Sunday, June 1, 2008

More French, More!

So we're at the first weekend of the French Open; the halfway point, the turn, the middle, etc. We're about to transition from rounds that begin with numbers (1st, 2nd, etc) to those beginning with fractions (quarters, semis). Basically we're getting into the heart of the tourney.
This time around, and for the first time since 2003, there's an American man still alive in the singles. Robby Ginepri, affectionately referred to in our household as "Gineps", bounced Frenchman Florent Serra today in straight sets to advance to the round of 16 (fourth round). In doing this, he also clinched himself a spot on the US Olympic Team and guaranteed plenty of questions, as well as an endorsement opportunity, about what was on his right arm.
On the women's side, this is looking more and more like Maria Sharapova's tournament to lose. Her draw is wide open and she's starting to pick up steam with a 7-6, 6-0 victory today over Karin "boy, do I need a" Knapp. Not only would a victory cement her number one ranking (as predicted here in my Aussie Open preview in Jan) but would give her a career Grand Slam at the age of 21!
Roger the Great is also in the legacy-cementing game and chasing the career Grand Slam, and he is playing like this is the year to claim it. With uber-coach Jose Higueras in his corner, it looks like Fed has finally realized that an aggressive, attacking game is the answer on clay, and he is absolutely crushing people, today being no different with an easy 3 set victory over Mario Ancic. As a lifelong Andre Agassi fan, watching others chase the career Grand Slam and come up short (McEnroe, Lendl, Becker, Edberg, Sampras, Courier and on and on) helps me appreciate what an incredible achievement it is to win one of each Slams. One day I need to write a big Agassi post... My favorite part of today's action; however, was watching the five-set battle between 4th seed Nikolay Davydenko and 28th seed Ivan Ljubicic. Anyone who says tennis is a young man's game, that players are at their best until they're in their mid twenties, need only have watched these two slug it out to be given some doubt. Seriously, I don't think there is a full head of hair between them! Check out pics here and here.
Tomorrow, the first quarterfinalists will make themselves known, with the marquee 4th round match being Novak Djokovic vs 18th seed Frenchman Paul-Henri Mathieu. Check your TV schedules so you don't miss any action, but if you do, know that your faithful blogger will be here with all the pertinent details!

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