French Open Dish: Loser Murray Says Fear Me; Both Williams Exit
by Staff | May 30th, 2008, 11:41 pm
  • 36 Comments

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.”

Listening Amelie?

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.

NOTES
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.


Also Check Out:
Venus Williams Fed Bagel in French Open Exit
Safina Folds, Ivanovic, IW Winner Zvonareva All Exit Miami
Djokovic Wins Family Tournament at ATP Belgrade
Li Lacking, Rookies Impressing at Wimbledon
Ivanovic Out; Sharapova Test Friday at US Open

Don't miss any tennis action, stay connected with Tennis-X

Get Tennis-X news FREE in your inbox every day

36 Comments for French Open Dish: Loser Murray Says Fear Me; Both Williams Exit

zola Says:

By Murray’s logic, I will be the one who should be feared by all the players. I can lose to all of them!


jane Says:

Okay, I’m going to cut Murray a little slack; he did play Almagro, an excellent clay-courted, pretty close today. He fought back and evened the score in the 4th set but unfortunately he couldn’t hold his serve. He needs to be more consistent. I do believe he can be a good clay-courter, indeed good on all surfaces, and I hope for his sake he doesn’t let pressure get to him. He’s got the bloody British press hounding him; Dr. Death said it elsewhere – don’t read the papers.


jane Says:

courted s/b courter


Dr. Death Says:

To repeat some of my comments from an earlier string:

…the Hero of the British Empire, Andy Murray, bombing out again. He must have some talent but the attention, the rewards, the ridiculous support team created (when he had the services of the finest coach in the world) are making him into a never was. The solution is rather simple – live like Nadal, grounded in sound family principles and don’t believe the newspapers. Even better, don’t read them.

As to Murray’s comments quoted above, I suggest he let his racquet speak for him and not his mouth. Oh, his racquet did speak and it was rather hoarse. Best gear up for grass or watch those endorsements go away.


jane Says:

I see Ginepri is still cruising and is in the round of 16; this is great for him. Be nice if he could make it to the quarters.


joe Says:

“the all-mono match”
lmao

Oh as for Murray. His comments were almost as funny as Serenas ones. Sayin that it was HER FO this year. They should both let their rackets do the talking (as dr. death also said about murray)

Fools the pair of them.


Shital Green Says:

I am happy for Ginepri today. Stepanek is sailing smoothly. I could not believe Hewitt lost because of a couple of bad decisions. I was never sure which side I was between Gonzu and Wawrinka.
Sean, where ever you are, I am rooting for Monfils. It is 1 set all, and he is a broken at 2-4 now. Hope he will pull it off and make it to the quarter at least.


jane Says:

Hi Shital,

Stepanek took out Robredo easily; I think he’s a major threat here. He proved in Rome he can kick it on clay.

I too am rooting for Monfils but who knows with him!?

Gonza is a more explosive player when he’s playing well so I was hoping he’d take out Stan. Felt the same as you re: both Ginepri and Hewitt.

How do you feel about Djoko’s next match up with Mathieu? Mathieu played really well against Schwank y’day and their H2H is 1 – 1.

Also, did you see the article called “Clown Prince” on Djoko? Just google it; I suspect you’ll enjoy it.


Von Says:

jane:

I would love for Mathieu to have a break through year; but logic tells me Djoko will win. This should make you happy!


jane Says:

Von,

I like Mathieu a lot; out of all the top Frenchies – Gasquet, Tsonga, Monfils – he may not be the most talented, but he has a nice game and he is the most “settled”. He doesn’t seem so up and down to me. So while I don’t necessarily want him to knock out Djoko I wouldn’t be weeping if it happened. Anything can happen in tennis, too. If Djoko does win, he’ll have his hand full again with, likely, Gulbis, and then with (and here’s where logic dictates) Rafa. That’s where his run will end if he gets that far. I just cannot see Djoko beating Rafa in 5 on clay. Maybe grass, definitely hardcourt. But clay!? Mon Dieu! If it happens I’ll be shocked.


Von Says:

jane:

Only time will tell. One never knows, does one? Anything is possible. However, we have to go with the odds. Paul Henri is overdue for some good times.

BTW: Watch out for Dimentieva. Of all the Russians, I like her, Safina and Petrova. Petrova lost today. Dementieva has a great game, except for her serve. Safina has nerves of steel and has a fighting spirit. She says Marat talks about retiring everytime he loses a match. He’s funny as he’s cute.


Shital Green Says:

Hi Jane,
Last time Djoko played Mathieu was in 2006, a little earlier than he was beginning to real-ize his potential. Since then, we all know, how much he has evolved. Though not as big a leap as Djoko’s, Mathieu too has made progress: especially in 2007 his 2 titles were on clay, Casablanca and Gstaad. Last month, he made it to Semi at Munich, lost to Bolelli. He could be a threat. Djoko cannot afford to let Mathieu get into the match, meaning he will have to play aggressive from the beginning and try to take early lead. That is the key against Mathieu.
For now, I am impatiently waiting for Fed-Ancic match to begin.

Hi Von,
That “I would love for Mathieu to have a break through year” is not a very good pickup line. That could be a turn off to some. And “[L]ogic tells me Djoko will win” lacks heart to sound sexy. But, yeah, why would a “drop dead gorgeous” care?


Shital Green Says:

Congratulations to Monfils ! He plays unhurried, hits artistically despite his muscular body. Even when he hits the ball hard occasionally, he shows his love for it. There is something gently erotic about the way he plays. A lot of girls must be crazy for this guy.

Ancic has not been able to return Fed’s serves, which are not fast paced, though well placed. When he does, they are weak returns. So he loses the match in straight sets. Against Ancic, Fed has been doing everything great. Fed gets another easy win in straight sets without expending much energy!


Skorocel Says:

“Ancic plays Federer Saturday in the all-Mono match…”

LOL, that was good! :-)


Dr. Death Says:

You will all be happy to know that Andy Murray’s inspirational biography will be released next week (no joke). No doubt Andy tanked the FO so he could be back in London to promote the book. The actual title has not been released – “L” was one suggested.

Hidden away on the Times web site, one can find this headline: “Nicolas Almagro reduces Andy Murray to rubble” – a slight disagreement with Murray’s own evaluation of his performance.


Von Says:

Shital Green:

“Hi Von,
That “I would love for Mathieu to have a break through year” is not a very good pickup line. That could be a turn off to some. And “[L]ogic tells me Djoko will win” lacks heart to sound sexy. But, yeah, why would a “drop dead gorgeous” care?”

I didn’t think you would notice my faint-hearted stabs at pickups, but your post says otherwise. I’m laughing so hard. I suppose that even my good intentions are a turn-off. You’ve proved me wrong. Additionally, my ‘drop dead gorgeous” statements don’t go unnoticed despite your professorial mind and cerebral thinking, which tells me you’re not all bookish; there’s room left in there for some humor. I have to be careful in the future now that I know you’re reading my comments. LOL. I’m laughing so much, it’s unbelievable. :)


andrea Says:

i’m not too sure where andy murray gets this notion that players should start fearing him on clay…or any other surface for that matter.

maybe he’s taking PR lessons from novak.


Von Says:

Dr. Death:

“‘Nicolas Almagro reduces Andy Murray to rubble’ – a slight disagreement with Murray’s own evaluation of his performance.”

My belief is that Murray’s using some sort of mood altering meds — maybe some of mine? How else could he come up with those statements is baffling to me. I look for some smidgen of humor in his statements, giving him the benefit of being facetious, but sadly, there’s nada. This kid is far removed from reality.

Question: Who would be so crazy as to buy his book? Are there die-hard, worshipping fans out there somewhere, who have nothing better to do with their money?


Del Torri Says:

***
jane Says:
“Also, did you see the article called “Clown Prince” on Djoko? Just google it; I suspect you’ll enjoy it.”
***

I certainly enjoyed it! This was my favourite part, the thing I most admire about Novak:

“He takes pride, too, in the fact that he says what he thinks, rather than trotting out a more anodyne version of events that the authorities might prefer. ‘People ask me a question, I try to give an honest answer,’ he says simply.”


jane Says:

Well I am glad someone enjoyed it!

Does anyone know if Wilander coaches Mathieu? Maybe that’s old news but I not up on it.


Voicemale1 Says:

Of the matches tomorrow, it’s the Upper Quarter of the Bottom Half that has all the intrigue. Gulbis – looking good bashing the ball from the back court as if this was a hard court!! Llodra’s constant coming in will give him the target. Gulbis hits with lots of pace, but pretty flat. If he had more spin on the ball he could get it dipping low and force Llodra to volley up all day. But hitting just hard & flat means Llodra should be able to take most of his volleys above the net, and then just stick the racquet out and angle it to cope with the pace. For Gulbis to win he’ll have to pass Llodra outright all day.

Djokovic & Mathieu have split their two meetings, both on hard courts, and both were in 2006. Both of them are also better now than they were then. And both also belong to a fairly exclusive club: they each have taken an entire set off of Nadal on clay!! Mathieu has a couple of things working in his favor tomorrow: he’s a little better on clay than a hard court; and he has Mats Wilander in his corner these days. Other than Brad Gilbert, Wilander might be the best at analyzing matchups in that “X”‘s & “O”‘s manner. It was Wilander who was behind Marat Safin when he won the US Open in 2000 pummeling Sampras in straight sets. If Mathieu can hold his nerve (no small feat) and not feel the pressure of the crowd that will want him to win, he’s got enough game on clay to ensure a long, draining match for Djokovic. And Djokovic will have to step it way up now – he’s only looked really sharp in one of his three matches so far (and that’s only because his opponent that day isn’t even ranked inside the Top 250 guys in the world). The most troubling statistic is this: he’s had his serve broken 7 times in the first three rounds. He’s gotten away with it to this point only because has hasn’t had to play anybody in the Top 50 yet: Gremelmayr #64; Lopez-Jaen #260; and Odesnik #106. If he doesn’t clean up the serve problem now he won’t even make it to Nadal in the Semis.

As for Nadal, Verdasco all but signaled the inevitable when he said he would “…play my best, but if I lose, so what?”. For all the talk of a Nadal/Almagro QF, but somehow I don’t think Nadal is that worried about it. :) Given that he had to play 3 straight days, he’s looked as good as he ever has here, and his dismantling of Niemenen was, well, what you’d expect from Rafa at the French Open: merciless.


TD (Tam) Says:

Good evening all,

Venus is such a class act, both on and off the court. It’s difficult to fathom that she and Serena really are sisters. I am disappointed that she lost. Serena not so much. I hope Jankovic will embrace this great opportunity to nab her first slam.

Murray is an ugly foul-mouthed prat. If Andy Roddick were as verbally abusive and low class as Murray is Tennis-x and the rest of the media would never let us hear the end of it.

Federer’s match with Ancic was rather dull and predictable. I don’t understand why he felt the need to bully Ancic with fist pumps and screaming ‘Come on!’ all the time it’s not like he was in any grave danger of losing.

Happy to see Nadal finally get a day off from playing I hope he wins comfortably tomorrow.


angel Says:

TD(Tam)
*Federer’s match with Ancic was rather dull and predictable. I don’t understand why he felt the need to bully Ancic with fist pumps and screaming ‘Come on!’ all the time it’s not like he was in any grave danger of losing.*
Nadal does this all the time and of course for him is ok…I think you are the dull one here.


zola Says:

angel,
your hatred for Nadal is so obvious. He doesn’t fist pump “all the time”. Only when he heas a great point after a big fight. How many fist pumps did he have against Federer in Hamburg?

Obviously for Federer beating Ancic was a big deal.


zola Says:

for tomorrow, let’s hope the rain comes after the matches are over!


zola Says:

Voicemale
I hope Djoko-PHM goes to 5 sets tomorrow!


JCF Says:

“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.”

I like how she says Top TWO. She assumes of course, that #1 would be her. So modest.


JCF Says:

“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…”

Not to mention Nadal himself is a leftie… sorta.


grendel Says:

It’s well known that our perceptions – which you might think are objective, just a matter of our eyes taking note of what lies before them – are in fact conditioned and hence selective. Thus I didn’t see Fed fist pump all the time, scream “come on” and so on. Pretty rare, actually. I’d bet on that – but I’m prepared to find I’m wrong, too. What I am sure of is that Federer did not “bully” Ancic, and nor was “beating Ancic a big deal”. Federer has one thing, and one thing only, in mind: beating Nadal in the final. Everything he does is preparation for that prospective match, and that includes very much the mental side. Federer has always had a tendency to be passive – fatal against Nadal.

It is a caste of mind which could backfire, since he may make the mistake of underestimating his opponent of the day. I doubt it though. And I fear it won’t make any difference, either. For a while, Federer will look amazing against Nadal. And then the Spaniard will gradually draw him into his web. To beat Nadal, you need to be not only phenomenally skilful, no problems there for Fed – but carefree. There lies the rub.


Tejuz Says:

well Grendel.. this year is a lil different that previous 2 years if fed does indeed meet Nadal in fianls. This year, fed wont be chasing a ‘Roger Slam’ unlike the prev 2 years.. also there is less expectations on Fed to win because of his average form this year. That would allow Fed to play a lil care-free.. also he knows when he played this way.. he was beating Nadal 4 or 5 games in a row more than a couple of times this year at MC and Hamburg. Somehow.. this might prove a break thru year for Fed at French this year.. if not.. he will atleast stretch Nadal all the way to a 5-setter.


grendel Says:

I admire your optimism, Tejuz. To be pessimistic, like me, is not necessarily to be realistic – sometimes, it’s just lack of imagination. You know, it’s always been like this sort of thing, therefore etc, etc. Trouble is – well, it always HAS been like this, hasn’t it? See, I’m stuck in a groove, can’t get out! Anyway,you may well be right, let’s hope so. I think we’ll know more if Fed gets to meet Stepanek. People might say – what relevance has a serve and volleyer got in terms of playing Nadal. Just this: Stepanek at the moment is full of confidence, he beat Federer recently on pure merit – Fed wasn’t playing bad at all – so if Fed can turn the tables convincingly, we’ll know something of his mindset. And that’s where the battle lies.

Look forward to Monfils/Ljubicic tomorrow. Isn’t it strange how you can be rooting for a player one day, and then against him the next. I was delighted for Ljubicic against dour old Davydenko. But I like Monfils even better – not just a highly unusual tennis player, unique, really,and tremendous athlete, but an amazingly quirky individual. He lights the scene up with his presence.


jane Says:

I’d love to see Monfils through to the quarters; he’s very quirky, as you say, and so flexible and unpredictable. It’s always a pleasure to watch him play and a breakthrough to the Qs here would do plenty for his confidence and give him some momentum.

There’s a nice mix of the vanguard and the establishment in this final week.


FoT Says:

You know… sometimes Roger can’t get a break. Some fans say he’s too ‘robotic’, not showing enough emotion and that’s why they don’t like him.

Then when he show the ‘fire’ and says his “come on”, then some fans get on him for that.

Roger is in a no-win situation with 100% of the rans which is why some of his fans could care less what others think of him! *lol*…

As a fan, I’m glad he was showing that he cared and said the come ons, etc. It showed us that he really was in that match. And after the match some folks were saying ‘big deal, he just beat Ancic’. Yet before the match, I read a lot of other fans saying “this could be tricky for Roger. Ancic is playing great”. lol!


Skorocel Says:

To Tejuz:

I like your optimism too, but still, I’m rather realistic on this one :) The fact is, it won’t matter whether it’s “Roger slam” or something different at stake for Fed should he once again advance to the final and meet his eternal rival there… He knows very well what would a win in Paris (especially against Nadal in the final) mean to him, so the pressure will be the same – if not even bigger… That he hasn’t played so well thus far in 2008 won’t help him at all… Anyway, even though I’m already fed up with their matches on the dirt (well, after a 1-8 score, who wouldn’t? :) ), I still like that challenge which Nadal and the possibility of winning that elusive FO title represents for Fed. It’s a deadly combination, and it’s only up to Fed overcome these 2 demons… You may think he has nothing left to prove (which he indeed hasn’t), but truly, just try to imagine what would happen in case he beats a (presumably healthy) Nadal in the finals…

P.S. Please, no more 5 set thrillers with Fed once again being on the loser’s end! Haven’t you had enough after that Rome 2006 final? :) I was about to jump out of the window once that one ended – and this despite betting cca 100 USD on Nadal (yes, on Nadal!) before the match!


Von Says:

Skorocel:

“Please, no more 5 set thrillers with Fed once again being on the loser’s end! Haven’t you had enough after that Rome 2006 final? I was about to jump out of the window once that one ended – and this despite betting cca 100 USD on Nadal (yes, on Nadal!) before the match!”

I hope you’ll be smarter this time and hold on to your money. What’s a nice boy like you doing betting anyway? :) I have a package of tissues and a teething ring (to bite on instead of biting off your fingernails) to Fedex to you if Fed meets Nadal in the FO final. :)

“just try to imagine what would happen in case he beats a (presumably healthy) Nadal in the finals…”

This imagination bit is a no, no. Don’t let it run wild now, you’ll lose sleep. :)


Skorocel Says:

Von said:

“This imagination bit is a no, no. Don’t let it run wild now, you’ll lose sleep.”

Yes, but at least we – Fed fans can still dream, can’t we? :) But seriously, let’s be realists. It’ll take all galaxies to fit into one perfect congregation if our man is to finally beat Rafa in the final – I can admit that :)

Top story: Wozniacki Ousts Sharapova At US Open; Federer, Dimitrov Start Slow, Tsonga-Murray Monday
Most Recent story: Roger Federer Says Travelling Has Helped Him Learn How To Deal With Stress
  • Recent Comments
Rankings
ATP - Aug 25 WTA - Aug 25
1 Novak Djokovic1 Serena Williams
2 Rafael Nadal2 Simona Halep
3 Roger Federer3 Na Li
4 Stan Wawrinka4 Petra Kvitova
5 David Ferrer5 Agnieszka Radwanska
6 Milos Raonic6 Maria Sharapova
7 Tomas Berdych7 Angelique Kerber
8 Grigor Dimitrov8 Eugenie Bouchard
9 Andy Murray9 Ana Ivanovic
10 Jo-Wilfried Tsonga10 Jelena Jankovic
More: Tennis T-Shirts | Tennis Shop | Live Tennis Scores | Headlines

Copyright © 2003-2014 Tennis-X.com. All rights reserved.
This website is an independently operated source of news and information and is not affiliated with any professional organizations.