Wednesday, May 26, 2010

French Open: First Round Report

For the French Open, the first round stretched out for three whole days. The weather for the first two days was hot and dry making the courts play faster. On the third day, it was cloudy and wetter slowing up the courts. Fortunately the rain stayed away until the very end of the day making it possible to complete all of the matches except for one.

Recent finalists Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal, and Robin Soderling easily moved on as well as other top seeds who have played generally well this past clay season. Three of the top eight seeds, however, had to go the distance to move forward. 4th seed Andy Murray was actually predicted to lose to unseeded Richard Gasquet based on the latter's recent clay results and Murray's lackluster showing on the surface. Unfortunately, Gasquet ran out of steam after winning the first two sets giving Murray the win. 6th seed Andy Roddick and 8th seed Jo-Wilfried Tsonga had to rally from 2-1 sets down to move through.

Only five seeds fell most notably 23rd seed Ernests Gulbis who recently defeated Federer on clay and was one of only two men to take a set off Nadal on clay this year. Gulbis retired at the beginning of the third set after losing the first two. Other seeds who fell were Tommy Robredo (21), Juan Monaco (26), Feliciano Lopez (27), and a dispirited Sam Querrey (18) who also ended up withdrawing from doubles.

The seeds held a bit stronger in the women's draw than in the men's with only three seeds going out. The results, however, were far more shocking than what the men delivered.

The biggest shocker of all was 9th seed and last year's finalist Dinara Safina going out to 39-year-old Kimiko Date Krumm who has not won a Grand Slam match in years! As depressing as this is for Safina, it is just as inspirational for one Date Krumm. The other two seeds that fell were 10th seed Victoria Azarenka who has been injured for awhile and 20th seed and recent Rome Masters champion Maria Jose Martinez Sanchez.

Most of the top seeds and contenders including former champions Justine Henin, Serena Williams, Svetlana Kuznetsova, and Ana Ivanovic got through in straight sets.

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