RG2011 Day 2 (by PJ): Chilli Pepper Red
Hola, loyal Fence
sitters readers. Yes, you’re again stuck with some of my guest blogging for this year’s French Open. With Dootsie facing exams, interviews, working a zillion jobs a week and preparing for her big exchange and trip-round-the-world, I’ve been asked to give our favourite Aussie Federbitch a hand in maintaining the Fence for this Slam Season.
So, Day Two of the French saw our beloved Roger Federpants taking on Feliciano Lopez for his opening match. I’m sure we all don’t need reminders on how “Matchpoint Lopez” took Fed to three TBs in Madrid. To be honest, I wasn’t THAT concerned, simply because – well, I don’t think Feli can hang with Fed in best-of-five, in a Grand Slam setting. That being said, I wasn’t exactly doing jumping jacks of joy, for Deliciano IS tricky, and is probably one of the least-wanted person for a first-round match-up for any play. I expected a fight, because I know Feli wasn’t going to go away easily.
Roger had breakpoints in Feli’s very first service game of the match – 4 break points in fact – and he sort of farted two, and Feli saved two with some solid serving. Have to admit that I did feel a slight sense of OH MAH GAH CRAP when Fed didn’t manage to convert – thought that he’d get broken in his next service game. He didn’t, though (thank you for proving me wrong, darling!) and he did well to convert his 5th breakpoint late in the set – and served out the set with relative ease.
Set 2 was as straightforward as it gets as well – for Roger, anyway. Again, he had a couple of break points in Feli’s opening service game, and again, he didn’t manage to convert, and again, another opportunity came later in the set where he managed to capitalise, convert and then clinched the set.
Set 3 was more neck-to-neck, with Feli and Fed piling the pressure onto each other. No break points were offered, and inevitably it was to be decided in a tie-breaker. Feli gave up two mini-breaks through some pretty uninspiring play, although he got one back on Fed’s serve. But then Feli double-faulted to give Roger match point, which he happily took it with an ace – game, set, match, FEDERPANTS, through in straight sets in two hours.
As far as a round 1 match goes, it was a good match. Feli actually played quite well, but just couldn’t keep it together well enough to pressure Roger like he did in Madrid. Momentary lapses and a couple of loose points by him was all it took for Roger to pounce. And Roger played a good, solid match – with more than just a couple of breath-taking plays of amazeballs (exhibit A, Dootsie’s post just before this).
And also, the Man was looking all gorgeous and fiery in cherry-tomato red. I’m still not sure about the horizontal stripes (I’m not a fan of horizontal stripes – period) but I like the color and the white shorts. Here, you all be the judge.
On other players, in tid-bit format:
1) The SHOCKING Win of the Day: French qualifier Stephane Robert beat Big Berd Tomas, semi-finalist from last year in 5 sets. What made it even more BWUZZAH HUH was the fact that Berd was up TWO sets to love. He led by a break in the 5th set, and had one match point, but couldn’t find a way to win. Robert, a veteran at age 31, ranked 140 in the world, has never beaten a top-10 player, never won a main-draw match in Paris, never won a 5-setter. To call this the biggest win of his life may be a mild understatement even.
I tuned in to a bit of the final set in between watching Fed and Feli – and Robert was just giving it absolutely everything – really really gutsy play that paid off more often than not, props to him. The French crowd was 101% behind him (which helped) but the mental collapse of Berdych in sets 3 and 4 is kind of puzzling. To lose in this fashion – to a qualifier – was even more Old Berdych than the Old Berdych, if you get what I mean. Although I kind of doubted whether did the New Berdych really arrived, or it was just Old Berdych in a fancy suit for a couple of months. Anyway, congrats to Robert – but I have a feeling he won’t get too far.
2) The Crowd-pleasing Win of the Day: Everyone’s favourite comeback kid Juan Martin Del Potro defeated Dr.Ivo Karlovic in four sets. A tight contest in the first which saw the Doctor prevailing in the TB, and then relatively straightforward for JDMP to break once in each of the following sets to win the match. JDMP did waste like a zillion break points (obviously bidding for that exclusive membership into Federer’s special club) but he won in the end, and is now a step closer to the Djokovic 3rd round showdown.
3) The Whatevs Win of the Day: Satan Djokovic steamrolled Thiemo the Bakery, giving him a pretzel and a breadstick in the process. Streamed about two games of the second set, and Bakery was giving it as much effort as it would take to lift a Styrofoam ball, so that’s that. Speaking of Djokovic – his quarter has just been cleared beautifully with Marin Cilic and Berd both biting the dust…so let’s see if JDMP can do anything here.
4) The Breaking Aussie Hearts Win of the Day: Carlos Berloq, Argentinean journeyman, gave Bratface Bernard Tomic a lesson on how to play clay-court tennis, bundling out the youngest player in main draw in straights. For the first time since 1949, there will be no Australian men in the second round of the French. Oh Aussie (men’s) tennis…what can you do to shine again?
5) The Breaking PJ’s Heart Win of the Day: Marsel Ilhan beat Tommy Haas in 4 sets. I guess that’s not unexpected with Haasi barely having any match-play for the last 14 months, but in my little fangirl heart, I hoped. In his post-match conference, Haasi expressed that he was happy to be able to finish the match, and hinted at possible retirement on the horizon:
“I’m just kind of right there where I’m not sure where the body will be. All I try to do is to get it back to a place where I feel really comfortable for a few hours playing a match.”
“And if that’s possible, then I’ll continue to play if I still have some success. And if I know it’s next month or the end of the year that that’s not the case, then I know where I am at and I can make a decision if I continue to play.
Which clearly showed that he was actually not ready to play at all – if he was concerned about just finishing the match. Adding onto the recent injury woes of the likes of Ferrero, Roddick, Hewitt (fine, I admit it…so mock me)…it’s approaching a point where I have to wave goodbye to all my early favourites, which makes me all contemplative and melancholy and sad – although I certainly hope The Ultimate Favourite hangs in there for a few more seasons.
6) The WHOA-She-Did-It Win of the Day: Anastasia Rodionova beat 25th seed and doubles partner Nadia Petrova in three sets. Even when she was up a break in the 3rd, I fully expected Rodi to brain-cramp, freak out, smash racquets and eventually lose the match. But she didn’t. And she joins Sammy Stosur in the second round – let’s hope Jarka Gajdosova can make it as the third Aussie laydee to advance!
Other tid-bit wraps: Michael Llodra and Milos “Next Big Thing” Raonic are the other men’s seeds to fall – Llodra losing to Belgian qualifier Steve Darcis amidst hissy fits towards the umpire about crowd control, and Raonic to Michael Berrer in 4 sets. It’s pretty disappointing for Raonic in a way – although the red stuff is not his favourite, I did think he would go further. Nikolay “Last Big Thing” Davydenko avoided another first-round slam loss, beating Denis Gremelmayr in straights. Kolya CAN play on this stuff (two-time FO semi-finalist) – I, for one, really hope he can sustain some semblance of his old form.
It was a relatively smooth day for the ladies’ seeds – top seeds all cruised through comfortably with no notable upsets. Christina McHale and Sara Errani provided the drama for the women though – with McHale leading 5-0 in the deciding set…and promptly ended up losing the match 7-9 in the third. Ouch.
Day 3 sees some exciting match-ups – notably Clay Monster Rafa Nadal taking on Big John Isner, as well as Jarka, Shierky, and MAndy in action. Ryan Harrison scored the last lucky loser spot and will be taking on Bobby Sod (good luck, Ryan, GO BOBBY) and my favourite ponytailed headcase Alexandr Dolgopolov takes on Rainer Schuettler for his first-round match. Dude, don’t make me embark on the journey to quit you because I actually really like you.
Good day of tennis impending!
P.S. photos taken from daylife.com