Wow. What a French Open. Roger Federer nearly became the third shocking upset in as many days at one of the craziest French Opens or just Grand Slams in recent memory. Federer was all but six feet under against his buddy, Tommy Haas, earlier today in the French Open 16s.
The German Haas won the first two sets and then on break point at 3-4 with the Swiss serving in the third set a Federer inside-out forehand just managed to find the painted line saving the Swiss from sure defeat and place alongside his rivals Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic as week two spectators.
But, karma, luck, a gift, hard work, who knows, Federer hit the shot, recovered and won the battle going away in five sets. As I commented during the match, Haas’s subsequent collapse after his lead was almost on cue, and one really has to feel bad for Tommy who has had more than his fair share of suffering and setbacks while on the pro circuit the last ten years or so.
For Federer, it was a serious escape in a serious moment in a tournament, with Nadal and DJokovic both out, he absolutely has to have. So is he feeling the pressure? I’d say so.
Next up for Federer is my man, Gael Monfils, who thumped Andy Roddick in the fading light of court Suzanne Lenglen. Monfils raced out to a two-set lead when Roddick began complaining that he couldn’t see the ball. Well, right or wrong, it didn’t matter in the end because on a clay court Monfils is just the better player.
Roddick simply does match up against a speedy and powerful player like Gael because the Frenchman can retrieve just about anything Roddick can dish out.
Against Federer, though, it’s a different scenario. Monfils will not be able to get away with being perched so far behind the baseline in hopes of a Federer miss – who knew that Federer’s drop shot would come in handy against someone other than Nadal?
Also today we saw Juan Martin Del Potro beat down Jo-Wilfried Tsonga. I picked Tsonga just on emotion so I’m not terribly surprised at the result. DelPo is much more consistent of a player and if Tsonga’s not on a hot streak he can fizzle pretty easily, especially on clay.
DelPo now gets 2009 claycourt match win leader Tommy Robredo, a four set winner over the man who upset Djokovic, Philipp Kohlschreiber.
As for Tuesday, I see now there’s a wild rumor that Fernando Gonzalez may have a virus issue. Gonzalez did withdraw from the doubles but as I commented, until I see an actual news story I won’t believe it. And I really think Gonzo has a very strong chance against Murray and if the Chilean is in fact 100%, which I hope he is, I think he gets the upset win.
The other semifinal puts Rafael Nadal’s conqueror, Robin Soderling, against Nikolay Davydenko. So raise your hands if you had that matchup in your quarterfinal bracket at the start of the tournament. I’m guessing no one did, but that’s why you play. Anyway, I’m taking Davydenko because I don’t think Soderling will be able to recover from that historic win over Nadal. Players that post big upsets more often than not lose the following round, and that’s what I’ll go with here.
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