French Open Highlights: Some Sunshine Moments Amid the Cloudy Days

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French Open Highlights: Some Sunshine Moments Amid the Cloudy Days

The 128 are down to just four.

Four men and four women who have each fought off five opponents on their way to the semifinals of the most important tournament on clay. They are the very best, who have to fight off just two more to lift the ultimate trophy.

On the men’s side, only one of the final four is seeded or ranked in the top four. Rafael Nadal flies the flag for the best in the world, accompanied by his 2009 Roland Garros nemesis, Robin Soderling.

For the two to meet in the final on Sunday, they will both have to take on Grand Slam semifinal virgins, Jurgen Melzer and Tomas Berdych. It’s not what we expected, but it is no less exciting for that.

On the women’s side, too, just one of the top four seeds has reached the semifinals, and none of the last four has won a Grand Slam.

For Jelena Jankovic, this is her fifth Major semi and for Elena Dementieva it is her sixth. Yet it is the other two women who can claim giant-killer credentials.

Francesca Schiavone took out No. 11 seed Li Na and No. 3 seed Caroline Wozniacki, while Sam Stosur beat the former champion Justine Henin and then world No. 1 Serena Williams.

Can one of the bridesmaids at last become the bride? Or will the late flowering, nothing-to-lose pair fight it out for the result of their careers?

So as the French Open, bathed at last in summer warmth, enters its exciting and unexpected closing stages, here’s a personal selection of the moments that have risen like sunflowers above Paris’s damp, red earth.

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