Thursday, May 30, 2013

2013 FRENCH OPEN Day 3-4: French Players Surging; Raja, Serena, Vika Thru

For the first time in recent memory, on the 30th anniversary of the last male French player (Yannick Noah) to win the Roland Garros title, the French players are surging at their country's major tennis tournament in Paris. Gael Monfils, fresh off his incredible 5-set "come back from ahead" win over #5 seed Tomas Berdych (still the biggest upset of the rain-soaked first four days of the tournament), eliminated very talented and mercurially dangerous Ernests Gulbis. Gulbis is also an entertaining player to watch and the two brought something special to their 2nd round encounter, won in 4 tight, thrilling sets by Le Monf: 6-7(5) 6-4 7-6(4) 6-2. One day before, the French hero was Marion Bartoli, who came back from a 3-5 deficit in the 3rd set, despite looking exhausted after more than 3 hours of play saved two match points and managed to win the last four games of the match to end her titanic struggle with Olga Govortsova 7-6(8) 4-6 7-5. Other French players to win include Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, who is into the third round along with Monfils, Gilles Simon, Jeremy Chardy (who plays Tsonga) and Julien Benneteau (who plays Roger Federer--someone he has a win over in 2013!) Meanwhile, Benoit Paire and Richard Gasquet still need to play their 2nd round matches.

Also doing surprisingly well at the French are the American players, who have 10 players left in the tournament, led by World #1 Serena Williams who defeated a future French hopeful, Caroline Garcia 6-1 6-2 and now has lost 4 games in 4 sets of play at the 2013 French Open. Federer is also on firing on all cylinders, making his way through his "easy bake oven" of a draw--he should not have anything to worry about until he potentially faces Tsona in his quarterfinal, although if Benneteau gets hot, he could put up a stiff challenge.

Victoria Azarenka played her first match on Day 4 of the tournament due to rain delays, and with Day 5 starting both defending champions have yet to play their second match. Although it is possible to play for awhile in rain, there's no question that every major venue needs to have at least one court that is covered so that play can continue regardless of weather. And don't get me started about electronic line calling on clay! It needs to be done, now. I'm sure that Sergiy Stakhovsky would agree with me!

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