Un, Deux, Trois: A tale of two French draws; last U.S. man ousted

Un, Deux, Trois: A tale of two French draws; last U.S. man ousted

The twist and turns continue on Day 5 of Roland Garros.

The French men continued to clear their hurdles, while their American counterparts crashed out on the Roland Garros clay. As the second week of the French Open approaches, here are the three takeaways from Day 5. 

1.  French wild cards thriving

Thursday boasted another surprising victory by a French wild card. With an ace, Antoine Hoang ended world. No. 27 Fernando Verdasco's run at Roland Garros and ignited pure excitement from the home crowd. This has been quite the turnaround week for Hoang, as he entered the tournament having lost in the first round of qualifying at the Lyon Open coming into Paris. 

Hoang isn't the only French men's wild card that has experienced newfound success. Corentin Moutet and Nicolas Mahut have joined him in advancing to the French Open third round. A day earlier, both triumphed in their second-round matches, with the 20-year-old Moutet becoming the youngest French man to make the round of 32 since Gael Monfils in 2006. 

It's been an emotional week for Mahut: following his win over Philipp Kohlschreiber Wednesday, Mahut walked back on court to lay his wristbands on the service line in tribute to his friend David Ferrer. The gritty Ferrer's 20-year career came to a close earlier this month. The wild cards have made a tremendous run thus far; will playing in front of their home crowd push them into the deeper rounds?


2. Fritz and American men find little success

Taylor Fritz was the only American man out of nine in the main draw to win a match in Paris. But he soon joined his countrymen after No. 18 seed Roberto Bautista Agut won their second-round meeting, 6-2, 6-3, 6-2. Last week in Lyon, Fritz defeated Bautista Agut in three sets. This was the worst year for American men at Roland Garros since 2007 when no men advanced to the second round. 

On the contrary, four U.S. women reached the third round and looked great doing so. Serena Williams, Sloane Stephens, and Amanda Anisimova all had decisive second-round wins; Sofia Kenin previously received a walkover from Bianca Andreescu. Madison Keys split identical 7-5 sets with Priscilla Hon before play was suspended late Thursday.


3. Garcia's collapse ends home hopes for title

The No. 24 seed Caroline Garcia got off to a quick start, but did not have enough to finish off Russian qualifier Anna Blinkova. Garcia entered fresh off a runner-up finish at the Internationaux de Strasbourg, where she battled Dayana Yastremska in the longest WTA match of the season.

Garcia carried over the same focused play in her first-round win at Roland Garros and was on the cusp of advancing in Thursday's match, up 4-2 in the third set. With Garcia's home crowd cheering loudly and attempting to pull her through, the Russian would ultimately chip her way back to win the final four games. Garcia was dominant, hitting 32 winners, but in the end Blinkova was able to resist and find a way to win.

With all eyes on her in Court Philippe Chatrier, Garcia bowed out with a double fault. Garcia's loss concluded a disappointing tournament for the host nation, marking the first time since 1986 that France will not have a player in the third round of the women's event.