The drama’s building at Roland Garros, with a Day 5 filled with tears, triumphs and flop sweat.
Roger Federer’s four set victory over Jose Acasuso was an epic drama in itself. Roger pulled a Houdini, admitting afterwards that “(Acasuso) should have won a few sets.” I’m pretty sure that means Jose would have won the match, but anyway – champions get lucky. Acasuso’s rolled ankle/uncontrollable choke reflex in the third got Roger back on track from 1-5 down. (As John McEnroe quipped: “There’s a challenger next week – Jose Acasuso vs. Potito Starache”) Click here to read what Roger had to say about it.
Venus Williams also had destiny on her side – fighting off a fierce challenge and match point down from Lucie “the slugger” Safarova. This little gal has a game face:
This was yet another three setter for Venus, in a season where over 50% of her matches have gone the distance. Not that it’s a problem for the No. 3 seed – Venus has won nearly 80% of her three-set matches in 2009. Venus explained her dog-fight dominance:
“Once I get to the third set, I’m like, you know, I feel a new level coming. So it’s good for me.”
Serena Williams preferred to keep that third set attitude in the drawer, losing only 2 games against Virginia Ruano Pascual: 6-2, 6-0.
Gosh darn it, why did one of these dreamboats have to knock the other out? (Glad it was Jo, tho’, who came through in four!) From what I could tell, it was a spectacular match – too bad neither ESPN nor TC showed much of it. But enough bellyaching, let’s just enjoy this moment:
(Sometimes I wish there was an alternate tour, where guys like Monaco and Tsonga dominated. That way I wouldn’t have to worry about Roger and Rafa.)
Marion Bartoli didn’t get a chance for a third set, going out to Italian Tathiana Garbin in straights:
You’d think that photo would say it all, but Marion, who has admitted to being “stressed” at the French Open, had a lot more to say about it in her post-match press conference:
On her annoying opponent: “When I made unforced errors, her team would shout. It’s not sportslike. They’re Italians.” (When reminded that she’s of Italian descent, Bartoli corrected the interviewer: “I’m Corsican.”)
On why her opponent made her lose: “Her game was not good enough. There was no pace in her game, so I had to hit more strongly, more strongly, and this is it. I was off‑pace.” (I think I’ve made that same argument, when losing a match in my YMCA league!)
On the terre battue: “It was the slowest surface on earth. It was so cold, freezing out there. The balls were stuck on the strings of the racket.”
“There was a lot of clay under my feet. The court was really heavy. The balls were heavy. I couldn’t hit the balls correctly either.”
And the sore throat didn’t help: “I was a bit tired. A bit sick, I think, as well. So it was not easy. It was so cold out there. Really cold on the court. . .It’s like a bit of a sore throat, and my nose is running. It was very warm on Monday when I played, and then cold for two days in a row.”
On every street corner of Paris, the world’s tiniest violins are playing. . .Alize Cornet is also out in straights to Cirstea.
Some tears were more deserved than others. Australian Jelena Dokic deserves a symphony of sympathy after her match against Elena Dementieva today:
Dokic, whose father is facing prison time for making terrorist threats, was leading 4th seeded Elena Dementieva, 6-2, 3-4 when she was forced to retire with a back injury. Her back went out in the fifth game of the second set, and after a lengthy time out she came back to break the Russian. But it became clear, as tears rolled down her face, that she could not continue. This was her first French Open since 2004. Hope it’s not her last.
In other results of note, Andy “I had a blast (on court)!” Roddick, Gael Monfils, Kolya Davydenko and Juan Martin del Potro are through on the men’s side. Novak Djokovic is up two sets in a suspended match. Jankovic, Kuznetsova, Wozniacki, and Radwanska are through on the women’s side.
There are TONS of great matches on for tomorrow: Gonzalez vs. Ouanna, Nadal vs. Hewitt, Benesova vs. Ivanovic, Williams vs. Szavay, Murray vs. Tipsarevic, Almagro vs. Verdasco, Azarenka vs. Suarez Navarro, Soderling vs. Ferrer, Safina vs. Pavlyuchenkova, and the Williams sisters taking on Dulko/Szavay in doubles. Also in doubles, Tsonga/Ouanna take on Bupathi/Knowles. Oh, you lucky Direct TV subscribers!
I’ll post Thursday’s results as soon as a more together blogger than I puts them up.