I have to confess that I was selfishly glad that rain stopped play yesterday, as it was about 1am in the morning here in Australia, and although I was determined to follow the Nadal/Belluci match, the likelihood of me falling asleep would have been quite high. Now it will be on at a much more sane time for we Aussies.
It will come to no surprise for anyone who read this blog over the Australian summer that I intend to devote a large part of this post to the Federer match, as he is my hero and all and I really, really want him to win. The matches aren't televised here, but I followed his match on Radio Roland Garros (to which I am terribly addicted) and was pretty pleased, overall. I can see how people might say it was a scratchy start - he certainly wasn't in GodMode - but really, he didn't need to be. Kudos to Querrey, who isn't really a claycourter, for staying with him for a good part of the match, but there really wasn't much doubt that the Fed was going to come out on top.
The official Roland Garros website's roundup of the match refers to Federer as 'in-form' and it's nice that he's finally getting some recognition. His first half of the season has certainly been lacklustre by his standards, but hey! what with the mononucleosis and all, who can blame him. I've seen some of his clay matches this season - that semi in Monte Carlo against Djokovic comes to mind - and I think I can honestly say that this is the best I have ever seen him play on clay. Sure, he didn't win Hamburg by beating Nadal like he did last year, but I really don't think that's the huge psychological blow people are saying it is. Actually, I think Federer might have been hiding his real game - he played very differently in that final to the way he played all week. And even then, if he had managed to hold out in that first set, then he would have won the match in straights. Rafa is the greatest dirtballer in the world, sure - maybe even ever - but Roger's pushing him, I think. And for that, I am glad.
Speaking of Rafa, I am torn between wanting a throwdown semi between him and Djokovic and wanting Djokovic to get knocked out embarassingly early. It is no secret that Djokovic is potentially my least-liked tennis player - I never thought I'd see the day that someone who overtake Lleyton Hewitt and Andy Murray in that standing, but it has arrived. He had a scratchy start against Gremelmayr yesterday, and, even though he won Rome and reached the semis here last year, has hardly established himself as a force to be reckoned with on clay.
No one can doubt the prowess of Djokovic as a player - he deserved his Australian Open win - but his personality leaves a lot to be desired. It is understandable that he wants to be #1 - who wouldn't? - but the lack of respect he shows for Federer is criminal. (Did anyone else get a surge of glee when Federer told Djokovic's abrasive family to 'be quiet, okay?' in that semi at Monte Carlo.) This is one reason, actually, that I'd like to see a semi between Nadal and Djokovic. Djokovic is always going on about he's going to be #1 and be better than Federer, and he totally forgets about Nadal. There is no one in the history of tennis that has been a more dominant #2 than Rafa. It was great to see Rafa lay the beatdown on him in Hamburg. It is time that Rafa taught Djokovic some respect.
The upset of the day yesterday was obviously Willy Canas's loss to Wayne Odesnik. I can't say much about the match as I didn't see it, but I'm not sure what happened there. Willy must've just had an off day, I guess... especially in the breakers! Odesnik is hardly one of the dangerous young guns - whereas Schwank, who took out Moya yesterday, obviously is. And speaking of upsets, I thought Venus Williams was a goner for sure in her match against Obziler. She dug herself out of it, but it was tight. Correct me if I'm wrong, but I don't think Venus has ever won the French... and I don't think she ever will. (The Roland Garros website would have you believe that Jankovic had a scare too, but that is melodramatising a bit, I think. That 12-10 final set against Paszek in Australia? That was a scare. Not a straight sets victory.) However, the US is doing better than last year, in the men's at least... anyone else remember that 0 from 9 last year?
And speaking of nations doing poorly, how 'bout them French? I mean, the ones that are still there are doing okay - Florent Serra and Michael Llodra, for example - but Tsonga out? And Grosjean? And now Gasquet? It ain't so good. I hope the break will be good for Richou at least, of whom I am quite fond... he has semifinal points to defend at Wimbledon, so I hope he gets his head back in the game by then. And if there is going to be a Marcos at this year's Roland Garros, it's not going to be Jo-W this time... or, indeed, Marcos, who got knocked out by Simone Bolelli today. (Although considering it was his first claycourt match of the season, I'm hardly surprised.)
And can I just say how much I love Radio Roland Garros? Infinitely preferable to the commentators we had in the Australian tennis summer (Jim Courier excepted - he's a champion.) No one has mentioned kitchens yet, and for that I am very glad! It was interesting to hear them talk about David Nalbandian, actually... they agreed that he is the most unpleasant man to interview on the ATP circuit. I always enjoy hearing the gossipy little details like that... often it reinforces my own assumptions! The commentator in Monte Carlo commentating the Federer/Djokovic match said that there was little love lost between them, to which my response was 'ha! I knew it!' I would love to know more about this... about who is friends with whom and who sits alone in the player restaurant because no one likes them. Sometimes tennis gossip is more interesting than tennis itself!
And finally, poor Robert Smeets. It wasn't a happy day for the Aussies yesterday - Guccione went out as well - but he got pounded by Berdych. That can't have been a happy moment.
Roland Garros Results - Day 2
Roger Federer def. Sam Querrey, 6-4 6-4 6-3
Florent Serra def. Santiago Giraldo, 6-4 6-3 6-2
Tommy Robredo def. Guillermo Coria, 5-7 6-4 6-1 6-4
Michael Llodra def. Olivier Patience, 3-6 7-6 (7-1) 6-3 7-5
Simone Bolleli def. Marcos Baghdatis, 6-2 6-4 6-2
Nicholas Devilder def. Chris Guccione, 6-4 6-1 6-4
Guillermo Garcia-Lopez def. Sergio Roitman, 6-2 6-4 7-6 (7-5)
Tomas Berdych def. Robert Smeets, 6-1 6-0 6-0
Oscar Hernandez def. Ivo Minar, 4-6 7-6 (7-5) 6-3 7-5
Wayne Odesnik def. Guillermo Canas, 7-6 (8-6) 7-6 (7-3) 7-6 (10-8)
Hyung-taik Lee def. Jonas Bjorkman, 6-4 6-4 6-3
Marcel Granollers def. Michael Berrer, 6-3 3-6 6-2 6-3
Pablo Andujar def. Filippo Volandri, 6-7 (6-8) 6-2 6-3 6-3
Fernando Gonzalez def. Pablo Cuevas, 6-3 6-3 6-1
Fernando Verdasco def. Santiago Ventura, 4-6 6-3 6-4 6-7 (6-8) 6-1
Venus Williams def. Tzipora Obziler, 6-3 4-6 6-2
Jelena Jankovic def. Monica Niculescu, 7-6 (7-3) 6-2
Jelena Pandzic def. Severine Bremond, 4-6 6-3 6-2
Patty Schnyder def. Ekaterina Bychkova, 6-3 6-4
Emilie Loit def. Yan Zi, 1-6 6-4 8-6
Gisela Dulko def. Sara Errani, 6-4 4-6 7-5
Agnes Szavay def. Ayumi Morita, 6-1 4-6 6-4
Karin Knapp def. Martina Muller, 6-0 6-4
Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova def. Maria-Emilia Salerni, 6-1 6-1
Timea Bacsinszky def. Tamira Paszek, 1-6 6-3 6-3
Petra Cetkovska def. Alona Bondarenko, 6-3 6-0