Monday, June 8, 2009

Roland Garros Roundup

And all of a sudden, the tennis courts are green again, they're playing fast, and the big event ahead of us is not Roland Garros, but Wimbledon. Even someone being crowned as the greatest player of all time does not stop the machinery of the tour, which ticks over day to day inexorably. Grass is here, and it's here to stay... for four weeks, until the extremely long season ends.
Still, I think there's a few words yet to be said about Roland Garros. One cannot gloss over such history quite so quickly.
Upset of the Tournament: No surprises here. Anyone who didn't write Soderling vs. Nadal in this field obviously hasn't been around tennis very long. I think the tennis world is still sort of reeling from Nadal being unseated in his garden. Honourable mentions go here to Djokovic vs. Kohlschreiber and Szavay vs. Venus, but really, it was all about Rafa.
Almost-Upset of the Tournament: Federer vs. Haas. The great man was only five points away from defeat here, and he clawed it back. The achievements of both men here are admirable - Haas for getting to a winning position, and Federer to pulling a Houdini, and then going on to pull another rabbit out of the hat in an honourable mention match, Federer vs. Del Potro. Props also go to Safarova vs. Venus - that was a thriller.
Best Match of the Tournament: As far as pure tennis value goes, I'd have to go with Kuznetsova vs. Serena. This was an awesome battle between two great champions, and it teetered on a seesaw right until the very end. It was impossible to tell who was going to win until the last ball was out of play. Kudos to Sveta for coming out of it, and kudos to Serena for the tennis she played (cold comfort though it may be). Honourable mentions go to both men's semi-finals, which were great matches.
Surprise of the Tournament: Robin Soderling again - tied for me with Sam Stosur. Both had huge, unexpected runs, and both capitalised on the talent the world both knew they had. I'll be watching them both at Wimbledon to see how they do... I'm keen to see how that kick serve of Sam's goes on grass, and how Soderling goes with those flat groundies when he has less time to set up for them.
Guy/Girl Who Served Notice of Arrival: Juan Martin del Potro. If he keeps improving at this rate, he'll win a Slam. No doubt about it. Props also to Dominika Cibulkova and Sorana Cirstea.
Disappointment of the Tournament: Novak Djokovic losing in the third round. And also a large majority of the women's top ten, especially Jankovic, Ivanovic, Dementieva and Venus. And also Safina, for her spectacular choke in the final.
Saddest Moment of the Tournament: Jelena Dokic having to retire when she had Dementieva dead in the water. Tragic.
Most Popular Player: Roger Federer, crowd darling. Ain't no one can deny that.
Most Popular Offcourt Personality: Mirka Federer. In her own way, nearly as big a star as her husband.
Most Unpopular Player: Victoria Azarenka. I think she may have made an enemy of the Parisian crowd for the next 8,000 years.
Most Unsportsmanlike Gesture: Fernando Gonzalez wiping out a mark... with his arse.
Stupidest Spectator: The dickhead streaker in the final.
Best New Word (Rafael Nadal Memorial Award, no?): 'Yoking' from Robin Soderling.
Greatest Player of All Time: Roger Federer (but that one was a gimme).
Looking Forward To: Wimbledon, and seeing the great man go for fifteen.
Today's Results
Gerry Weber Open (Halle)
Tomas Berdych def. Jan Hernych, 6-4 7-5
Dmitry Tursunov def. Igor Kunitsyn, 7-5 6-4
Rainer Schuettler def. Marc Gicquel, 6-3 6-4
Benjamin Becker def. Victor Hanescu, 6-4 6-4
Florent Serra def. Dudi Sela, 1-6 6-4 6-2
Tommy Haas def. Stefan Koubek, 6-2 6-2
AEGON Championships (Queen's Club)
Feliciano Lopez def. Robert Kendrick, 7-6 (7-3) 7-6 (7-3)
Paul-Henri Mathieu def. Andrei Pavel, 6-4 7-6 (8-6)
Sam Querrey def. Jeremy Chardy, 7-6 (12-10) 6-4
Mikhail Youzhny def. Oscar Hernandez, 6-4 6-2
Lleyton Hewitt def. Eduardo Schwan, 6-1 6-0
Guillermo Garcia-Lopez def. Yen-hsun Lu, 6-1 6-1
Gilles Muller def. Joshua Goodall, 6-3 7-6 (9-7)
Andreas Seppi def. Robby Ginepri, 5-7 7-6 (7-4) 6-3
Kristof Vliegen def. Leonardo Mayer, 7-6 (7-3) 6-4
Michael Llodra def. Evgeny Korolev, 6-3 6-4
Denis Istomin def. Ivo Minar, 3-6 6-1 6-2
Ivan Ljubicic def. Sergiy Stakhovsky, 4-6 6-4 6-4
Marcos Baghdatis def. James Ward, 6-2 6-3
Kevin Anderson def. Fabio Fognini, 6-3 7-6 (7-3)
Frederico Gil def. Daniel Gimeno-Traver, 6-1 6-3
Nicolas Mahut def. Janko Tipsarevic, 6-0 6-4
Xavier Malisse def. Pablo Andujar, 5-0 retired
Grigor Dimitrov def. Ivan Navarro, 6-4 4-6 6-3
Andrey Golubev def. Bobby Reynolds, 6-2 4-6 7-6 (7-3)
AEGON Classic (Birmingham)
Melanie South def. Katoe O'Brien, 6-4 1-6 7-6 (7-5)
Magdalena Rybarikova def. Akgul Amanmuradova, 6-4 6-4
Urszula Radwanska def. Maria Kirilenko, 6-3 6-3
Olga Govortsova def. Yung-Jan Chan, 7-6 (9-7) 6-2
Elena Baltacha def. Georgie Stoop, 6-3 6-4
Naomi Cavaday def. Julie Ditty, 6-2 7-6 (7-2)
Tamarine Tanasugarn def. Julie Coin, 7-6 (7-1) 6-1
Jarmila Groth def. Vania King, 6-4 6-4
Maria Sharapova def. Stephanie Dubois, 6-4 6-2
Alexa Glatch def. Bethanie Mattek-Sands, 7-6 (7-2) 6-3
Roberta Vinci def. Severine Bremond, 6-3 6-2
Yanina Wickmayer def. Anastasija Sevastova, 6-4 6-3

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