Tuesday Tennis

It’s a special edition of Tuesday Tennis, after 62 of 64 first round matches at the second major of the season have been completed. Only Dmitry Tursunov against Frenchman Arnaud Clement, and Christophe Rochus vs. another Frenchman, Fabrice Santoro still remain.

The first three days saw very few upsets. Many of the seeds moved on to the second round with the exception of two Americans, James Blake and Mardy Fish, of course. Dr. Ivo Karlovic went down to Lleyton Hewitt, and Rainier Schuttler lost. The biggest upset may have been Tomas Berdych’s early dismissal, but we know one thing about him – he is consistently inconsistent.

All of the top contenders won in straight sets. Rafael Nadal actually lost 12 games in his first match, however, leading some people to question his chances of winning the French for the fifth consecutive year. “Rafatigue” as some people are calling it, may be factoring in, but don’t count on it for at least another two years. Nadal will likely have a short career because of his demanding style of play, but this guy is still in his prime, and until I see someone beat him on the dirt at Roland Garros, I won’t believe it’s possible.

With that said, Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer seem to be as close to Nadal as ever. Both dominated their victories with Federer toying with his opponent Albert Martin. Federer was using his first round match as if it were a practice session – he worked on everything from drop shots to net play to his usual ground strokes. Djokovic got a bit lucky when his opponent, Nicolas Lapentti pulled out, which could be huge for the Djoker, who has been struggling with fitness recently.

Also turning in dominant performances were Juan Martin Del Potro, Fernando Verdasco, Andy Murray and Andy Roddick. It looks like all these guys are poised to make deep runs. Murray’s aforementioned cupcake of a draw remains the biggest reason he’ll go deep. Roddick could make it to the quarters, but will (of course) lose to Federer there. Verdasco unfortunately drew Nadal and could take a set off the world number one, but won’t have enough to finish him off. Del Potro vs. Djokovic will be quite interesting. Del Potro has wins over Nadal and Murray now – could he make it three of the big four? He would then almost certainly play Federer in the semis. He could make it four for four! It’s possible… but not very probable considering the Djoker has actually had a better clay season than Federer.

Interesting Second Round Match ups:

Almagro vs. Gulbis
– Gulbis made an amazing run to the quarters last year and has a lot of points to defend if he doesn’t want to see his ranking plummet. Almagro hasn’t had the greatest season so far.

Monaco vs. Tsonga
– Tsonga has been anything but great on the dirt. Monaco has been a major factor in the clay warm up tournaments this year. Throw in the French crowd, this match could have major drama on Philippe Chatrier.

Kohlschreiber vs. FerreroferreroIt’s always nice to see the Drop Shot Dragon (Ferrero) playing well, and this match could take hours considering both players are polished veterans who can keep rallies going until the end of time.


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