Archive for the 'Roland Garros' Category

30
Apr
12

New Blue clay surface in Madrid?….how about new Pink clay in Paris!!

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It will be interesting to see how things unfold in Madrid, particularly given it is such a major tournament – one of the Masters 1000 events on the ATP World Tour and a Premier Mandatory week for the WTA. Players are also desperate to find good form on the surface ahead of the French Open which is just four weeks away. Whatever the future holds for the blue stuff, the decision to use it has already had an effect on other tournaments.

Organisers at Roland Garros have already announced they will have a pink claycourt during the French Open, although significantly it will not be used for main tournament matches. It is instead being used as more of a publicity stunt – promoting the tournament’s ladies’ day which comes on June 7 when the women’s singles semi-finals are due to take place. Court One will be turned pink and will play host to two women’s legends matches.

Critics say Madrid’s move to blue is also nothing but a PR gimmick, although if that is the case it has certainly worked. We await the verdict of the players with bated breath.

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06
Jun
11

A glimmer of hope for US tennis as Fratangelo wins in Paris.

Bjorn Fratangelo

Bjorn Fratangelo became the first American boy since John McEnroe in 1977 to win the junior title at the French Open by defeating Dominic Thiem of Austria 3-6, 6-3, 8-6 Sunday. The unseeded Fratangelo broke serve at 6-all when Thiem’s backhand sailed wide. He clinched the victory and fell flat on the red dirt after the 14th-seeded Thiem hit a backhand return long on match point. “I did well to hold my nerve at the end to close it out,” the 17-year-old Fratangelo said.

Fratangelo, of Pittsburgh, began playing tennis as a 4-year-old and hopes to win major titles like McEnroe, who went on to win Wimbledon three times and the U.S. Open four times. “It’s amazing to follow in his footsteps,” Fratangelo said. “Hopefully I’ll be competing like him in the men’s some day and win Grand Slams like he did.” Ironically, Fratangelo was named after Bjorn Borg because his father admired the Swedish champion, a main rival of McEnroe. Americans don’t have a strong reputation for playing well on the red dirt, but Fratangelo honed his skills on clay because there are few good hard courts where he lives. “I learned really how to slide, how to move well on the surface,” Fratangelo said. “It taught me to construct points. Coming from indoor tennis, they just slap the ball one, two, three, point’s over. “But on clay … it’s mental toughness. You really have to grind out the points long and hard, and you have to find other ways instead of just first-strike tennis.”

 

05
Jun
11

Rafael Nadal beat Roger Federer to win a record-equalling sixth French Open title.

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Nadal triumphed 7-5 7-6 (7/3) 5-7 6-1 to pull level with Bjorn Borg on six clay crowns at Roland Garros. The victory, which sees him keep his world number one ranking, is also his 10th Grand Slam singles title, leaving only five men ahead of him on the all-time list. Federer had started like a train and will look back on the set point he had at 5-2 in the opening set. However, despite plenty of momentum swings, Nadal fought back to win what was always a tightly-contested match. Federer flew out of the blocks with Nadal making some uncharacteristic errors in the early stages. At 2-5, Nadal called for the trainer to making an adjustment to some heavy strapping on his left foot. Nadal had to stave off set point in the next game – Federer sending a drop shot just wide – but the adjustment seemed to do the trick as he struck back by breaking Federer as he served for the set. Indeed he would win seven straight games to take full control of the contest, leading by a set and a break.

Federer looked in big trouble at that stage but out of nowhere broke back in the eighth game of the second set. However, no sooner had he levelled the set than he handed the advantage back. With Nadal serving for the set at 5-4, he missed set point before play was halted at deuce due to a rain shower, Nadal just two points from a two-set lead. The break worked in Federer’s favour for when the players returned after little more than 10 minutes, he managed to save set point before breaking. He looked rejuvenated and took the set into a tie-break, but at that point it all went wrong. A number of forehand errors proved costly as Nadal raced 4-0 ahead and went on to win it 7-3.

With Nadal having never lost a claycourt match in five sets, the task for Federer was now steep to say the least and when Nadal broke for a 4-2 lead, it looked all over bar the shouting. However, again Federer was able to produce when least expected, breaking straight back – to love – and then doing so again in the 11th game before serving out. Having kept his hopes alive with a golden spell of tennis, Federer moved to 0-40 in the opening game of the fourth set. However, he could not break for a third time in four Nadal service games and that proved a crucial moment in the match. Nadal held and went on to break in the fourth and sixth games before serving out for his latest slice of history.

 

04
Jun
11

Li Na became China’s first-ever Grand Slam singles champion with a 6-4 7-6 (7/0) victory over Francesca Schiavone in the French Open final.

 

Li Na

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With her forehand firing from the get-go, Li was a deserving winner on Court Philippe Chatrier as Schiavone lost her grip on the trophy she had won 12 months before. The Italian launched a comeback in the second set, recovering from a break down to force a tie-break, but once in it she folded as Li claimed her slice of history. Li’s extra power had been tipped by many to be a key factor and that was the case as the match got under way. Using her forehand to great effect, she was soon on top and gained the first break in the fifth game courtesy of her 10th winner of the match. From there served out the set, with Schiavone unable to make much of an impression on her serve. The first-set stats proved how well the Chinese had played – she got 72 per cent of his first serves in and when that delivery did find the target she won 16 out of 18 points.

With a combined age of 60 years and 79 days, it was the oldest Grand Slam singles final since Wimbledon 1998 when Jana Novotna played Natalie Tauziat, but the players seemed determined to put on a good show for the packed crowd and the second set saw competitiveness raised. However, at first it looked as if Li would run away with things. Schiavone lost her serve in the first game of the second set and when Li banged down an ace to save break point in the following game, a Chinese victory looked firmly on the cards. Li had a point for 4-1 in game five but netted uncharacteristically on her favoured forehand. That sparked the Schiavone comeback. She bravely saved another break point in the following game and then struck when Li’s forehand went AWOL again when serving at 4-3. A string of errors from the Chinese left Schiavone bouncing and she was jumping and skipping around the court as she moved ahead in the set for the first time. With Li wobbling, she could easily have lost the set but the sixth seed dug in to force a tie-break, helped when a shot, initially called out, was deemed good when the umpire got down from her chair to inspect. Schiavone was not happy and a point later they entered the tie-break. Perhaps still fuming over that line call, the Italian was never at the races in the breaker, Li playing some sparkling tennis to race ahead. She finished things off when Schivaone sent a backhand long, Li collapsing to the court in delight at her achievement.

Li will climb to world number four on Monday as a result of her win.

 

30
May
11

Novak Djokovic closes in on the #1 ranking as he moves straight into the French Open semi-finals as Fabio Fognini withdraws with a leg injury.

Fabio Fognini

Fognini beat Spain’s Albert Montanes 4-6 6-4 3-6 6-3 11-9 on Sunday to reach his first Grand Slam quarter-final. But while trailing on Sunday, Fognini winced in pain at the baseline after hitting a serve and clutched his leg. “I’m not really happy right now,” said the 24-year-old. “It’s the best tournament of my career.”

Fognini was the first Italian to reach the men’s quarter-finals at the French Open since Renzo Furlan, who lost to Sergi Bruguera in straight sets in 1995. He was also the first Italian to make it to the last eight at any major men’s tournament since 1998. “The doctors say if I play on Tuesday maybe it can be dangerous,” he added. Djokovic has won all of his 41 matches in 2011 and has an overall winning streak of 43 straight matches, but he will not be credited with a victory over Fognini because the Italian withdrew. The Australian Open champion could meet third seed and 2009 winner Roger Federer in the semi-finals if the Swiss gets through his quarter-final against the winner of the clash between Gael Monfils and David Ferrer. A win for Novak to put him into the final will ensure his status as the new #1 player on the WTA tour!

 

28
May
11

Djokovic extends his win streak to 42-0 with an impressive victory over Del Potro.

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Novak Djokovic moved into the last 16 of the French Open on Saturday as Juan Martin Del Potro’s challenge melted away. Djokovic had looked in a spot of bother on Friday evening when his Argentine foe took the second set to square their third-round match. However, when play resumed in brighter, hotter conditions, Djokovic was clearly the better player as he posted his 42nd consecutive match win thanks to a 6-3 3-6 6-3 6-2 victory. Despite playing some spectacular tennis in patches, Del Potro faltered at the key moments. Upon the resumption, the former US Open champion blew two break points in the fifth game of the third set and was made to pay. Djokovic grabbed the first chance that came his way – in the very next game – with the Argentine netting tamely.

The second seed went on to take the set before a familiar pattern unfolded in the fourth. Del Potro double-faulted to hand Djokovic a 2-1 lead and in his next service game he sent a backhand wide when break point down. To his credit the 25th seed, on his way back up the rankings following a 2010 season ruined by injury, quickly recovered one of the breaks, setting up the chance by superbly chasing down a drop shot to hit a cross-court winner. However, in the next game he received a warning for a time violation which didn’t help his cause and he duly surrendered his serve for the third successive time. Djokovic finished the contest in the next game, producing an excellent drop shot on match point to clinch his place in the fourth round. Now just four wins short of Guillermo Vilas’ record of 46 consecutive victories, Djokovic will face home hope Richard Gasquet on Monday for a place in the quarter-finals.

 

27
May
11

Grand Slams bring out the best in Roger Federer.

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Roger Federer served notice of the danger he could pose at the French Open this year with a stunning performance to beat 29th seed Janko Tipsarevic 6-1 6-4 6-3 in the third round on Friday afternoon. With Novak Djokovic taking over the fight for world number one with Rafael Nadal, Federer has found himself playing third wheel at the top of the men’s game this season. But, if his form against Tipsarevic is anything to go by, then being out of the limelight has certainly not done the 29-year-old any harm. The Serb is a talented player who always raises his game against the best, as Federer knew only too well from an epic third-round encounter they had at the Australian Open in 2008.

Many pundits predicted a tough test for the Swiss but Federer was having none of it and promptly blazed his way through the first set in 19 minutes. Everything was working perfectly for the third seed, who looked completely at ease on the clay, and he was playing so well that is was a surprise when he missed a few backhands in the second set. He broke in the fifth game, though, and allowed Tipsarevic only one break point, which he saved with a big serve. Another break of serve at the start of the third set meant the game was almost up for Tipsarevic, who had lost only 11 games in the first two rounds.

 

27
May
11

Stosur & Wozniacki are both defeated to leave the Women’s field wide open.

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The shocks continued at the French Open this afternoon as world number one Caroline Wozniacki crashed out in the third round with a 6-1 6-3 defeat by Daniela Hantuchova. Yesterday saw second seed Kim Clijsters throw away a winning position against little-known Dutchwoman Arantxa Rus while last year’s finalist Samantha Stosur was beaten by Gisela Dulko this morning.

The match on Court Suzanne Lenglen was reminiscent of last year’s fourth-round clash at Wimbledon, where Wozniacki was thumped 6-2 6-0 by Petra Kvitova, and again showed the Dane has some way to go if she is really to be considered the best player in the world. Wozniacki, who relies on consistency and great movement, really was playing very poorly and Hantuchova continued her onslaught at the start of the second set, breaking twice to open up a 4-0 lead. The 28th seed, who had not taken a set off Wozniacki in three previous meetings, has a reputation for imploding in big matches and the alarm bells were ringing when she lost three games in a row. But for once Hantuchova held her nerve, continuing to go for her shots, and a netted backhand from Wozniacki sealed her fate.

Samantha Stosur’s bid for French Open glory was ended by Gisela Dulko in round three. The Australian eighth seed began poorly against Dulko, throwing in too many unforced errors and not making the most of her powerful serve. Dulko, ranked 51st in the world, quickly found herself 5-2 up in the first set and, although she missed set points in the next two games, she did not let a third chance go begging. Stosur, who lost in last year’s final, appeared to have turned things around in the second set, and when she went a break up at the start of the decider, it seemed the 27-year-old was on track for a place in round four. But from there the Australian fell apart and Dulko did not have to do much more than keep the ball in play to secure a 6-4 1-6 6-3 victory and book her place in the fourth round for the first time since 2006. Stosur, who has been battling a cold for the last five days, admitted struggling with the wind and praised Dulko for the way she controlled the points.

The Australian said: “The conditions were pretty tough and it wasn’t good for either of us. She seemed to be out ahead a little bit better and was really the one dictating the points. I’m usually the one able to do that.

 

26
May
11

Kim Clijsters suffered a meltdown as she crashed out of the French Open on Thursday.

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The reigning US and Australian Open champion lost 11 of the last 12 games as she was beaten 3-6 7-5 6-1 by Dutchwoman Arantxa Rus. Things had looked to be going to plan for the world number two when she led 6-3 5-2 and then moved to match point. However, after failing to convert, the spectacular collapse began. Errors flowed from the Clijsters racquet, including many off the oft-fearsome forehand wing. The Belgian’s lack of preparation – she had not played since March prior to her first-round match in Paris due to a host of injury problems – was stark as she handed Rus victory.

 

25
May
11

“I’m very happy winning the match. It’s probably my first win apart from juniors at Roland Garros,” said Marino.

Canada’s Rebecca Marino opened her French Open main draw with a 6-3, 6-3 victory Sunday over Kateryna Bondarenko of Ukraine. The 62nd-ranked Vancouver native was making only her second appearance on any court at Roland Garros after losing a qualifying match a year ago. “I don’t think there was anything special I did today. I just felt I served really well and that always helps me. I played pretty confidently.” But Marino’s start in Paris was a solid effort, with the 20-year-old never in trouble against her No. 113-ranked opponent. The match was only Marino’s third at any Grand Slam after winning a round at last year’s U.S. Open and again in Australia in January. Marino reached the second round in just 57 minutes, striking four aces to the four double-faults of Bondarenko. The Canadian had 13 unforced errors and broke on four of her nine chances while saving the only break point she faced. She next faces Spain’s Maria Jose Martinez Sanchez, who defeated Israeli Shahar Peer 7-6 (4), 6-1.

 




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