Andy Roddick was dismantled by Russian qualifier Teimuraz Ga”bash”vili 6-4, 6-4, 6-2 on Saturday at Roland Garros – any match where Roddick doesn’t play at least one tiebreak is a wash out. In case you don’t know too much about Teimuraz Gabashvili, here’s all you need to know about him: He’s crazy. And he doesn’t care who knows it:
Q. For those of us who don’t know you, congratulations, first of all. What is the cause of this crazy reputation?
TEIMURAZ GABASHVILI: Thank you. I’m really aggressive. I was born in Georgia, so I have south blood mixed with north. They say it’s very aggressive blood. Sometimes I go out of my mind even in the match, start screaming, you know, up and down always. This my biggest problem, you know. That’s why I know I can play very well tennis, but it was bothering me, you know. So maybe I was winning 3 1, and then it depends. I miss one crazy shot, Oh, shit. Then I lose it. That’s why they call me crazy because of this.
Q. Have you ever been defaulted from a match for your behavior?
TEIMURAZ GABASHVILI: No, no, no. I don’t behave bad. I mean crazy in the game, you know. Crazy way I play, not how I behave. I behave good. No, don’t worry.
That leaves Robby Ginepri the last American man standing. And after beating former Roland Garros Champion Juan Carlos Ferrero in the third round, he thinks he has a chance:
Q. Is it a stretch to say you feel at home [at Roland Garros]?
ROBBY GINEPRI: Well, the initials of the tournament are RG, so it’s kind of right there. You could say it’s a coincidence, but see if I can get through.
Whatever works, Robby. Ginepri plays Novak Djokovic, who struggled to win his third round match in four sets vs. Victor Hanescu.
Nole hit 25 unforced errors and eight double faults for the match and was down a break in the fourth set. He’s thinking positive, though. Via ATP:
“Lately I do have periods when I struggle to find rhythm on my serve,” said Djokovic. “I think it’s more mental. The positive thing about this match is that I overcame a difficult second set and was able to play great tennis in the last two sets.”
Rafael Nadal scored a three set victory vs. Lleyton Hewitt, but it was a mixed bag for the Spaniards on Saturday. More shocking even than Juan Carlos Ferrero’s exit, was David Ferrer’s straight set loss to Jurgen Melzer. Fernando Verdasco managed to hold on by the tips of his thick eyelashes, winning his fifth set vs. Philipp Kohlschreiber. There will be another Spaniard out of the tournament soon – Verdasco takes on his countryman, Nicolas Almagro in the Round of 16. Thomaz Bellucci of Brazil beat Ivan Ljubicic and Mikhail Youzhny took out Viktor Troicki.
The Men’s Round of 16s are set, from top to bottom:
Roger Federer vs. Stanislas Wawrinka
Marin Cilic vs. Robin Soderling
Andy Murray vs. Tomas Berdych
Mikhail Youzhny vs. Jo-Wilfried Tsonga
Teimuraz Gabashvili vs. Jurgen Melzer
Robby Ginepri vs. Novak Djokovic
Fernando Verdasco vs. Nicolas Almagro
Thomaz Bellucci vs. Rafael Nadal
The Bryan Brothers are considering flying back to Florida and skipping the Queens tournament after being upset 6-3, 7-6 (6) by unseeded Brazilians Marcelo Melo and Bruno Soares in the second round. Two weeks ago in Madrid, they tied the “Woodies'” all-time record of 61 titles. The Bryans say they aren’t too anxious to break it (via The Canadian Press)
“There’s been a lot of talk about the record,” Bob said. “It’s nice to have. I feel like the monkey’s off our back. We just have a piece of the record. We’re proud of that. … There’s no urgency to break it.”
The big story on the Ladies’ side is “to be continued.” The Maria Sharapova vs. Justine Henin third round match was suspended due to darkness (and rain and cold and general “blahness”) on Saturday evening, tied at one set all. (Why was this match scheduled so late in the first place? It’s obvious that it wouldn’t finish in time. Grrr!) Justine won the first set – her 40th consecutive set won at the French Open, tying Helen Wills Moody’s tournament record from 1926-32. (via AP) Perhaps the pressure was too great to make it 41 straight – and Maria Sharapova fought valiantly to take the second 6-3. They’ll continue their match on Sunday afternoon – and at this point, it’s anybody’s guess who will win. So:
Another big story was Serena Williams’s three-set victory over Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova. It wasn’t so much the lopsided 6-1, 1-6, 6-2 scoreline but the mystery illness Serena was treated for during the match.
“He said that there is a bug that is going out,” Serena said the trainer told her, “How players start feeling tired and the next day they get sick.”
There’s no rest for the weary, as Serena teams up with Venus to play their third round doubles match on Saturday.
The remaining French women were knocked out of the singles draw on Saturday, Aravane Rezai losing 10-8 in the third to the always unpredictable Nadia Petrova and Marion Bartoli losing in straights to Shahar Peer.
The Francaphone press grilled Aravane afterwards on everything from sponsors, her serve and the pressures of the home crowd. When asked to compare current self with the player she was in 2009, she answered:
“Your questions are too hard for me. I don’t want to think about the past. I want to think about the future. I want to move forward, what’s up for me next. I have so much to learn, to do and to prove. This is it. It’s happiness, only happiness and positive. I have everything to win.”
Daniela Hantuchova, who beat Yanina Wickmayer in straights, is interested in looking back:
Q. So some players, when they reach the age of 27 and they haven’t achieved their dreams, will say it’s not gonna happen. Maybe I should scale back a little, right? Play some doubles, if I reach the quarterfinals… I know you’re saying no, so just talk about why you’ve continued to have such a strong desire to reach your dreams, which are pretty high?
DANIELA HANTUCHOVA: Yeah, that’s definitely not me to be give up. I know I will do anything I can to be able to achieve them. I don’t know if it’s gonna happen or not. I just want to know when I finish my career that I can look back and have no regrets, to know that I gave it all I had.
Jelena Jankovic is also though to the Round of 16, beating Alona Bondarenko in straight sets. Aussies Sam Stosur and Jarmila Groth won their matches and Yaroslava Shvedova of Kazakhstan upset Alisa Kleybanova.
The Women’s Round of 16 is (almost) set – from top to bottom:
Serena Williams vs. Shahar Peer
Sharapova or Henin vs. Sam Stosur
Jelena Jankovic vs. Daniela Hantuchova
Jarmila Groth vs. Yaroslava Shvedova
Maria Kirilenko vs. Francesca Schiavone
Flavia Pennetta vs. Caroline Wozniacki
Elena Dementieva vs. Chanelle Scheepers
Nadia Petrova vs. Venus Williams
Suddenly, Sam Stosur’s chances are looking quite good.