Monday, May 30, 2011

Roland Garros 2011: Men's Quarterfinals Preview

by Mad Professah, contributing writer


Rafael Nadal ESP (1) vs. Robin Soderling SWE (5). The dream quarterfinal. Rafael Nadal has only ever lost one match at Roland Garros, and it was to his quarterfinal opponent, the World #5 tall, muscular Swede Robin Soderling. He defeated the 4-time defending champion in 2009, in one of the greatest upsets in sports of the last decade; Soderling followed up that upset by repeating it the following year by beating the defending champion Roger Federer in the quarterfinals to end Federer's incredible streak of 23 consecutive Grand Slam semifinals. Nadal does not appear to be playing his best tennis this year but still must be considered the favorite considering his overall clay court record. However, Nadal's confidence must be shaken by his two recent losses to Djokovic in two clay court Masters finals this season. Soderling does not lack confidence, and if he plays his best tennis against Nadal's not-best tennis, he will repeat his 2009 result. If Nadal plays at his 2010 level, then the defending champion should get through and possibly win a 6th Roland Garros title, tying Bjorn Borg's record. PREDICTION: Soderling in 4 sets.

Andy Murray GBR (4) vs. Juan Ignacio Chela ARG. Andy Murray's dream draw turned into a nightmare during his 3rd round victory over a lefty qualifier Michael Berrer when he badly twisted his ankle in a 3-set win. He started his next round gingerly, losing the first 5 games of his 4th round match with Serbian Viktor Troicki. The World #4 came within one point of drawing even in the first set but ultimately ended up losing the first two sets 6-4 6-4. However, his movement and attitude visibly improved and he was able to force a fifth and deciding set before darkness fell. I presume he will be able to win the deciding fifth set when play resumes on Tuesday and should have no problem dismissing the 31-year-old Argentine clay court specialist playing in his 3rd career major quarterfinal on Thursday. PREDICTION: Murray in 3 sets.

Gael Monfils FRA (9) vs. Roger Federer SUI (3). Federer continues to write his name in the tennis record books by reaching his 28th consecutive major quarterfinal with an efficient dispatch of countryman Stanislas Wawrinka in the 4th round. While Djokovic is winning universal acclaim and attention by continuing his flawless 2011 season, Federer continues to demonstrate why he has been at the upper echelon of men's tennis for the last seven consecutive years. There are few players in the Top 10 who have even played 28 consecutive major tournaments, and Federer has been in the last 8 or better in 28 consecutive major tournaments. His opponent is the Pride of France, "La Monf" who is in his 3rd quarterfinal at Roland Garros in 4 years. Unfortunately for the Frenchman, he has never won a match on clay against Federer. In fact, last fall in front of a Paris crowd, Monfils won his first match ever (in 6 tries) against the Swiss Great when he saved an incredible 5 match points and went on to win one of the best matches of the year in three tiebreak sets. However, getting through a tough 5-set against the always hard-to-beat David Ferrer in the 4th round was another indicator that the excessively talented, prodigiously athletic Monfils' results may start matching his potential. Federer is yet to lose a set in his 2011 appearance at Roland Garros, and while I expect that streak to end, I also expect he will again find a way to yet another major semifinal and a historic showdown with Novak Djokovic. PREDICTION: Federer in 4 sets.

Fabio Fognini ITA vs. Novak Djokovic SRB (2). The quarterfinal that wasn't. The puckishly handsome Italian showed he was more than just a pretty face by outlasting clay court specialist Albert Montanes 11-9 in the fifth set despite being unable to move due to suffering a muscle tear (or cramps?) in his leg at 5-6, 15-30. Fognini basically started blasting winners into all the corners on the court to erase 5 match points and controversially emerged with the win. However, he knew that he would have no chance against the red-hot Serbian who has yet to lose a match in 2011 and thus withdrew (on advice of his doctors, who confirmed a 1cm muscle tear via MRI). This is both good news and bad news for Djokovic. It means that he is at least one round further in the tournament than he was last year, which is good news for his campaign to become World #1. He just needs to win one more match to reach his first French Open final and he will attain this goal of being acknowledged (by the computer) as the #1 player in the world. All Djokovic has to do is either beat 16-time major champion Roger Federer or hometown favorite Gael Monfils coming off the biggest win of his career in the semifinals on Friday. Getting to this point via walkover is bad news for Djokovic because he doesn't get credit for the win, so his streak remains at 41-0 for 2011 and that means he can only break John McEnroe's 1984 streak of 42-0 by winning the entire tournament. Plus it means he has a bizarre 4-day break in the middle of a major tournament after playing 3 consecutive days. It will be interesting to see what, if any, these factors have on Djokovic's play in the semifinal. I suspect nothing will deny Djokovic's date with destiny.

Roland Garros 2011: Women's Quarterfinals Preview

by Mad Professah, contributing writer

Here are my predictions for the women's quarterfinals at Roland Garros this year. Last year, I was correct in 2 of 4 2010 French Open women's quarterfinal predictions.

Svetlana Kuznetsova RUS (13) vs. Marion Bartoli FRA (11). The 2007 Wimbledon finalist has reached her first quarterfinal at her country's major tournament for the first time. She will face Kuznetsova, one of only two women left in the tournament who have won the entire event (the other, of course is Francesca Schiavone who won last year). In fact, Kuznetsova lost the final in 2006 and won the final in 2009. While Bartoli won her match when Gisela Dulko retired in the second set, Kuznetsova won a hard-fought 3-set affair with Daniela Hantuchova who had easily dismissed World #1 and top-seeded Caroline Wozniacki the round before. This could be a very ugly affair, with both players trying to lose the match, I believe that Kutnetsova's prodigious talent will be the deciding factor. PREDICTION: Kuznetsova in 3 sets.

Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova RUS (14) vs. Francesca Schiavone ITA (5).  The 2010 French Open defending champion made it through to this quarterfinal by winning a marathon 2 hour, 40-minute battle with 3-time French Open semifinalist (and former World #1)  Jelena Jankovic which featured over 30 breakpoints combined. The passionate Italian faces the talented Russian youngster who took out the last remaining top seed in World #3 Vera Zvonareva to reach her first career major quarterfinal. Pavlyuchenkova hits the ball hard and flat on both wings, while Schiavone rarely hits the ball the same way twice, and actually wants to move forward to show off her sterling net play. Plus Schiavone has the benefit of knowing that her style of play can be rewarded on the red clay courts of Paris from last year.   PREDICTION: Schiavone in 2 sets.

Petra Kvitova CZE (9) Na Li CHN (6) vs. Victoria Azarenka BLR (4). The hard-hitting lefty Petra Kvitova was my call to win the entire tournament before it began. But, 2011 Australian Open finalist Li is also one of my favorite players. Kvitova was up 3-0 in the deciding set but then collapsed completely to lose 6 consecutive games and the match. Li continues to make history, becoming the first Chinese player, male or female, to reach the quarterfinals at the French Open. Azarenka is one of the hottest players on the women's tour, and despite never having won a quarterfinal at any major is the betting favorite to win the tournament, primarily due to her position as the top remaining seed in the draw at #4. Head-to-head Li actually leads Azarenka 3-1, including a straight set beating in the Round of 16 in Melbourne this year, but the two have never met on clay. Azarenka should use this opportunity to make her breakthrough at a major, but will the pressure of being the favorite get to her head? Li has the advantage of already making her breakthrough in a grand slam earlier this year. This match should be decided by who wants it more and should be a high quality affair. PREDICTIONLi in 3 sets.

Maria Sharapova RUS (7) vs. Andrea Petkovic GER (15). Could this really be Sharapova's year to win the French Open? If so, she needs to get through matches like this next one. In Petkovic she is playing a player who beat her in the previous major played this year and is unafraid of the 3-time major champion's firepower. Sharapova was able to get revenge a few months later in Miami and leads their career head-to-head 2-1, all played on hard courts. The two have never played on hard courts, but this match will be played on clay which us Sharapova's worst surface. Both players have won clay court titles this year. I have seen all of Sharapova's matches played at Roland Garros this year but none of Petkovic's. I suspect that the fact that Sharapova is in her 14th major quarterfinal (only her 2nd in the last two years) while Petkovic is in her second quarterfinal of her career despite the two being born in the same year will be the ultimate deciding factor. PREDICTION: Sharapova in 3 sets.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Roland Garros 2011 Day 9 Open Thread

Fans try to obtain autographs at the French Open tennis  championship at the Roland Garros stadium, on May 29, 2011, in Paris.
Getty

Fans try to obtain autographs at the French Open tennis championship at the Roland Garros stadium, on May 29, 2011, in Paris.

::

More round of 16 matches on the schedule for today.

Li Na will face Petra Kvitova for the second time this season on clay. The result should be the same with the Madrid champion advancing to her first Roland Garros quarterfinal.

Maria Sharapova is going to have to work to beat back Agnieszka Radwanska, but I think she'll ultimately overpower her. Unless, of course, the Rome champion won't reach all those drop shots the one some call the Polish Ninja is sure to shoot her way.

Victoria Azarenka is favored to reach another Slam quarterfinal here, but Ekaterina Makarova has a tendency to upset favored players in Slams.

Maria Kirilenko is quietly doing her thing and now she gets to face one of the tour's most entertaining players in Andrea Petkovic. I have a feeling....

::

Rafael Nadal won't be troubled at all by Ivan Ljubicic, despite looking as though the defending champ is short on confidence.

The way Gilles Simon is playing, I won't be at all shocked if he sends the two-time runner-up home early this year. Yes, Robin Söderling's got all that power, but Simon has the perfect game to use it against him. Both of Simon's victories have come against the Swede in France. Can he make it three?

In the battle of South Americans, I believe Alejandro Falla will dismiss Juan Ignacio Chela. Five sets, no?

If Andy Murray can't run and Viktor Troicki doesn't choke, the Serbian makes his first Slam quarterfinal. That might happen even if Murray is fast as a gazelle, despite their lopsided 3-0 head-to-head. Troicki just seems inspired to me.

Who you got?

Roland Garros 2011 Day 8 Open Thread

PARIS, FRANCE - MAY 28:  Andy Murray of Great Britain signs  autographs for the fans following his victory during the men's singles  round three match between Andy Murray of Great Britain and Michael  Berrer of Germany on day seven of the French Open at Roland Garros on  May 28, 2011 in Paris, France.
Getty

Andy Murray of Great Britain signs autographs for the fans following his victory during the men's singles round three match between Andy Murray of Great Britain and Michael Berrer of Germany on day seven of the French Open at Roland Garros on May 28, 2011 in Paris, France.

::

It's the round of 16, the most intriguing round of a Slam.

Two men, Fabio Fognini and Albert Montanes, have come this far for the first time and they play each other. The Spaniard should take it.

Roger Federer will have his way with his compatriot Stanislas Wawrinka because, well, he almost always does, especially in Slams.

Gael Monfils has beaten David Ferrer both times they've played and I don't see why he won't again.

If Richard Gasquet, who's never been this far at his home Slam, is to end Novak Djokovic's streak, he better take the first set. If not, the Unbeatable One remains.

Vera Zvonareva will be up against the power of Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova, but her ability to absorb it should do her well. She'll probably need three sets. But only if she finds her first serve. Otherwise, the world No. 3 will be the next to depart.

Marion Bartoli should use the crowd to get by Gisela Dulko who doesn't always back up big Slam upsets with victories.

Defending champion Francesca Schiavone is going to have to pick apart Jelena Jankovic's serve in order to get to the final eight. I'm not so sure she can or will.

Former champion Svetlana Kuznetsova is so far under the radar I didn't even realize she was still in the draw. She should end the run of Daniela Hantuchova who made mincemeat of the computer's No. 1 in the third.

Who you got?

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Roland Garros 2011 Day 7 Open Thread

PARIS, FRANCE - MAY 27:  Daniela Hantuchova of Slovakia celebrates  match point during the women's singles round three match between  Caroline Wozniacki of Denmark and Daniela Hantuchova of Slovakia on day  six of the French Open at Roland Garros on May 27, 2011 in Paris,  France.
Getty

Yesterday, the computer's No. 1 was bludgeoned by a Daniela Hantuchova the world hasn't seen a long, long time. The ease with which the Slovak can change directions on the ball is more than impressive. I kept seeing flashbacks of her rail thin body with sagging skin. What hell she went through. That part of her story is past, but she's emerged the better for it. Only once did her nerves show when trying to close out the match.

Richard Gasquet advanced to the fourth round of his home Slam for the first time in his career. Jo-Wilfried Tsonga bowed out after being up two sets to love. Gael Monfils also advanced. Marion Bartoli rallied to dismiss Julia Goerges in three sets. Not a bad day for France at all.

::

Today, the third-round is completed, including the heldover match between Novak Djokovic and Juan Martin del Potro.

Schedule for Day 7: Saturday, 28 May 2011 - Singles - REVISED

Court Philippe Chatrier 11:00 AM Start Time

1. Women's Singles - 3rd Round
Roberta Vinci (ITA)[30] v. Victoria Azarenka (BLR)[4]
2. Men's Singles - 3rd Round
Rafael Nadal (ESP)[1] v. Antonio Veic (CRO)
3. Men's Singles - 3rd Round
Mardy Fish (USA)[10] v. Gilles Simon (FRA)[18]
4. Women's Singles - 3rd Round
Maria Sharapova (RUS)[7] v. Yung-Jan Chan (TPE)

Court Suzanne Lenglen 11:00 AM Start Time

1. Women's Singles - 3rd Round
Na Li (CHN)[6] v. Sorana Cirstea (ROU)
2. Men's Singles - 3rd Round
Andy Murray (GBR)[4] v. Michael Berrer (GER)
Not Before:1:00 PM
3. Men's Singles - 3rd Round
Juan Martin Del Potro (ARG)[25] v. Novak Djokovic (SRB)[2]
To Finish 3-6 6-3
4. Women's Singles - 3rd Round
Yanina Wickmayer (BEL)[21] v. Agnieszka Radwanska (POL)[12]
5. Men's Singles - 3rd Round
Leonardo Mayer (ARG) v. Robin Soderling (SWE)[5]

Court 1 11:00 AM Start Time

1. Men's Singles - 3rd Round
Alexandr Dolgopolov (UKR)[21] v. Viktor Troicki (SRB)[15]
2. Women's Singles - 3rd Round
Andrea Petkovic (GER)[15] v. Jarmila Gajdosova (AUS)[24]
3. Men's Singles - 3rd Round
Ivan Ljubicic (CRO) v. Fernando Verdasco (ESP)[16]
4. Women's Singles - 3rd Round
Maria Kirilenko (RUS)[25] v. Arantxa Rus (NED)

Court 2 11:00 AM Start Time

Not before 12:30 PM
2. Women's Singles - 3rd Round
Kaia Kanepi (EST)[16] v. Ekaterina Makarova (RUS)
3. Men's Singles - 3rd Round
Lukasz Kubot (POL) v. Alejandro Falla (COL)

Court 7 11:00 AM Start Time

1. Women's Singles - 3rd Round
Vania King (USA) v. Petra Kvitova (CZE)[9]
2. Men's Singles - 3rd Round
Juan Ignacio Chela (ARG) v. Lukas Rosol (CZE)

Friday, May 27, 2011

Roland Garros 2011 Day 6 Open Thread

A  picture taken on May 27, 2011, in Paris shows people queueing at the  entrance of the Roland Garros stadium to attend the French Open tennis  championship.
Getty

I overslept this morning. Was up way past my bedtime.

The third round is where the rubber meets the road. It can feature some of the best matches of the entire event. Today will be no different.

What upsets do you see?

Schedule for Day 6: Friday, 27 May 2011 SINGLES

Court Philippe Chatrier 11:00 AM Start Time

1.Women's Singles - 3rd Round
Gisela Dulko (ARG) v. Samantha Stosur (AUS)[8]
2.Women's Singles - 3rd Round
Marion Bartoli (FRA)[11] v. Julia Goerges (GER)[17]
3.Men's Singles - 3rd Round
Stanislas Wawrinka (SUI)[14] v.Jo-Wilfried Tsonga (FRA)[17]
4.Men's Singles - 3rd Round
Juan Martin Del Potro (ARG)[25] v. Novak Djokovic (SRB)[2]

Court Suzanne Lenglen 11:00 AM Start Time

1.Women's Singles - 3rd Round
Shuai Peng (CHN)[29] v. Francesca Schiavone (ITA)[5]
2.Men's Singles - 3rd Round
Janko Tipsarevic (SRB)[29] v. Roger Federer (SUI)[3]
3.Women's Singles - 3rd Round
Caroline Wozniacki (DEN)[1] v. Daniela Hantuchova (SVK)[28]
4.Men's Singles - 3rd Round
Richard Gasquet (FRA)[13] v. Thomaz Bellucci (BRA)[23]

Court 1 11:00 AM Start Time

1.Men's Singles - 3rd Round
David Ferrer (ESP)[7] v. Sergiy Stakhovsky (UKR)[31]
2.Women's Singles - 3rd Round
Rebecca Marino (CAN) v. Svetlana Kuznetsova (RUS)[13]
3.Men's Singles - 3rd Round
Steve Darcis (BEL) v. Gael Monfils (FRA)[9]
4.Women's Singles - 3rd Round
Vera Zvonareva (RUS)[3] v. Anastasia Rodionova (AUS)

Court 2 11:00 AM Start Time

2.Women's Singles - 3rd Round
Jelena Jankovic (SRB)[10] v. Bethanie Mattek-Sands (USA)
3.Men's Singles - 3rd Round
Albert Montanes (ESP) v.Mikhail Youzhny (RUS)[12]

Court 7 11:00 AM Start Time

2.Men's Singles - 3rd Round
Fabio Fognini (ITA) v. Guillermo Garcia-Lopez (ESP)[30]
4.Women's Singles - 3rd Round
Nuria Llagostera Vives (ESP) v. Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova (RUS)[14]

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Roland Garros 2011 Day 5 Open Thread

PARIS, FRANCE - MAY 25:  Jelena Jankovic of Serbia signs autographs  for fans after the women's singles round two match between Jelena  Jankovic of Serbia and Vera Dushevina of Russia on day four of the  French Open at Roland Garros on May 25, 2011 in Paris, France.
Getty

Jelena Jankovic of Serbia signs autographs for fans after her match against Vera Dushevina of Russia on day four of the French Open at Roland Garros on May 25, 2011 in Paris, France.

::
Second-round matches will be completed today.

Schedule for Day 5: Thursday, 26 May 2011 Singles

Court Philippe Chatrier 11:00 AM Start Time

1.Women's Singles - 2nd Round
Arantxa Rus (NED) v. Kim Clijsters (BEL)[2]
2.Men's Singles - 2nd Round
Andy Murray (GBR)[4] v.Simone Bolelli (ITA)
3.Women's Singles - 2nd Round
Maria Sharapova (RUS)[7] v. Caroline Garcia (FRA)
4.Men's Singles - 2nd Round
Jeremy Chardy (FRA) v. Gilles Simon (FRA)[18]

Court Suzanne Lenglen 11:00 AM Start Time

1.Men's Singles - 2nd Round
Albert Ramos (ESP) v. Robin Soderling (SWE)[5]
2.Women's Singles - 2nd Round
Na Li (CHN)[6] v. Silvia Soler-Espinosa (ESP)
3.Men's Singles - 2nd Round
Rafael Nadal (ESP)[1] v. Pablo Andujar (ESP)
4.Women's Singles - 2nd Round
Pauline Parmentier (FRA) v. Victoria Azarenka (BLR)[4]

Court 1 11:00 AM Start Time

1.Women's Singles - 2nd Round
Jie Zheng (CHN) v. Petra Kvitova (CZE)[9]
2.Men's Singles - 2nd Round
Xavier Malisse (BEL) v. Fernando Verdasco (ESP)[16]
3.Women's Singles - 2nd Round
Roberta Vinci (ITA)[30] v. Iryna Bremond (FRA)
4.Men's Singles - 2nd Round
Arnaud Clement (FRA) v. Michael Berrer (GER)

Court 2 11:00 AM Start Time

1.Women's Singles - 2nd Round
Sania Mirza (IND) v. Agnieszka Radwanska (POL)[12]
2.Men's Singles - 2nd Round
Mardy Fish (USA)[10] v. Robin Haase (NED)
3.Women's Singles - 2nd Round
Andrea Petkovic (GER)[15] v. Lucie Hradecka (CZE)
4.Men's Singles - 2nd Round
Lukas Rosol (CZE) v. Jurgen Melzer (AUT)[8]

Court 3 11:00 AM Start Time

1.Men's Singles - 2nd Round
Alejandro Falla (COL) v. Florian Mayer (GER)[20]
2.Men's Singles - 2nd Round
Marcos Baghdatis (CYP)[27] v. Leonardo Mayer (ARG)
3.Women's Singles - 2nd Round
Kaia Kanepi (EST)[16] v. Heather Watson (GBR)
4.Women's Singles - 2nd Round
A. Medina Garrigues (ESP) v. Jarmila Gajdosova (AUS)[24]

Court 5 11:00 AM Start Time

2.Men's Singles - 2nd Round
Lukasz Kubot (POL) v. Carlos Berlocq (ARG)
3.Women's Singles - 2nd Round
Ekaterina Makarova (RUS) v. Johanna Larsson (SWE)

Court 6 11:00 AM Start Time

1.Women's Singles - 2nd Round
Yanina Wickmayer (BEL)[21] v. Ayumi Morita (JPN)
2.Women's Singles - 2nd Round
Vania King (USA) v. Elena Baltacha (GBR)
3.Men's Singles - 2nd Round
Antonio Veic (CRO) v. Nikolay Davydenko (RUS)[28]
4.Men's Singles - 2nd Round
Alexandr Dolgopolov (UKR)[21] v. Andreas Haider-Maurer (AUT)

Court 7 11:00 AM Start Time

1.Men's Singles - 2nd Round
Sam Querrey (USA)[24] v. Ivan Ljubicic (CRO)
2.Women's Singles - 2nd Round
Maria Kirilenko (RUS)[25] v.Chanelle Scheepers (RSA)
4.Men's Singles - 2nd Round
Tobias Kamke (GER) v.Viktor Troicki (SRB)[15]

Court 17 11:00 AM Start Time

1.Women's Singles - 2nd Round
Sorana Cirstea (ROU) v. Alexandra Dulgheru (ROU)[27]
2.Women's Singles - 2nd Round
Jill Craybas (USA) v. Yung-Jan Chan (TPE)
4. Men's Singles - 2nd Round
Kevin Anderson (RSA)[32] v. Juan Ignacio Chela (ARG)

Gamesmanship Of The Day: Caroline Wozniacki

Caroline Wozniacki is the queen of gamesmanship. The computer's world No. 1 will do anything to win a match. Or so it seems.

Today, in the second set of her match against Canadian Alexandra Wozniak, a player on the mend from injury, a player who's always given the Polish Dane fits even though she's never beaten her in a completed match, down 3-6 in the second set tiebreak, the actress decided to perform. Badly.

"Why didn't you call it out in the first place?" was the last question the actress asked of the chair umpire after challenging the umpire's eyes on a crucial overrule that gave Wozniak all those set points.

Prior to that question, the actress improvised a horrid scene that went on for far too long, an intentional ploy to throw off her opponent's rhythm.

It worked. She won (or, more accurately, Wozniak lost, missing shots she hadn't missed all day) the next 5 points, the set and match, and that was that.

Pam Shriver called it a "bit of gamesmanship." Way beyond a bit, but at least she called her out. Then she criticized the chair umpire for allowing the argument to go on as along as it did, adding more ice to the hottest player in the tiebreak. Can always depend on Pammy Poo to tell the truth. Good for her.

Now tell me. Why does the computer's world No. 1 need to rely on such bullshit in order to win a match?

Because she knows she's a fraud. And her thigh is taped. And her daddy can't come out onto the court when she's down in a third set to tell her what to do.

That's why.

And save the "you're such a hater" comments. I'm not interested. What the WTA doesn't need is a player with the faux integrity of Justine Henin at the top of the charts, no matter how sweet a backhand. The actress doesn't even have that.

There. I said it.

Now I'm going to take a shower. The sun came out today for the first time in two weeks. It's hot. I'm sweaty. And I've got dinner to cook. See you in the morning.

Roland Garros 2011 Day 4 Open Thread

Switzerland's Patty Schnyder returns the ball to Romania's Sorana  Cirstea during their Women's first round match in the French Open tennis  championship at the Roland Garros stadium, on May 24, 2011, in Paris.
Getty

Today, second-round matches begin.

Yesterday, Patty Schnyder retired, John Isner pushed Rafael Nadal to 5 sets, lucky loser Ryan Harrison pushed Robin Söderling to 4, Sam Querrey upset Philipp Kohlschreiber, Vania King maintained her perfect record against Dominika Cibulkova, and the French crowd booed indiscriminately.

Schedule for Day 4: Wednesday, 25 May 2011 Singles Only

Court Philippe Chatrier 11:00 AM Start Time

1. Women's Singles - 2nd Round
Caroline Wozniacki (DEN)[1] v. Aleksandra Wozniak (CAN)
2. Men's Singles - 2nd Round
Guillaume Rufin (FRA) v. Gael Monfils (FRA)[9]
3. Men's Singles - 2nd Round
Victor Hanescu (ROU) v. Novak Djokovic (SRB)[2]
4. Women's Singles - 2nd Round
Vesna Dolonts (RUS) v. Francesca Schiavone (ITA)[5]

Court Suzanne Lenglen 11:00 AM Start Time

1. Men's Singles - 2nd Round
Maxime Teixeira (FRA) v. Roger Federer (SUI)[3]
2. Women's Singles - 2nd Round
Nuria Llagostera Vives (ESP) v. Alize Cornet (FRA)
3. Women's Singles - 2nd Round
Marion Bartoli (FRA)[11] v. Olga Govortsova (BLR)
4. Men's Singles - 2nd Round
Igor Andreev (RUS) v. Jo-Wilfried Tsonga (FRA)[17]

Court 1 11:00 AM Start Time

1. Women's Singles - 2nd Round
Simona Halep (ROU) v. Samantha Stosur (AUS)[8]
2. Men's Singles - 2nd Round
David Ferrer (ESP)[7] v. Julien Benneteau (FRA)
3. Men's Singles - 2nd Round
Richard Gasquet (FRA)[13] v. Marcel Granollers (ESP)
4. Women's Singles - 2nd Round
Vera Zvonareva (RUS)[3] v. Sabine Lisicki (GER)

Court 2 11:00 AM Start Time

1. Women's Singles - 2nd Round
Lucie Safarova (CZE) v. Julia Goerges (GER)[17]
2. Women's Singles - 2nd Round
Irina-Camelia Begu (ROU) v. Svetlana Kuznetsova (RUS)[13]
3. Men's Singles - 2nd Round
Juan Martin Del Potro (ARG)[25] v. Blaz Kavcic (SLO)
4. Men's Singles - 2nd Round
Stephane Robert (FRA) v. Fabio Fognini (ITA)

Court 3 11:00 AM Start Time

1. Women's Singles - 2nd Round
Bethanie Mattek-Sands (USA) v. Varvara Lepchenko (USA)
2. Women's Singles - 2nd Round
Jelena Jankovic (SRB)[10] v. Vera Dushevina (RUS)
3. Men's Singles - 2nd Round
Mikhail Kukushkin (KAZ) v. Mikhail Youzhny (RUS)[12]
4. Men's Singles - 2nd Round
Stanislas Wawrinka (SUI)[14] v. Thomas Schoorel (NED)

Court 5 11:00 AM Start Time

1. Women's Singles - 2nd Round
Edina Gallovits-Hall (ROU) v. Anastasia Rodionova (AUS)
2. Women's Singles - 2nd Round
Maria Jose Martinez Sanchez (ESP) v. Rebecca Marino (CAN)
3. Men's Singles - 2nd Round
Ruben Ramirez Hidalgo (ESP) v. Albert Montanes (ESP)

Court 6 11:00 AM Start Time

1. Men's Singles - 2nd Round
Kei Nishikori (JPN) v. Sergiy Stakhovsky (UKR)[31]
2. Women's Singles - 2nd Round
Shuai Peng (CHN)[29] v. Polona Hercog (SLO)
3. Men's Singles - 2nd Round
Andreas Seppi (ITA) v. Thomaz Bellucci (BRA)[23]

Court 7 11:00 AM Start Time

1. Men's Singles - 2nd Round
Janko Tipsarevic (SRB)[29] v. Pere Riba (ESP)
2. Women's Singles - 2nd Round
Sara Errani (ITA) v. Daniela Hantuchova (SVK)[28]
3. Men's Singles - 2nd Round
Steve Darcis (BEL) v. Philipp Petzschner (GER)

Court 17 11:00 AM Start Time

1. Women's Singles - 2nd Round
Tsvetana Pironkova (BUL)[32] v. Gisela Dulko (ARG)
2. Women's Singles - 2nd Round
Mona Barthel (GER) v. Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova (RUS)[14]

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Roland Garros 2011 Day 3 Open Thread

PARIS, FRANCE - MAY 23:  Juan Martin Del Potro of Argentina walks  past fans holding an Argentina flag during the men's singles first round  match between Juan Martin Del Potro of Argentina and Ivo Karlovic of  Croatia on day two of the French Open at Roland Garros on May 23, 2011  in Paris, France.
Getty

Juan Martin Del Potro of Argentina walks past fans holding an Argentina flag during the men's singles first round match between him and Ivo Karlovic of Croatia on day two of the French Open at Roland Garros on May 23, 2011 in Paris, France.

::

The rest of the top guns play their opening-round matches today. Anyone venture to guess why the men's defending champion doesn't take the court until Day 3?

Lots of interesting matchups on the schedule. Who will pull off surprise upsets today?

Schedule for Day 3: Tuesday, 24 May 2011 (Singles Only)

Court Philippe Chatrier 11:00 AM Start Time

1. Women's Singles - 1st Round
Virginie Razzano (FRA) v. Jarmila Gajdosova (AUS)[24]
2. Women's Singles - 1st Round
Maria Sharapova (RUS)[7] v. Mirjana Lucic (CRO)
3. Men's Singles - 1st Round
Rafael Nadal (ESP)[1] v. John Isner (USA)
4. Men's Singles - 1st Round
Michael Russell (USA) v. Gilles Simon (FRA)[18]

Court Suzanne Lenglen 11:00 AM Start Time

1. Men's Singles - 1st Round
Andy Murray (GBR)[4] v. Eric Prodon (FRA)
2. Women's Singles - 1st Round
Johanna Larsson (SWE) v. Ana Ivanovic (SRB)[20]
3. Men's Singles - 1st Round
Benjamin Becker (GER) v. Robin Soderling (SWE)[5]
4. Women's Singles - 1st Round
Anastasiya Yakimova (BLR) v. Kim Clijsters (BEL)[2]

Court 1 11:00 AM Start Time

1. Women's Singles - 1st Round
Na Li (CHN)[6] v. Barbora Zahlavova Strycova (CZE)
2. Men's Singles - 1st Round
Andreas Beck (GER) v. Jurgen Melzer (AUT)[8]
3. Women's Singles - 1st Round
Andrea Hlavackova (CZE) v. Victoria Azarenka (BLR)[4]
4. Men's Singles - 1st Round
Jeremy Chardy (FRA) v. Grigor DiMitrov (BUL)

Court 2 11:00 AM Start Time

1. Women's Singles - 1st Round
Zuzana Ondraskova (CZE) v. Caroline Garcia (FRA)
2. Men's Singles - 1st Round
Arnaud Clement (FRA) v. Filippo Volandri (ITA)
3. Men's Singles - 1st Round
Juan Monaco (ARG) v. Fernando Verdasco (ESP)[16]
4. Women's Singles - 1st Round
Andrea Petkovic (GER)[15] v. Bojana Jovanovski (SRB)

Court 3 11:00 AM Start Time

1. Men's Singles - 1st Round
Ivan Ljubicic (CRO) v. Somdev Devvarman (IND)
2. Women's Singles - 1st Round
Dominika Cibulkova (SVK)[22] v. Vania King (USA)
3. Men's Singles - 1st Round
Edouard Roger-Vasselin (FRA) v. Lukas Rosol (CZE)
4. Women's Singles - 1st Round
Pauline Parmentier (FRA) v. Ksenia Pervak (RUS)

Court 4 11:00 AM Start Time

1. Women's Singles - 1st Round
Corinna Dentoni (ITA) v. A. Medina Garrigues (ESP)
2. Men's Singles - 1st Round
Daniel Gimeno-Traver (ESP) v. Robin Haase (NED)
3. Women's Singles - 1st Round
Anastasija Sevastova (LAT) v. Lucie Hradecka (CZE)

Court 5 11:00 AM Start Time

1. Women's Singles - 1st Round
Silvia Soler-Espinosa (ESP) v. Elena Vesnina (RUS)
2. Men's Singles - 1st Round
Santiago Giraldo (COL) v. Pablo Andujar (ESP)
3. Women's Singles - 1st Round
Marina Erakovic (NZL) v. Arantxa Rus (NED)
4. Women's Singles - 1st Round
Laura Pous-Tio (ESP) v. Alexandra Dulgheru (ROU)[27]

Court 6 11:00 AM Start Time

1. Men's Singles - 1st Round
Alexandr Dolgopolov (UKR)[21] v. Rainer Schuettler (GER)
2. Men's Singles - 1st Round
Nicolas Almagro (ESP)[11] v. Lukasz Kubot (POL)
3. Women's Singles - 1st Round
Elena Baltacha (GBR) v. Sloane Stephens (USA)

Court 7 11:00 AM Start Time

1. Women's Singles - 1st Round
Kristina Mladenovic (FRA) v. Ayumi Morita (JPN)
2. Men's Singles - 1st Round
Sam Querrey (USA)[24] v. Philipp Kohlschreiber (GER)
3. Men's Singles - 1st Round
Kevin Anderson (RSA)[32] v. Nicolas Mahut (FRA)
4. Women's Singles - 1st Round
Patty Schnyder (SUI) v. Sorana Cirstea (ROU)

Court 14 11:00 AM Start Time

1. Men's Singles - 1st Round
Andreas Haider-Maurer (AUT) v. Ryan Sweeting (USA)

Court 16 11:00 AM Start Time

1. Women's Singles - 1st Round
Ekaterina Makarova (RUS) v. Romina Oprandi (ITA)
2. Men's Singles - 1st Round
Juan Ignacio Chela (ARG) v. Tim Smyczek (USA)

Court 17 11:00 AM Start Time

1. Men's Singles - 1st Round
Igor Kunitsyn (RUS) v. Florian Mayer (GER)[20]
2. Women's Singles - 1st Round
Yanina Wickmayer (BEL)[21] v. Monica Niculescu (ROU)
3. Men's Singles - 1st Round
Dmitry Tursunov (RUS) v. Xavier Malisse (BEL)

Monday, May 23, 2011

Roland Garros 2011 Day 2 Open Thread

Tennis fans hold a banner with a French text reading "Together  We Support Japan" as they watch the match between Japan's Kei  Nishikori and Yen-Hsun of Taipei during the first round match of the  French Open tennis tournament at the Roland Garros stadium in Paris,  Sunday May 22, 2011.
AP

Tennis fans hold a banner with a French text reading "Together We Support Japan" as they watch the match between Japan's Kei Nishikori and Yen-Hsun of Taipei during the first round match of the French Open tennis tournament at the Roland Garros stadium in Paris, Sunday May 22, 2011.

::

Have any of you American viewers seen the "Fever" intro ESPN Tennis Channel is doing for the French Open? Love it.

Today, the traditional start, features action from both sides of the draw. It's jam-packed.

Schedule for Day 2: Monday, 23 May 2011

Court Philippe Chatrier 11:00 AM Start Time

1. Women's Singles - 1st Round
Melanie Oudin (USA) v. Francesca Schiavone (ITA)[5]
2. Men's Singles - 1st Round
Thiemo De Bakker (NED) v. Novak Djokovic (SRB)[2]
3. Men's Singles - 1st Round
Feliciano Lopez (ESP) v. Roger Federer (SUI)[3]
4. Women's Singles - 1st Round
Marion Bartoli (FRA)[11] v. Anna Tatishvili (GEO)

Court Suzanne Lenglen 11:00 AM Start Time

1. Women's Singles - 1st Round
Aravane Rezai (FRA) v. Irina-Camelia Begu (ROU)
2. Women's Singles - 1st Round
Vera Zvonareva (RUS)[3] v. Lourdes Dominguez Lino (ESP)
3. Men's Singles - 1st Round
Bjorn Phau (GER) v. Gael Monfils (FRA)[9]
4. Men's Singles - 1st Round
Richard Gasquet (FRA)[13] v. Radek Stepanek (CZE)

Court 1 11:00 AM Start Time

1. Men's Singles - 1st Round
Juan Martin Del Potro (ARG)[25] v. Ivo Karlovic (CRO)
2. Men's Singles - 1st Round
Michael Llodra (FRA)[22] v. Steve Darcis (BEL)
3. Women's Singles - 1st Round
Evgeniya Rodina (RUS) v. Iryna Bremond (FRA)
4. Women's Singles - 1st Round
Caroline Wozniacki (DEN)[1] v. Kimiko Date-Krumm (JPN)

Court 2 11:00 AM Start Time

1. Women's Singles - 1st Round
Shuai Zhang (CHN) v. Daniela Hantuchova (SVK)[28]
2. Men's Singles - 1st Round
Tomas Berdych (CZE)[6] v. Stephane Robert (FRA)
3. Women's Singles - 1st Round
Greta Arn (HUN) v. Petra Kvitova (CZE)[9]
4. Men's Singles - 1st Round
Marcos Baghdatis (CYP)[27] v. Frederico Gil (POR)

Court 3 11:00 AM Start Time

1. Men's Singles - 1st Round
Go Soeda (JPN) v. Mikhail Youzhny (RUS)[12]
2. Men's Singles - 1st Round
Florent Serra (FRA) v. Igor Andreev (RUS)
3. Women's Singles - 1st Round
Patricia Mayr-Achleitner (AUT) v. Agnieszka Radwanska (POL)[12]
4. Women's Singles - 1st Round
Maria Kirilenko (RUS)[25] v. Coco Vandeweghe (USA)

Court 4 11:00 AM Start Time

1. Men's Singles - 1st Round
Andrey Golubev (KAZ) v. Thomaz Bellucci (BRA)[23]
2. Women's Singles - 1st Round
Sandra Zahlavova (CZE) v. Jie Zheng (CHN)
3. Men's Singles - 1st Round
Thomas Schoorel (NED) v. Maximo Gonzalez (ARG)

Court 5 11:00 AM Start Time

1. Women's Singles - 1st Round
Angelique Kerber (GER) v. Edina Gallovits-Hall (ROU)
2. Women's Singles - 1st Round
Viktoriya Kutuzova (UKR) v. Chanelle Scheepers (RSA)
3. Men's Singles - 1st Round
Philipp Petzschner (GER) v. Mischa Zverev (GER)
4. Men's Singles - 1st Round
Alex Bogomolov Jr. (USA) v. Marcel Granollers (ESP)

Court 6 11:00 AM Start Time

1. Men's Singles - 1st Round
Julian Reister (GER) v. Viktor Troicki (SRB)[15]
2. Women's Singles - 1st Round
Sania Mirza (IND) v. Kristina Barrois (GER)
3. Men's Singles - 1st Round
Denis Gremelmayr (GER) v. Nikolay Davydenko (RUS)[28]
4. Women's Singles - 1st Round
Junri Namigata (JPN) v. Aleksandra Wozniak (CAN)

Court 7 11:00 AM Start Time

1. Women's Singles - 1st Round
Anastasia Rodionova (AUS) v. Nadia Petrova (RUS)[26]
2. Men's Singles - 1st Round
Mardy Fish (USA)[10] v. Ricardo Mello (BRA)
3. Men's Singles - 1st Round
Benoit Paire (FRA) v. Victor Hanescu (ROU)
4. Women's Singles - 1st Round
Stephanie Foretz Gacon (FRA) v. Heather Watson (GBR)

Court 8 11:00 AM Start Time

1. Women's Singles - 1st Round
Roberta Vinci (ITA)[30] v. Alberta Brianti (ITA)
2. Men's Singles - 1st Round
Potito Starace (ITA) v. Alejandro Falla (COL)
3. Women's Singles - 1st Round
Agnes Szavay (HUN) v. Olga Govortsova (BLR)

Court 10 11:00 AM Start Time

1. Men's Singles - 1st Round
Daniel Brands (GER) v. Mikhail Kukushkin (KAZ)
2. Women's Singles - 1st Round
Jill Craybas (USA) v. Eleni Daniilidou (GRE)
3. Men's Singles - 1st Round
Carlos Berlocq (ARG) v. Bernard Tomic (AUS)

Court 11 11:00 AM Start Time

1. Women's Singles - 1st Round
Anastasia Pivovarova (RUS) v. Nuria Llagostera Vives (ESP)
2. Men's Singles - 1st Round
Albert Ramos (ESP) v. Javier Marti (ESP)
3. Men's Singles - 1st Round
Leonardo Mayer (ARG) v. Dustin Brown (GER)

Court 14 11:00 AM Start Time

1. Women's Singles - 1st Round
Christina McHale (USA) v. Sara Errani (ITA)
2. Women's Singles - 1st Round
Yung-Jan Chan (TPE) v. Klara Zakopalova (CZE)[31]
3. Men's Singles - 1st Round
Simone Bolelli (ITA) v. Frank Dancevic (CAN)
4. Men's Singles - 1st Round
Pablo Cuevas (URU) v. Antonio Veic (CRO)

Court 16 11:00 AM Start Time

1. Women's Singles - 1st Round
Anne Keothavong (GBR) v. Vesna Dolonts (RUS)
2. Women's Singles - 1st Round
Sabine Lisicki (GER) v. Akgul Amanmuradova (UZB)
3. Men's Singles - 1st Round
Tobias Kamke (GER) v. Olivier Rochus (BEL)
4. Men's Singles - 1st Round
Michael Berrer (GER) v. Milos Raonic (CAN)[26]

Court 17 11:00 AM Start Time

1. Men's Singles - 1st Round
Tommy Haas (GER) v. Marsel Ilhan (TUR)
2. Men's Singles - 1st Round
Janko Tipsarevic (SRB)[29] v. Brian Dabul (ARG)
3. Women's Singles - 1st Round
Shuai Peng (CHN)[29] v. Tamira Paszek (AUT)
4. Women's Singles - 1st Round
Kaia Kanepi (EST)[16] v. Sofia Arvidsson (SWE)

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Roland Garros 2011 Day 1 Open Thread

PARIS, FRANCE - MAY 22:  Alize Cornet of France serves during the  women's singles round one match between Renata Voracova of Czech  Republic and Alize Cornet of France day one of the French Open at Roland  Garros on May 22, 2011 in Paris, France.
Getty

Alize Cornet of France serves during the women's singles round one match between Renata Voracova of Czech Republic and Alize Cornet of France day one of the French Open at Roland Garros on May 22, 2011 in Paris, France.

::

Here we are. Paris has arrived. The second Slam of the year is upon us. Farming drama kept me unsettled most of the day yesterday (a fox massacred 16 of my chickens) and I ended up sleeping in this morning so I missed first ball. Not the end of the world.

Enjoy springtime in Paris. Enjoy tennis.

Schedule for Day 1: Sunday, 22 May 2011

Court Philippe Chatrier 11:00 AM Start Time

1. Women's Singles - 1st Round
Iveta Benesova (CZE) v. Samantha Stosur (AUS)[8]
2. Men's Singles - 1st Round
David Ferrer (ESP)[7] v. Jarkko Nieminen (FIN)
3. Men's Singles - 1st Round
Jan Hajek (CZE) v. Jo-Wilfried Tsonga (FRA)[17]
4. Women's Singles - 1st Round
Mathilde Johansson (FRA) v. Julia Goerges (GER)[17]

Court Suzanne Lenglen 11:00 AM Start Time

1. Women's Singles - 1st Round
Renata Voracova (CZE) v. Alize Cornet (FRA)
2. Men's Singles - 1st Round
Lleyton Hewitt (AUS) v. Albert Montanes (ESP)
3. Women's Singles - 1st Round
Jelena Jankovic (SRB)[10] v. Alona Bondarenko (UKR)
4. Men's Singles - 1st Round
Julien Benneteau (FRA) v. Rui Machado (POR)

Court 1 11:00 AM Start Time

1. Men's Singles - 1st Round
David Guez (FRA) v. Sergiy Stakhovsky (UKR)[31]
2. Men's Singles - 1st Round
Stanislas Wawrinka (SUI)[14] v. Augustin Gensse (FRA)
3. Women's Singles - 1st Round
Magdalena Rybarikova (SVK) v. Svetlana Kuznetsova (RUS)[13]
4. Women's Singles - 1st Round
Varvara Lepchenko (USA) v. Flavia Pennetta (ITA)[18]

Court 2 11:00 AM Start Time

1. Men's Singles - 1st Round
Kei Nishikori (JPN) v. Yen-Hsun Lu (TPE)
2. Women's Singles - 1st Round
Shahar Peer (ISR)[19] v. Maria Jose Martinez Sanchez (ESP)
3. Women's Singles - 1st Round
Jelena Dokic (AUS) v. Vera Dushevina (RUS)
4. Men's Singles - 1st Round
Adrian Mannarino (FRA) v. Guillaume Rufin (FRA)

Court 3 11:00 AM Start Time

1. Women's Singles - 1st Round
Gisela Dulko (ARG) v. Irina Falconi (USA)
2. Men's Singles - 1st Round
Vincent Millot (FRA) v. Maxime Teixeira (FRA)
3. Men's Singles - 1st Round
Teymuraz Gabashvili (RUS) v. Andreas Seppi (ITA)
4. Women's Singles - 1st Round
Sybille Bammer (AUT) v. Mona Barthel (GER)

Court 6 11:00 AM Start Time

1. Women's Singles - 1st Round
Tsvetana Pironkova (BUL)[32] v. Casey Dellacqua (AUS)
2. Men's Singles - 1st Round
Robert Kendrick (USA) v. Guillermo Garcia-Lopez (ESP)[30]
3. Women's Singles - 1st Round
Kirsten Flipkens (BEL) v. Lucie Safarova (CZE)
4. Men's Singles - 1st Round
Fabio Fognini (ITA) v. Denis Istomin (UZB)

Court 7 11:00 AM Start Time

1. Men's Singles - 1st Round
Marin Cilic (CRO)[19] v. Ruben Ramirez Hidalgo (ESP)
2. Men's Singles - 1st Round
Ernests Gulbis (LAT) v. Blaz Kavcic (SLO)
3. Women's Singles - 1st Round
Olivia Sanchez (FRA) v. Polona Hercog (SLO)
4. Women's Singles - 1st Round
Arantxa Parra Santonja (ESP) v. Bethanie Mattek-Sands (USA)

Court 17 11:00 AM Start Time

1. Women's Singles - 1st Round
Alla Kudryavtseva (RUS) v. Simona Halep (ROU)
2. Women's Singles - 1st Round
Rebecca Marino (CAN) v. Kateryna Bondarenko (UKR)
3. Men's Singles - 1st Round
Ivan Dodig (CRO) v. Pere Riba (ESP)
4. Women's Singles - 1st Round
Yaroslava Shvedova (KAZ) v. Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova (RUS)[14]

Friday, May 20, 2011

Roland Garros 2011 Men's Draw

Rafael Nadal ESP (1) v John Isner USA
Santiago Giraldo COL v Pablo Andujar ESP
Pablo Cuevas URU v Q VEIC, Antonio CRO
Q GREMELMAYR, Denis GER v Nikolay Davydenko RUS (28)

Sam Querrey USA (24) v Philipp Kohlschreiber GER
Ivan Ljubicic CRO v Somdev Devvarman IND
Dmitry Tursunov RUS v Xavier Malisse BEL
Juan Monaco ARG v Fernando Verdasco ESP (16)

Mardy Fish USA (10) v Ricardo Mello BRA
Daniel Gimeno-Traver ESP v Robin Haase NED
Jeremy Chardy FRA v Grigor Dimitrov BUL
Michael Russell USA v Gilles Simon FRA (18)

Marcos Baghdatis CYP (27) v Frederico Gil POR
Q MAYER, Leonardo ARG v Dustin Brown GER
Q RAMOS, Albert ESP v Q MARTI, Javier ESP
Benjamin Becker GER v Robin Soderling SWE (5)

Interesting quarter, to be sure. The defending champion gets a player who's beaten him several times in a row in the round of 16 and a player who beat him at this event two years ago in the round of 16. And how did all the competitive American men in the draw end up here? Depending on where Rafael Nadal's confidence is, he could be tested out of the gate, but I can't imagine he won't get out of this quarter unless the Big Swede decides he can do it again. If that match comes to pass, it will be the most anticipated quarterfinal of the final eight.

::

Andy Murray GBR (4) v Q PRODON, Eric FRA
LL BOLELLI, Simone ITA v Q DANCEVIC, Frank CAN
WC Arnaud Clement FRA v Filippo Volandri ITA
Michael Berrer GER v Milos Raonic CAN (26)

Alexandr Dolgopolov UKR (21) v Rainer Schuettler GER
Andreas Haider-Maurer AUT v Ryan Sweeting USA
Tobias Kamke GER v Olivier Rochus BEL
Julian Reister GER v Viktor Troicki SRB (15)

Nicolas Almagro ESP (11) v Q KUBOT, Lukasz POL
Carlos Berlocq ARG v WC Bernard Tomic AUS
Potito Starace ITA v Q FALLA, Alejandro COL
Igor Kunitsyn RUS v Florian Mayer GER (20)

Kevin Anderson RSA (32) v Nicolas Mahut FRA
Juan Ignacio Chela ARG v WC Tim Smyczek USA
WC Edouard Roger-Vasselin FRA v Q ROSOL, Lukas CZE
LL BECK, Andreas GER v Jurgen Melzer AUT (8)

Andy Murray couldn't be happier. I mean, really. I don't know where Jurgen Melzer's motivation is these days, but I don't exactly expect him to defend his points. Murray makes his first semi in Paris. If he doesn't, well, maybe he might consider a professional career in football.

::

David Ferrer ESP (7) v Jarkko Nieminen FIN
Julien Benneteau FRA v Rui Machado POR
Kei Nishikori JPN v Yen-Hsun Lu TPE
Q GUEZ, David FRA v Sergiy Stakhovsky UKR (31)

Michael Llodra FRA (22) v Q DARCIS, Steve BEL
Philipp Petzschner GER v Mischa Zverev GER
Adrian Mannarino FRA v WC Guillaume Rufin FRA
Q PHAU, Bjorn GER v Gael Monfils FRA (9)

Stanislas Wawrinka SUI (14) v Q GENSSE, Augustin FRA
Q SCHOOREL, Thomas NED v Maximo Gonzalez ARG
Florent Serra FRA v Igor Andreev RUS
Jan Hajek CZE v Jo-Wilfried Tsonga FRA (17)

Janko Tipsarevic SRB (29) v Brian Dabul ARG
Ivan Dodig CRO v Pere Riba ESP
WC Vincent Millot FRA v WC Maxime Teixeira FRA
Feliciano Lopez ESP v Roger Federer SUI (3)

Feliciano Lopez already had his chance against the world No. 3 but blew it. Badly. I don't expect their opening round encounter in Paris to even be close. If it is, Federer will prevail anyway, though it will be the most compelling first-round match up on paper in the entire draw. After that, this quarter is all Federer to the point of yawning.

::

Tomas Berdych CZE (6) v Q ROBERT, Stephane FRA
Fabio Fognini ITA v Denis Istomin UZB
Tommy Haas GER v LL ILHAN, Marsel TUR
Robert Kendrick USA v Guillermo Garcia-Lopez ESP (30)

Marin Cilic CRO (19) v Ruben Ramirez Hidalgo ESP
Lleyton Hewitt AUS v Albert Montanes ESP
Daniel Brands GER v Mikhail Kukushkin KAZ
Go Soeda JPN v Mikhail Youzhny RUS (12)

Richard Gasquet FRA (13) v Radek Stepanek CZE
LL BOGOMOLOV JR., Alex USA v Marcel Granollers ESP
Teymuraz Gabashvili RUS v Andreas Seppi ITA
Andrey Golubev KAZ v Thomaz Bellucci BRA (23)

Juan Martin Del Potro ARG (25) v Ivo Karlovic CRO
Ernests Gulbis LAT v Blaz Kavcic SLO
WC Benoit Paire FRA v Victor Hanescu ROU
Thiemo De Bakker NED v Novak Djokovic SRB (2)

Interesting. The Unbeatable One opens against a cat who can play but can't close and will likely find himself playing the biggest forehand on tour in round three, provided the Argentine can get past the big serving spoiler. Not sure how Juan Martin del Potro's hip feels, but I guess we'll see soon enough. And then there's a resurgent(?) Richard Gasquet waiting in the fourth round, provided he can get past the pesky Czech in his first. Nothing much going on in the top half of this quarter, so whoever wins the bottom wins it all. I say the Unbeatable One adds another 5 matches to his streak.

::

Roland Garros 2011 Women's Draw

Caroline Wozniacki DEN (1) v Kimiko Date-Krumm JPN
Junri Namigata JPN v Q WOZNIAK, Aleksandra CAN
Christina McHale USA v Sara Errani ITA
Shuai Zhang CHN v Daniela Hantuchova SVK (28)

Shahar Peer ISR (19) v Maria Jose Martinez Sanchez ESP
Rebecca Marino CAN v Kateryna Bondarenko UKR
Aravane Rezai FRA v Irina-Camelia Begu ROU
Magdalena Rybarikova SVK v Svetlana Kuznetsova RUS (13)

Marion Bartoli FRA (11) v Anna Tatishvili GEO
Agnes Szavay HUN v Q GOVORTSOVA, Olga BLR
Kirsten Flipkens BEL v Lucie Safarova CZE
Mathilde Johansson FRA v Julia Goerges GER (17)

Tsvetana Pironkova BUL (32) v WC Casey Dellacqua AUS
Gisela Dulko ARG v WC Irina Falconi USA
Alla Kudryavtseva RUS v Simona Halep ROU
Iveta Benesova CZE v Samantha Stosur AUS (8)

If Samantha Stosur doesn't take this quarter, then I don't know what.

::

Vera Zvonareva RUS (3) v Lourdes Dominguez Lino ESP
Q LISICKI, Sabine GER v Akgul Amanmuradova UZB
Angelique Kerber GER v Edina Gallovits-Hall ROU
Anastasia Rodionova AUS v Nadia Petrova RUS (26)

Alisa Kleybanova RUS (23) v Q LLAGOSTERA VIVES, Nuria ESP
Renata Voracova CZE v Alize Cornet FRA
Sybille Bammer AUT v Q BARTHEL, Mona GER
Yaroslava Shvedova KAZ v Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova RUS (14)

Jelena Jankovic SRB (10) v Alona Bondarenko UKR
Jelena Dokic AUS v Vera Dushevina RUS
Arantxa Parra Santonja ESP v Bethanie Mattek-Sands USA
Varvara Lepchenko USA v Flavia Pennetta ITA (18)

Shuai Peng CHN (29) v Tamira Paszek AUT
WC Olivia Sanchez FRA v Polona Hercog SLO
Anne Keothavong GBR v Vesna Dolonts RUS
Melanie Oudin USA v Francesca Schiavone ITA (5)

The defending champion's road won't be easy, but she can do it. Still, I give Vera Zvonareva the nod in this quarter.

::

Na Li CHN (6) v Barbora Zahlavova Strycova CZE
Q SOLER-ESPINOSA, Silvia ESP v Elena Vesnina RUS
Patty Schnyder SUI v Sorana Cirstea ROU
Laura Pous-Tio ESP v Alexandra Dulgheru ROU (27)

Dominika Cibulkova SVK (22) v Vania King USA
Elena Baltacha GBR v Q STEPHENS, Sloane USA
Sandra Zahlavova CZE v Jie Zheng CHN
Greta Arn HUN v Petra Kvitova CZE (9)

Kaia Kanepi EST (16) v Sofia Arvidsson SWE
WC Stephanie Foretz Gacon FRA v Q WATSON, Heather GBR
Ekaterina Makarova RUS v Romina Oprandi ITA
Johanna Larsson SWE v Ana Ivanovic SRB (20)

Roberta Vinci ITA (30) v Alberta Brianti ITA
Evgeniya Rodina RUS v WC Iryna Bremond FRA
WC Pauline Parmentier FRA v Ksenia Pervak RUS
Andrea Hlavackova CZE v Victoria Azarenka BLR (4)

Despite losing a challenger event last week, I see no reason why Petra Kvitova won't emerge from this quarter.

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Maria Sharapova RUS (7) v Mirjana Lucic CRO
Zuzana Ondraskova CZE v WC Caroline Garcia FRA
Jill Craybas USA v Q DANIILIDOU, Eleni GRE
Q CHAN, Yung-Jan TPE v Klara Zakopalova CZE (31)

Yanina Wickmayer BEL (21) v Monica Niculescu ROU
WC Kristina Mladenovic FRA v Ayumi Morita JPN
Sania Mirza IND v Kristina Barrois GER
Patricia Mayr-Achleitner AUT v Agnieszka Radwanska POL (12)

Andrea Petkovic GER (15) v Bojana Jovanovski SRB
Anastasija Sevastova LAT v Lucie Hradecka CZE
Q DENTONI, Corinna ITA v A. Medina Garrigues ESP
Virginie Razzano FRA v Jarmila Gajdosova AUS (24)

Maria Kirilenko RUS (25) v Coco Vandeweghe USA
Viktoriya Kutuzova UKR v Chanelle Scheepers RSA
Q ERAKOVIC, Marina NZL v Arantxa Rus NED
Anastasiya Yakimova BLR v Kim Clijsters BEL (2)

The world No. 2 takes this quarter without much drama.

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Sunday, May 15, 2011

Making The Impossible Possible

Serbia's Novak Djokovic celebrates as he wins the Men's final of  the Rome tennis open tournament against Spain's Rafael Nadal on May 15,  2011 at Rome's Foro Italico. Bjokovic defeated Nadal 6-4, 6-4 to win the  Rome tennis open.
Getty

Admit it. Even if you're a die-hard fan of Novak Djokovic. Just go head and admit it. There was no way the Unbeatable One was going to get Rafael Nadal in back-to-back titles on clay, not in Rome, and certainly not after Andy Murray pushed him to the limit in a 3-hour match last night.

But the man with the momentum propelled himself to victory in two too-tight thrilling sets. As I just typed in the comments, I saw trigonometry. This from a guy who's not even a fan of tennis on clay. I saw both players hit more angles consistently, sometimes hard and flat, sometimes with vicious spins, than I've ever seen in any single best-of-three match that ended in two.

But they also catapulted themselves into every shot and struck the cover off the ball. Blood all over the place. It's why I like high-stakes tennis spectacles at the Foro Italico. It's cliche to mention the Colosseum, but I don't mind cliches every now and then.

Who would have imagined, after Rafa took Monte-Carlo and Barcelona, that he wouldn't win even a set in two finals against Djoke? Who?

But the indomitable Serb made the impossible possible with guts and glorious tennis across the net from the Spaniard who displayed guts and glorious tennis. As our own dapxin said the other day:

Its magical what confidence mixed with audacity can do.

When you have gone 30+ unbeaten, given your history as the one who is behind the 1st and the 2nd, I tell ya everyone in sight then becomes lightweight.

You start to actually disagree with the notion that you are beatable.

I'll let others prognosticate about where the Unbeatable One goes from here or if the Red Brick Wall can mend the big crack in his side at Roland Garros.

For now, I'll continue to digest what I've just witnessed. It was almost too much.

Serbia's Novak Djokovic celebrates with the trophy after winning  Men's Rome tennis open tournament on May 15, 2011 at Rome's Foro  Italico. Djokovic defeated Spain Rafael Nadal 6-4, 6-4 in the final to  win the Rome tennis open.
Getty

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Russia's Maria Sharapova celebrates with the trophy after winning  the Women's Rome tennis open tournament on May 15, 2011 at Rome's Foro  Italico. Sharapova defeated Australia's Samantha Stosur 6-2, 6-4 to win  the Rome tennis open.
Getty

Maria Sharapova
won her first title in Rome, her first premiere title in 20 months. Samantha Stosur really needs to evict the Russian from her head. Not that she would have won, mind you, but still. Good on Sharapova for making the best of such a great opportunity. Now she has confidence. Now I bet she believes she can win the next Slam. Surface be damned.

Russia's Maria Sharapova celebrates at the end of the women's final  match against Australia's Samantha Stosur, at the Italian Open tennis  tournament, in Rome, Sunday, May 15, 2011. Maria Sharapova stormed to a  6-2, 6-4 win over Sam Stosur in the Italian Open final Sunday for the  biggest clay-court title of her career.
AP

Saturday, May 14, 2011

An All-American Final On Red Clay

ROME, ITALY - MAY 14:  Andy Roddick and Mardy Fish of the USA  celebrate victory in their doubles semi final match against Carlos  Berlocq of Argentina and Jarkko Nieminen of Finland during day seven of  the Internazoinali BNL D'Italia at the Foro Italico Tennis Centre  on  May 14, 2011 in Rome, Italy.
Getty


That's right, y'all. Mardy Fish and Andy Roddick will face John Isner and Sam Querrey for the ATP doubles title in Rome.

FishRod dismissed the Twins in a super tiebreak and backed it up with a straight-set victory over Carlos Berloq and Jarkko Nieminen. Quisner tooked out the Italian duo of Fabio Fognini and Simone Bolelli in routine straights.

So, four Americans who don't know diddly squat about red clay, if you listen to those who are supposed to know better, will contest a final in Rome.

Humph.

::

Rafael Nadal should get revenge against Novak Djokovic and Maria Sharapova should continue to make Samantha Stosur forget how to play tennis, but don't quote me on that.

Rome Semifinals Preview

France's Richard Gasquet cleans his shoes as he plays against Tomas  Berdych of the Czech Republic during their ATP Rome Open tennis  tournament match in Foro Italico on May 13, 2011, in Rome.
Getty

Richard Gasquet makes his debut in the Rome semifinals and he had to clean a lot of red clay from his shoes to get here. Down a set and a break to Roger Federer in the round of 16, he closed out the match in two clutch tiebreaks, bringing the kind of tennis brilliance that was supposed to make him a champion years ago. But his mental and physical frailty has always been an issue. So when he fell behind a set to big-hitting Tomas Berdych in the quarterfinals, it was anybody's guess how he'd respond. But the man with the stellar one-hander dug in, stormed through the second set, and gutted out a hard-fought and well-played third. He seems hungrier than ever. His reward for such an appetite is a chance to beat Rafael Nadal for the first time. I've only seen the first two sets of Rafa's first-round affair with qualifier Paolo Lorenzi, so I can't say how his form has or hasn't improved since that second set. From the scorelines against Feliciano Lopez and Marin Cilic, it would seem he's back to his old self. But if the Spaniard's forehand is off and the Frenchman's is on, this could be a tight match. If Richie Red Shoes wants the victory, he'll have to take it in straight sets, though. Hungry or not, I can't imagine he can sustain another come from behind win against the Red Brick Wall.

Andy Murray also makes his debut in the final four in Rome, the first man from Great Britain in the Open Era to come this far. His quarterfinal against Florian Mayer featured junk and funk and a whole lot of petulance. The tricky German forced Murray to play more aggressively than he's comfortable with and had Mayer been more in shape, he may have offered more resistance in the final sets. As it was, Murray cruised after being blown off the court in the first. In a rematch of the Australian Open final, the Scot gets a chance to end the astonishing run of Novak Djokovic, the first semifinal they've contested at a big event in forever. After his loss to the Serb in the round of 16, Stanislas Wawrinka said that Djoke won't win this title because fatigue is setting in. While that may turn out to be prescient, the Unbeatable One isn't going to lose to Murray. I'll be surprised if it takes three sets.

For the women, we've got Maria Sharapova against Caroline Wozniacki and Li Na against Samantha Stosur. I've seen far too little of the WTA matches to say much about the outcome of these semifinals, but it would be nice to see Maria face Sam in the final. But since that's what I want, it's probably going to be the computer's world No. 1 against the Australian Open runner-up instead.

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Thursday In Rome

ROME, ITALY - MAY 12:  Jarmila Gajdosova of Australia falls during  her third round defeat against Na Li of China during day five of the  Internazoinali BNL D'Italia at the Foro Italico Tennis Centre on May 12,  2011 in Rome, Italy.
Getty

Jarmila Gajdosova
of Australia falls during her third round defeat against Li Na of China during day five of the Internazoinali BNL D'Italia at the Foro Italico Tennis Centre on May 12, 2011 in Rome, Italy.

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ORDER OF PLAY - SHOW COURTS

CENTRALE start 12:00 noon

[1] R Nadal (ESP) vs F Lopez (ESP) – ATP
D Hantuchova (SVK) vs [2] F Schiavone (ITA) – WTA

Not Before 3:00 PM
[3] R Federer (SUI) vs [16] R Gasquet (FRA) – ATP

Not Before 7:30 PM
[1] C Wozniacki (DEN) vs Y Wickmayer (BEL) – WTA – Possible Court Change
Not Before 9:15 PM
[14] S Wawrinka (SUI) vs [2] N Djokovic (SRB) – ATP

PIETRANGELI start 12:00 noon

[Q] A Medina Garrigues (ESP) vs [5] J Jankovic (SRB) – WTA

Not Before 1:30 PM
[LL] J Nieminen (FIN) vs [7] T Berdych (CZE) – ATP
P Starace (ITA) vs [4] A Murray (GBR) – ATP

Not Before 7:30 PM
[5] R Soderling (SWE) vs [9] N Almagro (ESP) – ATP
[3] V Azarenka (BLR) vs [16] A Pavlyuchenkova (RUS) – WTA

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Wednesday In Rome

Lukasz Kubot of Poland serves against Novak Djokovic of Serbia  during their match at the Rome Masters tennis tournament May 11, 2011.
Reuters

Lukasz Kubot
of Poland serves against Novak Djokovic of Serbia during their match at the Rome Masters tennis tournament May 11, 2011.

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ORDER OF PLAY - SHOW COURTS

CENTRALE start 12:00 noon

[Q] L Kubot (POL) vs [2] N Djokovic (SRB) – ATP
[1] R Nadal (ESP) vs [Q] P Lorenzi (ITA) – ATP
B Mattek-Sands (USA) vs J Gajdosova (AUS) – WTA – Possible Court Change

Not Before 7:30 PM
[3] R Federer (SUI) vs J Tsonga (FRA) – ATP

Not Before 9:00 PM
[1] C Wozniacki (DEN) vs [Q] A Rodionova (AUS) – WTA

PIETRANGELI start 12:00 noon

[14] S Wawrinka (SUI) vs [WC] F Volandri (ITA) – ATP
L Safarova (CZE) vs [5] J Jankovic (SRB) – WTA
F Lopez (ESP) vs P Kohlschreiber (GER) – ATP

Not Before 7:30 PM
[3] V Azarenka (BLR) vs S Errani (ITA) – WTA
M Cilic (CRO) vs [6] D Ferrer (ESP) – ATP

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

An American On Clay

by Craig Hickman

Bethanie Mattek-Sands of the U.S. returns the ball to Li Na of  China during their Madrid Open tennis match in Madrid May 6, 2011.
Reuters

Ana Ivanovic has won Roland Garros. Francesca Schiavone is the reigning champion. Last week, Bethanie Mattek-Sands beat them both in Madrid.

Today, the American outlasted the Italian Flavia Pennetta 6-4, 4-6, 6-3. On red clay. In Rome.

After the match, Bethanie told the press, "I'm still playing my game, aggressive on the red clay. They say Americans don't do well on clay. I'm trying to prove them wrong."

Go head, girl. Go head. Keep strutting like a cock in a barnyard full of pullets. Keep blasting return winners off weak serves. Keep dropping volleys like you do in doubles. And by all means, keep taking names on the terre battue.

Monday, May 09, 2011

Rome Preview

by Craig Hickman

Spectators arrive at the Rome Masters tennis tournament May 9,  2011.
Reuters

Spectators arrive at the Rome Masters tennis tournament May 9, 2011.

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I've just tuned into tennis this morning to see that Andy Roddick lost his opening match to Gilles Simon in their first encounter on clay. A 4-match losing streak. I hope everything's alright in Roddick's world...

This remains my favorite clay court event, especially when those lights come on for night matches. The draw is top heavy and given what just happened in Madrid, it's anybody's guess who will take it. You'd expect Rafael Nadal to bounce back, but he gets David Ferrer in the quarterfinals, which can play a lot differently than a final. Seems as though whenever Rafa loses to Ferru, it happens in this round. Interestingly, should Rafa fall before the semifinals and Novak Djokovic take the title, the Serbian will become the new World No. 1 and the top seed at Roland Garros.

But I'm getting way too far ahead. Rafa's second-round opponent could be Thomaz Bellucci. I'd like to see these two lefties have at it on the dirt. In his opening match, I'd rather see Roger Federer play Jo-Wilfried Tsonga than Marcos Baghdatis, but either match could be compelling if the underdog shows up to play.

For the unseeded, I'd like to see Alexandr Dolgopolov vs. Potito Starace; Pablo Cuevas vs. Lukasz Kubot; Michael Llodra vs. Feliciano Lopez; and Flavio Cipolla vs. Ivan Ljubicic.

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On the women's side, it's anybody's game, though I'd like to see Francesca Schiavone and Flavia Pennetta make a run to the semifinals and face off. How electric would that be in Roma?