how I felt on the court. I know how bad it was."

No birthday plans

Rafael Nadal has made a habit of celebrating at Roland Garros, and it is not just because his June 3 birthday falls during the French Open. This year, he is so focused on winning a record seventh French Open that he could not even remember exactly when he will turn 26. "When is my birthday?" Nadal said after being asked if he had anything special planned. "I don't know the day. I'm going to go for dinner with the team. I don't know if some family is going to come. I don't know yet."

Fresh faces

American Sloane Stephens and Frenchwomen Mathilde Johansson guaranteed that there would be an unseeded participant in the fourth round before they even clashed yesterday as they are ranked No 70 and 93 in the world respectively. It was 19-year-old Stephens who prevailed on Philippe Chatrier yesterday, progressing further than she has ever been. Of her new popularity she said: is enjoying her new popularity: "I'm excited because now I'm going to have more Twitter followers."

Lucky loser

Belgian David Goffin, at 21 the youngest player left in the draw, beat Pole Lukasz Kubot 7-6, 7-5, 6-1 to become the first lucky loser to reach the French Open fourth round since records started being kept in 1988. World No 109 Goffin, who beat France's Arnaud Clement and Czech 23rd seed Radek Stepanek in the previous rounds, is the first lucky loser to reach the fourth round of a grand slam since compatriot Dick Norman at Wimbledon in 1995. Goffin, who had lost in the third round of qualifying, was inserted in the main draw after France's Gael Monfils pulled out injured.

Tsonga through

Fifth-seed Jo-Wilfried Tsonga kept home hopes alive when he defeated Fabio Fognini 7-5, 6-4, 6-4 to reach the last 16. Seventh-seeded Czech Tomas Berdych overcame big-hitting South African Kevin Anderson 6-4, 3-6, 6-7, 6-4, 6-4 to progress in just under four hours. Berdych will face Juan Martin del Potro, who defeated Marin Cilic 6-3, 7-6, 6-1.

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