It’s been quite an upsetting French Open thus far. Tournament favorites Stan Wawrinka, Serena Williams, Li Na, Grigor Dimitrov and even Venus Williams all bowed out before “their time”. But that’s been the theme for most of the season – surprises, surprises and more surprises.
Fortunately or unfortunately, depending upon your allegiances, the stalwart Big Four march on. Today Rafael Nadal and Andy Murray broke barely a sweat taking down their opponents who had combined for zero career wins at Roland Garros before the week began.
Nadal blasted Dominic Thiem in straight sets 6-2, 6-2, 6-3. After a suspect clay lead-up Rafa is looking like Rafa again. And that’s scary. For all his promise – and he has a lot (IMO he’s the best of the young guns), the 20-year-old Thiem just couldn’t hang with Nadal’s relentless attack, and not sure who can outside of Novak Djokovic. Still, one day in the future Thiem will have his revenge.
Murray was much of the same, simply overmatching Marinko Matosevic who at 28 broke a 12-match losing streak to win his first career Slam match. It’s nice for the Australian but for Murray it was hardly a test.
So after all the upsets this week, nothing much happened today. American Donald Young had a notable win over Feliciano Lopez in a battle of clay-challenged lefties.
David Ferrer, Richard Gasquet and even another rising American, Jack Sock, all rolled into the third round.
Fernando Verdasco came from two sets down to advance. And in what will be the match of the first week, Gael Monfils and Fabio Fognini will meet on Saturday after the two drama queens/kings won today.
In the women’s draw, with the Williams sisters and Li Na out, Maria Sharapova is the favorite. But not far behind is Simona Halep who had an nice 6-2, 6-4win today over Heather Watson. If Halep can handle the pressure and Maria gets upset, the Romanian could be the the champ – I believe the last 7 years have seen 7 different women’s winners.
As for the upsets…
Stan Wawrinka – We asked if being a Grand Slam champion would be too much of a burden and it turns out it is. At least he got his Australian because I don’t see him getting another.
Serena Williams – How can we continue to call her the best player on the planet when she keeps losing Slams? I guess there’s no one to take her place.
Li Na – Former champion nearly retired in the middle of last year. My guess is we’ll hear that talk again after Wimbledon.
Grigor Dimitrov – So much talent but a decent clay season flushed down the toilet in a disappointing loss to Ivo Karlovic.
So as we’ve seen really anything can happen. Anything is fair game. Nothing is certain.
On tap tomorrow we have Roger Federer against Dimitrov Tursunov. Novak Djokovic faces Marin Cilic and in what looks to be the best match of the day JW Tsonga takes on Jerzy Janowicz. That one should be fun. And also Milos Raonic battles Gilles Simon. If Raonic is worth the hype, it’s a match he can and should win. Simon’s a heady player but clay isn’t his best.
ESPN2 will have the matches early then handing off to Tennis Channel.
FRIDAY FRENCH OPEN SCHEDULE
Court Philippe Chatrier 11:00 AM Start
Agnieszka Radwanska (POL) vs. Ajla Tomljanovic (CRO)
Dmitry Tursunov (RUS) vs. Roger Federer (SUI)
Paula Ormaechea (ARG) vs. Maria Sharapova (RUS)
Milos Raonic (CAN) vs. Gilles Simon (FRA)
Court Suzanne Lenglen 11:00 AM Start
Dominika Cibulkova (SVK) vs. Samantha Stosur (AUS)
Marin Cilic (CRO) vs. Novak Djokovic (SRB)
Jo-Wilfried Tsonga (FRA) vs. Jerzy Janowicz (POL)
Daniela Hantuchova (SVK) vs. Angelique Kerber (GER)
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