Five lefties were in action at two ATP events today, and by the time the red dust had settled, three were still standing.
In Dusseldorf, Jiri Vesely defeated veteran Nikolay Davydenko, while Jurgen Melzer edged No. 4 seed Joao Sousa, 7-6 (6), 4-6, 6-4, to set up an all-lefty quarterfinal. In Nice, No. 7 seed Federico Delbonis beat French wild card Paul-Henri Mathieu. Delbonis, who won his first career title on clay in Sao Paulo this February, plays for a spot in his third clay-court semifinal of the season when he takes on top-seeded John Isner tomorrow. Isner, who beat Jack Sock 6-4, 6-3, has won three of his eight titles as a top seed.
The sight of Rafael Nadal dancing around his backhand to lash a wicked topspin forehand into obscure areas is an iconic Roland Garros image. Left-handers ranging from Rod Laver to Guillermo Vilas to Andres Gomez to Thomas Muster to Rafa have left their fingerprints all over the Coupe des Mousquetaires trophy. But if we take the King of Clay out of the equation (Rafa is actually a natural righty playing lefty), how have other lefty men fared at Roland Garros in recent years?
In the last 15 years only five left-handed men—Melzer (2010 semifinalist, lost to Nadal), Mariano Puerta (2005 finalist, lost to Nadal), Franco Squillari (2000 semifinalist), Fernando Meligeni (1999 semifinalist), and Marcelo Rios (1999 quarterfinalist)—have made quarterfinal runs or better in Paris. In 1998, three of the last eight were lefties—Muster, Rios, and Moroccan magician Hicham Arazi—though none advanced to the final four.
Anabel Medina Garrigues slid into the second round of Roland Garros qualifying today aiming to extend her Grand Slam streak as she says good-bye to singles to focus solely on doubles.
The 31-year-old Spaniard has played in 41 consecutive Slams, a streak that stretches back to 2004. She scored a three-set win over French teenager Jade Suvrijn and will face 185th-ranked Czech Tereza Smitkova in round two of qualifying, which takes on special significance.
"I've also decided that it will be my last singles tournament as I'm going to concentrate on doubles from now on," Medina Garrigues told the Roland Garros website today. "I'm glad that I got through this match. The adventure can continue for a while longer."
Medina Garrigues' 10 career clay-court titles are second to Serena Williams (11) for most among active women. A year ago, Medina Garrigues dished out the rarest of bagels when she swept the second set at love from Serena before the world No. 1 rallied for a 6-3, 0-6, 7-5 win in the 2013 Madrid quarterfinals. The Valencia native became just the seventh woman in history to bagel Serena—and first since Venus Williams in 2008, when her sister, suffering a strained abdominal, lost 12 of the last 13 games at the Tour Championships.
Since then, Medina Garrigues hasn't exactly been carbo-loading opponents or feasting in singles fields, with her last WTA main-draw singles win coming last September. Her ranking has slid 150 spots to No. 213. But the two-time former French Open doubles champion has enjoyed recent doubles success, partnering two-time Grand Slam doubles champion Yaroslava Shvedova to collect the Charleston doubles crown last month before successive semifinal runs with the Kazakh at Madrid and Rome.