Tenaciously Tennis

Day Three Results Rundown

Day three proved to be filled with upsets and sharp play from the top tier of the current tennis all-stars. Here’s a brief summary of noteworthy results.

The WTA:

  • Serena Williams, Caroline Wozniacki, and Maria Sharapova all record easy victories in their first round matches.
  • Agnieszka Radwanska and Victoria Azarenka advance with their 6-3, 6-3 wins. Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova only needs one more again to beat Iveta Benesova.
  • French Open finalist Sam Stosur joins Francesca Schiavone in defeat after straight sets loss to Kaia Kanepi.
  • Na Li and Jie Zheng make it to round two in straight sets.
  • Petra Kvitova, a player I have my eye on, takes out Sorana Cirstea 6-2, 6-2.
  • American Vania King set to play decisive match against Daniela Hantuchova tomorrow.
  • Serena and Venus Williams team up to continue their doubles major title string up success. They’re shooting for five in a row.

The ATP:

  • Rafael Nadal, Andy Murray, Sam Querrey, and Robin Soderling advance in three sets.
  • Jo-Wilfried Tsonga comes back strong in first match after retiring at the French Open.
  • Seeds Nicholas Almagro, Juan Carlos Ferrero, and Marcos Baghdatis fall, while unseeded American James Blake continues to struggle. Fabio Fognini upset Fernando Verdasco, too.
  • John Isner’s match is held at two sets apiece against Nicholas Mahut.

Ivanovic, Monfils Melt; Americans Advance

Well, another day of drama came and went at Roland Garros with the losses of two former success stories at the French Open: Ana Ivanovic, the champion of the tournament two years ago and Gael Monfils, a semifinalist in 2008 and a quarterfinalist last year.

Ivanovic, who looked to be coming back to solid form with some strong play that took her to the semifinals in Rome just weeks ago, lost in a lopsided 6-3, 6-0 affair to Alisa Kleybanova. Just two years ago when her confidence was at its peak and her playing superb, Ivanovic would have easily dismantled the number 28 seed. Sadly, this is not the case any more. Her compatriot, Jelena Jankovic, considered a heavy favorite to win the title, won.

Monfils’ story on the other hand was a much closer affair. The Frenchman played against Fabio Fognini in a two-day, epic affair. He lost 2-6, 4-6, 7-5, 6-4, 9-7. Monfils had been serving for the match at one point, but was unable to close it out. His mental game was simply not there as is typically the case for this man, who is considered one of the most athletic players in the world.

The American men, however, fared much better. Wins were posted by Andy Roddick and John Isner. We’ll see if they can keep the momentum going into the next round, although it is likely to be a tough task.

Things Get Heated On and Off the Red Clay of Roland Garros

With players verbally attacking one another, others quitting, upsets occurring, and poor decisions being made by French Open officials, this year’s event at Roland Garros proves to be highly dramatic. Who’s involved in the fray so far? We have Marion Bartoli and Aravane Rezai engaged in some bad blood over media coverage, American Sam Querrey feeling discouraged after a first round loss to veteran Robby Ginepri and pulling out of the doubles event, and the curious cases of the French throwing the French under the bus. Yup, that’s right. Jo-Wilfriend Tsonga, Richard Gasquet, and Gael Monfils were forced to play (or made to stop playing) to both players’ chagrin. What a tournament, and it’s still only the first week!

Let’s take a look at each case.

1. The Case of the Verbal French Cat Fight:

Rezai openly said that Bartoli is jealous of the spotlight being given to her, despite her lower ranking. “Marion is a difficult girl. She already attacked me two years ago when I reached the final in Istanbul,” said Rezai. “If she has a problem with me, I don’t know, because I did nothing. That’s a bit of a shame, but that’s her education. I mean, she attacked me many times in the press. She reportedly said:

“I don’t have the same education as the one she has. I think I have respect for players. I do what I have to do. I get on with many people. But with Marion, it’s very difficult. She has difficulties getting included with the other girls.”

Well, Bartoli has every right to get angry in my opinion. She’s the one to have made it to a Grand Slam final, she’s ranked higher, has the experience, etc. But the fact of the matter is she simply doesn’t have the “it” factor. Without that, she’ll be pushed aside by the up-and-comers. She’s different, she’s no younger, beautiful teenager. She uses two hands on both sides and a highly unorthodox father. Her destiny is, and will probably remain, relative anonymity. In the meantime, let the cat fight ensue. It’s interesting stuff.

2. Querrey’s Poor Attitude

Contrasted to the first French fiasco is an American’s problem, not with anyone else but himself. Querrey, after losing to Ginepri, pulled out of the double’s event, too. Basically, just when things were looking up for American men’s tennis, just when there seemed to be someone else to count on besides Andy Roddick, we’ve taken another step back. Sure, we have the giant John Isner, but only one guy isn’t enough. Querrey needs to find himself again and fast. For the sake of his career and the country’s tennis future.

3. French Men Fried

A final example of the drama intensifying the clay Slam is the poor treatment of French players Tsonga, Monfils, and Gasquet. Both Tsonga and Gasquet wanted to started later, but to no avail. Instead, they were forced to play under difficult physical conditions.

Tsonga said in a recent statement: “Frankly, I was a bit disappointed because I was playing on a Sunday. I had asked not to play on a Sunday, absolutely, because I had practiced in such a way that I thought I wanted to play on a Monday or Tuesday, to be totally fit. But they imposed it on me.”

While Tsonga won in five, Gasquet lost in five. Maybe not the best idea? Monfils, too, has problems of his own. According to an Associated Press article, “Local favorite…Monfils of France survived three match points in a thrilling second round match against Fabio Fognini that was suspended because of darkness at the French Open on Wednesday.” Regardless of whether or not Monfils wanted to keep playing, it just shows that the French might not be filling at home at their own tournament. Maybe a move to another venue would be better after all….

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