French Open: First Impressions, Thoughts and What We've Learned

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French Open:  First Impressions, Thoughts and What We've Learned
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Two beautiful, sunny days marked the beginning of the 2010 edition of the French Open.  Shortly after 11 in the morning on Sunday, match play began.

The first two days of tennis at Roland Garros did not disappoint.  Many questions were answered and others raised for the first time as the world's best brought their best (for the most part) to Paris.

Here are some things to consider now that the first two days of the tournament have come to a close.

 

Five-Set Fury

For those who thought the tournament would not impress due to Nadal's recent track record and the poor performances of so many within the Top 10, they certainly were proven wrong right from day one.

Two Frenchmen: Jo-Wilfried Tsonga and Richard Gasquet saw their matches go the distance as they battled to stay alive and with that brought enourmous atmosphere and electricity into the Open...at one point it sounded as though it was Final Sunday. 

Tsonga was put to the test against the 6'5" free-swinging Daniel Brands.  The German was not the least bit intimidated by the heavy-hitting Tsonga, and had the whole place in a snooze until Tsonga finally re-energized and took command in the fifth set to take the match from Brands, who appeared to be running out of gas.

After winning on his second match point of the evening, Tsonga gave a huge fist pump as the crowd exalted him on Court Phillipe Chatrier. 

On Monday, Andy Murray rallied from in the hole down two sets to love in a remarkable comeback that could provide the momentum the Scot needs to turn his disappointing season around. 

One thing is for certain, these two matches served well as appetizers for the main course of what is to come in Paris these next two weeks. 

The crowd is already on their feet.

 

Federer Is Just Fine...But Can He Beat Nadal?

Yes, it's only been one match, but the ease with which Roger Federer disposed of Australia's Peter Luczak 6-4, 6-1, 6-2, Monday showed signs that the Swiss is back to his winning form on the clay.  Unfortunately, he still needs a lot of help to beat Rafa.

The World No. 1 shouldn't be too disappointed, because with the way Nadal is mowing through the field on the dirt it doesn't look like anyone is capable of coming up with a winning formula.

Federer will have to find consolation in the fact that he seems for now to have reclaimed his place as the world's No. 2 clay-court player. 

Needless to say that Federer's rising level of play will at least keep things interesting should Nadal's form slip up in any way.  Not to mention that the calendar Grand Slam may still be on the mind of the Swiss.

 

Clay Spells Success for American Men?

We are two days in and Americans have already tallied three wins.  At a glance, this may not seem impressive, but there is reason to believe there will be plenty more wins to come in the coming weeks as the warm weather has been conducive to the heavy-hitting style of play the American's prefer.

Notable winners included John Isner, who breezed through to the second round with a straight sets victory over Andrey Golubev.  The ball has been flying through the air much quicker than past years and it has helped the tall, heavy-serving Isner. 

It seems every week his game gets a little better.  I won't be surprised if the American splashes into the second week.

As for the long-lost and forgotten American No. 1, Andy Roddick, he hasn't shown his face on the tour in a while, nor has he played any matches on clay.  I don't think there should be reason for worry. 

It is obvious that Roddick doesn't put the French Open high on his list of priorities for the season, but it is a Grand Slam none the less and he made the Fourth Round last year.  The conditions should help him as well, so we could see him add to that tally of wins for the Americans.

Mardy Fish and Taylor Dent accounted for the other two American victories Monday, Dent advancing in straight sets with a tie-break in the third and Mardy adding to the early drama by pulling out a five-set victory. 

The Americans appear hungry in Paris, and there's no telling how far they might go. 

One thing is for sure, they certainly are not longer the embarrassment of the French Open.

 

Up Next

Tomorrow should be another great day at the French with Rafael Nadal looking to win his first match back in Paris. 

Some other clay-courters boasting successful seasons will be back in action with Fernando Verdasco and David Ferrer taking the court.

Americans Andy Roddick and Sam Querrey are also in action.

No, it doesn't look as though someone will dethrone Nadal this year.  However, no one can argue that the first few days in Paris have been as exciting as anyone can ask for and the storylines are sure to continue tomorrow.

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