Milos Raonic has a mathematical mind so it was no surprise he could remember other matches he had finished off with four aces as he did Wednesday at Roland Garros in his 4-6, 6-2, 6-3, 6-4 victory over Rogerio Dutra Silva of Brazil.

“A few” was his answer to a question about how often he had swatted four on the trot to put paid to a match. When pressed he said, “today, Robin Haase at the Paris indoors (2013) and (Carlos) Berlocq the year (2013) I lost in the second round at Wimbledon.”

It was a flashy ending to hit aces 22 through 25 to wrap up the match after what was a seriously stuttering start for the No. 5 seed. He lost his serve twice in the first set to the 33-year-old, No. 79-ranked Dutra Silva.


The expression on Raonic’s face above says it all about his feelings about his play in that opening set. “I felt a little bit sluggish to start,” he said later, “sort of let him really into it. He didn’t have a very big serve and I wasn’t just enough of a presence on those return games.”

Asked to explain his ineffectual play at the outset, he replied, “probably just didn’t come out firing right away – then obviously just errors all over the place.”

He had 14 unforced errors in the first set but tightened his game and pared that down to just six, nine and six respectively in the final three sets to go along with 63 winners overall in the Court One contest.

There were some monumental battles on the Dutra Silva serve that enabled him to get crucial breaks. He needed five break points to get a 4-2 lead in the third set and then seven to convert for the key break in the ninth and penultimate game of the final set.

On almost all those points he was engaged in lengthy rallies with the battling Brazilian and most of the time he came out ahead as the one hitting bigger and dictating play.

In the end Raonic was 5/20 on break point chances but, despite the frustration of the early going, he has to be pleased that he was playing at a high level at the end of a match that lasted two hours and 23 minutes.

Dutra Silva showed a lot of heart, going toe-to-toe from the baseline and crushing some amazing shots, particularly in the second last game of the match when he saved six break points – a few of them with line-licking ground strokes.

“It’s not a good feeling to lose but I think it was a good match for the crowd,” said the sympathetic Brazilian. When asked about the Raonic serve, Dutra Silva just sighed, laughed and said, “hah-hah-hah, his serve is fantastic and, for me, it was really, really tough. I congratulate him.”

The next opponent for Raonic will be No. 153-ranked Guillermo Garcia-Lopez, who will be the second 33-year-old (although the Spaniard turns 34 on Sunday) in a row for the man from Thornhill, Ont.

They have played twice before – Raonic winning 6-3, 6-4, 6-2 in Davis Cup in Vancouver in 2013 and 6-1, 6-2 in Miami in 2014.

Garcia-Lopez is playing his 14th French Open and has only twice before – 2011 (3rd) and 2014 (4th) – gotten past the second round.

“I watched a bit of his first round against (Gilles) Muller,” Raonic said about Garcia-Lopez. “I believe he won in straight sets today. So he must be playing some kind of good tennis.”

If he can get past Garcia-Lopez, Raonic would face a likely greater challenge in the round-of-16, whoever wins Friday’s match between No. 11 seed Grigor Dimitrov and No. 20 Pablo Carreno Busta.

Raonic offered some fighting words when a reporter suggested to him that not many people give him a chance of going deep at the French Open this year. “I think I command deep respect and danger from the other players,” he replied. “So I don’t know if that’s necessarily the case with the players. Maybe it’s just media discussion.”



Francoise has one of the most regal presences in women’s tennis, as the picture above suggests. She can also play some pretty good tennis but Wednesday on Court 2 at Roland Garros against Caroline Wozniacki is not a match she will want to remember.

The 20-year-old from Montreal won the first two points serving in the opening game but didn’t reach a game point until she trailed 6-0, 3-0 to the current world No. 12. She failed to convert that one and two more in the following game before Wozniacki served out to love in the final game to make the score the always-dreaded 6-0, 6-0.

That’s a double bagel in North American parlance but sometimes known as deux roues de bicyclette (two bicycle wheels) in France.

The points score wound up 54 to 22 in favour of the 26-year-old Dane in a match that lasted 52 minutes.

As early as the third game when things were beginning to unravel for the No. 195-ranked Abanda, the crowd lustily chanted “Francoise…Francoise…Francoise” attempting to buoy her spirits.

Wozniacki later said she was pleased she recovered from the 30-love deficit in the very first game and admitted she was aware the crowd might be wanting to get behind the Francophone Abanda. “It’s a loud court,” she said about the asymmetrical but charming Court 2, which has seating for 1,445. “It’s a fun one to play on, but at the same time if you get behind and the crowd starts going wild, it’s a situation you don’t want to be in.”

Happily for her there was never much danger of that, particularly after Abanda left the court for a comfort break following the 27-minute opening set but then was unable to reverse matters upon her return – winning just four of the first 16 points in the second set.

Wozniacki is one of the superior athletes and best retrievers in women’s tennis and Abanda just couldn’t penetrate her defences and may not have had the energy to do so even if she could.

“A loss is a loss,” a downcast Abanda summed up afterward. “I don’t really know what to say. It’s obvious my path to the second round was much longer and I had a huge accumulation of fatigue. I hope in the future to be right in the main draw to be able to save energy and go further in the draw. It’s a heavy load the further you go to have the qualifying matches behind you.”

About Wozniacki, Abanda said, “Caroline played me very well, intelligently and did good things on the court. But everything was in her favour to go further – she was playing her second match and I was playing my fifth.”

While not completely clear about her plans, Abanda said she will play an event (or events) on grass before entering the Wimbledon qualifying. With her 40 points for qualifying and 70 points for winning a round, her No. 195 ranking should rise inside 150, which is better than her career high of No. 163 reached in November, 2016.



Credit: Peter Figura

Genie Bouchard will attempt to reach the third round at Roland Garros for only the second time in five attempts (a semifinal in 2014) when she faces No. 19-ranked Anastasija Sevastova of Latvia on Thursday.

She will return to the same arena – Court Two – as she played on in her first-round win over Risa Ozaki on Tuesday.

The match is scheduled after a women’s match and a men’s match starting at 11 a.m. – that could be anywhere from 9 a.m. to noon Eastern Time in Canada.

In the third round, the winner will face whoever emerges from a match Thursday between No. 12 seed Madison Keys and No. 290-ranked qualifier Petra Martic of Croatia.


Talk about ‘kitsch,’ these objects were for sale near one of Paris’ main tourist attractions – and if you don’t particularly like them you can always purchase one of those miniature Eiffel Towers.