It's very rare that I say this, so listen carefully and note down the day, my friends: the women's tennis was more interesting than the men's today.
You may have noticed that I follow the ATP much more closely than the WTA. Sure, I know what's going on in the WTA and who the number #1 is at any given week... which didn't used to be difficult, as it was Justine Henin, but with her gone, it might be a bit more difficult to keep track of! On the whole, though, I find the men's game much more compelling, though I couldn't put my finger on it and tell you why.
Not with today's play, though. How about that Sharapova match? Did anyone else have flashbacks to her match against Camille Pin in the Australian Open in 2007? I certainly did. I'm not a Sharapova fan (actually, perhaps it would be more correct to say that I'm not a fan of her dad - overbearing tennis parents rub me up the wrong way!) I was cheering for Rodina, and it was very disappointing that she didn't manage to get up in the end. But it was a good match, a good contest.
I don't think it'll do Sharapova any lasting harm. She was in the final that year when she beat Camille Pin 9-7 in the third at the Australian - although she did get pounded by Serena. If anything, it'll be a wakeup call. I think she took Rodina a bit too lightly, played a bit too arrogantly, and nearly paid the price. And can you imagine how wide open that top half of the draw would have been if she'd lost? That one would have been interesting.
I think Sharapova unquestionably deserves to be #1 at the moment - now that JuJu's gone. Even though I don't like her as a person, I think she stands a good chance of winning the tournament. If she was knocked out, I don't know who I'd tip. Jankovic, maybe? She has a good clay game... when she can manage to stay uninjured.
And huge congratulations to Casey Dellacqua. What a great win over Marion Bartoli! Granted, Bartoli is injured, and Dellacqua did have that rain delay to help her out, but let's face it: Bartoli is the ninth seed and is playing on home territory - on one of the major arenas, no less. For Dellacqua to come out and start another giant-killing spree outside Australia and on a surface that doesn't suit her is a real achievement. I'm not normally particularly partisan when it comes to tennis - anyone who knows me knows my feelings on Lleyton Hewitt! - but when it comes to Casey, I think I might become all nationalistic. I'm a fan.
And finally, that Nadal/Bellucci match eventuated! It was hardly a surprise that Nadal won in straights - he is Rafa, after all, and this is Roland Garros! - but I like what I see from Bellucci. He's only young, and he's won four Challengers on clay this year. Now Guga is out of the picture, Brazilian tennis really doesn't have anyone... and I wouldn't be surprised to see Bellucci doing things in the next few years! And speaking of Challengers, Eduardo Schwank took out Marcel Granollers in the second round. He is definitely a player worth keeping an eye on.
And, funnily enough, the match that followed Nadal/Bellucci on Chatrier, Monfils/Clement, had exactly the same scoreline. Go figure.
I was very excited that my name got mentioned on Radio Roland Garros last night. It makes me feel like part of the greater tennis world! Roland Garros is the only Slam I really follow on radio - occasionally I'll tune into Radio Wimbledon, but Wimbledon is televised in Australia, so the only time I use it is when TV is showing a boring match (ie. Hewitt) when a more interesting one (ie. Federer) is going on. But, although radio has its limitations, I always enjoy Radio Roland Garros... especially the bits of tennis gossip that get thrown around occasionally. Who knew Igor Andreev and Maria Kirilenko were a longstanding item? Or that Nadal and Soderling don't like each other? (Though after that match at Wimbledon that went for, what, five days? I'm not surprised. Though I didn't know the grudge had lasted.) Or Nadal and Berdych? (Berdych got beaten last night. So much for his crushing of Smeets.)
If only they published a gossip magazine for tennis... I might be one of the only readers. Although what with the Ashley Harkleroad Playboy shoot, and Nuria Llagostera Vives in some Spanish magazine... maybe the tennis profile is going to get amped up. Though I don't know if I want it to get amped up that way.
Roland Garros Results - Day #4
Rafael Nadal def. Thomaz Bellucci, 7-5 6-3 6-1
Gael Monfils def. Arnaud Clement, 7-5 6-3 6-1
Radek Stepanek def. Gilles Simon, 6-2 6-4 6-1
Paul-Henri Mathieu def. Oscar Hernandez, 2-6 1-6 6-4 6-3 6-2
Marat Safin def. Jean-Rene Lisnard, 6-7 (5-7) 6-1 6-3 6-2
Lleyton Hewitt def. Nicolas Mahut, 6-4 6-2 6-4
Novak Djokovic def. Miguel Angel Lopez Jaen, 6-1 6-1 6-3
Marc Gicquel def. Viktor Troicki, 6-4 6-3 4-6 7-5
Michael Llodra def. Tomas Berdych, 6-3 4-6 5-7 6-3 6-4
Julien Benneteau def. Vince Spadea, 6-4 6-4 3-6 3-6 6-3
Fabrice Santoro def. Evgeny Korolev, 7-6 (7-3) 6-1 6-4
Andy Murray def. Jose Acasuso, 6-4 6-0 6-4
Diego Jungueira def. Adrian Mannarino, 6-1 6-2 6-2
Jarkko Nieminen def. Marc Lopez, 2-6 6-3 6-4 6-3
Martin Vassallo Arguello def. Feliciano Lopez, 7-6 (6-1) 6-4 3-6 4-6 6-3
Eduardo Schwank def. Marcel Granollers, 6-7 (5-7) 6-2 6-4 6-4
Marcos Daniel def. Juan Carlos Ferrero, 7-6 (7-5) 2-2 ret.
Wayne Odesnik def. Hyung-taik Lee, 6-2 4-6 6-3 6-2
David Ferrer def. Steve Darcis, 6-3 6-4 6-3
Bobby Reynolds def. Thierry Ascione, 7-6 (7-2) 2-6 6-3 6-3
David Marrero def. Victor Crivoi, 6-3 6-3 5-7 6-4
Luis Horna def. Scoville Jenkins, 6-4 5-7 6-3 6-0
Robby Ginepri def. Donald Young, 6-2 3-6 7-6 (7-4) 6-2
Dmitry Tursunov def. Daniel Brands, 6-2 6-4 7-5
Jurgen Melzer def. Peter Luczak, 6-3 6-2 6-4
Juan Ignacio Chela def. John Isner, 2-6 3-6 7-5 6-3 6-4
Simone Bolelli def. Juan Martin Del Potro, 3-6 7-6 (7-0) 7-5 6-2
Victor Hanescu def. Dudi Sela, 4-6 6-2 4-6 6-4 6-3
Marin Cilic def. Robin Haase, 7-6 (8-6) 6-2 7-6 (7-4)
Jiri Vanek def. Jesse Huta Galung, 6-3 7-5 6-2
Nicolas Almagro def. Sebastian Decoud, 7-6 (7-2) 6-2 6-1
Alejandro Falla def. Ivo Karlovic, 3-6 7-6 (7-4) 7-6 (8-6) 5-7 6-4
Albert Montanes def. Kristof Vliegen, 7-6 (7-5) 7-6 (7-2) 7-6 (7-3)
Igor Andreev def. Potito Starace, 6-1 6-7 (3-7) 6-1 6-4
Mardy Fish def. Agustin Calleri, 6-7 (6-8) 6-4 6-2 6-4
Ivan Ljubicic def. Eric Prodon, 7-5 7-6 (8-6) 7-6 (7-4)
Mikhail Youzhny def. Benjamin Becker, 6-1 6-3 7-6 (7-4)
Maria Sharapova def. Evgeniya Rodina, 6-1 3-6 8-6
Casey Dellacqua def. Marion Bartoli, 6-7 (4-7) 6-3 6-2
Ana Ivanovic def. Lucie Safarova, 6-1 6-2
Elena Dementieva def. Vera Dushevina, 6-7 (6-8) 6-0 6-2
Nadia Petrova def. Aravane Rezai, 7-6 (7-4) 6-3
Stephanie Cohen-Aloro def. Ioana Raluca Olaru, 7-6 (7-4) 6-3
Olga Govortsova def. Yuliana Fedak, 7-5 2-6 6-3
Anabel Medina Garrigues def. Maria Jose Martinez Sanchez, 6-3 6-2
Marina Erakovic def. Tathiana Garbin, 6-7 (9-11) 6-3 6-3
Agnieszka Radwanska def. Jelena Pandzic, 6-2 6-0
Maria Kirilenko def. Maria Elena Camerin, 6-1 6-0
Vania King def. Violette Huck, 4-6 6-2 6-1
Shuai Peng def. Anastasia Rodionova, 6-0 2-6 6-3
Anna Chakvetadze def. Nuria Llagostera Vives, 6-3 5-7 6-1
Flavia Pennetta def. Tatiana Perebiynis, 6-3 6-2
Caroline Wozniacki def. Anastasiya Yakimova, 6-0 6-4
Vera Zvonareva def. Stephanie Foretz, 6-2 6-1
Emilie Loit def. Klara Zakapalova, 6-4 6-3
Patty Schnyder def. Timea Bacsinszky, 6-4 4-6 6-1
Jie Zheng def. Mara Santangelo, 4-6 6-3 6-0
Akgul Amanmuradova def. Yanina Wickmayer, 6-2 7-5
Sanda Mamic def. Michaella Krajicek, 6-4 6-3
Marta Domachowska def. Rossana De Los Rios, 3-6 6-3 6-1
Victoria Azarenka def. Edina Gallovits, 6-1 6-3
Aleksandra Wozniak def. Sybille Bammer, 6-0 6-2
Sorana-Mihaela Cirstea def. Anne Kremer, 6-0 3-0 ret.
Bethanie Mattek def. Madison Brengle, 6-3 2-6 6-4
Alisa Kleybanova def. Tamarine Tanasugarn, 6-3 6-0
Petra Kvitova def. Akiko Morigami, 6-4 6-3
Kaia Kanepi def. Meng Yuan, 6-2 6-2
Katarina Srebotnik def. Virginia Ruano Pascual, 6-4 6-2
Magdalena Rybarikova def. Karolina Sprem, 7-6 (7-3) 3-6 8-6
Tsvetana Pironkova def. Yung-Jan Chan, 5-7 6-2 6-0
Francesca Schiavone def. Jill Craybas, 6-3 6-2
Samantha Stosur def. Shahar Peer, 6-2 3-6 6-1