Cornet and Monfils raise French hopes in Paris

Fri May 29, 2015 4:25pm EDT
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By Martyn Herman

PARIS (Reuters) - Just after lunch Alize Cornet collapsed on her back in joy and several hours later as dusk arrived Gael Monfils danced a jig of delight as home hopes soared at the French Open on Friday.

In between there were routine third-round victories for defending women's champion Maria Sharapova and Swiss great Roger Federer, but day six was a celebratory one for Les Bleus.

Sharapova's clash against former runner-up Samantha Stosur looked potentially dangerous for the steely Russian but she dominated throughout against the 26th seeded Australian, winning 6-3 6-4.

"Just getting the job done," 28-year-old Sharapova, still suffering from a cough, told reporters.

Like 17-times grand slam champion Federer, who beat plucky Bosnian Damir Dzumhur 6-4 6-3 6-2 with a display as cool as the Paris weather, the real business starts now for Sharapova.

Indeed, there were certainly no celebrations from two players for whom surviving until the fourth round is their bread and butter.

For Cornet and Monfils though, with France's impatient wait for a home champion weighing more heavily each year, Friday's victories really got the pulses racing.

French number one Cornet was ecstatic as she reached the fourth round at her home slam for the first time at the 12th attempt, coming from a set down to beat Croatian former teen sensation Mirjana Lucic-Baroni 4-6 6-3 7-5 on center court.   Continued...

Alize Cornet of France celebrates after beating Mirjana Lucic-Baroni of Croatia during their  women's singles match at the French Open tennis tournament at the Roland Garros stadium in Paris, France, May 29, 2015.                REUTERS/Jean-Paul Pelissier