Nadal On Track for Fifth French Open
Two rounds down, five more to go at the second Grand Slam of the year, the French Open. So what do we know? Well, we now know that when the sun is out and the red clay court is baking the players hit more aces. And when it’s cool and wet, well, they don’t. But really, so what! It’s clay.
What we do know is that even though Rafael Nadal hasn’t played his best tennis he still is the most intimidating player on clay despite the human pink/yellow highlighter ensemble.
We know that Roger Federer is still very vulnerable as today we saw him on the brink of elimination against Jose Acasuso. Had Jose kept his head when up 5-2 (was it) in the third set, who knows what might have happened – my guess is Fed would still have won in five against the tiring Acasuso.
We know that the French youngsters came to play this week. Are those guys passionate or what? My man Gael Monfils hasn’t dropped a single set despite his ailing knee (or alleged ailing knee). Jo-Wilfried Tsonga plays with some serious firepower and emotion that one day those traits and more will lead him to French Open title. And while he may never reach the heights of his aforementioned predecessors, Josselin Ouanna plays a brand of tennis that’s a joy to watch. And let’s not forget Jeremy Chardy and Gilles Simon who are still alive.
We know Novak Djokovic will have to play at least one set Friday and three more on Saturday. With rising temperatures might things get interesting for the Serb?
We know Andy Roddick was given a gift of a draw, and we know he’ll make the best of it if only for a few more rounds. Corollary: the Americans really do suck on clay.
We know that in women’s tennis the majority lower ranked players are simply not mentally tough enough to knock out the upper echelon when given the chance. Ask Nadia Petrova, Lucie Safarova, Sera Errani and Klara Zakopalova.
We know that it’s too bad Justine Henin retired when she did because the Belgian could still win a handful of French Opens.
We know the British were not meant to play on clay, and that Fernando Gonzalez will likely put an end to Andy Murray in the quarterfinals.
We know that Marat Safin and Fabrice Santoro will be missed.
We know that Fernando Verdasco is going to play Nadal again in a quarterfinals – what would that be, nine straight quarterfinals in a row for Verdasco? If not for Nadal, Verdasco would be a Top 5 player this year and maybe have a spot in the final Sunday at Roland Garros.
We know that those of us in the U.S. are lucky to have not one but two channels – ESPN and the Tennis Channel – covering the French Open. Whether you like the commentary or not, at least it’s on!
And we know with the Top 10 seeds still alive in both draws we are in for a great finish to the clay court season. Allez.
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