The aces were flying on day one of the French Open. Dr. Ivo Karlovic slammed a record-breaking 55 in a five-set loss vs. Lleyton Hewitt. Robert Kendrick did three touchdowns fewer with 34 in a five-set win and several other players reached the 20s on a fast-paced, powerful first day at the French Open.
So… Is the court just fast? Is that not red clay I see on my TV? Or maybe it’s a red carpet? Answer, it’s clay and I think the hot, dry air is probably helping the ace count. If the guys playing Monday rack up huge numbers than something’s going on!
Besides the frequency with which players were serving bombs, about the only surprise on the day was two-time Slam champ Amelie Mauresmo fizzle-out against Ana-Lena Groenefeld.
Meanwhile, it was status quo for the favorites. Andy Murray played like a No. 3 seed thrashing Juan Ignacio Chela 6-2, 6-2, 6-1. The Spanish trio Fernando Verdasco, Nicolas Almagro and David Ferrero went a combined 9-0 in sets with little resistance.
Radek Stepanek, Marat Safin also were straight set winners. But the match of the day was Gilles Simon’s tough five-set win over American Wayne Odesnik. Simon had been struggling mightily heading into his country’s showpiece tennis event and Odesnik, who’s arguably the best claycourter the US has to offer, took advantage of Frenchman’s confidence slide. That is until the fifth set were Simon found some magic and escaped.
Simon now meets another American, Robert Kendrick, on Wednesday.
On the women’s side, defending champion Ana Ivanovic won her 8th straight match at Roland Garros. And in the match of the day, Vitalia Diatchenko hung in long enough to turn away Mathlide Johansson 10-8 in the third. Incredibly, the Frenchwoman Johansson blew 8 matchpoints in that final set. EIGHT! No wonder why the tears were flowing like wine…
Monday the big guns get on court with Rafael Nadal, Roger Federer and Andy Roddick. Venus Williams, Dinara Safina and Maria Sharapova are on for the women. Frankly, I don’t see much in the way of competitive matches for the top seeds.
Among the best matches I do see are Andreev v. Fognini, Youhzny v. Muller, Tipsarevich v. Montanes and one from the women, Lisicki v. Safarova.
Have a good Memorial Day holiday! Enjoy the tennis.
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