Greetings, tennis fans. It's a hot, sunny day here in Paris: Day 2 of the 2010 French Open. A lot has already happened today. To summarize: Federer and Serena, the top seeds, are through. So are the No. 3 seeds, Djokovic and Wozniacki. Nice wins for Americans John Isner and Tayor Dent. The big news right now: No. 4-seeded Andy Murray dropped the first two sets to French favorite Richard Gasquet. Court Suzanne Lenglen is absolutely out of control. With that, let's get to the questions...
Who do you think will win the 2010 Men's & Women's French Open?
Hey, Chris, thanks for jumping on. I'll go with the two chalk picks, because I really believe they will win. Justine Henin and Rafael Nadal have won eight titles at Roland Garros between them -- the rest of the active players have a total of seven. Nadal got bounced in the fourth round here last year by Robin Soderling and Henin hasn;t played her favorite tournament for two years. Believe me, they're both primed to make a championship run.
How far do you think Caroline Wozniacki will go as she deals with her ankle issues? Also, who will win the WTA Quarter of Doom headed by Serena Williams and why?
Master Ace: Just tacled that issue on today's edition of The Latest Dirt. Should be posted in abut an hour. Long story short...she defended her decision to play so many tournaments since Charleston with an injured ankle. Looked fine today (she dropped only four games), but I don't see her making a huge run.
greg who do you think will be in the men,s final?answer thisassoon as possible.
What's the hurry, Victor? We've got two more weeks of action. As I said, I'll go with Rafa. He's tremendously fired up for this and he's spaced his three clay tournaments out this year and looks fresh. Oh, and he's 31-0 at Roland Garros.
Since ESPN2 is now showing any coverage today, I missed Serena's match. How was her form? I saw the score, but was she on her game?
Jerold: You know the drill by now. Swerena and Venus both ease their way into Grand Slam events. Venus, who has played a ot more than Serena, looked pretty good in her opening round against Patty Schnyder. Serena? Not so much. "At least I didn't lose," she said afterward. The first set against Stefanie Voegele went to a tiebreaker. Serena settled down after that.
Quick update: Gasquet just broke Murray and will be serving up two sets and a break, at 3-2. The British Empire is trembling.
What do you think of Fed's chances after today?
Arlene: He's right where he neeeds to be after making the finl at Madrid. He split the first eight gams with Peter Luczak, then got it going. He's very, very conscious of being the defending champion here. He mentioned it several times in his press conference and even helped pull the chips for the women's draw.
Update: Rajeev Ram of the US has split the first two sets in his match against Yuri Schukin. Mardy Fish is on court about to face Michael Berrer.
What do you think of Quizner's doubles chances?
Hey, Zack, good to hear from you. Talked to Sam Querrey in Belgrade a few weeks ago. He was pumped about that doubles team with John Isner. Their goal is to be ranked in the top eight so they can get to the London championships. They feel it helps their game and, looking at the clay results so far it has. Both guys could win a couple of matches in singles and, perhaps a few ore in doubles. Isner already won today and Querrey meets Robby Ginepri on Tuesday.
what's up with djokovic
Fun: He's got some allergy/asthma issues. Watched him practice with Murray on Friday and he was coughing and spitting out a lot of phlegm. He was OK today, but he'll get a challenge from Kei Nishikori of Japan in the second round.
Greg, so excited to be back chatting! Why isn't Venus Williams being given more credit as a possible contender? All of the experts on ESPN and Tennis.com are picking the winner of Serena v. Henin or someone else from the top half (i.e. Jankovic) and yet Venus has had an excellent season, even on clay and besides Rezai she will be fresher than any player that comes from the top and I think that makes her a major contender, especially since she has made the final before.
Fair, question, Zack. Many legitimate choices on the women's side. Venus and Rezai have the stuff to pull it off.
Besides the obvious choices like Rafa, Fed, Sarina, and Justine Henin...who do you see possibly shining at this year's French??
Evan: See the last post and I'll give you Nadia Petrova and Lucy Safarova on the women's side and Robin Soderling and Fernando Verdasco on the men's side.
What happened to Ernests Gulbis yesterday? I know he hurt his hamstring, but he looked well on his way to losing the match even before it (this after a resurgent clay court season in which he beat Federer and took Nadal to 3 sets)- just a matter of a hot French player in Benneteau riding the crowd/momentum?
Hy, Raj. I was watching the match and he really stretched out for a wide shot. You could see the pain in his face. Legitimate injury. Bigger factor than the Frenchman.
Update: Gasquet and Murry locked in a battle with Gasquet serving at 3-4 in the third set. Murray has a break point.
Do the better Clay players prefer the courts dry or wet?
Howdy, Blake. I'll say true clay-courters like it wet. The first few days here all the players are taking about how fast it is. It's a product of the weather -- 85-plus today. The big hitters have been smoking the all. Even Federer said the clay was "light." That will ikely change on Tuesday when rain and cold is predicted, slowing things down for the classic clay players.
Fed and Nadal have never played quality finals in Paris (despite having played 3 consecutive finals, not to mention a semi in 2005)- is this the year we get a 5 set donnybrook out of them, given that Rafa looks near peak form and Fed is playing largely w/o pressure? It's been a long time since we got a great final in Paris (Coria/Gaudio '04 doesn't qualify to me, since that was more dramatic than well played)
Thanks for the knowledge, Phillip. You are correct, sir.
Murray has broken Gasquet at 5-3 in te third. Something to watch: Gasquet should be very tired after winning in Nice last week. He begged the tournament to let him rest another day, but they decined to give him an extension. If Murray wins the third set, you have to wonder if gasquet has eough gas in his tank to win in four or five.
Was the biggest mistake of the tournament organizers not to seed Justine Henin higher? She should have been seeded in the Top 4 with the Williams sisters and Kuznetsova...Roland Garros needs to get on board like Wimbledon and seed based on results.
Zack: The French are very stubborn in this tournament. You're right, of course, but I don;t see it changing...
Murray just gave back the break and they're on serve with Gasquet serving at 4-5.
If these hotter-than-usual temperatures in Paris keep up--as it looks like they will--does it favor any particular players? From what I've put together, hotter weather equals drier clay, which might help people who do better on harder courts?
See previous post. The key will be the weather in the second week.
Greg, when can we stop talking about Murray and his chance of ending Britains 150,000 year drought...I mean honestly, he is one of the biggest choke artist I've seen in professional sports.
But Evan, how do you really feel? Certinly, he's got a ton of talent and might be the best male not to have won a Grand Slam now that Del Potro and Djokovic are on the board.
If the Williams Sisters win the French in doubles, do you see a calendar year grand slam for them in doubles? I know they have a career slam, but I don't see who could beat them on grass or at the US Open.
Zack: It's possible. They are gearing up for those London Olympics...
Will the Bryans twins win the French to pass the Woodies in title wins? Do you think they will finish their careers with more slam titles? Can anyone really challenge the twins if Nestor or Zimonijic retire within the next couple of years?
Zack, filling it up! Working on a big story on the Bryans for later this week. They should pass the Woodies here -- or at Queens or Wimbledon. Mark Woodforde and Todd Wodbridge have 11 rand Slam doubles titles, while the Bryans have 8. The way they're playing, you have to think they can get to 1 -- or 12.
In your professional opinion has the Rafa/Fed dominance in men's tennis actually hurt the sport? Has it been so predictable that would be fans become uninterested? Personally watching these two play has been amazing to me but I was always a tennis fan before so I can appreciate it more.
Evan: I've always subscribed to the theory that the rivalry HELPS the sport. Agassi-Sampras, Rafa-Fed, Serena-Justine, etc.
Update: Murray takes the third set. Now: Can Gasquet close the deal in the fourth?
Did you predict Gasquet to beat Murray?
Thanks for putting me on the spot, Josh. The trainer is ut talking to Gasquet -- I'll take Murray...
Safina finally dropped the perpetually-negative Zeijko Krajan- have to think this makes a significant difference in her game, no?
We don't know that yet. Both of them were extremely negative in their aproach. Curious to see how she plays here after the back injury. She's on the schedule Tuesday,facing the ageless Kimiko Date Krumm.
Hi Greg and Bonnie, I told my friend that Murray is going to shock people and win. Boy, I look like a fool now.
Not so fast, Nikky. I like your chances right now. Murray just won the first game of the fourth set at love. Lenglen is stone silent. The French writers sitting near me in the media center seem a bit subdued.
I was watching Justin Gimelstob on Tennis channel yesterday talking about Azrenka's early exit and how she is in the early stages of becoming the next Nicole Vaidisova, what do you think?
I think Azarenka ill have much more staying power. She's just going through a rough patch. She's only 20 years old, give her a moment.
Ok Greg...out of the major slams...which one offers the best food?? And if you had to chose only one major to attend which one would you choose and why??
Evan, you're always getting down to business. I've never been to the Aussie (Super Bowl always conflicts), but I have to go with the food of France. Confit de Cannard and a Stella (or two)...
Huber and Black are on different pairings..how deep do you see either of them making it since they're not together?
Good question. Doubles is funky, now way to know. It reminds me of something Mark Woodforde told me the other day. He was taking about the Bryan Brothers and how long they've played together -- along the lines of the Woodies' partnership. He said the players today are less willing to hang in there and weather the issues that face teams. Huber and Black is a terrific example. I'll bet they discover down the road that they would have been better sticking together -- despite the differences that are clearly between them.
What's your take on Del Po's injury issues? Is it possible that (due to his size) he's just not built to last for full season after full season? There's little precedent for a man his size in tennis (as far as elite players) staying consistently healthy and great
Great question, Raj. Delpo is a long, spidery guy, whose forehand is an absolute rocket -- which puts a lot of pressure on all his joints. Hopfully, he's lifting some weight during his rehab, which could even prevent him from defending his title at the U.S. Open.
Do you think Henin will ever complete her career grand slam and win Wimbledon? She has the chops, but Venus, Serena, Sharapova, and Clijsters are big hitters.
Maybe I'm sentimental, Zack, but I'd like to see her do it. Like Federer here at Roland Garros, it would complete the player.
Update: Murray just held in a long third game of the fourth set. The longer this goes, the worse for Gasquet.
Do you know when Dudi Sela will be playing?
Hey, Ezra. Dudi hits the court on Tuesday, second match on Court 3, versus Jurgen Melzer. Tough match -- Melzer is a player.
Greg- are we ever going to get tennis sabermetrics/stats revolution? For example, simple stat- break point games won (i.e. % games in which a player has a break point that they actually break).. advanced stats on how well a player serves into different parts of the box, etc. Are top pros/coaches already tracking such 'advanced' statistical information? Seems to me that the current stats we see on TV are becoming outmoded
Yes, the people involved are always out ahead on these things, Raj.
Update: Murray (predictably) just broke Gasquet to go up 3-1 in the fourth. Now it's 4-1. This could go quickly.
Well Greg, personally I don't think Federer's French really counts unless he beats Rafa, as all of the GOAT spectators say, how can you not be the best in your own era? Personally I'm the believer in players of generations not an actual GOAT, particularly considering I don't think Federer has the same competitions that presented itself in the other eras of the Open Era, particularly since besides Rafa there are no other multiple slam winners active right now.
And the last word goes to ... who, else? Zack. This is an angle that many people take when discussing the greatest of all time. I think any Slam counts and I think 16 majors speaks for itself.I'm checking out for now. Please come back and drop us a line on Tuesday, when we'll chat starting at noon, EST.
We'll be back chatting Tuesday at noon ET from Roland Garros!
Greetings, tennis fans. Another crazy first-round day at Roland Garros. Quick headlines: Henin wins easily. Safina, last year's finalist, gets bounced by 39-year-old Kimiko Date Krumm, Roddick survives, but Querrey doesn't (losing to Ginepri) and Rafa has won the first two sets 6-2, 6-2 against Gianni Mina.Let's get to those questions...
What did you think of last nights episode of LOST?
James, I've got my hands full watching tennis. My wife, however, was fully engaged. What happened? wait a minute -- maybe that should be the title of the biography of Dinara Safina...
I've always felt Gasquet had the talent to do well at these majors, along with the belief that Murray is overrated. I personally had Gasquet advancing to face Baghdatis. How far can he go? And do you think Murray is the most overrated player in men's tennis?
Hey, Josh. Murray is a terrific player, with special skills. Trouble is, he tightens up in Slams and starts centering the ball. Paul Annacone told me he needs to stop being so perfect and go for a few more lines.
Marion Bartoli is through to the second round. France has another survivor. Now, can Jeremy Chardy take out Lleyton Hewitt?
In Venus' draw, who do you think will be her first real challenge? What are her chances of winning the whole thing?
Paul: Could be Cibulkova in the third round, or Nadia Petrova in the fourth. The conditions here have been dry and fast, which favors the big hitters. Trouble is, rain is in the forecast.
ANNOUNCERS ARE IN LOVE WITH THE "ACE", YET THE TERM "SERVICE WINNER IS MORE INSTRUCTIVE OF THE GAME. HAS THERE EVER BEEN SERIOUS DISCUSSION OF THE FORMER"S OVERUSE? YOUR THOUGHTS ALSO?
I'm with you, William. This always crosses my mind watching tennis. You are on the board.
Like most tournaments, there are a lot of shuttles for the players to take them from their hotels to the site. ESPN has a shuttle, too, but sometimes it's nice to take the Metro, like this morning.
I sort of compare Roddick to Kunzetsova, I think he will win 1-2 more majors in his career hopefully a Wimby and a US Open, and he will always be a contender, but never 100% consistent. Although, hasn't he maintained his spot in the Top 10 since like 2002? Only Federer has the same amount of time right?
Correct, as usual, Zack. You're a researcher at heart. Roddick looked tight in his match with Nieminen today, rallying in a fourth-set tiebreaker to pull it out. He is helped by two surprising Slovakian wins over Argentines -- Eduardo Schwank and Juan Monaco. With an equilibrium, he might get to the fourth round, just as he did last year.
So far through Monday, there has been only 2 seeded players , with one of them has been battling leg issues since Marbella, on the WTA losing when normally that number has been more, why the low number?
It's esarly, Master Ace. There will be more "upsets" of seeeded players in the second round. You culd see safina coming, couldn't you? She has struggled since coming back. Good for the 39-year-old, though. Great to see her crying after the match.
American update: The US is guaranteed of a .500 record in the first round. They have won 10 matches and lost 9, with Shenay Perry still left to play Last year, Americans were a collective 5-11 in the first round.
Greg, I loved Tandon's article yesterday about saying Nadal is the Greatest on Clay but some say Borg still is because he has 6 titles...if Nadal wins this year, would you still put Borg over Nadal just because of grand slam titles, I think Rafa's other stats speak for themselves and he could have beat Borg in his prime, in what would have been a very good match.
I'll take Rafa -- right now. That was a good story and I especially liked the mention of the French committee that voted Rafa No. 1 on clay. And he's got a few more years to run up those numbers.
Why does Sam Querrey does well in regular events(especially the 250s) but does not win a winnable match in Slams?
Good question, MA. I talked to him on the telephone when he was in Belgrade and he made a point of saying he needed to step up in major events. He was right. He's now 0-4 here and admitted he "tanked" in his match against Robby Ginepri. He's pulled out of doubles and is headed home to Caliornia on Wednesday.
Do you think Safina should just retire? I don't see her ever bouncing back from everything she has gone through since last year.
No, Zack, I think she just needs to get some matches. If you look at the result, she's had some close ones. In the past, her skills have been enough to carry her -- all the way to three Grand Slam finals. She just did't have the mindset to finish the job. I'm told this result could soon knock her out of the top 20...
A quick observation: Nadal looks sharp against Gianni Mina, who they call Mini Monfils. He's an 18-year-old Frenchman playing only his second ATP-level match. I watched him here in juniors a year ago, and he was impressive...
Greg, what do you think of Serena's 42-0 record in never losing a 1st round match at a major? Although it does not seem that significant, how many players can say that, even Federer has lost in the 1st round.
Zack, you're carrying us again. This IS a terrific stat, which speaks to Serena's consistency -- even if she's not always in match shape coming into the majors.
I was watching Rafa's match on Tennis Channel and John McEnroe was saying he doesn't think its fair for guys to play in the main draw (i.e. Mina) and when they lose they can play in juniors...what do you think? Personally, I think it makes sense, play one or the other not both.
Shenay Perry, the last American on the schedule, is on the court about to play Olivia Sanchez of France. Lleyton Hewitt is serving to get to 1-all against Jeremy Chardy...Mini Monfils, down 2-3 in the third, is getting a backrub -- milking the moment on Court Suzanne Lenglen.
What would be the better match? Nadal v. Borg (both in their prime) in the finals of Roland Garros OR Federer v. Sampras (both in their prime) in the finals of Wimbledon?
Clearly, Rafa-Borg, Zack. Those are the two best players -- ever - on clay. Sampras' best effort: 1996 semifinals. Federer is the defending champion.
Greg, Rafa just endured an injury timeout late in the match...good move or bad move by the young Frenchman he's playing against?
Like I said, David, I think he's just milking the moment. Second ATP match, full home-country stadium ... why not make it last?
Do you have any problems with Nadal not playing on Phillipe Chatrier?
No, Matt, this is business as usual. They ut rafa on Lenglen, the No. 2 show court, to throw the ticket holders a bone. Then they'll have him lay his last six matches on Chatrier - assuming he makes it that far. Rafa now trying to serve out the match.
Do you think Dementieva will ever win a grand slam? If she doesn't do you think she will get into the Hall of Fame? She does have a gold medal and you always say that if they let Jana Novtna in, then anything is possible.
No, to the Slam, and unless she manages it, no to the HOF...
I've got to run folks, but I'll be back on Wednesday, 12 noon, EST for another chat-fest. There should be lots of tasty matchups, as my collegaue Ravi Ubha would say. Thanks for checking in.
We'll be back chatting Wednesday at noon ET from Roland Garros!
Hey, folks, back live from Roland Garros. It's been an odd, disjointed day here, with alternately sunny and threatening skies. Numerous rain delays, but the No. 1 seed, Roger Federer is already through, as is Venus Williams. The news brewing is that reigning champion Svetlana Kuznetsova lost the first set to Andrea Petkovic, 6-4. Sun is shining and courts have been uncovered. Let's get to it...
Hey I missed Federer's match. How was his game?
Tim: As solid and consistent as you can be when you're dealing with several rain delays. Federer won in straight sets -- and is now 38-0 in second-round matches at the majors.
Ms, Henin's slams should be snatched, since she seems to be the only one benefiting from on court coaching.
You're not the only one to make that observation, Leo. As you know, unlike some WTA events, the Slams do not allow oncourt coaching.
Is that True that the French Open is going to be moved outside of Paris Starting in 2016?
The French Tennis Federation unveiled some plans last week that would move the site entirely -- which is a shame. One of the charms of Roland Garros is how quaint it is. In today's world, though, quaint is going to cost you money. One possible destination is Disneyland/Paris. As a loyal Disney employee, I will leave that one alone...
while watching the french open this year, the surface seems to have quickened (less clay) , I personally feel federer has his best chance so far against nadal this year assuming they both reach the final. Felt Federer has somewhat figured out Nadal from the Madrid final mainly on the backhand side. Do u agree?
Yes, Ro, that's been the case so far here at RG. The real test will be tomorrow, when (hopefully) the rain moves away. The heat was causing the balls to fly, which is a huge advantage to the big hitters in general and Federer over Nadal in particular.
what is your opinion for slovenia (not slovakian) player kavcic and zemlja?
Grammar was never my forte, Jure. Sorry about that. They were surprise winner over the two Argentines. Andy Roddick, who will play Kavcic, was going to Google him and try and learn more about his game. I see Roddick winning that one, but Zemlja could beat Gabashvili, who has already played four matches, including qualifying.
Assuming Rezai win later today, what problems do her, Petrova and Cibulkova present to Venus?
Rezai is playing great lately, Master Ace. (Can I just call you "Ace?" And I think Petrova is a huge spoiler in this event ... she took out Agnes Szavay 6-1, 6-2. Venus, however, has looked terrific, too.
On Aravane Rezai, conditions were fast and hot for her at Madrid and her first match at the French. Now, if conditions get slower, how will it affect her game?
Just as you might expect, Ace. She might not get past Petrova in the third round. FYI, Rezai split the first two sets with Kerber and is serving to get to 2-all in the third.
I was sad to hear that Querrey decided to just withdraw from doubles instead of continue with Isner, do you know more about that decision? Does he just want to get ready for grass, he did have a busy clay season I just wanted to see Quizner in action!
Zack, I was sitting there when he decided to do it. The fact is, he had just had enough of Europe. It was time for him to go home to California. He played a lot of matches and, recently, his heart wasn't in it. Isner is his good friend and should nderstand that. Besides, he's got a good shot at getting to the third round with an upcoming match against Marco Chiudinelli. Querrey said he was scheduled to plays Queens, but it will be interesting to see if he comes back for that one.
If Andy Murray doesn't get on the court today do you think that hurts or helps him? On one hand he gets an extra day of rest after his 5 set match with Gasquet but it also means he will lose a day of rest later on in the tournament? My feeling is that he will need the extra day of rest later in the tournament and that he could take down Chela today even if he isn't 100 percent. What do you think?
Good stuff, Dustin. Murray is third on for Court 1. The Kuznetsova-Petkovic match is only one game into the second set. If it goes two sets, Murray should be OK -- he's won 12 straight sets against Chela. If it goes three ... you're going to be pushing for light at the end. As far as his physical state, Murray himself said he feels OK -- that's why he's been training so hard in Miami.
Its hard to believe that its been 12 months since I had the wonderful opportunity to watch 2 days of tennis at Roland Garros. Is there a better venue in all of tennis?
Bill, I haven't been to the Australian Open, which some folks say is the best total experience ... But, for my money, Roland Garros is a lovely place. Doesn't quite have the pomp and circumstance of Wimbledon, which is just fine by me.
Soderling looked unstoppable during his match, if he beats Federer in the 4th round? he would be the only player ever to beat both Federer and Nadal at the French...that's quite an accomplishment, I definitely consider him a contender.
Roger's looked pretty good so far, Zack. And although Soderling has ost seven games in six sets, he hasn't played anyone yet. Federer will be very wary going in.
BG and Fowler talking about Rafa regaining number one this year...last time he was on a fast hard cout, Rafa brought his best, and Murray still pushed him around. On the other hand, fed has an Aussie in the bag, and is always a factor on faster courts. What do you think, Greg?
I'll go WAY out on a limb and take Rafa here and Roger at Wimbledon. Rafa never does well at the U.S. Open, so I'll take Roger in the top spot -- again.
Call me crazy, but I'll go with Fed to reach the final -- unless Jo-Wilfried Tsonga goes unconscious.
Who has the best chance of upsetting Federer and Nadal, before the final?
Fed-Soderling in QFsNadal-Verdasco in SFs
When will American players like Roddick learn that there is more to tennis than a big serve especially on surfaces like clay. I mean honestly if he had a return game anywhere near Feds or Rafas he might have more then the one lone slam to his credit.
That's true, Joe, but - trust me -- Roddick knows exactly what tie it is. He's worked hard to diversify his game and you saw it when he beat Berdych in Miami. He's moving better and showing more variety. After that five-set scare in the first round I look for him to settle down and get to the fourth round. David Ferrer, on this surface, might be too much for him.
Even if Venus just makes it to the second week here, I would pick her for the Venus Rosewater dish, considering her stellar results on clay this year, just imagine when she will be on her favorite surface, maybe even a US Open championship too.
Good point, Z.
Very, very little. Enough to get by. Vin Escargots. Merci. La toilette. That's the extent of my French. Took five years of Spanish though and you can sort of make out the words.
1998 French Open Champion Carlos Moya played Madrid and was scheduled to play the French. Did he re-injure something in Madrid? I could never find a reason for his withdrawal from Roland Garros. Also, with all that Moya has accomplished (2 grand slam finals, 1 grand slam title, number 1 ranked player in the world, and clinching the davis cup championship in 2004), do you think he is a hall of famer?
Yes, I believe that Moya withdrew with the same foot injury thatkept him out for two months. Sure, he's a Hall of Famer if one-Slam Jana Novotna is.
What do you think of Roddick's chances at Wimbledon & US Open, he has to be the third favorite behind Federer and Nadal considering his results are more stellar than Murray's, Djokovic is who knows, and DelPo is injured.
Is Cahill still coaching Federer ?
Not for some time, Shake. He's still "coachless" but Severin Luthi the Swiss Davis Cup coach works with him regularly.
Why did it take Roddick so long to diversify his game? Too many coach changes? Relied on his serve to much? Listened to the wrong people (aka brother/connors)?
All of the above, maybe? He began the process with Brad Gilbert and now Larry Stefanki has really ushed him into a different mode. It's hard to get better later in your career, but the good ones somehow manage to do it.
What would Rafa need to do in his career to be considered one of the greatest players ever, not just the greatest clay court player?
He needs to win Wimbledon again and show better at the U.S. Open. Maybe beat Federer in a few more major finals.
That's it for today, folks. Thanks for all the lively conversation. See you tomorow at 12 noon EST from Roland Garros.
We'll be back in Paris at noon ET on Thursday to chat!
Hi folks - I'm jet-lagged and a little soggy, but here at Roland Garros ready to field your questions on a day of intermittent tennis.
What is your view on Ana's game now? She had a good run to the seminfinals at Rome but today, it seem like she took at least 2 steps back.
That's accurate. Ivanovic appeared composed in her press conference, unlike some others over the last year+ where it was clear she'd had it out with herself beforehand. Has to be super disappointing for her despite the brave face, though.
Will Ivanovic ever return to Grand Slam contender form?
She said something rather interesting after her first-round win: That she tried to improve her technique after becoming No. 1, and instead refined herself into a rut. It's not as simple as that. Ivanovic never built any momentum after gaining the No. 1 slot partly because of injuries. Her confidence followed her form and it was a domino effect. I won't rule her out of the future Slam conversation but the turnabout is taking longer than anyone thought it would.
By the way, for those of you not near a TV, Roddick and his young Slovenian opponent Blaz Kavcic have resumed play, on serve at 5-all in the second. Roddick won first set 6-3.
Will Roddick, in your opinion, win another Slam?
I am in the yes corner on that.
Do you actually have a good feeling that Venus is fit and healthy enough to make a deep run into next week. No question, overall for 2010, she actually has been playing quite well, winning the clay court title in Mexico and reaching the final in Madrid.
I do, Jerry - although slower courts due to the wet weather could put a dent in her game.
Brad Gilbert tweeted last night that Jankovic was in danger in today's match, and looks like it's bearing out that way- any thoughts?
I saw that. Very prescient. Kanepi was a surprise quarterfinalist here two years ago, then exited 1st round last year... outlasted Justine Henin on clay in Fed Cup in Belgium last month when Henin was playing with broken pinky.
WAS SODERLING SHELLSHACKING OF DENT A TRUE BAROMETER OF FORM AND CAN HE FINNALY TAKE OUT FEDERER HERE IN RG
I feel like you're speaking very loudly with those caps. Soderling had that great stretch of Indian Wells-Miami-Barca, then has stumbled since - I wouldn't have expected Dent to give him much trouble, this surface does not suit the American, but his draw gets very uphill from here. Montanes is no pushover, then potentially Cilic before he could get to Fed.
Can anyone explain why officials decided to continue play last night even when it was clearly too dark to see? Was it because Monfils(a french player) requested play to continue? I know homefield advantage is present but still isn't this a bit too much?
Not sure nationality had much to do with it. BTW, my esteemed colleague Darren Cahill said he couldn't recall having seen a match played in darker conditions in 30 years.
Are we going to see an uptick in Safina's performance now that she dumped Krajan (who seemingly was perpetually negative and fostering Safina's on-court negativity and lack of assuredness)? Or does the have issues w/ her game that run way beyond that (I'm guessing it's the latter)?
Well, clearly the uptick didn't happen here. I'm just glad I don't have to watch that cringe-worthy byplay between them any more. Honestly, Safina can be really charming and funny in her press conferences -- much like her older bro. She's not all about negativity and perhaps just needs to find the right personality match to keep her in the right frame of mind.
Who is a tougher matchup for Fed, Soderling or Cilic?
You'd have to say Cilic just based on a lack of familiarity - they've only played once, in 2008, while Fed obviously has Soderling's number. Then again, with apologies to the late Vitas Gerulaitis, nobody beats Robin Soderling 13 times in a row.
Roddick lost second set but is up a break in third, 3-1.
When is the Monfils/Fognini match going to be continued?
After Jankovic-Kanepi match concludes.
With Ana out and the Serena bracket being a tough one how easy is the road for Jelena Jankovic to the finals with a win today?
... and JJ needs to get past Kanepi before we start that conversation... she was up a break in 3rd but the Estonian just broke back.
How much does Del-Potro's injury effect the men's game for this and the remaing slams. The way he dispatches Fed at the US Open was quite impressive. Although he lacks some consistancy, he seems more poised then Djok/Murray to end this Fed/Rafa dominance. He has the game to play on every surface.
Just hate that we didn't get to see the next chapter with DelPo... plus, wrist injuries are among the hardest to come back from.
I think Rafa flaunting a million dollar watch reinforces the tag that tennis has of being an elitist sport. Given the current economy, it seems to be in poor taste. Would love to know your opinion.
Ganesh - I don't see that as any different from the bling, fancy cars, private jets or other luxuries enjoyed by any other top pro athlete. Before you get too down on Rafa, remember he volunteered to play in the Hit for Haiti at Indian Wells and helped raise money for earthquake relief. Re: the watch itself, I just can't figure out how he plays with the thing. I don't even like wearing a wristband.
Bonnie....any chance of Fish beating Ljubicic?
Sure. Ljubicic has had so-so results this season other than the win at Indian Wells. Fish's issue is lack of matches following his injury in Miami, but he is one of those guys capable of beating top-20 players on a given day. Both are big hitters who can also cope with clay, although Fish's higher-risk game might not pay off as handsomely, and he's already equaled his career-best showing here by reaching the second round.
It's raining again?! Nooo!
What you think Venus could win this French Open? This is the most adjustment I ever seen in her game, she is even sliding. What do you think of her chances?
Better than they've been in a while, but Aravane Rezai could give her a real run for her money if both advance to the next round. Not sure that dress is going to fly off the racks though.
Should the French Open and other clay court events adopt the Hawkeye challenge system? I recall last year in the Gonzalez/Soderling semifinal there was a point in which the chair umpire had trouble locating the mark on the far sideline and had to call the sideline judge over to point out the mark (which turned out to be the wrong mark).
I don't see that happening. How else would the chair umps get their workout?
And on that note, your giddy correspondent bids you adieu. Join us tomorrow, same time, same place.
We'll be back Friday at noon ET for another French Open chat!
Greetings from Paris on a jam-packed day. Fire when ready.
Lleyton Hewitt had a mini resurgence last year, any chance of him getting back to the top 10 at some point?
I think that would be a tough slog right now.
For those of you who haven't been monitoring the action, Nadal, Federer, Djokovic, Murray all winners today... biggest surprise on the men's side was Alex Dolgopolov's upset of Fernando Gonzalez, who made SFs here last year...
A-Dog is from the Ukraine, and attended this tournament as a kid when his dad coached Andrei Medvedev.
what would be considered a successful french open for andy roddick. i think that, at some point, he should at least match pete sampras' semifinal appearance. that would be a huge boost to his career resume
I think Roddick would be very happy to get into the second week here, and he'll have to beat one of the ATP's best clay courters, David Ferrer, to get there. Roddick is playing himself into form in his first clay event of the year. As for matching Pete in Paris, no offense, but I can think of a few other milestones Andy would covet more... like his first Wimbledon.
On the women's side today, Henin, both Williamses, Stosur, Bartoli and Sharapova all advanced. We're looking forward to the Rezai-Petrova match that's last on stadium court. Rezai has been playing lights out and Petrova is always a threat on clay.
Anyone as surprised as me that Berdych is crushing Isner? 6-2, 6-2, 4-1 and Big John looks like he's ready to order his in-flight meal.
The American contingent dwindled to four today: Ginepri, Roddick and the sisters.
In a way, I'm surprised that Isner seems to be mailing it in, but I only think it's because of the hype going into the tourney for Sam and John. We should be surprised if any Americans other than Roddick make it into the second week at RG. thoughts?
Speculation in the press room is that Isner must not be feeling well, it's bizarre to see him getting broken this much. I assume you're talking about the men only re: second week? Both Williams sisters should make it.
Re: TV, live coverage on espn3.com now.
But the French men are down to one. And Tsonga has already had the trainer on-court twice today. And he pulled out of Madrid with injury.
Fair point. Bartoli and Rezai, who's yet to play tonight, are only French women left standing.
Happy Memorial Day weekend, folks. Greg Garber and I will resume weekday chats from Paris on Tuesday.
Bonnie and Greg will be back to chat Tuesday at noon ET from Paris! Join them then!
Hey, tennis fans, just fiished up my story on the two women's quarterfinal matches today. Federer and Soderling are in a rain dealy with the score 5-all after splitting the first two sets. Let's get right to those questions...
If Soderling could pull off a victory against Federer and then lose to Nadal in the final, it could be successful vengeance for both Soderling and Nadal from last year. What do you think?
It's not out of the realm of possibility, Michael. He's fighting hard and giving Fed some interesting answers. The best point so far: Fed tracked down a tough overhead and forced Soderling to make a leaping backhand overhead into the open court.
It's been drizzling for much of the day, but it got really heavy around 11:30 EST. Courts were cleared, tarps rolled out. Weather forecast suggests clearing and, eventually, more play.
Thoughts on the French Open possible moving away from Roland Garros?
Kind of sad but inevitable, Chad. This is a terrific venue -- charming, rustic and beautiful. But it's essentially the same site it was when they were playing early Davis Cup matches here. The improvements made at the other three Slams dictates that the French Federation update the venue. As always, it's about the money.
Do you think the players will resume today?
Welcome aboard, Master A. I sure hope so. It's only 6:13 p.m. here and they can usually play past 9, even when it's overcast. Still coming down pretty steadily, though.
Let's get down to business -- your predictions on who will edge the Federer Soderling match? :)
Yizhe: Are you really dialed in from Singapore? I liked Fed all along, but Soderling has that look on his face. He's looking for the unprecedented Nadal-Federer double. That would be the lead item on his resume. Give me Fed in four.
Where will they move the French Open to? When will this happen?
Unclear at the moment, John. They could expand the present site (there's plenty of room) or they could be off to Disney-Paris or a number of other scenarios.
Hi Greg. Who do you feel a rain delay helps more? Does Fed go into his Darth Fed shell and analyze the play of the past sets to make adjustments at once? Also, is it too hot for a tie in Paris?
I think more time to think probbly helps Fed. As far as the tie, I imagine you are referring to our Digial Serve hits. Sportswriters don't look good in ties -- some of them don't even own them.
Hello Greg. What do you make of Shvedova's chances tommorrow? People may not realize she's 36 in the world, and she upset Jankovic at last year's U.S. Open. She hits the ball very hard. I think she'll get to the Semifinals.
Brave call, John. Some folks thought JJ would go down to Daniela Hantuchova in the fourth round but she showed some moxie. I'll take the favorite, though. She's trying to get to that second GS final after the 2008 U.S. Open.
Did you see Robin's foot hit the net at set point? Shouldn't he have lost the set because the point was not over yet.
Funny you should mention that, Derric. It looked on the TV replay like it happened. Might have dodged a bullet there.
Who do you think will win the 2010 Men's & Women's French Open out of the ones that are left?
No surprises here, Chris. Rafa and Serena are the best players left on either side.
Let's say Dementieva pulls off a French win. With Olympic gold and a long consistent career, is she going to the Hall of Fame?
I say yes, Jason. If Jana Novotna can get in, let ED, too. She's been to eight SFs now at majors, a pretty good number. Just needs to fiish the deal. ost badly to fellow Russian Anastasia Myskina here in 2004 final.
On the men's side, is this the weakest field in several years, especially with the way Murray/ Djoko have played leading up to Paris? Flipside for Fed detractors - wasn't last years field much more amped up to play?
Possibly, Javier. At least Rafa looks dialed in this time.
Yupp right here from Sunny Singapore. At the other end of the draw, it seems like a Nadal Djokovic semi-final? I would think they'll win their respective quarters. Your thoughts?
Why not? And then Rafa takes Djokovic -- he's 14-7 for his career against the Serb.
The squeegees came out and cleaned off the tarps, but they left them on.
Nadal still has the most matches played of everyone so far this year, yes? Do you think that matters even though a number of those were basically batting practice in Rome/Monte Carlo?
Wilson: The most important event of the clay season was when Rafa pulled out of his favorite event-- Barcelona. That told me he's learned about the danger of over-playing -- something Caroline Wozniacki could go to school on.
Hey Greg, how do you see the Djoker-Melzer match playing out? I know you said he's fortunate to have reached this stage, but I gotta figure he'll still have more than enough to advance, right?
Like this question, Raj. People forget what a big deal this is to lesser players to get to a major quarterfinal. Did you see Francesca Schiavone get down and kiss the dirt after beating Wozniacki? Sweet moment. Melzer, too, was deliriously excited. This is as far as he's ever been at a major and, at 29, he's the oldest guy left. Can't see him even scaring Djokovic.
Good news: Tarps are off and it looks like they might get going soon...
What should be Samantha's plan against Serena tomorrow? Also, will Samantha be flat emotionally after her win against Justine?
She needs to do what she did against Henin - and more. It as the 4-time French Open champion who choked in that fourth-round match, but I don't see Serena giving her the match. Stosur has a big forehand and can hit aces, too. The questions is, can she hang mentally -- and emotionally -- with Serena?
With racket and string technology these days, do any top players on the men's side still hit what you would call a "flat" ball a la Connors?
Pretty close to flat -- when they want to. On clay, a ittle more forgiving and harder to drive the ball through the court, they ut a little more loop on theball. New strings are one reason that Rafa has looked so much better than last year.
Hi Greg,I used to find Soderling tough to deal with on a personality level. He seemed young and obnoxious to me, and I thought some of his antics on the court reflected that. Now, I can't help but like him. Do you find that he's matured as a person as his play (and ranking) have improved? Is he starting to win more fans, and is my sentiment becoming more common?
Yes, yes, yes. But he still looks sour when he's on court. He's more of an individual in an individual sort than most on Tour.
what are federer's chances of beating Rafa in the french open final relative to previous years?
Part of me wonders if winning the title last year will give Federer a little more confidence if they both reach the final. Then I remember that last beat-down at the hands of Rafa. Roger got, what, four games? Maybe a four-setter?
They're cleaning off the lines on Chatrier, so unless it starts to pour again, we're back on soon.
Sticking with France, not-so-much tennis: What's the most seemingly-disgusting food you were surprised to find was delicious in your time covering the French Open (or Australian Open, for that matter...vegemite sandwich, anyone)?
Raj: I had a prune sauce on some pork and pasta at the Roland Garros cafeteria yesterday. Way better than I figured (which was awful). Had a nice fig dish the other day, too. More of a duck and onion soup guy.
Greg, I'm buying one of those purple-and-green ties at Wimbledon, you can bet your bottom dollar on that. See you on the courts.
Good on you, mate.
My wife is from Denmark and loves Wozniacki but also says she is a big brat. Will she win a major?
Look at that inside stuff! She's 19 years old and No. 3 seed here. She's got a decade to get lucky and with Venus, Serena, Justine and Kim moving on soon, I think she'll get one -- maybe two or three.
Greg, I remember a couple years back when Djok was rising in mens side and I loved his imitations and one liners but lately I can't stand watching him walk around like a whining diva on the court. If he's not huffing and puffing for air he's stalling on points. Is he one of the mosted hated players among his peers? PS did Zack call in sick today?
Hate is a strong word, but clearly he's not everyone's favorite. Good call on Zack. May have to order a house call.
6:43 local time: Soderling and Fed are walking out on court. They timed that rain delay nicely for ur chat...
But Greg, did you see how many chances federer had in the match with Rafa in Madrid. I think if he plays some of those points more aggressively, particularly those in the first set where he had multiple opportunities, he has a great chance to beat Rafa in the finals. Do you not agree?
Just cant get my head wrapped around a Fed win here. Let's see him beat Soderling first.
I think we need to convince Safin to join the booth with Johnny Mac calling some of these games. I would pay to listen and see Marat smash a few mics and comment on how stupid a call a linesman makes. Tennis needs more of his personalities!!
Yeah, man. Safin and Goran Ivanisevic are two favorites.
What's your take on Serena vs. Stosur? Will Sam be able to pull of another upset, or will Serena just be too much for her?
Stosur has improved her game so much. Can she take that next step against Serena? Not convinced.
Why do you think Rafa breezed through Monte Carlo so easily? In two of those matches he lost a single game--and not to stiffs either. Verdasco in the final took a single game. Is this major tougher for a particular reason?
Playing best-of-5 matches is rough. On clay, here at Roland Garros, it takes longer and players expend more energy than any other major. That's why Rafa wins here.
Should Federer try slicing more against Soderling? Seems like he's having a lot of trouble with Soderling's power, this would prohibit him from taking such huge cuts and force him to bend that tall frame down lower.
That's probably what Severin Luthi was telling him in the locker room.
Are we underestimating Shvedova? She's ranked 36th in the world, already beat Jankovic at the U.S. Open last year(and their other 2 matches went the distance), and she hits the ball very hard. I like her to pull the upset tommorrow.
You are on the board, John. Check back tomorrow this time and we'll talk...
Soderling and Federer hitting warmup serves. For the record, it's Fed serving at 30-15 with score 6-3, 3-6, 5-all....
Sounds terrible. OK, back to tennis: Someone published recently (not sure if it was you or someone else) that they think Andy Roddick will eventually break through and win a Grand Slam. How can anyone realistically predict that at this point? I know he has improved his game over the past year, but I struggle to see his game being diverse enough to beat the likes of a healthy Nadal, JDP, an older Federer, or even guys like Djokovic and Cilic. Am I missing something?
Based on that spectacular final he played against Federer at Wimbledon last year, you can't rationally count him out there or at the U.S. Open for a few more years.
Fed and Sodrling split first two points ... a Fed forehand long makes it deuce. Dangerous territory.
A Fed double fault gives Soderling a break point ... and he moves to net and hits a forehand volley winner. Now Fed needs to break to force a tiebreaker...
For the first time I saw Thomaz Bellucci play the other day against Nadal. And honestly, I came away quite impressed. Do you have any thoughts or info on this new kid on the block?
Evan: Everyone agrees with you. A big hitter you'll be hearing more from...
Agreed, Greg. Federer needs to step up and grab this second set right when it starts, then we can worry about Rafa if he makes it past Soderling.
Now 30-15, Soderling at 6-5...
Ace, outside. Two set points for Swede.
He's done it. Ace gives Soderling the bthird set. Fed has his work cut out for him. On that note, we will bid you adieu. Tomorrow: Serena vs. Sam Stosur. Bonnie D. Ford will be back at 12 noon EST to answer your questions...
Join the chat Wednesday at noon ET LIVE from France!
Greetings from Paris, where we're in our second straight day of carnage for the favorites. Sam Stosur about to hold her winning presser after defeating Serena Wms in three sets... and everyone still talking about Federer's first pre-SF Slam loss since '04.
If Federer loses the No. 1 ranking, will he ever regain it and break Sampras' all time record for weeks at the top?
Big yes to that, he should do better than Nadal in the hard court season.
Why Can't Roland Garros have lights so the players could finsh their matches at night?
We're not for that in the press room, Chris - this is now the only Slam where we have a chance of dinner.
What does Francesca have to do in her match against Elena tomorrow to win and keep from being emotionally flat?
Emotion is not Francesca's problem. The opposite, if anything. She'll be acutely aware of carrying her country on her shoulders. I like her chances -- she's the definition of a clay court specialist - although Elena is more familiar with pressure of a Slam SF.
Berdych is romping through his Qtr. Will he have anything for Soderling?
Intriguing matchup between two guys who have improved as much between the ears as off the ground. Their matches have been oddly lopsided. I would give Soderling the edge there -- how can you not after what he's done here the last two years?
Bonnie, are you sure Federer will outperform Nadal in the hard court season? Nadal had a much worse hard court season last year than he usually does, so he'll likely gain points against Federer.
Well, if by worse you mean absent, I agree -- but he did make QF in Canada, SF in Cinci and USO, I don't consider that poor.
Bonnie/Greg: Food for thought: Not to digress away frm the French Open but how about an article/writeup on this: 3 of possibly the greatest players of all time Federer, Laver & Sampras all born on August 8th, 9th
Pete's actually the 12th, so there is a cluster of Leos there and they are said to be strong in times of crisis. However, I might add that this may completely undermine astrology, as I can't imagine three more different guys.
Does djoker stand a chance against Rafa. I say no, no?
Yes, and Melzer has a chance against Djoker right now judging by how things are going; that's why they play them, Joe.
Great dubs clash in progress. Williams sisters vs. Liezel Huber/Anabel Medina Garrigues - Huber fighting to keep her No. 1 world ranking after splitting with Cara Black. Huber/MG won first set 6-2.
Williamses are undefeated in dubs this season, had dropped only one set up to now.
Rafa often gets a warning for time violations. Yet, his behavior doesn't seem to change. A warning is meaningless if it's not followed up by a real penalty. Why aren't the umpires willing to really penalize hiim?
A few players might have the same question. The easy answer would be: Because he's Rafa, but it's also true that umpires are reluctant to mess with a player's routine. The time to alter that pattern is way down the ladder in juniors.
Williamses now up 3-0 in 2nd set.
Any chance we'll see a roof on Roland Garros any time soon?
Not soon... power struggle in progress re: whether to keep the tournament at this site or move it to more spacious grounds in suburbs means the roof issue is on hold. IMO the economy will put the kibosh on all changes for a while.
Do you think Berdych has a chance to realize his immense potential and upset Soderling?
It'll be a slugfest, but I'm calling it for Soderling, I think he'll respond better to the pressure.
We hear you speak French and know Paris. For a visitor, can you recommend a good restaurant near Roland Garros?
I'd recommend taking the Metro into the center of the city.
Djoker-Melzer playing an endless game (6 deuces) at 4-3 on Djoker's service in 4th set. Djoker looks a little gassed.
7th deuce now... Melzer is up in the set 4-3... Djoker up 2-1 in sets.
Folks, we're going to wrap this up - join us again tomorrow at noon eastern.
We'll be back Thursday at noon ET to chat during the women's semifinals!
Greetings, tennis folks. A crazy day of women's semifinal tennis at Roland Garros -- with emphasis on the semi. Elena Dementieva waked off after losing a first-set tiebreaker and Francesca Schiavone was a winner. Sam Stosur thrashed Jelena Jankovic 6-1, 6-2 and advanced to the Saturday final.Let's get to the questions...
With Dementieva retiring today due to injury, do you believe that this French Open was her best chance of finally getting that elusive Slam?
master Ace: I truly got that feeling -- and maybe she did, too. Dementieva said she considered pulling out of her third-round match, but she soldiered on. That's 46 Grand Slam events and zero titles. The Russian would have been the latest to the major party; Jana Novotna won her first GS title at No. 45.
How fitting it would be for another new Grand Slam Champion (Soderling) to take out both Roger and Rafa ala Delpo last year at the USO. How do you see a men's final between Sod and Nadal playing out?
Easy, Javier. While Rafa will win easily over Jurgen Melzer, I'm not convinced Soderling gets off so easy versus Tomas Berdych. Berd man waxed Soderling in Mimai 6-2, 6-2 and he actually moes decently on clay for a big man.
When will ESPN broadcast the mens SF?
ESPN, after broadcasting both women's semifinals today live, is done until the first day of Wimbledon. NBC has both finals in the States and the men's semis are split. Tennis Channel has the first (Soderling-Berdych) and NBC has Nadal-Melzer...
How does Almagro's game compare to Soderling's on clay? Would a Soderling-Nadal final be comparable to Almagro-Nadal in any respects?
No, Almagro doesn't have the pop that Soderling does. He really blew Federer off the court. I think he'd give Rafa a harder time, maybe get a set?
Does anybody have a answer to sami stousr now?i mean she,s for real baby.and greg you and bonnie better start picking winners. because i,m taking sami stousr to the french open final this year.
Victor: Clearly, you're feeling it, Big Fella. No one has answers for Slammin' Sammy. She looked so relaxed against Jankovic, gave her three games. After beating Henin and Serena, this one was cake. Ditto for the final against Schiavone.
When will the men's semifinals be televised?
The Soderling-Berdych match starts at 7 AM EST and the Nadal-Melzer will follow ...
Still on Soderling... He has to be the only man who can walk on to the clay on Chatrier and not be intimidated by Captain Mallorca on the other side of the net. I am really hoping for the Sod - Nadal final.
You go, Javier...
FYI, a little juniors info. Th United States has two girls in the final 16, Beatrice Capra and Sloane Stephens. On the boys' side, Andrea Collarini is still alive.
Will this be the most wide -open Wimbledon tournament since 2003?
never too early to look ahead, J. It IS kind of interesting, given how things played out here. Fed ooks vulnerable .... if Rafa wins, does he throw down another double like 2008? What about the women's side? Venus Williams and Stosur could be the most in-form players.
I say Soderling/Rafa final. Rafa going down in 4... he's winning but I don't see the same confidence and against big hitters he has doubt.
Theresa, you're on the board. can't say I agree with you, but like the bold prediction.
thinking ahead.....do u think if nadal wins the french open and the no 1 ranking he will hold it till the end of the year?
Depends on Wimbledon, Aman. If Rafa can heist that one (and he has no points to defend) he can put some distance between himself and Fed. Even if Fed were to win the U.S. Open, Rafa could stay No. 1, depending on the summer events, even though they split the majors.
What happened to Djokovic yesterday? Losing a 5-set match in Australia in the QF to Tsonga is one thing- but blowing a 2 set lead to Melzer? Did he just have a meltdown (both in his game and fitness) or did Melzer play in a zone? This was truly an inexplicable loss.. after he had won the first 2 sets handily I figured the match was over
So did Djokovic. It's weird, but you could see it coming. He started breathing hard and you got the idea that Melzer might get a set ... and then two, and then...Djokovic has a history of meltdowns like this and, truthfully, Melzer is playing better than heever has.
As someone who saw Soderling practice up close at the Open last year- I can attest to just how hard and flat he hits the ball- it is truly atomic. This is now the 2nd time in 8 months that Fed's been overpowered (Del Potro at the US Open)..we always have heard discussions of Fed needing to bulk up some, but I"m actually wondering if he needs to switch racquets? We've seen what the souped-up Babolat strings have done for Nadal's power.. am I reading too much into what Fed needs to do here?
I was watching Fed play a match on Suzanne Lenglen the other day and my tennis editor, Matt Wilansky, mentioned how thin Fed's arms were. We forget in the wake of 16 Grand Slam singles titles that Fed is not a HUGE hitter. His sense of timing is extraordinary, his vision superb, but Del Potro and Soderling ovrpowered him in the last two Slams. Going forward, this will happen more often. Nadal and Stosur are both using the new black strings from Babolat.
Can ESPN have you do one of those running commentaries/blogs like Sobel does at the Golf majors? Much needed.
W DO have such a thing. Go to The Pulse on the tennis page and we have a live blog going at the Slams. Pretty cool app. Check it out.
People seem to think Soderling should be a favorite at Wimbledon, but I think he's going to struggle there (relative to talent) just like Safin did over the years- they both have similar overpowering games and the ability to hit extremely flat, atomic strokes, but I just don't think the low bounces suit either of them very well.. any thoughts?
I think you've got it right, Willy. Most people outside of Fed and Rafa don't have the stamina to go 14 matches in Paris and London. There's a knack to playing on that skid-happy, greasy grass at Wimbledon.
Another FYI: Venus and Serena are still here in Paris. They're playing in the ladies doubles final on Friday, against Pesche-Srebotnik, the No. 12 team. Since they won the Australian Open and will be prohibitive favorites at Wimbledon and the U.S. Open, this is the match that could set them up for a Grand Slam.
Wow, one set only to Soderling in your opinion (I am not even a fan of his) but his power and Delpo have proven to be the equalizers against Fed and Nadal. When those flat forehands are flying in it is hard for Nadal to keep up.
We'll see, Javier. We'll see.
Last thing from me today... anyone who saw Soderling - Federer at Wimbledon and at the USO should not have been surprised by Sod's victory in Paris. The build up was clear.
Good Call, J.
After what we saw yesterday, it's tough to imagine Berdych standing a chance tomorrow. Where do you put his odds even with his Miami victory?
I think he can give him a hard time. Maybe take a set. Remember, Berdych beat Fed at Miami too.
Any chance Soderling gets into the top four going into Wimbledon? Murray or Djokovic possibly falling to 5?
A win might do it.
Since Wimbledon and Murray hysteria is only weeks away.. what's the state of his game? We know he's always struggled in Paris, but he's really struggled since the Aussie Open (despite usually playing very well in the spring hard-court US swing). What's your take on where his game stands and if this is nothing to be worried about?
That's what the Brit press wants to know. I think he's in a bit of a quandry right now. Some tough results lately and now the press will put all kinds of pressure on him at "home" at Wimbledon.
And that's it for me, folks. See you at Wimbledon. Bonnie D. Ford will be here on Friday to take your questions one final time at 12 noon EST
Howdy, folks. Chatting for the last time here at Roland Garos. We've already booked on man in the Sunday final. Robin Soderling beat Tomad Berdych in five sets earlier. Rafa Nadal is up a set on Jurgen Melzer in the other semifinal. Nadal was up a break in the second, but the 29-year-old Austrian just broke him back.To the questions...
How do you see Stosur's game adapting to the change to grass... is she just so mentally in the zone now that it won't matter much? I would think her slice would be a huge plus added to low bounce on grass anyway.
The think people talk about is the kick serve. That and a slice will make you a decent living on the grass at the All England Club. Stosur is playing great, better than ever before. I expect her to win in straights tomorrow over Francesca Schiavone.
For all the Fed detractors. Wouldn't a Soderling victory over Nadal in the final at RG only further validate Federer's 2009 French title?
Not really, Javier. Some folks will never forgive Fed for not beating Rafa in the final a year ago. But it was out of his hands. You can only beat the guys in front of you. Now, Rafa (presumably) gets another whack at Soderling. Think he'll be pumped?
If Roddick doesn't reach the Wombledon finals, his top 10 streak could be in serious jeopardy, correct?
Sammy, with all those points he's defending, that might be the right call. It's amazing how quickly it turns. I think Dinara Safina and Svetlana Kuznetsova just fell out of the top 20, if you can believe it. Roddick, to be fair, got to finals in Indian Wells and Miami, so he'll do some damage this summer -- and perhaps at the U.S. Open.
Will they have to change the name from Roland Garros to something else if the tournament moves?
Good question, Sammy. That's the name of a famous aviator, so maybe not. It kind of grows on you, no?
Rafa update: With the match cross the on-hour mark, Rafa's up 5-2 in the second set with Melzer serving. There's a stoppage in play, apparently someone has swooned in the heat. Now they're going again...
With Samantha playing so well, what does Francesca have to do to pull off the upset?
Master Ace, thanks for checking in. You've had as good a Slam as Stosur. Watching the Dementieva match, I could never quite figure out how she was winning games. No big weapons, just a huge heart and the ability to run down balls. If Stosur doesn't get brain cramps, this is a straight-setter. Schiavone has to hang in there and hope the pressure gets to her...
Are there any rumblings of PED use by Sam Stosur? She looks like Marian Jones circa 2000.
Of course, you hear people wondering aloud all the time -- but SS has never been flagged on a drug test as far as we know. Innocent, until proven ...
Rafa: 71 minutes into the match, he's got the first two sets locked down. Only a matter of time until we get Nadal-Soderling....Any thoughts on how that might turn out?
Is Federer the heavy favorite at Wimbledon as always?
I don't know about "heavy" -- he's taken some bad losses this year to guys not in the top 10. Given his form, I'd say Rafa and Fed will be co-favorites. Maybe put Rafa a tad ahead?
Do you think Soderling can take it early enough and hit it hard enough to hit through Nadal and prevent Nadal from moving him around? Also do the clay courts seem faster this year than in the past couple of years?
Funny, you should ask that, Nick. I was talking to Darren Cahill for a story that will be posted after the match and he said Rafa's improved the depth of his shots -- both by standing closer to the baseline than he used to and the new Babolat strings he's using now. That means Soderling will have less time to set up and drive HIS shots through the court. I'll take Rafa -- in straights. After losing here to Soderling last year herre, he'll be fired up.
Raffa versus Borg on the clay. Would we like...clear out a good twelve hours for that match?
Borg turns 54 in two days. I'll go with Rafa...
Just kidding. Rafa bigger, faster, stronger. I'll take the kid from Majorca.
Is there any way that the tour or the majors themselves would step in and make NBC show matches like this one live or let another outlet (Tennis Channel/ESPN) air it? It just seems so ridiculous for this day and age.
Couldn't agree with you more. People who care about the match will find a way to keep tabs on it live.
think soderling can take rafa again with his power game? a new breed of player
Nope. With the heat back in Paris, Rafa is rolling over Melzer right now. He's up a break in the third...
Greg i think wimbledon on the womens side is gonna be more competitve than ever with hopefully they all can be in the quarterfinals(serena,venus,clijters,henin,sharapova,stouser,oudin is my sleeper and my final sleeper is jankovic) or I'm goin out on a limp whats ur opinion?
Never too early to speculate, Sean. Looks like Clijsters will be back. Oudin, not so sure. I was watching Venus and Serena play doubles today and I as thinking: That just might be the women's final next month in London.
Come on Greg, what do you think? Will Martina come out of retirement for 2012 mixed doubles?
Zack, you've got to get of the Nav Train. She says she likes playing hockey more these days than playing tennis.
Only show replay so far at French Open And Tennis Channel is an high end channel TV. Very sad for the tennis fans. How come you guys don't take over?
Dude,we can't do everything. Four Slams isn't bad, though.
Even if Soderling wins he can only move up to #5 in the world.
Not bad, Sammy, for a guy who was ranked No. 17 two years ago.
Rafa now up 3-2 and serving in the third.
Rafa now up 3-2 and serving in the third.
While I don't disagree with what you have to say, doesn't Nadal's weakness in serving and serve return hurt him because it will allow Soderling to get a first strike in too often and allow him to dictate points?
Nick: Serve is bigger and don't discount those strings. Even if it's muddy on Sunday with rain in the forecast, I still see rafa rolling.
Garber, dude you gotta quit the NFL and cover tennis all year long. Who's going to win Wimby? Cilic or Isner? LOL
Monica: That's what my tennis editor always says. You have to admit, the NFL-tennis double works pretty nicely. Only conflict is Super Bowl/Australian Open. Some day I'll get Down Under...
OK, kids. That wraps up another busy fortnight in Paris. Check in with us on Monday, June 21, when I'll be chatting live from Wimbledon. Enjoy the finals in Paris. Au revoir...