Sharapova Blows Lead, Exits French Open
Maria Sharapova had a lot to be angry about on Monday at Roland Garros.
Serving for the match in the second set, then one point away from victory, the world No. 1 let slip a fourth-round match against Russian compatriot Dinara Safina, falling 6-7(6), 7-6(5), 6-2.
“Oh, I was angry,” said Sharapova, who was booed by fans upon rapidly exiting the stadium court. “I was angry for making unforced errors, for not taking some of those balls and just ripping them.”
Sharapova led 7-6(6), 5-2, and was then up 40-30 serving for the match at 5-3. In the second-set tiebreak she led 5-2, but Safina to her credit would not go away, winning the next five points to claim the set while Sharapova looked tentative.
“It can go in the wrong direction really fast,” Sharapova said. “It just started going that way.”
Sharapova was not distressed by the jeering French fans as she hurried off the stadium court.
“I can’t please everyone,” Sharapova said. “That’s not in my ‘J.D.’ — not in my job description. I mean, they paid the ticket to watch me, so they must appreciate me on some level, right?”
With the loss Sharapova could lose the top ranking during the event to either Jelena Jankovic, Ana Ivanovic or Svetlana Kuznetsova.
“Boo-hoo,” said Sharapova in response.
Safina will next face another Russian in No. 7 Elena Dementieva, who beat No. 11 Vera Zvonareva 6-4, 1-6, 6-2.
Two other matches were suspended by darkness, with No. 4 Kuznetsova leading No. 16 Victoria Azarenka 6-2, 2-2, and Petra Kvitova and Kaia Kanepi at one-set all.
On court Tuesday at Roland Garros are (2) Ana Ivanovic vs. (10) Patty Schnyder, (3) Jelena Jankovic vs. unseeded Spanish sensation Carla Suarez Navarro, (4) Svetlana Kuznetsova vs. (16) Victoria Azarenka (to finish), and Petra Kvitova vs. Kaia Kanepi (to finish…on Court 6…ouch).
Federer Into Quarterfinals, Monfils Upsets Ljubicic at French Open
World No. 1 Roger Federer tamed Frenchman Julien Benneteau and the French crowd 6-4, 7-5, 7-5 Monday at the French Open, moving into the quarterfinals.
The Swiss will next face No. 24 seed Fernando “Gonzo” Gonzalez, who eliminated the final American in the draw, unseeded Robby Ginepri 7-6(4), 6-3, 6-1.
“A five-hour ‘grindfest’ would have favored me a little bit more,” Ginepri told reporters. “I tried to end the points too quickly.”
Even the world No. 1 and former French Open champion Bryan brothers were ousted on Monday, falling to Pablo Cuevas of Uruguay and Luis Horna of Peru 6-3, 5-7, 7-6(1). Switching sides leading 5-1 in the third-set tiebreak, Cuevas jumped the net, leading the Bryan brothers to avoid shaking Cuevas’ hand after the match.
“I wanted to talk to them in the locker room,” said Tennis Channel/ESPN commentator John McEnroe of the American twins, “but they had this angry look in their eyes and I thought I’d better let them cool off.”
Also advancing in singles Monday were (5) David Ferrer (d. (21) Radek Stepanek in five) and unseeded Frenchman Gael “Force” Monfils (d. (28) Ivan Ljubicic in four).
Scheduled for Tuesday are quarterfinal matches (2) Rafael Nadal vs. (19) Nicolas Almagro in an all-Spanish grinder, and former practice partners (3) Novak Djokovic vs. unseeded Latvian “The Importance of Being” Ernests Gulbis.
Happy Birthday to Rafael Nadal who turns 22 on Tuesday…Gael Monfils has reached his first career Grand Slam quarterfinal…David Ferrer has won seven straight five-set matches…Dinara Safina beat Maria Sharapova again at the French Open in the same round, on the same court and by the same number of sets Monday as she did two years earlier in 2006…Ana Ivanovic, Jelena Jankovic and Sveta Kunetsova can all walk away with the No. 1 ranking…Roger Federer has reached 16 straight Slam quarterfinals…Svetlana Kuznetsova is the only player left in the women’s draw with a Slam title…Fernando Gonzalez has not lost a clay match this year. The Chilean is 16-0…Rafael Nadal is 38-0 in best-of-5 set matches…Nicolas Almagro leads all players in aces…Spanish qualifier Carlo Suarez Navarro has lost just one set…Forecast: Risk of rain remains, with likely interruptions…John McEnroe’s ex-wife, Tatum O’Neal, was arrested for buying crack on Sunday night near her home in Manhattan. That could put a dent in the visitation rights with the McEnroe kids…Why were the Bryans playing one-up, one-back doubles like the Girl’s 14s final at the French Open on Monday in their loss to two South American baseliners? Ouch…According to the SportsBusiness Journal, the ATP wants to use the calendar structure of the Sony Ericsson WTA Tour as a defense in its court case against the Masters Series-Hamburg tournament, which is suing the ATP in U.S. court in July. The ATP, according to the court papers, plans to call WTA Chief Executive Larry Scott as a witness…Ouch — ESPN couldn’t have been too happy on Monday when it began its noon coverage with the tape of Robby Ginepri vs. Fernando Gonzalez, just after the Tennis Channel finished its switch-over coverage ending at noon with the news that Ginepri had lost. Thanks Tennis Channel, no need to watch ESPN for the next two hours!
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