French Open Dish: Loser Murray Says Fear Me; Both Williams Exit
Nadal Wins; Murray in Loss Says He Should be Feared at French Open
World No. 2 Rafael Nadal improved to 24-0 lifetime at the French Open, rolling No. 26 seed Jarkko Nieminen 6-1, 6-3, 6-1 amidst no major upsets Friday.
Among Top 10 seeds, No. 2 Novak Djokovic straight-setted American Wayne Odesnik, while No. 10 Andy Murray was defeated in four sets by No. 19-seeded Spaniard Nicolas Almagro in a not-so-much upset.
Despite the loss, Murray assured reporters that he should be feared on clay.
“I think I proved I’m a good clay court player,” the Brit said. “You saw by the way that he reacted at the end of the match that it was a tough match. To win against me on clay is a very good result. I’m not someone that’s going to be taken lightly on this surface in the future I don’t think.”
Other seeded winners on the day were (22) Fernando Verdasco (d. (15) Mikhail Youzhny in four), and (18) Paul-Henri Mathieu (d. Eduardo Schwank in four).
Frenchman Jeremy Chardy continued his upset streak, straight-setting the not-so-clay-adept (30) Dmitry Tursunov.
Unseeded winners Friday were Latvian Ernests Gulbis (d. Nicolas Lapentti), Frenchman Michael Llodra (d. Simone Bolelli), Frenchman Julien Benneteau (d. Alejandro Falla 6-0 in the fifth), and Frenchman Florent Serra (d. Victor Hanescu in four).
Highlights of Saturday play at Roland Garros is Jurgen “Tuna” Melzer vs. Gael “Force” Monfils, (1) Roger Federer vs. Mario “Baby Goran” Ancic, (25) Lleyton Hewitt vs. (5) David Ferrer, last-standing American Robby Ginepri vs. Frenchman Florent Serra, (4) Nikolay Davydenko vs. (28) Ivan Ljubicic, (9) Stan Wawrinka vs. (24) Fernando “Gonzo” Gonzalez, and (12) Tommy Robredo vs. (21) Radek Stepanek.
Williams Sisters Lose as American Women Exit Early at French Open
The French Open became Williams-less on Friday when both Serena and Venus were upset, making it the first time in more than 40 years that an American women didn’t reach the fourth round at Roland Garros.
Serena Williams stared as if in a daze during her post-match conference after a loss to No. 27 seed Katarina Srebotnik, but was not dazed enough to attribute the loss to her mistakes rather than her opponent.
“I just missed some easy shots. I think that was the difference,” Serena said. “And she made hers…She was just making some shots I don’t think she’s ever made before, or she probably would be in the Top 2. But that was just her game today.”
Srebotnik had played the younger Williams sister close in the past and took her chances.
“This is what you work so hard for — to be in third round where you play Serena or someone like that and you have really nothing to lose,” Srebotnik said. “If you win a match like that, you gain a lot, so I just took my chances.”
Venus Williams was beaten in straight sets by unseeded claycourter Flavia Pennetta as darkness fell in Paris. There were no tears for the elder Williams sister after her loss, as there were for Serena.
“I just want to move on and be positive and be an adult about it,” Venus said. “I never get used to losing. I don’t think anyone gets used to losing. And if they do, then maybe it’s time to retire.”
In other Top 10 play, (2) Ana Ivanovic defeated No. 30 Caroline Wozniacki in straights, (3) Jelena Jankovic led Dominika Cibulkova 7-5, 4-2 when play was suspended due to darkness, and (10) Patty Schnyder outlasted Frenchwoman Emilie Loit in three.
World No. 1 Maria Sharapova finished off American Bethanie Mattek 6-2, 3-6, 6-4, reaffirming that she will continue to pound away from the baseline in one-dimensional style no matter what surface she is playing on.
“To be honest, I just want to go out and play my game,” Sharapova said. “It’s as simple as that. And sometimes you get caught up in thinking that you want to do something more, something extra, and something special that sometimes is out of your hands. Especially on a surface that’s more challenging to you, that where you’re going to have to hit more balls and you’re going to have to move a few extra steps to the ball. You have to be more patient. I’m definitely getting better at that, and I’m getting smarter out there. But sometimes you want to go back to the roots — you just want to drive the ball, and that’s just not enough at times. I’m not a claycourt specialist that’s going to stand 10 feet behind the baseline and retrieve balls back. I’m going to stick to my guns and do what I do best.”
Topping the bill Saturday at Roland Garros are (4) Svetlana Kuznetsova vs. (25) Nadia Petrova, (1) Maria Sharapova vs. (32) Karin Knapp, Chinese riser Jie Zheng vs. (13) Dinara Safina, and (3) Jelena Jankovic vs. (28) Dominika Cibulkova.
For only the second time, Serena and Venus Williams have lost on the same day. The only time prior was the 2004 Roland Garros quarterfinals…Robby Ginepri is the last American left in Paris…Canada has more players left in the women’s field than American (one to zero)…Rafael Nadal has now won 24 straight matches at Roland Garros, and 111 of his last 113 matches on clay. He’s also now 37-0 in best-of-5 clay matches…Venus Williams still has never won Roland Garros…Rafael Nadal will play his fourth straight lefty on Sunday when he takes on Fernando “Hot Sauce” Verdasco. Twenty lefties in total began the field, Nadal will have played 20% of them…Six French players are still alive…David Nalbandian may be playing with a hernia…Mario Ancic is the last man to beat Roger Federer on grass. Ancic is 3-23 vs. Top 5-ranked players…Ancic plays Federer Saturday in the all-Mono match…Nikolay Davydenko bids for career win number 299 vs. former French semifinalist Ivan Ljubicic…29-year-old Radek Stepanek is the oldest player left in the men’s field…Why is Lleyton Hewitt playing doubles if he is injured?…Andy Murray needs to swear more on court. Let his emotions out…Stan Wawrinka has never beaten Fernando Gonazlez in four tries…Radek Stepanek seeks career win number 200 vs. Tommy Robredo…Robby Ginepri has eight career clay court match wins. Florent Serra has 25.
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