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Three of the local favourites bid farewell to the tournament. Alizé Cornet had to limp off, Léolia Jeanjean couldn't cope with playing someone with the same style and Gilles Simon had nothing left in the tank.
So farewell Alizé Cornet. France’s top women’s player limped out of the tournament because of a thigh injury. Qinwen Zheng was winning 6-3, 3-0 when the 32-year-old finally accepted she couldn't continue. And some on centre court didn’t like that. So they booed. Honestly. At a certain point, you have to ask what possesses someone to boo? But boo they did. In her post match press conference, Cornet described them as idiots. About the only thing she got right.
A thigh problem for Cornet and a knee injury for third seed Paula Badosa who had to retire early in the second set against Veronika Kudermetova from Russia. And then the seventh seed Aryna Sabalenka had a meltdown to lose in three sets. It’s looking like a whirl to the final for the number one seed Iga Swiatek. There’s no one in the top 10 left in her half of the draw.
Léolia Jeanjean – a big thing more than a decade ago in France as a teenager before a nasty knee injury – bit the dust too. The 26-year-old said going up against Romania’s Irina-Camelia Begu was a bit like playing herself. “Her game was a little bit more robust, more down-to-earth. I think that's what disrupted me,” she explained. “And I didn't disrupt her very much. To be quite honest, I didn't find any solutions." But on the back of her run to the third round, Jeanjean will rise from 227 in the world to about 150. And from there she says she aims to hit the top 100. “How am I going to manage it? I'm going to manage it as I have so far. I'm going to continue to train. I'm going to continue to do what I have been doing.” And avoid mirrors.
Simon says adieu to the French Open
“Allez Gilou! Allez Gilou!” the crowd roared. But the cheers weren’t enough to boost Gilles Simon against the 20th seed Marin Cilic. Simon, 37, is due to retire at the end of the season and was playing in his final Roland Garros. He was only competing because the French tennis federation – which organizes the extravaganza – offered him an invitation into the main draw because his low ranking would have meant going through the qualifying rounds. Can’t be having that for the veteran. Simon repaid the munificence with some box office performances. A five set thriller on Day 3 to eliminate the 16th seed Pablo Carreno Busta and then a bravura show on Day 5 to dispatch the unseeded American Steve Johnson in straight sets. Cilic was just a match too far and the Croatian beat him 6-0, 6-3, 6-2. “We first played in 2007,” Cilic told the crowd. “And Gilles deserves all the accolades for his fighting spirit.” That got the crowd going. "Marin is discreet but he's a champion," said Simon. "If it was to end at the French Open, it's against a player I adore. I'm happy to have ended against him." Handkerchiefs.
When you going Marin?
We’re not sure if it’s a sign of the times or desperation. But these questions about retirement need to be retired. After his straight sets win over Gilles Simon, Marin Cilic was asked about how long he plans to be around. The man is only 33 for goodness sake. And he’s into the fourth round against the second seed Daniil Medvedev. Even if he were to lose that match, he’ll take home a chunky cheque for 220,000 euros. Who would walk away from that kind of payday? “I'm feeling good on the court, everything's working well,” said Cilic. “I'm quite dedicated with my training, with my routines. I take that quite seriously and rarely go into tournaments that I'm not 100 percent ready to play. But how long? We'll see. But definitely three, four years, if I can be competitive like this.” That'll keep the bank manager happy.