PARIS – It was a dreary, endless, wet day in Paris, the kind of day when you could argue that tennis players might actually be underpaid.
And amid some insanity on Court 1, Canadian Vasek Pospisil and partner Jack Sock defeated the French team of Nicolas Mahut and Pierre-Hughes Herbert 7-6 (3), 7-6 (2) to move on to the men's doubles quarter-finals.
All four seeded pairs in the bottom half of the men's doubles draw made it through to the final eight; Pospisil and Sock, the No. 2 seeds, will play No. 5 seeds Jean-Julien Rojer of the Netherlands and Horia Tecau of Romania.
Meanwhile, 42-year-old Daniel Nestor's struggles continue. On Sunday, he and partner Leander Paes were beaten by the No. 6 seeds, Fabio Fognini and Simone Bolelli of Italy, 6-2, 6-4 after leading 4-2 in the second set and are out of the men's doubles in the third round.
Later, Nestor and mixed doubles partner Kristina Mladenovic lost their second-round match, 6-4, 6-3, to Anastasia Rodionova of Aisam Qureshi.
The rain was on and off during Pospisil's match, and chair umpire Louise Engzell seemed at a bit of a loss as to whether she should stop play on Court 1 despite the pleas from both teams that the court was getting very slippery.
Engzell went over to check with the maintenance crew, kept checking a screen up in her chair, and slid her foot over the lines several times. But in the end, they didn't really stop for long. The players got a little exasperated with her, understandably. And the fans, who were never informed about what was going on even when the players were sitting in their chairs waiting for rain to let up, were equally exasperated.
"I was just sitting there, like, just tell me what to do. I didn’t want to get too distracted. But for sure, she didn’t have control of the situation," said Pospisil, who said his ankle has felt very, very good in his last two doubles matches. "I think it was the story of the match, kind of all over the place. Even the tennis was all over the place. Easy volleys missed, on both sides. /blockquote>
There was definitely a sort of a Twilight Zone element to the whole affair. Sock lost his vibration dampener at least three times in the first set. During one rain stoppage - not really an official one; let's call it a break – he had to get directions to the men's room from Engzell, and he and Mahut sprinted there.
Sock was the last to return and when he did, he got applause from the French crowd - at which point he proceeded to blow them kisses.
And when he disagreed with Engzell's assessment of the slipperiness of the lines, he offered her his racquet to play a little bit and test it out in actual game conditions.
Pospisil played pretty well in the first set, although he missed some pretty routine volleys by a wide margin. Sock, who looked a little leg-weary in the first set when his forehand often ended up halfway up the net, picked it up in the second set. And they played two good tiebreaks; that was enough.
At least Sock blew off some steam; he's going to have to be all business on Monday, when he meets nine-time singles champion Rafael Nadal in the fourth round of singles.
For Nestor, the 2014 season hasn't been a very successful one after some early good results. On the plus side, he and Paes strung two victories together before losing Sunday to the Italians, the reigning Australian Open champions. In their first four tournaments together (they teamed up after Miami), they lost in the first round all four times, and all in straight sets.
Through the week, Nestor displayed some uncharacteristic frustration on the court; he and Mladenovic, who have won two Grand Slam titles together, barely got it together in time to pull out their first-round match. On Sunday, they went down fairly routinely.