15 days, 15 memories at Roland Garros

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Rafael Nadal claimed a record-breaking 10th French Open while a star was born when Jelena Ostapenko became one of tennis’s most unlikely Grand Slam champions.

Spain’s Rafael Nadal poses with his trophy after winning the men’s final tennis match against Switzerland’s Stanislas Wawrinka at the Roland Garros 2017 French Open on June 11, 2017 in Paris. / AFP PHOTO

Here, we look at some of the memories from 15 days of Roland Garros:

Day 1

Sunday, May 28

Kvitova ‘wins twice’ after knife attack
— Petra Kvitova said her first-round victory felt like winning twice as the Czech star made an emotional return from a harrowing knife attack at her home in December. The two-time Wimbledon champion swept aside American Julia Boserup in her first match since suffering career-threatening injuries to her left playing hand when she tackled an intruder at her home in the eastern Czech town of Prostejov. “I came here as a winner already,” said Kvitova.

Day 2

Monday, May 29

Nice to see you
— Novak Djokovic and Marcel Granollers exchanged a warm ‘high-five’ at the net when, in the fourth game of the third set of their first round clash, the Spaniard pulled off a cheeky, running chip around the post of the net which left the world number two completely flummoxed.

Day 3

Tuesday, May 30

Unwanted kiss leads to kick out
— French player Maxime Hamou, who tried to kiss a television reporter against her will during a live broadcast, was banished from the tournament for his “reprehensible behaviour”. Hamou, 21, grabbed Eurosport journalist Maly Thomas around the neck and shoulders while she interviewed him following his first round defeat. “It was frankly unpleasant. If it hadn’t been live on air, I would have punched him,” Thomas said.

Day 4

Wednesday, May 31

Talking about my girl!
— Serena Williams will be the mother of a baby girl, if sister Venus was to be believed after she appeared to let the secret slip. Venus told a TV interviewer: “She’s going to call me her favourite aunt. We all like ‘baby V, baby Lyn, baby Isha’. We all want the baby to be named after us,” said the 36-year-old, referring to the names of Serena’s sisters. Serena, who is expecting her baby in September, was in the crowd to see Venus play her second round match.

Day 5

Thursday, June 1

Del Potro, the Good Samaritan
— Juan Martin del Potro was widely praised for his sportsmanship after coming to the aid of injured second round opponent Nicolas Almagro who quit in tears with a left knee injury. Del Potro sat next to the stricken, sobbing Almagro on Court Two, offering him water while consoling the 31-year-old. The giant Argentine had also gone to the Spaniard’s side when he had collapsed at the back of the court, weeping, just moments earlier. “He was in agony. It was tough. I told him that tennis is important, but health matters more than tennis in this case.”

Day 6

Friday, June 2

Goffin caught up in tarp horror
— Belgium’s David Goffin quit his third round match after suffering a freak ankle injury when he got caught up in court covers. Goffin was leading Argentina’s Horacio Zeballos 5-4 when he chased down the ball towards the back of the Suzanne Lenglen court. However, his right foot became horribly jammed beneath the rolled-up covers before he tumbled into the wall and a linesman’s chair. Goffin, 26, was helped from the court by two officials and retired in the locker room.

Day 7

Saturday, June 3

Delpo in a slump against Murray
— Del Potro was knocked out in the third round by Andy Murray 7-6 (10/8), 7-5, 6-0 after squandering four set points in the opener. In complete frustration, he spent the changeover slumped over the net, staring blankly at the clay. “I couldn’t believe I lost that set,” he said.

Day 8

Sunday, June 4

Muguruza’s tearful farewell
— Garbine Muguruza blasted the crowd for their disruptive behaviour as the defending champion lost to home hope Kristina Mladenovic in the last 16. The Spaniard departed Court Suzanne Lenglen scoldingly wagging her finger as fans were asked to applaud Muguruza following her 6-1, 3-6, 6-3 defeat. “Sometimes they should be a little bit more respectful,” said Muguruza whose post-match press conference was briefly interrupted when she broke down in tears and left the room before quickly returning.

Day 9

Monday, June 5

Coldest kiss
— Alize Cornet and French compatriot Caroline Garcia exchanged a warm embrace at the net after their fourth round match had been overshadowed by a bitter feud between the two. “It was the coldest kiss I had in my life,” said the 27-year-old Cornet after her straight sets loss.

Day 10

Tuesday, June 6

Dust and defeat
— Three hours of rain delays and temperatures dipping to a chilly 17 degrees didn’t dampen Timea Bacsinszky’s humour after her quarter-final win over Mladenovic. “We had all the seasons — a hurricane, sandstorm and almost snow,” said the Swiss.

Day 11

Wednesday, June 7

Djokovic, decline and fall
— Defending champion Novak Djokovic hinted he may take a break from the sport after he crashed out in a stunning 7-6 (7/5), 6-3, 6-0 quarter-final loss to Dominic Thiem. “Trust me, I’m thinking about many things, especially in the last couple months,” he said. It was Djokovic’s first straight-sets loss at a major in four years and came just 12 months after he completed the career Grand Slam in Paris.

Day 12

Thursday, June 8

Birthday girl Ostapenko
— Latvian sensation Jelena Ostapenko made the final on her 20th birthday, beating Bacsinszky who was celebrating her 28th birthday. The crowd stunned her by a rousing rendition of Joyeux Anniversaire to mark the occasion.

Day 13

Friday, June 9

Nadal cruises, Murray crashes
— Men’s semi-finals enjoyed two dramatically contrasting storylines. Rafael Nadal brushed aside Dominic Thiem 6-3, 6-4, 6-0 in just over two hours to reach a 10th final in Paris. Stan Wawrinka downed Murray 6-7 (6/8), 6-3, 5-7, 7-6 (7/3), 6-1 in a pulsating four hour 34 minute battle, the longest match of the tournament.

Day 14

Saturday, June 10

A star is born
— Ostapenko stunned third seed Simona Halep 4-6, 6-4, 6-3 to win her maiden Grand Slam title and become the lowest-ranked champion in French Open history. World number 47 Ostapenko was the first unseeded player to lift the Roland Garros title in the Open era and the first Latvian major champion in history. The 20-year-old was the first player to win a debut tour-level title at a Slam since Gustavo Kuerten in Paris in 1997, the year she was born. “I am really happy. It was my dream,” she said.

Day 15

Sunday, June 11

Nadal coasts to La Decima
— Nadal coasted to a record 10th French Open title, demolishing Wawrinka in a brutally one-sided final which also earned the Spaniard a 15th Grand Slam crown. Nadal, 31, won 6-2, 6-3, 6-1 to become the first man in history to win the same major 10 times. Playing in his 22nd Grand Slam final, Nadal triumphed in Paris without dropping a set for a third time. He also lost just 35 games in total and only six in the final, his most comprehensive victory since allowing Roger Federer four games in the 2008 title match. “It’s really incredible. To win La Decima is very, very special,” he said.

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