Julien Benneteau of France reacts after defeating Roger Federer of Switzerland in the Paris Masters tennis tournament November 11, 2009.
Another day, another outstanding performance by a native son.
First time I saw Julien Benneteau strike a ball was back in 2004. He was beating the crap out of eventual runner-up Guillermo Coria in the third set of their round of 16 at Miami. He had all the shots and was using them viciously.
And then he choked.
Since then he hasn't done anything significant except upset a top player at this or that event. But he's got the weaponry and if he's inspired, he's more than dangerous.
Today was Roger Federer's turn to feel the sting of the French underachiever. And the world No. 1 didn't play poorly. He seemed a bit shell shocked with a tendency toward tentative, but he wasn't flailing like he does when's he's completely disinterested or befuddled.
He wanted to win this match.
But Bennetau let the crowd lift him over the finish line, just as his compatriot the day before. He served brilliantly, retrieved like a backboard, and outsmarted Raja when it mattered most. He wept after victory. Sat down in his chair, cradled his face in his hands.
I'm still trying to decide if the all-Spanish affair that took more than three hours to complete was the worst match I've seen on the ATP in 2009.
Rafal Nadal played like an amateur. Nicolas Almagro choked like a headcase:
Five. Match. Points.
I don't think I've seen anything like it.
Marat Safin of Russia reacts during his match against Juan Martín Del Potro of Argentina in the Paris Masters tennis tournament November 11, 2009.
The Mercurial One bid tennis farewell. The newly crowned US Open champion ended his idol's career.
Singles - Second Round
J Benneteau (FRA) d  R Federer (SUI) 36 76(4) 64
 R Nadal (ESP) d N Almagro (ESP) 36 76(2) 75 - Saved 5 M.P.
 N Djokovic (SRB) d J Monaco (ARG) 63 75
 A Murray (GBR) d J Blake (USA) 62 67(3) 76(4)
 J Del Potro (ARG) d [WC] M Safin (RUS) 64 57 64
 R Soderling (SWE) d I Karlovic (CRO) 64 76(6)
 F Gonzalez (CHI) d J Isner (USA) 75 76(3)
 M Cilic (CRO) d [Q] L Kubot (POL) 67(3) 64 62
 R Stepanek (CZE) d V Troicki (SRB) 64 60
 T Robredo (ESP) d T Berdych (CZE) 64 64
 G Monfils (FRA) d [Q] D Guez (FRA) 64 75
[Q] A Clement (FRA) d  T Haas (GER) 57 63 76(8) - Saved 1 M.P.
Doubles - Second Round
S Aspelin (SWE) / P Hanley (AUS) d  M Bhupathi (IND) / M Knowles (BAH) 64 67(6) 10-7
 F Cermak (CZE) / M Mertinak (SVK) d B Soares (BRA) / K Ullyett (ZIM) 63 64
J Kerr (AUS) / T Parrott (USA) d  L Dlouhy (CZE) / L Paes (IND) 67(5) 64 10-5
M Granollers (ESP) / T Robredo (ESP) d  W Moodie (RSA) / D Norman (BEL) 64 75
 M Fyrstenberg (POL) / M Matkowski (POL) d J Brunstrom (SWE) / J Rojer (AHO) 64 76(5)