Roland Garros Crisis Center, Day 7

Saturday, May 31, 2008 /by

Ancic

By Rosangel Valenti, TW Contributing Editor

Good morning. this is your regular daily thread for discussing the tennis at Stade Roland Garros. Today's Schedule of Play can be found here.

Match Choice:

On the men's side, Fernando Gonzalez has a 4-0 career record over Stanislas Wawrinka, all of their encounters taking place back in 2006. This year, Stan has shown some good form on clay, reaching the Rome final, and is now ranked 16 places ahead of Gonzalez. This is exactly the kind of match he needs to win to cement his current top 10 status - this year's Rome finalist over last year's.

I also wouldn't dissent from a view that's been expressed by some in TW - that Mario Ancic will be a dangerous test for Roger Federer today. As it's the fourth match on Court Central, I fully expect to see some frazzling on the part of his fans until it's over. While I think the Swiss will come through, the Croatian is certainly capable of making life difficult for him, given his recent patchy form (by his own extremely high standards). The career head-to-head is 4-1 in Federer's favour. On clay, Ancic was the player he defeated in the quartefinals at Roland Garros in 2006.

Player of the Day:

Honours split evenly between Katarina Srebotnik, who defeated Serena Williams in straight sets, and Flavia Pennetta, who took out Venus Williams, also in straight sets.

Weather Report:

Yesterday there was no hint of rain - I even managed to re-burn the tip of my nose while watching Nadal and Djokovic come through their second-round matches on Court Suzanne Lenglen (pictures to follow). Today, a few light showers are in the forecast - as was also the case yesterday.

As always, enjoy the tennis, and I hope also the description below.

From TW Contributing Writer, MarieJ on yesterday at Roland Garros:

Hi  everyone. Yesterday I had to give up on going to Roland Garros because I had a sore throat, aching a la djoko, with some fever, so i missed the chance to meet our sweet svelterogue as planned :(( I hope to meet you another time, svelty ;)

I wanted to try to be better for today, so I went to the doctor, rested all day Thursday, and was hoping for the best this morning. Then I  woke up with the worst headache you can imagine. After taking my meds I felt slighty better, and waited to see if my fever was going  down a bit. By 12 a.m. I felt OK, so I went to RG anyway - well, after all I had a ticket to watch Rafa, no ?

Isabelle and Rosia met up early because we had found a way to get a ticket for her (let's just say that there are some entrepreneurs around who were able to help). The day was bright and sunny, and I got there almost in time to see Rafa start his match. I was counting on Serena to come back in the second set, so I was taking my time on the way there, but after Isabelle called me to sy that she was about to lose, I speeded up on the "périphérique".

Rafa is just awesome in his green outfit. He looked very sharp today, hitting some beautifull winners, especially one backhand slice... magical, no ?  Jarkko had a few fans in the stands. They tried to be very vocal to support him, but Rafa was executing the poor Finn in true Nadalesque mode, and nothing was going to stop him - not even a blister on the foot. Again? I called my mother afterward, and she said that it looked awful on TV. I just hope it's not too painful, and that he can keep running on this foot for the next week.

After the end of the match we took some time off watching tennis, to get a coffee on the terrace of the main bar. It was nice to relax together, as Rosangel was seated opposite to Isabelle and me on Court Lenglen; finally we could chat a bit ;) Honestly, after taking another tablet and some vitamin C, i felt just great... Rafa can cure everything, no ? jeje :D

The stands on Court 7 for Murray-Amagro were packed, but we managed to watch a set together, standing up near the people seated in the stands. Murray took the second, and he was dropshotting Almagro maddeningly - Almagro looked pretty furious anytime Murray got the point with it. Murray missed his chances in the third set by serving poorly. After he went a break down, Almagro looked very focused, and very likely to take the the set and the match. So, we left him to his triumph, and, as Cornet was already out, it was time to watch Djokovic-Odesnik.

Firstly, Odesnik has a huge forehand. I think Djokovic was a little surprised with its power, and Wayne's backhand was also very solid. He didn't give away too many free points to Djokovic, who had to earn then - and he didn't look very pleased at how he was doing it some of the time.

To me, the match was a little bizarre - you could see Djokovic taking a quick lead, and then failing to crush his opponent at key moments, or to take key points. Novak got truly annoyed with himself some of the time - this wasn't Djoko/Caesar from Rome, just the good centurion who gets the job done on the basis of experience ;)

At one point when Djokovic was about to serve for the second set, and he was bouncing the ball (again) too many times, Odesnik just took more time to get ready to receive. Novak was really annoyed that someone dared to do this, and complained to the umpire, part joking, and part in irritation. Three games later, during the third set, the  screens on the court showed a minute and a half of Novak just bouncing the ball. He was watching the screen with an expression that said "No way! How dare they mock my ball bouncing!", but he was obviously amused all the same. That's probably why he bounced the ball many times after he finished his match - he's a true joker ;)

Rosangel left before the end of the match to make it to her Eurostar. Isabelle and I were about to leave too, when we heard the clamour from Court Central: PHM and Eduardo Schwank were not finished. We went to look at a TV, to see if PHM could close things before a tiebreak was reached, and we were happy that Schwank held, so we decided to rush to the Place des Mousquetaires to see the end of the match. It was crowded with all those watching the big screen. Even out there it was tense, and we really thought that Schwank could have pulled that one out. He had two set points, and one was on his racquet, but as he missed that first serve it did not looked good. Finally PHM held his nerve, and closed it out on his third match point, but Schwank rose to saving two of them. Too bad that he was playing Challengers this spring, because I'm sure he's going to be very good on the red dirt next year.

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