Thursday, May 29, 2008

What a day (or not) to be French!

So, I'm finally getting over the Safin-Davydenko match, and I'm looking up to see there were other matches played around the French today besides that one! To recap:

• Mixed Fortunes for the French at the French: This is probably the story of the day as far as they're concerned over in Paris: Jeremy Chardy (he of the 145th in the world fame, pictured) rallies to beat David Nalbandian 6-2 in the fifth. Maybe that offsets the loss by Amelie Mauresmo to a qualifier. How do the French fans handle the ups and downs of their players? It drives me crazy and the closest French ties I have is that my family's from Louisiana! Gael Monfils (he of the eternally unfulfilled potential) wins in straights today, but could just as easily have been blown out, just because you never know with him.

• Roger Rolls (kinda): Roger Federer dropped the first set in a breaker, but rebounded quite nicely, thank you very much, particularly in those middle two, taking them 1 and 0. I really like his draw his next few matches. I think playing guys with pretty different styles the first two rounds in Querrey and Montanes should be able to prep him for Mario Ancic and (probably in the 16s) Robin Soderling. Who knows how the quarters will go for him since ...

• Robby Rolled (shockingly!): Robby Ginepri took out another of my quarterfinal picks, Igor Andreev. (Next year, if you're a Russian male and you've been picked by Tennis Talk, Anyone? to make the quarters of the French, start packing your bags: It's not gonna happen for you!) Great, great win for Ginepri. If there's any U.S. guy that should never complain about playing on clay, it's him, unlike his compadres, James Blake and Mardy Fish, who both fell. Blake lost to Ernests Gulbis, who I think is headed for great things, even though he hadn't done much at this point, and Fish lost to Lleyton Hewitt. But back to Ginepri: His game is perfect for clay. A possible quandary: Where does Jose Higueras sit if Robby and R-Fed face off in the quarters?

• A Two-Man Spanish Armada: Rafael Nadal and David Ferrer were like a demolition crew on French players today: You knew Rafa was going to roll, as he's apt to do, but I didn't think Ferrer would crush Fabrice Santoro like he did. One game surrendered in three sets? Wow.

• Plenty of Bagels Served: Many of the winning women today, I guess, were in a hurry with Katarina Srebotnik, Dinara Safina, Francessca Schiavone, Dominka Cibulkova and Olga Govortsova all winning at least one set 6-0. Tennis Talk, Anyone? quarterfinalist pick Victoria Azarenka (pictured) went a little further and dropped double goose-eggs on her opponent.

Looking ahead, here's what I think will be the matches of the day tomorrow:

• Agnieska Radwanska (14) vs. Alize Cornet (19, pictured): These two are in great form. In a few years, this will be a semifinal match, easy. If she wins her next match, Jelena Jankovic will face the winner of this one. The bottom half of the women's tournament is almost like its own entity with all the tough players there. This section really picks up steam with this match right here.

• Eduardo Schwank vs. Paul-Henri Mathieu (18): I've probably spent more time talking about my man Eddie Schwank than his own family has! If he took out one seed already, why not another here? He and Novak Djokovic in the fourth is going to be a sight to see.

• Jarkko Nieminen (26) vs. Rafael Nadal (2): Surprisingly, Nieminen's been playing better so far this tournament than he has in months. He's a pretty big hitter, which is something Rafa really hasn't seen yet. Nadal should still roll, I feel, but it should be entertaining nevertheless.

I think all that writing got the Safin-Davydenko match out of my system!

(Photos: Chardy, Ginepri, Cornet: AP; Azarenka: Getty Images)


Jodi said...

I totally agree with you on the inconsistency of the French tennis players. I love the way the French play - I think they have a very flamboyant style as a nation, lots of flair - but the inconsistency drives me nuts! (Actually, I could say that about Marat Safin as well.) For me, Richard Gasquet is like a microcosm of French tennis - when he's great, he's just like a little Federer, but when he's off... man, he sucks.

I'm with you on the Federer draw as well. I don't think that extra set against Montanes will hurt him at all. It's going to be interesting to see how his match with Ancic shapes up. I don't think he'll have too many problems, as long as his first serve percentage doesn't go walkabout. If he can keep it up, then he's going to roll.

And how about David Ferrer!? I like him to come through in that quarter and make it to the semis. A quarter final between him and Davydenko would be endlessly entertaining!

And I'm going to be keeping track of that Schwank/Mathieu match with interest. Given that Mathieu came ridiculously close to going out to Oscar Hernandez (who?), I think Schwank is an excellent chance.

And you can totally link to my blog! Thanks! :)

John said...

I'll be looking forward to SCHWANK with plenty of optimism.

It hasn't been a good day for me. First Nalbandian & Gang going out in the French Open.

Then watching my beloved Manu & San Antonio Spurs lost to the Lakers.

Well what can I say life goes on.

So now, hopefully Eduardo will pull something today. I'll take your words about him, so right behind him all the way.

In fact we still have a chance to win the Men's Double event.

Perhaps you may wanna give your preview on the Schwank/Mathieu game...