Tuesday, May 24, 2011

French Open: First Round Report

The first round is done and dusted and most of the favorites moved safely through to the second. Some though didn't make it look easy. Defending champion and 5-time French Open champion Rafael Nadal was forced to play a fifth set for the first time in Roland Garros in his brutal match with John Isner. The American won the 2nd and 3rd set in tiebreaks, but Nadal took control as Isner ran out of juice by the end. The other French Open defending champion, Francesca Schiavone, had a much easier time against another American youngsters as she absolutely demolished Melanie Oudin. But the news wasn't all bad for Americans. In fact even with some notable absences, Americans did well on the red clay. Mardy Fish, Sam Querrey, Jill Craybas, Bethany Mattek-Sands, Vania King, and Varvara Lepcheko all moved on to the next round. The latter two women took down seeded players. And while Lucky Loser Ryan Harrison was beaten by last year's finalist Robin Soderling, he still managed to win a set.

Sixth seed and last year's semifinalist Tomas Berdych gets the dishonor of being the highest seed in either draw to get booted in the first round; 18th seed Flavia Pennetta was the highest seed in the women's side to get upset. 2008 French Open champion Ana Ivanovic also fell in the first round, a discouraging result for her especially in light of some of her gains in smaller tournaments. Other seeds to get upset include Nicolas Almagro, Marin Cilic, Shahar Peer, Dominika Cibulkova, Milos Raonic, Nadia Petrova, and Klara Zakapalova. And though not seeded, sad to see Tommy Haas exit early as well as Lleyton Hewitt withdraw at the last-minute. Finally, former top ten player Patty Schnyder called it a career after her first round lost here.

Novak Djokovic continued his unbeatable form, winning his 38th straight match. Roger Federer, Andy Murray, David Ferrer, and Juan Martin Del Potro all showed excellent form. Coming back to Roland Garros for the first time in five years, Kim Clijsters extends her unbeaten Grand Slam match win to 15 matches. Caroline Wozniacki, Vera Zvonareva, Victoria Azarenka, Sam Stosur, and Maria Sharapova won in straights.

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