Thursday, May 28, 2009

Day 5: Le Colisée

French player Jo-Wilfried Tsonga (R) shakes hands with Argentinian player Juan Monaco at the end of their French Open tennis second round match on May 28, 2009 at Roland Garros stadium in Paris. Tsonga won 7-5, 2-6, 6-1, 7-6.

I wasn't able to see the whole match, but the battle royale that unfolded on Court Philippe Chatrier between native son Jo-Wilfried Tsonga and Argentine Juan Monaco had all the character of an ancient gladiatorial contest.

I swear. The terra battue was red with blood by the time the last ball was struck. It was the most intense physical battle I've seen since that Australian Open semifinal in January. You know the one.

If you weren't in the same room and you heard, through, say, an open door, the gladiators trying to vanquish each other, you would've thought a sharp-horned goat was butting them in the gut again and again.

The native son prevailed 7-5, 2-6, 6-1, 7-6(8).

Speaking of native sons, Jeremy Chardy advanced in five sets, Gaël Monfils and Marc Gicquel in four, Paul-Henri Mathieu in straights.


US player Venus Williams (R) shakes hands with Czech player Lucie Safarova at the end of their French Open tennis second round match on May 28, 2009 at Roland Garros stadium in Paris. The event, the second Grand Slam tournament of 2009, runs from May 24 to June 7, 2009. Williams won 6-7, 6-2, 7-5.

Earlier, Venus Williams raised the decibel level on her grunts to fight off a match point with a backhand winner down the line, thank you very much, against a gritty, slapstick-hitting, side-eye giving Lucie Safarova in their match held over from yesterday.

Ring a bell? What is it about these itty-bitty Czech women able to hit the cover off the ball?

Safarova got tight when it really mattered, missing a forehand down the line up 5-4, 30-0 on Venus' serve and boy did she pay the price. Three match points in a row might have been too wild a lion for Venus to slay. If anybody could do it, she could. But she didn't have to. One was all Safarova got. Her heart had to hurt watching that backhand clean the baseline as it whizzed by. Two games later, when her forehand hit the net cord and fell back on her side, Safarova was out of the tournament. 6-7(5), 6-2, 7-5.


There's a headline about the classy comeback of Roger Federer against Jose Acasuso. I've said all I'm going to say about that match in the open thread earlier today and on twitter.

I'm still trying to digest that American male tennis player's march to the third round without dropping a set. And he took out a Czech player (there's a theme here) who defeated a Spanish clay court specialist in the first round in straight sets.


Almost forgot. If you blinked, you missed a focused and serene Serena Williams demolish Virginia Ruano Pascual 6-2, 6-0 in less than an hour.

PARIS - MAY 28:  Serena Williams of the USA (R) and Virginia Ruano Pascual of Spain meet at the net following their Women's Singles Second Round match on day five of the French Open at Roland Garros on May 28, 2009 in Paris, France.


Beth said...

The decibel level is what actually turned me off (big time from watching Venus's match - you'd think someone was cutting her Achilles or something?????) but, hey, good for Venus for pulling out. And even better for Serena for kicking butt in such a commanding way. That's the Serena I want to see and not the fending-off-9-match points kind. I suppose we all have our good and bad days. Glad for Serena that this was such a good day.

Beth said...

Meant to say good for Venus for pulling it off!

Pamela said...

I'll say it:

Acasuso CHOKED. Federer didn't disply any determination and grit. He swung a few times and watched his opponent implode. It was sad to see.

Tsonga ... man ... I heart his game, I just do. Big man, strong with an excellent touch. Reminds me of ... nevermind, I won't bring him up right now. That was an awesome 4th set. They were slugging it out like boxers. I kept thinking "geez, the athleticims ... can that forehand get any bigger?" Great stuff.

Serena, was serene today - good for her.

Graf_sampras said...

beautifully described by Craighickman in the Thread Cover!

Ancient Gladiatorial Combat , truly!

that's what you call, players who respect each other's game, respect the game, respect the audience,

BUT play UNawed by the other!!

Graf_sampras said...

and the faces of the players - after the match - joy at being part of such intense battle...and PRIDE in what they each did and contributed, no matter the winner or loser.

that's VERY rare in tennis.

that's the kind of competing that makes you want to go out THERE and TRY it yourself!!!

to find out what that exhileration is like to be part of something as good as that!