French Open 2012 Scores: Biggest Takeaways from Yesterday's Results
The 2012 French Open is finally underway, and with the closing of the first two days, plenty has been revealed about some of the big names. Of course, it's too early to decide who will win or where everyone will fall in the final results, but previous speculations are rapidly being confirmed and dashed.
The second day of play at Roland Garros featured some big names on both the men's and women's side, including Novak Djokovic, Roger Federer, and Victoria Azarenka, as well as several other intriguing matchups and results.
Here's a look at some of the biggest and most important takeaways from Day 2 of the year's Second Slam.
Djokovic Isn't Shaken by Loss to Nadal in Rome
Entering this year's Roland Garros campaign, the tennis world wondered about the mental state of Novak Djokovic.
He was undefeated at this point in 2011, with two wins over Rafa Nadal on clay, but his 2012 results thus far haven't quite lived up to those high standards. In two clay-court encounters with his Spanish rival this season, he lost both in straight sets (finals of Monte Carlo and Rome).
With this in mind, the Djoker's fans worried about how he would be feeling mentally going into the French Open. Luckily for them, though, he seems just fine, at least for now.
Djokovic won his first round match in straight sets over Italian Patito Starace. Obviously, nobody expected him to drop a set in this match, but the fact that he didn't shows that he isn't feeling any kind of early nerves or stress at this point.
We can be almost certain that he won't be shaken at all until much later in the tournament.
American Women Are Looking Strong
The women's side of Day 2 saw matches from six Americans. All of them won, bringing American women to an impressive 10-0 record for the first two days of Roland Garros play.
At a time when United States tennis is struggling, these players are giving the nation some hope. This is especially true because of the play that the young American women are exhibiting.
Christina McHale, who is currently only 20 years old, fought back from a set down to win her first round match. 23-year-old Vania King won her match in straight sets, as did 19-year-old Sloane Stephens.
There is no knowing how long each of these women will last in the tournament, but the fact that they played so strongly on the second day of play brings confidence to the United States tennis game.
Azarenka Has the Will to Fight for Her Second Slam
Following an incredible run to the title and World No. 1 ranking at this year's Australian Open, Victoria Azarenka entered Roland Garros hoping not to experience the same fate as Sam Stosur, who dropped in the first round from Melbourne after winning a U.S. Open title.
By going down 6-7, 0-4, she certainly scared a lot of her fans.
A quick dismissal wouldn't have been typical of a Grand Slam champion, though, so she refused to let that happen. Instead, she won six straight games to take the second set, and won the third 6-2 to steal the match from under the nose of opponent Alberta Brianti.
If nothing else, this performance showed us that Vika is going to put up a strong fight for this title. Watch out for her to make another drive deep into the late rounds of the tournament.
Federer's Title Chances Are Looking Better and Better
Questions of whether or not Roger Federer's age will begin to get to him have been running rampant lately, and we are always looking to see if time is taking its toll on him. So far, though, that doesn't seem to be the case, as he continues to be a consistent Slam contender.
This year's French Open is looking to be as good of a time as any for the Swiss Maestro to take his 17th Slam title. Coming off of a great clay season that consisted of a title in Madrid and a semifinal in Rome, Roger was already one of the favorites for the year's second Slam, and play on Day 2 certainly confirmed that.
For one thing, the retirement of 15-seeded Feliciano Lopez helped to clear up his draw a bit. Federer would likely have had to meet Lopez in the Round of 16, and although it would have probably been a victory for the three seed, he should still be glad to know that he won't have to face a seeded player until later on.
Federer's own play is also looking solid, exhibited by his straight-set victory over Tobias Kamke in the first round. He certainly won't have an easy path to the Roland Garros throne, but it's looking increasingly better all the time.
Rising Stars Are off to a Good Start
Currently, the tennis world is deeply enveloped in what is being called the Golden Era of the sport, with two (or possibly three) of the all-time great men playing at once. However, it is difficult to overlook the rising crop of youngsters who will likely define the next era, after the fall of the Big Four.
One of the most hyped young players on the ATP tour is 19-year-old Australian Bernard Tomic, who impressed his home crowd by putting on a show Down Under this past January, reaching the Round of 16. Another player, 21-year-old Canadian Milos Raonic, is making a name for himself quickly with his big serve and ground-strokes.
Both of them won their first round matches in straight sets on the second day of French Open action. Even 20-year-old Ryan Harrison, the top prospect for American tennis, managed to take the first set from 11-seeded Frenchman Gilles Simon, although his success ended there.
It's still very early in these men's careers, so any kind of drastic statements about their futures would be uncalled for at this point. If they can keep their impressive play up and continue to improve, though, they will all be on the right track to success.