Murray Sails Into French Open 2nd RD, Stays Perfect On Clay; Djokovic, Nadal On Court Tuesday
by Staff | May 25th, 2015, 5:04 pm
  • 78 Comments

Andy Murray upped his recent clay run to 11 today after easily dismissing Facundo Arguella in straight sets 6-3, 6-3, 6-1 in the first round of the French Open.

Murray, a 2-time French Open semifinalist and recent winner of Munich and Madrid, felt he did well against a tough Argentine opponent.

“It was definitely tricky,” Murray said. “I think he has a good forehand. I think when he has time, you know, he can move the ball around the court well with the forehand. He’s quick and fast. You know, retrieves a lot of balls. I think he could definitely serve a little bit bigger. And, yeah, that was kind of it. I felt like when I was able to dictate the points, you know, and get, you know, some good depth into his backhand, then I was able to dictate a lot of the points. When he hit the first ball with his forehand, he was able to make me run and do a lot of moving. But, you know, he’s a tough, tough player.”

Murray will play the winner of tomorrow’s Joao Sousa-Vasek Pospisil match in the second round on Thursday.

A pair a Frenchman also advanced today over their countryman in four sets. First, Gilles Simon overcame a first set loss to beat Lucas Pouille 3-6, 6-1, 6-2, 6-4. Afterward, Simon said his back/neck injury that forced him to retire in Rome and withdraw from Nice was ok.

“It’s over, and I’m really sick and tired of having that question over and over,” Simon said. “I hear it 15 times a day. So after 15 times it gets on my nerves. If you see me on the court, it’s because I have decided I’m in good shape to be there. If I consider I shouldn’t be there, well, then you don’t see me on the court. I think things will get better if I manage to stay relaxed.”

Not soon after, Gael Monfils effectively ended the French Open career of local boy Edouard Roger-Vasselin 6-2, 6-7, 6-1, 7-5.

“The weather conditions were not great,” Monfils, a former semifinalist, said. “But at one stage I didn’t feel like running too much, and Edouard started the match not quite well — not that well, so I started leading. I was up one set, and I started playing dropshots. I was not 100% in my game. Then he adjusted his game, and he started managing the weather conditions better than I. I had to fight a bit more. I was not successful on the tiebreak, so he forced me into boosting my game up again.”

While, Pouille fell along with Nishioka (who lost to Tomas Berdych) and Frances Tiafoe (lost to Martin Klizan), a bunch of the new wave players pulled through including Borna Coric, Nick Kyrgios, Thanasi Kokkinakis, Dominic Thiem and Kyle Edmund.

“it’s very nice to see also other players,” the 18-year-old Coric said after beating American Sam Querrey in four sets. “It’s for sure motivation and kind of you have more self-belief, I think, because you can see that someone else who’s your age can do it. They can win all the top 10, top 20 guys. So I think it’s just very good to have someone your age or maybe just a little bit older who’s doing very good.”

Kokkinakis now meets countryman Bernard Tomic while Kyrgios, who now faces Edmund, is a win from potentially Andy Murray on Saturday.

David Goffin, Benoit Paire, Juan Monaco and Fabio Fognini were among the other winners.

Tomorrow, tournament favorites Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal begin their trek to a quarterfinal showdown. John Isner, Richard Gasquet and David Ferrer are also in action as the first round comes to an end.

TUESDAY FRENCH OPEN SCHEDULE
Philippe-Chatrier Court 11:00 AM Start
Petra Kvitova (CZE)[4] vs. Marina Erakovic (NZL)
Quentin Halys (FRA) vs. Rafael Nadal (ESP)[6]
Novak Djokovic (SRB)[1] vs. Jarkko Nieminen (FIN)
Serena Williams (USA)[1] vs. Andrea Hlavackova (CZE)

Suzanne-Lenglen Court 11:00 AM Start
Lukas Lacko (SVK) vs. David Ferrer (ESP)[7]
Karin Knapp (ITA) vs. Caroline Wozniacki (DEN)[5]
Richard Gasquet (FRA)[20] vs. Germain Gigounon (BEL)
Kristina Mladenovic (FRA) vs. Eugenie Bouchard (CAN)[6]


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Andy Murray’s Having Court Issues: Monte Carlo Has Bad Bounces, Madrid Has Turned Blue

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78 Comments for Murray Sails Into French Open 2nd RD, Stays Perfect On Clay; Djokovic, Nadal On Court Tuesday

jane Says:

“at one stage I didn’t feel like running too much” – ha ha, typical monfils comment. hopefully he feels more like running next round. ;) perhaps something was lost in translation, but it still sounds funny.

elsewhere, andy said the court plays very slow with a low bounce:

“”That court in particular, Philippe Chatrier, is very slow, extremely slow. I have never felt it like that before,” “”When I practiced on the outside courts and the sun is out, it’s pretty quick, high bouncing.

“Suzanne Lenglen is a little bit slower than the outside courts, but still, it’s not that slow. But centre court (is) very low bouncing, which is strange.”

in terms of weather, it should be relatively warm and dry with some clouds through the week, but by the weekend / early next week, there might be rain. let’s hope not, maybe especially for the top half, because they are screwed, given the depth of the draw, if they have to play 5 setters back to back to back.


django Says:

Everything coming up roses for Fed wrt draw etc


Daniel Says:

Indeed saw some matches today and is very slow, the ball kinds of stop both up and in depth, the “dead balls” Fed mentioned before.

Weather is pretty cool, but guess when is expected to raise temperatures, Wednesday 3rd, right for the Djoko x Nadal contest, but still slight possibility of rain. I think not raining in the first week is more important, because there is a lot of matches to be played. Later on they have more flexibility with schedule and less matches by the daytime. Important is go through R16 with no delays. Doesn’t seems will rain for a whole day and forecast is low percentage still, so seems weather won’t affect much. There is always some rain, hoping they remain scattered.


NK Says:

The slowness of the courts here is the main reason why I am not a fan of clay court tennis. Can you imagine Nadal-Djokovic match…I expect each set will take one hour, and if it goes to five sets, God help us. Seeing two players staying 10-feet behind the baseline and running from side to side retrieving and waiting for the first short ball is not my idea of entertaining tennis.

Clay is pure endurance, grass is artistry, and hard court is in-between the two.


jane Says:

nk, have you been watching novak lately? he’s shortened points quite a bit! he uses lots of drop shots, sharp angles, and comes in on short balls. novak came to net 26 times in 2 sets versus rafa at monte carlo, and the whole match lasts an hour and a half. so about 45 minutes per set. granted, it’s longer than it took to beat fed in the rome final – that took only 1 hour and 15 minutes – but a lot of that is down to the difference between fed and rafa, not the novak.


jane Says:

^ sorry for typos.


jane Says:

also novak rarely stands 10 feet behind the baseline; it’s just not how he plays. he stands right on it, generally speaking.


skeezer Says:

jane,
This is the slowest Clay tournament of the season. Will be shocked if Nole can do what you say here unless the conditions speed up quite a bit. I can see some droppers, but coming to the net often? Mmmmm. Still, he’ll adapt and be ok, but there are other reasons Rafa does so well here…..the big one is the flat out slowness helps him big time.


Sienna Says:

slow with low bounce…

low bounce favors Federer that might be of bigger impact then slowness of court.


jane Says:

i know skeezer, but he can come in on short balls to finish the point maybe?


jane Says:

oh look: the roland garros website calls rafa “the undeniable favourite” – i guess the admins there must be trying to jinx him. ;)


Michael Says:

It is easy to be deceived by the scoreline. Andy just didn’t impress with the way scoreline reads. He was finding great difficulty in timing the ball and lacked rhythm. May be as the tournament progresses, Andy will get to experience the feel of the court and adjust his game.


Margot Says:

@Michael
Andy’s opponent said he “played like a champion” in the 3rd set.
Good enough for me.
11 in row!
*faints clean away*


Michael Says:

Margot,

For me, it appeared Andy was not at his best. He had some difficulty adjusting to the pace and bounce of the court considering that it is the slowest compared to other clay court tournaments.

True, 11 wins is a row is fabulous and Andy can be proud about this record on a surface where he is least comfortable. That said, it is just the first round and there is tremendous scope for improvement. Champions like Andy gather form as the tournament progresses where they preserve their best for the later rounds wherein they show their true mettle and the real stuff they are made of.


Colin Says:

Michael,Andy did say the wind was troublesome.

Anyway, we now know his next opponent: it’s Sousa, which means there will be a bit less foul language on court. Remember the last time Andy played the Canadian? Popsicle hurled obscenities, not at Andy or himself, but directly at the umpire. Not only was he not cautioned, the ATP commentators didn’t even mention it. If that had been Andy, we’d never have heard the last of it!


mat4 Says:

If Rafa doesn’t improve his game, he won’t make it to the third round. Halys is too young (he’s 18) to take his chances here, but a better player, a more experienced one, would made good use of the court.

But I see it also as a big inconvenience for Novak, who probably hasn’t enough power to hit through on the Chatrier.


Sienna Says:

Nadal trying some djoker gamesmenship to get a replay at 30-30 2nd set.

Nadal and Djokovic resort to often to that kind of behaviour.


jane Says:

rafa looks fine to me mat4


mat4 Says:

@jane:

He can’t hit a FH winner through the court. Now the rebound seems higher, so he resorts to his usual patterns.


jane Says:

mat4, he just hit two in a row. one crosscourt and one amazing one down-the-line to break.


jane Says:

his serve is different too. flatter. and his movement is excellent and fast.


mat4 Says:

@jane:

I’ve seen it. But it is mainly due to Halys inexperience. The boy is clearly very nervous, missing too much.


jane Says:

and another wicked forehand up the line. i think it’s just that rafa is in his element mat4. this is his court. it looks windy.


jane Says:

kivitova says similar to your thoughts mat4

Courtney Nguyen ‏@FortyDeuceTwits 14m14 minutes ago
Following the trend of the week, Kvitova says PC was was slow today. Couldn’t hit through the court. Balls heavy and PC has more clay.


mat4 Says:

I switched to Almagro-Dolgopolov, where the court seems much faster, and the tennis is very different.

Of course, I immediately jinxed Almagro, who was broken after a line, a net cord, another net, and a return winner.

And Dolgo has a set point.

Regarding Rafa… It’s just the beginning, so it’s early to make a conclusion. But the court, when the sky is covered, doesn’t suit him neither. He can’t hit through, and there is not enough rebound. He has to open the court.

He can do against Halys, but I doubt it will be so easy in the next rounds.


mat4 Says:

@jane:

This game is a perfect illustration of Halys inexperience. He played the wrong shot at the net, when a BH DTL would have given him the point. Not only that: but you just don’t play CC in those situations, since the court remains open.

Then he plays wrongly on the return, not taking in account that Rafa’s balls rotates the other direction.

His shot selection is bad, and there’s a lot of work to do here.


jane Says:

i would have to seek out streaming somewhere, but nico/doglo must be fun to watch!

yes agree; it’s early to draw conclusions.

will you watch novak versus jarkko, the metal head, mat4? i thought he was a leftie, just checked and i was right. he’s also ranked #87 so a good challenge for novak right out of the gates.

b.t.w., congrats to ferru for his 300th clay win!


jane Says:

that was a good choice by the quallie, to go back behind rafa like that. he’s not doing too badly methinks, considering his inexperience. he’s 18 years old and ranked outside the top 200. i thought he looked older than just 18!


mat4 Says:

jane,

yes, I wait that match, to see how Novak will adapt. He has to play flatter, in my opinion, to be very aggressive and, nonetheless, to play with few errors.

But Monte Carlo is usually a bit slower than RG, and Novak won there twice. So, let’s see how he adapts to the new Babolat balls.


jane Says:

this young frenchie does hit some wild shots. his backhand is definitely more solid than his forehand.


mat4 Says:

He has only played a few matches on the ATP tour, mainly futures and challengers. But s a junior, he played the final of the USO and the semi of the FO and AO. He could have a good career, if he finds a good coach, and if he is dedicated enough.

His FH was not that bad in the first set, while his BH DTL is a shot he has to improve. But he has to work on others elements of the game too, and especially on shot selection.


jane Says:

thanks for that mat4; onward and upward for rafa. dolgo/nico could go the distance so his next opponent may feel a little tired. i see nico’s pulled ahead in the 3rd.

very interesting graphic for people who discuss age in tennis etc.

http://www.si.com/tennis/2015/05/25/daily-data-viz-average-age-wta-atp-french-open

presently 40% of the top 20 players in the ATP are over 30! experience actually trumps youth.

as we just saw with rafa and the young quallie.


jane Says:

here’s a lovely summary from marianne nevis on david ferrer

http://www.thesportreview.com/tsr/2015/05/french-open-2015-david-ferrer/

“Playing in his 13th French Open, the world No8 embarked on his 50th consecutive Grand Slam—third among active players behind Roger Federer and Feliciano Lopez—and won his 300th match on clay—second only to Rafael Nadal.”


jane Says:

*bevis


jane Says:

isner is cruising versus seppi. am kind of surprised. seppi is generally good on clay. mind you john’s having a great year, but i didn’t think it’d be that straightforward.


jane Says:

Christopher Clarey ‏@christophclarey 21s21 seconds ago Île-de-France, France

Nadal confirms what @simonrbriggs reported: he did request that umpire Carlos Bernardes be taken off his matches for a while after Rio


mat4 Says:

@jane:

What are your impressions from the first half an hour?

Novak plays solid tennis, but seems nonetheless uncomfortable. A bit.


jane Says:

i’d like to see him a bit more solid on the service games, but on the return games, i think he’s been excellent.

and contrary to what we often hear, he’s hit at least 3 killer smashes. :)

nieminen is a good player. his experience talks, and his leftie serve is a weapon. but he’s not as fast as he perhaps once was; would you agree?


mat4 Says:

The result is a bit severe, the way Nieminen played. But his speed here isn’t a factor: you just can’t hit through, and he ran everything Novak threw at him. Novak overdoes it just to have a chance to change the rally.


jane Says:

overdoes what?


elina Says:

Djokovic prefers a slower court (not that it matters much as he wins on everything these days) while the dead low bounce ball would help anyone, especially Federer, better deal with Nadal’s high spin that typically produces a higher bounce.


mat4 Says:

He takes a little too much risks in certain situation.


mat4 Says:

The burden of the proof is on Novak. Nieminen breaks.


jane Says:

his serve seems vulnerable.

“Djokovic prefers a slower court” – does he now? has he said this? i think medium hard courts would be his preferred surface actually.


mat4 Says:

A slow court equalize the odds. Novak’s greatest assets, his court coverage and his ability to redirect the ball, aren’t that important, since the opponent can chase everything easily.

Then, his relative lack of power here becomes visible. Novak has to hit very hard, but playing with spin doesn’t help. Nieminen just uses Novak’s pace to accelerate with flat shots.

It’s the worst case scenario happening.


Giles Says:

Stale news about Rafa and Bernardes. Didn’t Rafa say to him that he was going to ask that Bernardes does not umpire his matches? Of course he did. Well done Rafa! These Bernardes types are bullies on court, think they’re kings just because they sit in a high chair! Lol


Giles Says:

Lol. Has the faker started his antics?


mat4 Says:

Berlocq is mounting a comeback. 2-2 now. He is a courageous veteran. Almagro make it through. Novak, with a little bit of luck, won the second set.


RZ Says:

@Jane – thanks for the link. It’s one thing for a player to ask that a certain ump isn’t on his/her court, but really the ITF/ATP/WTA should not oblige that request if the complaint is that the umpire is doing his/her job properly. This is a slippery slope and they shouldn’t cave to such requests.


kriket Says:

After casually giving away his service game to Nieminnen, Novak routinely breaks back for 2-4, and then breaks again at 6-5 for 2-0.

He has shown that he can put the pressure when it’s, for lack of a better term “appropriate” and win crucial points in the set.

Nieminnen has been hitting the lines often and shown that he isn’t a walkover but I guess it just isn’t enough against Novak.

It’s already 3-0 in the third as I’m writing this. Novak’s game is solid for the first round match, knowing that he usually takes some time to reach his A-game in the tournament.


jane Says:

rz, and someone asked if the same requests would be met if it was a lower ranked player. one doubts it.

mat4, nice to see how novak righted the ship in the second. neminen was playing well.


jane Says:

is rafa engaged? he called xisca his “fiancee” in his presser!


jane Says:

kriket, courier said nieminen would have won a lot of rd 1 matches playing how he’s played today. certainly of the first 2 sets that’s true.


Ben Pronin Says:

Nadal engaged? What’s Giles gonna do??


kriket Says:

On a side note, I don’t really understand how a lower bouncing ball makes the court slower. If anything it should mean the faster court.

I thought that lower bouncing gives players less time to get to the ball and strike back, meaning they have to move faster, again making the court fast rather than slow.

I read about the conditions on slow vs fast courts, and I didn’t quite understand how they deem what’s fast and what’s slow.

They say that grass fastens the pace of the ball with low bounce making the court fast, though I don’t get how can grass fasten the pace. One would think that grass would slow the pace of the ball. I guess it all depends on the kind of balls used together with the physical properties of the particular surface.


mat4 Says:

@kriket:

The balls seem very heavy. And we could see that, when it is sunny, the bounce pretty high.


jane Says:

well i would think the ball would skid / fly more quickly on grass kriket, but on clay it would tend to stick.

did you ever see that roddick serve on clay where the ball just stuck. it was – literally – unreturnable. :)

the low bounce does remind me of grass though. and i was thinking that it can’t be easy on knees or backs.


kriket Says:

Novak wins, Bouchard is out. I guess Bouchard isn’t exactly the next tennis wondergirl they claimed her to be.


jane Says:

too bad for dolgo that he was drawn against nico in round 1.


Ngentot Says:

@Giles,

“Has the faker started his antics?”

No, but the BUTT-PICKER keeps doing his disgusting antics. LOL


Giles Says:

Ben. Hahaha. Very funny. I will just congratulate him and wish him a happy life.


Giles Says:

Ngentot. That you have to get used to I’m afraid, he ain’t gonna change his routines just to please you. Suck it up man! Lol


jane Says:

goodness, is dimitrov about to lose early again? sock up 2 sets to love.


Navdeep Says:

Novak’ level dropped in the 2nd set. This is something that happens almost everytime when he plays in BO5 . If Rafole happened, Rafa should wait for that opportunity and must pounce in it.
Vamoss


kriket Says:

Great article Jane, thanks. It explains things better than the one I’ve read recently on the same subject.

On Novak’s level. It’s obvious that lately Novak doesn’t necessarily always play the best he can, but rather just good enough to win, conserving his stamina and his energy for when it matters most.

I wouldn’t bet that his first round game against Nieminen would be the same as if he was to play Nadal, for example. I think it’s a good strategy too, preventing him from burning out too early or even at all.


jane Says:

mat4 deserves credit for that one kriket. :)

that makes sense re: novak’s level. hope you’re right and he can raise a gear or three (!) when he needs to.


kriket Says:

oh right, I’ve just noticed that myself :)

Tnx mat4. Good stuff.


Giles Says:

Dimi is surely going backwards. Such a shame after all the high expectations placed on him. Oh well, another potential contender bites the dust.


RZ Says:

Nice win for Jack Sock! Saw that Pospisil lost earlier today, but the good news is that after his ankle injury he is back on the court, and he and Sock will be playing doubles.


Giles Says:

“raise a gear or three! ” Lol. Let’s just send him into orbit!


KatH Says:

Re Nole – Amazingly he was forced to raise his game against Niemen(sp.?). As for AndyM. he has said he was nervous (and it showed) – I switched off ’cause I couldn’t bear to watch – only later (after some assurance from computer scores) did I watch again – and yes, he got it together.

What does that mean – Nothing….Yet.

Think Natal may have a struggle against Almagro.
Think Novak not totally convincing.


Navdeep Says:

@Giles
‘Let’s just send him into orbit!’……lol


senthilvel Says:

Roger Rasheed is most overrated Coach.. He destroyed Dimitrov.. Kick him out…


senthilvel Says:

Djokovic only rival is Andy Murray. Andy is only chance to stop Djoker getting into GOAT discussion.


Michael Says:

Colin @ 7.22 am.

Thanks for your comments.

Although you cannot take any opponent lightly, if you are up against a player like Sousa especially of the caliber of Andy, you can be rest assured that he is through to the 3rd round.


elina Says:

Jane, no he doesn’t need to say this. It is obvious in his results.

He has won nine Masters 1000 titles at the two slowest hard court tournaments IW (slow) and Miami (medium) compared to eight titles at the four quickest tournaments (Montreal, Cincy, Shanghai and Paris all medium-fast).

Against Federer, a more aggressive player who prefers faster playing conditions, Novak is 3-0 at IW and Miami but just a combined 2-4 at the four faster tournaments mentioned above. In Dubai (a medium-fast court), Novak is 1-3 vs Federer.

http://www.perfect-tennis.co.uk/tennis-court-surfaces-and-court-speeds/

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