Tenaciously Tennis

World Number Ones Advance Easily on Day Two; Others Lose Sets, but Win

On the second day of action at Roland Garros, the world number ones Serena Williams and Roger Federer dispatched their opponents to advance to the second round. Serena defeated Stefanie Voegele 7-6(2), 6-2, while Federer took out Peter Luczak, 6-4, 6-1, 6-2. Although a little hiccup in the first set, the score in the second presents a bright future for the younger Williams sister. For Federer, things couldn’t get any better.

In other WTA matches, Caroline Wozniacki won her match against Alla Kudryavsteva, 6-0, 6-3, Jelena Jankovic, a favorite to potentially win the event beat Alicia Molik, 6-0, 6-4, and Elena Dementieva of Russian ended Petra Martic’s journey, 6-1, 6-1.

On the ATP side, hiccups ensued as Novak Djokovic, Andy Murray, Fernando Gonzalez, and Gael Monfils all dropped sets in their first round matches to move on. Murray of Great Britain had an especially difficult time against Richard Gasquet of France, taking five sets to win, 4-6, 6 -7 (5), 6-4, 6-2, 6-1. According to an Associated Press article, Gasquet was in firm control at the beginning of the match, until he let up after being up two sets and a break in the third. This, the article continues, mirrors another battle between the two when “Murray…rallied from two sets down to beat Gasquet at Wimbledon to reach the quarterfinals in 2008.”

For Murray to win so easily in the remaining two sets should give him confidence going into the next round. It would be wise to discount the first two sets in the upcoming rounds. We’ll be seeing a lot more of Murray yet. And Serena and Federer for that matter.


Nadal, Federer, or the Field – Who Will Win?

Well, I recently took a look at the WTA tour, and the potential winners for the French, deeming Justine Henin and Venus Williams as probably finalists based on their draws. However, the decision to name both was not an easy pick. On the men’s side, things are a little different. Okay, much different. Right now, I can say with some confidence that the final will once again be like the days of old. Yes, that’s correct. I’m going with the safe bet and betting on a Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal final.

Just for the heck of it, we’ll take a look at the draw. Can anyone follow the lead of Robin Soderling last year, the David to Nadal’s Goliath? Probably not, but with tennis, or sport in general, you never really know.

The First Quarter: The players of note include – Federer (1), Gael Monfils (13), Marin Cilic (10), and Soderling (5).Without too much worry, I’m writing Federer into the quarterfinals. There, I see him facing Soderling. I seriously doubt, however, that Soderling can do the unthinkable and take out Federer before the semifinals of a Grand Slam. So, I won’t even entertain the thought. Yes, Soderling’s confidence will be at a high, but this repeat of last year’s final will see the same three set ending.

The Second Quarter: Here, we have Andy Murray (4), Marcos Baghdatis (25), John Isner (17), and Jo-Wilfried Tsonga (8). From these names, Murray is the obvious pick for the first spot, while Tsonga looks strong for the second. However, Murray will be the one with the much more difficult time with Baghdatis and Isner in his section. Look for the Brit to pull-out his magic against these two in four or five sets.

The Third Quarter: The only real names that can be a real threat to dethrone the Nadal-Federer rivalry are Andy Roddick (6) and Novak Djokovic (3). And those two won’t be able to pull it off anyway. I see them meeting in the quarterfinals with Djokovic coming out the victor. Roddick is highly susceptible to falling early in Paris and will probably do so with very little play on clay in the season leading up to Roland Garros. Actually, scratch that. Roddick hasn’t played on clay at all, or on any other surface since his win in Miami at the end of March.

The Fourth Quarter: Plain and simple – Nadal (2). Enough said. Good luck to compatriot Fernando Verdasco (7), Fernando Gonzalez (12), Ivan Ljubicic (14), and the veteran Lleyton Hewitt (28). They’ll all need it to put even a dent in Nadal’s superior clay game.

In sum the results will look something like this: Federer will beat out Soderling; Murray will take out Tsonga; Djokovic will dismantle a rusty Roddick (if the American can even make it that far); and Nadal will just win, probably against Verdasco, who really has no business being on the same court as the other Spaniard.

Federer will win in three against Murray and Nadal will beat Djokovic, unless the Serb retires from the match as he is accustomed to doing. Thus, we have ourselves a pretty clear-cut Grand Slam.

Take a look at the full draw here.

Federer, Nadal In and Del Potro, Gonzalez Out

Despite recent illness from Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal’s ailing knee, both champions have committed to playing the 2010 BNP Paribas Open at Indian Wells. However, just when it looked like the top men would be well enough to compete together, word has reached that Juan Martin Del Potro and Fernando Gonzalez will be pulling out of the event. While Del Potro continues to suffer from a right wrist injury, Gonzalez will be staying in Chile to help out ongoing relief efforts from the recent earthquakes that wracked his country.

Gonzalez’s decision is to be applauded. His commitment to helping Chile is exceptional. Hopefully, the top players can band together as they did in wake of the Haiti earthquake and help out the Chilean relief effort, too.

As for Federer and Nadal playing the event, it will certainly amp up the competition’s level. Weeks previously, the tournament looked to be without these two players with only Serbia’s Novak Djokovic to seem the only contender left to take the tournament, especially in light of Andy Murray’s poor play in Dubai.

However, everything has changed now, for the better. It will be interesting to see if Federer’s lung infection has healed well enough to give the Swiss star a fighting chance. Moreover, can Nadal show that he’s ready to play his physical game once again and prevail? Only time will tell. Indian Wells just got a whole lot more interesting this year, that’s for sure.

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