There was loads of action at Roland Garros on Monday, with the likes of Federer, Nadal, Roddick, Venus Williams, and Sharapova all hitting the red dirt in Paris. We now have loads to talk about – fashion, new drinking games, and a contender for Dumbest Press Conference Question of the tournament. Oh, and tennis, of course! Here goes:
Rafael Nadal beat a game Brazilian veteran, Marcos Daniel, in his first round match: 7‑5, 6‑4, 6‑3. It was a tough match, despite the scoreline – Rafa was broken three times. Maybe he was nervous about breaking yet another record – this time for consecutive Roland Garros victories. He bested the men’s record of 28 straight, set by Bjorn Borg between 1978-81. He needs one more to beat Chris Evert’s all-time RG streak of 29. (Maybe that’s why Chris Evert cries when Federer loses?)
I was crying, looking at Rafa in this 80’s-inspired mess:
Rafa defends himself:
Q. This question is not about the game. It’s about your dress. You are in pink today. Why are you in pink today?
RAFAEL NADAL: I don’t know. Yeah, same like always, why I was (in) white and yellow two weeks ago. Because it’s better than dressing (in) the same color every week, no?
No it isn’t Rafa, not when you’re dressed like an extra in Miami Vice. My eyes still hurt.
Roger Federer took the court right after Nadal today, and beat Spanish journeyman, Alberto Martin, in straights. He used the drop shot at every opportunity, even on match point. Here’s what he had to say about his budding love affair with the dropper:
ROGER FEDERER: “I’m happy I got to learn how to use it (the dropshot) over the years. I used to not be a fan of the dropshot at all. I always thought it was a shot you only hit when you’re panicking from the baseline, when you’re scared maybe to take on the fight, you know. . .I realized that actually you can use it to your advantage against players like today. It just makes it a little bit more easy.”
Click here if you haven’t checked out Federer’s post-match interview with Tennis Channel.
Broadcast note: I have a new drinking game for Tennis Channel viewers – take a chug every time Ted Robinson makes a baseball reference. You’ll be drunk by the fourth game of the opening match.
Dinara Safina was first up on Court Philippe Chatrier, and treated her opponent to brunch: serving Anne Keothavong two bagels. It was nice to hear the normally self-deprecating Safina admit to feeling great on court: “I started to play, and I started to feel good. I felt very good on the court, and I think I played a solid game.”
Venus Williams beat fellow American Bethanie Mattek-Sands in three sets today: 6‑1, 4‑6, 6‑2. As Martina Navratilova mentioned, Venus has been giving away lots of second sets lately, so it’s hard to read too much into this particular scoreline. What fascinated me was Venus’s new dress, which was absolutely gorgeous. I loved the bright African print in the skirt (at least I think it’s African – any textile experts in the house?)
The Williams sisters are playing doubles together in Roland Garros. Venus mentioned in her post-match press conference that their love of doubles may keep them from playing the Fed Cup final:
VENUS WILLIAMS: We both really want to play (Fed Cup), but once we give our word we want to keep it. It’s just important for us to make sure it’s something we can do. Being at the end of the season is tough, and we both obviously expect to be playing in the (year end) championships, too. By that time, it’s even tougher. I mean, we hope to qualify for the doubles championships, too, actually.
Maybe we won’t need the Williams sisters in Italy – the young American, Alexa Glatch, took out No. 14 seed, Flavia Pennetta, 6-1, 6-1.
Maria Sharapova didn’t have as easy a time in her first round match against Anastasiya Yakimova, which she won in three sets. But she showed world class fight as always. Here she is explaining how and why she fought through her injury:
Q. You’re known as a fighter. It’s practically attached to your name. How difficult was it to encounter a situation (injury) where really fighting did not help?
MARIA “Pitbull” SHARAPOVA: To be honest, it really did. I think if I was ‑‑ if I was a mentally weak person or individual, I think I wouldn’t be here today. I’d be on some island. I mean, sounds good to me, probably sounds good to everyone in this room. You know, with a nice cold Pina Colada and a nice cold towel they hand around at the pools.
But I love being here, and there’s no better feeling than waving to the crowd after you’ve won. There’s no better feeling than going on court when they call your name, and, you know, there’s a job in front of you and, you know, especially in these days, to know that you have an opportunity to go out and play and have a job.
Too bad Maria didn’t win any fashion points today. Is this a nightgown, an ice skating outfit or a muumuu? I just can’t tell:
When I read that Andy Roddick hadn’t been past the first round of Roland Garros since 2005, I couldn’t believe it. But Wikipedia confirmed it, so it has to be true. But let’s face it, today’s opponent, Romain Jouan, was ranked 305 in the world and had a career ATP-level record of 1-1, so Roddick’s break-through win isn’t exactly a harbinger of great things to come. But it doesn’t hurt either.
Roddick had this funny quip when asked why American’s don’t perform well on clay: “It’s amazing, because you never hear the story of a clay court specialist, ‘why don’t you prepare and play better on grass?’ I’ve never once read that story in my life.”
Stanislas Wawrinka fielded the Dumbest Press Conference Question of the tournament (so far) after winning a tough five setter over Nicolas Devilder:
Q. Hey, your nose is all burnt by the sun. You played without wearing a hat, without putting any cream on yourface, sunscreen. Is it important or isit something you don’t want to think about during the match?
STANISLAS WAWRINKA: Having a red nose afterwards? Well, trust me, I know if I play for four hours in the sun, I know that I walk out with a red nose, whether I put some sunscreen or not. So it’s not a big problem. I’m used to it.
I excuse the question if it was his mother or his dermatologist asking it.
A down-and-dirty Tuesday preview: Jelena Jankovic is first up on Court Philippe Chatrier, followed by Djokovic/Lapentti (could be a battle), and Benneteau/Tsonga. Kuznetsova, Monfils (against Bobby Reynolds), Serena Williams, and Fabrice Santoro (playing his 20th, and last, RG) are on Lenglen. Also look out for del Potro/Llodra, the Williams sisters playing doubles and Baghdatis/Monaco, which is my match of the day.
Here are your Memorial Day results (Schnyder, Lisicki and Berdych are out, btw):
Monday, May 25, 2009
First Round – Men’s Singles
Nikolay Davydenko (10) def. Stefan Koubek 6-2, 6-1, 6-4.
Mikhail Youzhny def. Gilles Muller 7-6(2) 6-1, 6-4.
Stanislas Wawrinka (17) def. Nicolas Devilder 6-3, 5-7, 2-6, 6-4, 6-4.
Potito Starace def. Mischa Zverev 6-7 (5), 7-5, 1-0, retired.
Robin Soderling (23) def. Kevin Kim 7-6 (4), 7-6 (4), 6-2.
Nicolas Massu def. Daniel Koellerer 6-3, 6-4, 1-6, 2-6, 6-3.
Nicolas Kiefer def. Ilia Bozoljac 7-6 (4), 3-6, 7-5, 6-4.
Denis Istomin def. Santiago Giraldo 6-3, 6-7 (2), 6-3, 7-6 (4).
Victor Hanescu (30) def. Steve Darcis 7-6 (8), 7-6 (5), 7-6 (3).
Rafael Nadal (1) def. Marcos Daniel 7-5, 6-4, 6-3.
Fernando Gonzalez (12) def. Jiri Vanek 6-3, 6-2, 6-3.
Rui Machado def. Kristof Vliegen 6-2, 6-4, 4-6, 2-6, 6-3.
Roger Federer (2) def. Alberto Martin 6-4, 6-3, 6-2.
Paul-Henri Mathieu (32) def. Laurent Recouderc 6-4, 6-4, 6-1.
Guillaume Rufin def. Eduardo Schwank 6-1, 6-3, 6-3.
Janko Tipsarevic def. Albert Montanes 3-6, 7-6 (3), 7-6 (5), 6-4.
Feliciano Lopez (28) def. Franco Ferreiro 6-7 (3), 4-6, 7-6 (4), 7-5, 6-2.
Teimuraz Gabashvili def. Igor Kunitsyn 6-7 (6), 7-6 (5), 6-3, 6-1.
Pablo Andujar def. Robby Ginepri 6-4, 7-6 (7), 7-6 (3).
Simone Bolelli def. Tomas Berdych (19) 6-4, 6-4, 5-7, 4-6, 6-3.
Jose Acasuso def. Santiago Ventura 3-6, 7-6 (5), 6-0, 6-3.
Jurgen Melzer (24) def. Sergio Roitman 6-4, 7-6 (4), 6-0.
Andy Roddick (6 def. Romain Jouan 6-2, 6-4, 6-2.
Jeremy Chardy def. Thiago Alves 6-2, 7-6 (10), 6-3.
Martin Vassallo Arguello def. Thomaz Bellucci, 6-4, 6-7 (4), 5-5, retired.
Diego Junqueira def. Paul Capdeville 3-6, 7-5, 6-1, 6-3.
First Round – Women’s Singles
(1) Dinara Safina d. Anne Keothavong 6-0 6-0
(3) Venus Williams d. Bethanie Mattek-Sands 6-1 4-6 6-2
(13) Marion Bartoli d. Pauline Parmentier 3-6 6-1 6-3
(12) Agnieszka Radwanska d. Rossana De Los Rios 6-3 6-1
Alexa Glatch d. (14) Flavia Pennetta 6-1 6-1
Kateryna Bondarenko d. (17) Patty Schnyder 6-4 6-3
(15) Zheng Jie d. Stephanie Cohen-Aloro 6-1 6-3
(20) Dominika Cibulkova d. Alona Bondarenko 6-4 2-6 6-4
(22) Carla Suarez Navarro d. Edina Gallovits 6-1 6-4
(Q) Polona Hercog d. (23) Alisa Kleybanova 6-2 4-6 6-1
Mariana Duque Marino d. (26) Anna Chakvetadze 3-6 6-4 6-4
(29) Agnes Szavay d. (Q) Corinna Dentoni 6-3 6-4
Lucie Safarova d. Sabine Lisicki 6-2 1-6 6-1
Tamarine Tanasugarn d. Camille Pin 6-3 5-7 7-5
Aravane Rezai d. Ai Sugiyama 6-3 6-2
Lucie Hradecka d. (Q) Yvonne Meusburger 6-1 6-2
Olga Govortsova d. (LL) Katie O’Brien 6-1 6-1
Lourdes Dominguez Lino d. Barbora Zahlavova Strycova 6-1 4-6 9-7
Mariya Koryttseva d. Patricia Mayr 6-1 6-1
Jill Craybas d. Tsvetana Pironkova 7-5 6-2
Olivia Rogowska d. Maria Kirilenko 6-4 6-4
Kirsten Flipkens d. Stephanie Foretz 6-1 4-6 6-4
Maria Sharapova d. Anastasiya Yakimova 3-6 6-1 6-2
Akgul Amanmuradova d. (WC) Irena Pavlovic 6-3 6-4
Jarmila Groth d. Kinnie Laisne 6-4 6-3
Tathiana Garbin d. Ayumi Morita 7-5 7-5
(Q) Michelle Larcher de Brito d. Melanie South 0-6 7-6(5) 7-5
Suspended: Vera Dushevina vs. (10) Caroline Wozniacki To Finish 6-4 5-7