French Open Dish: Monfils French Fries Ferrer; Womens Semis Set
by Staff | June 4th, 2008, 11:53 pm

Kuzy, Safina Advance to All-Russian French Open Semifinal

Down a set and 2-5 in the second, Russian Dinara Safina staged another gutsy comeback Wednesday at the French Open, defeating countrywoman Elena Dementieva 4-6, 7-6(5), 6-0 to advance into her first semifinal at Roland Garros.
Dementieva, the former French Open runner-up and a doormat for more mentally-stronger opponents during her career, wilted after failing to put away the younger sister of former No. 1 Marat Safin in the second set.

“It was very hard to play the third set after I had so many chances to finish the match,” said the fragile Dementieva. “I was trying to get myself back into the game, but it was kind of difficult.”

It was the second straight match that Safina came back from a break down in the second set to win in three.

“I was one step away (from losing),” Safina said, “It’s not easy to come back every time, because once it’s going to be too late. But I guess how it’s goes now, these matches…I was just — Okay, I have to hang in there and just do something more, and then I just changed completely.”

Safina stunned world No. 1 Maria Sharapova a round earlier, also eking out a second-set tiebreak.

In the semifinals, Safina will face her third consecutive Russian opponent in No. 4 seed and former French runner-up Svetlana Kuznetsova, who roared back from a break down in the first set to defeat unseeded Kaia Kanepi in straight sets.

“Dinara is playing very well,” Kuznetsova said. “She has too many lives, so I have to be careful with her.”

Up on Thursday are the all-Russian and all-Serbian women’s singles semi matches in (13) Dinara Safina vs. (4) Svetlana Kuznetsova, and (3) Jelena Jankovic vs. (2) Ana Ivanovic.

Monfils French Fries Ferrer at Roland Garros

The French had something to cheer about, madly, on Wednesday at the French Open when unseeded Frenchman Gael “Force” Monfils unleashed a torrent of winners in dispatching of No. 5 seed David Ferrer 6-3, 3-6, 6-3, 6-1.

The first Frenchman to reach the Roland Garros semis in seven years, the Gael Force had won only five matches this year entering the French due to a knee injury. In the semifinals he will face world No. 1 Roger Federer, who on Wednesday came from a set down to defeat No. 24 Fernando “Gonzo” Gonzalez 2-6, 6-2, 6-3, 6-4.

“It’s going to be a big match, probably the most important match of my career yet,” Monfils said of facing Federer. “It will be very tough, but I’m getting closer to the objective so I’m highly motivated. I’ve been practicing for 20 years for this moment so I don’t want to miss it.”

Monfils has never won a set off the Swiss in three meetings.

Federer was forced to change his game plan after dropping the opening set against Gonzalez.

“Sometimes you tend to be afraid of his forehand so you want to play on his backhand — so I made some tactical errors at the beginning,” Federer said. “It was only afterwards that I started to be far more aggressive on his forehand. And then the match turned a bit and I felt very strong from the baseline and I felt very confident, so then it became very difficult for Fernando.”

Thursday is women’s semifinal day at the French, and the men will resume play on Friday.

Gael Monfils has reached his first career Slam semifinal…Roger Federer has reached his 16th straight slam semifinal…Dinara Safina is trying to become the first women to win a Slam after saving match points at Roland Garros…Marat Safin and Dinara Safina have both reached a Slam semifinal…Jelena Jankovic and Ana Ivanovic will meet in a Slam for the first time…Jelena Jankovic has reached four Slam semifinals, but has never won one. Ana has also now reached four Slam semifinals, having won two…Maria Sharapova will not be No. 1 next Monday — the girl who goes the furthest among Jankovic, Ivanovic and Kuznetsova will be…Roger Federer is now 11-1 vs. Fernando GonzalezGael Monfils is the first Frenchmen in the semifinals at Roland Garros since Sebastien Grosjean in 2001…A Russian woman has reached the Roland Garros semifinal for the seventh straight year…Forecast: Still cool with a slight chance for showers…After his run at Roland Garros, Latvia’s 19-year-old “The Importance of Being” Ernests Gulbis says he will depart from the Marat Safin-style training regime: “About one year ago, for example, I was not really concentrated on tennis at all,” Gulbis said after a tightly-contested loss to Novak Djokovic. “I could go out before a tournament, I could go with friends until six in the morning, and then play a match. That is in a kind of way a little bit crazy and stupid. This year I start to realize that it’s not the way of a professional tennis player.” Not crazy or stupid to Marat…Ashley Harkleroad, who will be appearing in the August issue of Playboy magazine, says she will also join American compatriots such as Andy Roddick and Mardy Fish in saying “no thanks” to representing the U.S. in the Beijing Olympics. “Some people just grow up dying to play the Olympics, and that’s their goal. It has never been my goal really,” Harkleroad said. — Yeah, who cares about the greatest sporting event in the world? Time to maybe qualify to go back to college, get an education. The 33-year-old Jill Craybas will most likely fill Harkleroad’s vacated spot…Estonia’s 22-year-old French Open quarterfinalist Kaia Kanepi is currently studying at Haapsalu Wiedemanni Gumnaasium — that was our back-up school after Harvard. She is also sponsored by Tallink Grupp and Infotar — are those car-cleaning products? Kanepi, BTW, beat Svetlana Kuznetsova in the 2001 Roland Garros junior final, and held the No. 1 junior ranking…Roger Federer is backing an Olympic wildcard for Nicolas Massu, who won both the singles and doubles in 2004. Massu is currently playing Challengers in an effort to raise his ranking, which is too low to get in the Olympics. “Absolutely. He’s a defending champion,” Federer said on the Chilean receiving a wildcard. “I mean, if he doesn’t get one anymore, I don’t know who will get one. I’m the first guy to completely agree with whoever has taken that decision. I hope it’s in a positive way for Nicolas, because what he achieved back in Athens winning singles and doubles, it’s never going to happen again.”…Liezel Huber, speaking to the South Florida Sun-Sentinel: “Yeah, I was reading USA Today and it was saying how there are no more Americans in the draw.” Huber not long ago became an American citizen…From ESPN’s Bonnie Ford: “Marion Bartoli said she is exhausted and has been for months. We suggest she might be carrying too much luggage, psychic and otherwise.” — A very PC women’s way of saying Bartoli is a fatty — surprising since her father/coach is such a self-purported training wiz…Tennis reporter Matt Cronin on Maria Sharapova losing to Dinara Safina at the French: “And she was angry, so very angry, so much so that she screamed “You’re a choker” at herself in the sixth game of the third set after she blew two easy put-aways and was struggling so badly at that point that she yelled, “C’mon, kick her ass!”…Will Maria Sharapova ever win the French, even with a better chance now that Justine Henin has retired? Between her poor movement and one-dimensional game (topspin only, no slice, no drop shot, no variety), the short answer — mmmmm…no.

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27 Comments for French Open Dish: Monfils French Fries Ferrer; Womens Semis Set

Steve Says:

when did News, notes, quotes, and barbs become so snarky?

Dr. Death Says:

snarky = snide + remark?

athens fish game Says:

[…] he achieved back in athens winning singles and doubles, it??s never going to happen again.????? … Calendar San Antonio Express-News & KENS 5June 6: Monthly meeting of Ride Like a Girl, a […]

Joker Says:

Dinara Safina is trying to become the first women to win a Slam after saving match points at Roland Garros

***** You mean to say after saving a match point in 2 matches at a slam? myskina and henin both won FO after saving match point against kuznetsova. (04 and 05 I belive) and venus won wimbledon 05 saving a match point against lindsay in the final.

I demand you provide a correction or amendment to this obviously factually incorrect statement ;) While at it, please feel free to offer me some-kind of fact checking position at tennis-x. This is the 2nd mistake I have pointed out in your barbs and comments section in 2days(I hope I am right about the corrections!) :D

Shital Green Says:

Safina won Roland Garros 2008 about a month ago, in May at Berlin when she defeated Henin. Then, she reaffirmed her win when she defeated Sharapova in a huge comeback. It does not matter whether she meets Ana Ivanovic or Jelena Jankoviv. Jelena may make it to the final but only to be embarrassingly crushed by Safina.

Shital Green Says:

Ana Ivanovic, a Sebian, becomes the new No. 1, after eliminating her fellow Serbian in the semi. Congratulations to her ! This is a big news for Serbian tennis. Hopefully, another Serbian will join her by the end of this year or the next.

Von Says:

Hey Shital:

“Hopefully, another Serbian will join her by the end of this year or the next.”

I wonder who? :)

Shital Green Says:

Hello Von,
Was that really difficult to guess or were you testing me if I could say “Djoko”? Who else? It was so apparent. I am hoping Ana and Djoko’s friendly and teasingly underdeveloped romance will translate into serious relationship when both of them are crowned with No. 1 positions and add this subplot to their story. What do you think about that?

Von Says:

Hi Shital:

Hello Von,
“Was that really difficult to guess or were you testing me if I could say “Djoko”? Who else? It was so apparent. I am hoping Ana and Djoko’s friendly and teasingly underdeveloped romance will translate into serious relationship when both of them are crowned with No. 1 positions and add this subplot to their story. What do you think about that?”

I was just testing you to see if you would take the bait and say “Djoko”. I wanted to be facetious and say Tipsarevic :) — now that would have probably raised some eyebrows.

There does seem to be some sort of a teasing romance brewing, except that he has a girlfriend. I’d say if Ana were to give Djoko some more encouragement or a bright greenlight, he’d probably dump the girlfriend pronto. Somebody’s playing a game, but I wonder who. Do guys play games too? :) The sort of games that lovers play? They could be like Chris Evert and Jimmy Connors were back in the old days. How wonderful to be young and fancy free; all starry-eyed with the heart going pitter patter,with many a tear have to fall, but it’s all in the game. Be careful and don’t get bitten by the love bug — it could be contagious. :)

funches Says:

When did News, Notes, Quotes and Barbs become so snarky?

Obviously, you’re a newbie. This is the way the site used to be every day of the week, when it was the first tennis news I read every day.

ChrisM Says:

Ah funches beat me to it. Yeah, good to see the old tennis-x smack-talk is back. It’s like tea time out here some days.

Shital Green Says:

I am speechless. Honestly, I was not following his love life. I did not know he was hooked up with Jelena Ristic. I was just projecting my fantasies.

In fact, I have been following your advice and from now on will take it more seriously to make sure I don’t “get bitten by the love bug.” I will never go anywhere near Tina Charles’ “Love Bug” and Bumblebee Unlimited’s “Love Bug.”

jane Says:

Hi Shital,

Just to budge into yours and Von’s love conversation, have you read Bonnie Ford’s article at ESPN on Novak? I think it’s great; she’s a wonderful writer.

Among sundry other things, she notes that Rafa and Novak share the same publicist, and she finishes with this,

“…the fact that there are three men vying for the public’s affection as well as prize money, points and stature should only make fans feel in demand, and grateful.”

Von Says:

Hi Shital:

“In fact, I have been following your advice and from now on will take it more seriously to make sure I don’t “get bitten by the love bug.” I will never go anywhere near Tina Charles’ “Love Bug” and Bumblebee Unlimited’s “Love Bug.”

You are so funny. :) I’m laughing so much. Those love bug stings can be very painful. I hope if you do get reeled in, despite my advice, you’ll exercise caution — don’t fall hook, line and sinker. :) If you do, you’ll be saying: “Good Night, Good night! Parting is such sweet sorrow, that I shall say good night till it be morrow.” :)


I can’t see how using the same publicist could be helpful for these guys. It’s like some sort of conflict of interest to me.

jane Says:

Hey Von,

Did you read the article? It’s interesting. Apparently the publicist will not sit in either player’s box, but will watch on the monitors in the stadium instead, and then, as is his practice, he will have dinner with the loser, because, as he says, the loser needs more support; everyone wants to be with the winner.

I don’t know if sharing a publicist is a conflict of interest or not, since it’s just public relations (i.e., media appearances, magazine articles, etc.), so it’s not like it’s a coach or anything: just increasing exposure and fan-base, I suppose.

It might be a conflict, however, if it’s connected to sponsorships and endorsements as well, but I am not sure that’s the publicist’s job – might be separate from marketing? Dunno.

Any news on Andy’s back?

Shital Green Says:


The line that caught my attention was: “But ultimately, Perez said, Djokovic’s image will rest on his ability to get results and nothing else. It’s mostly his own fault for setting the bar so high so soon.” Instead of saying “fault,” I would say “goal setting” and “motivating factor.”
And I like this passage: “It would be a shame if people cast Djokovic as the guy in the black hat simply because they think the screenplay of the sport demands it. A rivalry shouldn’t necessarily lead to tribal strife. ‘He doesn’t seem to me like he would be a good bad guy,” Courier said. “He’s far too likeable, he likes the spotlight, he likes joking around.'”
Overall, the article balances between pathos, ethos, and logos.
I did my share of reading. Do I get a grade?

Von Says:


I didn’t read the article. My concern regarding conflict of interest hinges on reporting in terms of fairness to both players. How could the publicist report truthfully, if for the sake of argument, either Djoko or Nadal were to make a derogatory statement about the other to the publicist and/or to other members of the press. In that case, what would the publicist do? Would he just refrain from commenting? Can be a very sticky situation and one which needs a lot of diplomacy. Eating dinner with the loser could also prove to be a problem. What would they discuss concerning the match? Additionally, what if the two players had a problem on court, then would the publicist’s position be one of neutrality in his remarks to the loser at dinner; or would he just avoid the subject altogether? To me this sort of situation is similar to playing both sides. No one’s the winner only the publicist.

Do you remember our discussion re Higueras as to whose box he’ll be sitting in if, and when, Ginepri and Fed were to play against each other? Funnily enough, Mary Carillo remarked on that same topic during the Fed/Gonzo match, and sort of insinuated that it probably would be Fed’s box in which Higueras would sit.

No, I’ve not read anything newsworthy on Andy’s back. It seems as though he’s just faded into oblivion. That’s good in a sense — no news being good news. He’s probably hanging out with Brooklyn Decker. I read he bought a condo in Grammercy Park in NYC. I worked about 10 blocks away from that building while living in NYC. My Godson/nephew lives about 2 buildings next to Andy’s condo. Small world.

jane Says:

Yes, small world, and nice place to live. Well I hope his back is better for the grass.

Well I can see your points re: the publicist, especially re: conflicts between two players. But I guess if they’ve got the same one, they know what they’re getting into – or perhaps not. I suppose, too, that players have others they can turn to if they need to. Or they can always just fire the guy.

To me the dual coach thing is much worse

Looks windy on the court today. Also looks like Rafa will win but at least Djoko’s making it competitive although his 1st serve% is poor up to now.

Rafa’s court coverage is SO good!!

Von Says:


Are you watching live scores or on TV? It’s so crazy what the TV stations have done by broadcasting the matches delayed coverage. A GS SF in delayed coverage, absolutely ridiculous. No point complaining — nobody listens.

Tejuz Says:

well.. Nadal in scorching form.. hez just hammering to Djoker’s forehand to get the break in both the sets.. then plays conservatively to take the set.

jane Says:

Hi Von,

I am watching live – Nadal is just so strong & fast. Novak doesn’t have a hope. Rafa’s now up two breaks in 2nd set.

Novak is clearly demoralized. Rafa’s in steamroll mode and is just much better here and on this surface. It really shows today. It’s not like at Hamburg where you felt Novak had a chance. Rafa’s is even better than last year, and so is Novak.

Like I said elsewhere: I cannot see anyone else winning the title now. Forget about it.

And as the commentators said, Rafa may just win Wimbledon too.

Von Says:


Rafa has broken again in the 3rd set to go one up. Oh wow, this is going to be over in just a little more than an hour’s duration. Unbelievable.

Von Says:


It looks like Rafa wants to add a bagel in the 3rd set. Unmerciful!!

Von Says:

Novak says, some other time with the bagel but not today.

jane Says:

Definitely unmerciful, but fair enough. Djoko is clearly out of it even though he’s trying to mount something here in the 3rd. He played well at love 2 down even though Rafa won that game and has a break now. So at least he won’t eat a bagel!

It really is remarkable how good Rafa is here though.

Von Says:

Looks like Rafa is going to break back again. How long is it that they’ve been playing ?

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