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.
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.