At the end of day five there are five Americans remaining in the draw: John Isner, Steve Johnson, Madison Keys, Sloane Stephens and Serena Williams.
Isner and Johnson each won their matches today in four sets. It was no surprise that Isner’s match had a few tiebreak sets and he won 6-7(8), 7-6(4), 7-6(2), 6-2. As usually happens when Isner is serving well, the prospect of trying to break his serve takes a mental toll and after losing the second and thirds sets, Horacio Zeballos succumbed to the serve and the forehand of the American. Johnson had to get by the big serving German, Jan-Lennard Struff, and he fought back after dropping the first set just like Isner to win 4-6, 7-6(5), 6-2, 6-2.
Ashleigh Barty had the unenviable task of trying to stop Williams’ return and quash any hopes of the much-anticipated showdown with Maria Sharapova; however, Williams’ got pumped and fired up after dropping the first set and her tennis improved by leaps and bounds and she won 3-6, 6-3, 6-4.
The defending men’s champion, Rafael Nadal, had a much easier day at the office today; however, despite the score it was not necessarily a straight-forward victory. Nadal made a lot more unforced errors than we are used to seeing and his first serve percentage was under sixty percent. Yet, a win is a win and Nadal is cognizant that against a better player he will have to tighten up his game. The pressure of trying to defend his title and win his eleventh Roland Garros title has to be negatively impacting his game; thus, to win 6-2, 6-1, 6-1 is still a significant accomplishment despite the statistics.
SOURCE OF IMAGES: Zimbio.com (Cameron Spencer/ Getty Images Europe and Matthew Stockman/Getty Images Europe-Rafael Nadal and Serena Williams respectively)