French Open 2011: Roger Federer, Novak Djokovic Lead the Action in Day 4
Day 4 dawns in Paris and the combatants are waging battle on the red dirt covering the courts at Stade Roland Garros.
All players exert maximum effort in order to reach the next plateau—Round 3.
The day promises exciting action on both sides of the draw.
Scheduled on court on the men’s side of the draw are No. 2 seed Novak Djokovic and No. 3 seed Roger Federer, as well as No. 25 seed Juan Martin del Potro.
For the ladies, No. 1 seed Caroline Wozniacki is being tested in the opening match on Court Phillippe Chatrier.
Also scheduled on Day 4 are last year’s finalists, Aussie Samantha Stosur and Italian Francesca Schiavone.
By the time the red dust settles and the last ball is hit in Round 2, the final 32 men and women will be left standing ready to continue their fight for a spot in the final.
It should be another great day of tennis ahead...
It was a hard day at the office for the No. 3 seed Russian Vera Zvonareva as she faced off against the No. 123 ranked German Sabine Lisicki.
As Zvonareva found out, the big serving, hard-hitting German has the capabilities to upset anyone when her game is on.
Lisicki’s ranking sank out of sight after enduring a slew of injuries in the past year––the most debilitating, a left ankle injury.
Lisicki, however, outlasted her opponent Akgul Amanmuradova to win her opening round match 6-0, 6-4. That meant Lisicki won four matches prior to her second round encounter with Zvonareva because the German had to qualify to get into the main draw.
The German was ranked as high as world No. 22 after Lisicki reached the Wimbledon quarterfinals in 2009. But injuries soon knocked her out of the top 30. She is currently holding steady at No. 123––but hoping to climb back into the top 50.
Even though Vera Zvonareva has gained control over her temper, refusing to engage in defeatist meltdowns, clay remains her least favorite surface. The furthest the Russian has advanced at Stade Roland Garros is the quarterfinals which Zvonareva reached in 2006.
Lisicki won the opening set 6-4. Throughout the second set, Lisicki and Zvonareva traded breaks of serve. Lisicki was within two points of winning the second set and the match.
Once Lisicki failed to break, she was broken herself and Zvonareva leveled the match at one set apiece.
During the match there were eleven breaks of serve. Lisicki had 40 unforced errors to Zvonareva’s 37 but the German also had 35 winners compared to the Russian’s 18.
Lisicki went up 5-2 in the third set but then began cramping and lost the final five games to lose the match.
Zvonareva came back to win the second set but Lisicki could not offer any resistance. The German was carried off the court on a stretcher. Her conditioning was the true villain because the German’s body simply gave out before she could claim victory.
Zvonareva lives to fight on in the third round.
Russian Svetlana Kuznetsova faced Romanian Irina-Camelia Begu in the second round of the 2010 French Open. This marked Begu’s very first French Open.
Seeded No. 13, Kuznetsova is finding her draw very favorable so far. Begu had few weapons to trouble the former French Open champion as Kuznetsova dismissed the Romanian 6-1, 6-1.
Begu had defeated Frenchwoman Aravane Rezai 6-3, 6-3 to make it into the second round while Kuznetsova had upended Slovakian Magdalena Rybarikova 6-2, 6-3 to advance to today’s match.
Kuznetsova after slumping, dropping all the way down to the No. 27 spot at the end of 2010, is currently ranked world No. 14. The Russian is back on track, fully fit and with new-found enthusiasm for tennis.
The Russian won the French Open championship in 2009 by defeating the top seed Dinara Safina 6-4, 6-2.
Kuznetsova’s next opponent in round three is Maria Jose Martinez Sanchez of Spain. The two have not faced each other on court since 2002 when the Russian won.
Italian Francesca Schiavone also advanced today over Russian Vesna Dolonts 6-1, 6-2. Schiavone, of course, is the defending champion, having won the French Open title in 2010.
In the 2010 final Schiavone defeated a red-hot Samantha Stosur. The Aussie was everyone’s favorite to win but she could not pull it off. Schiavone took the title with guile and finesse 6-4, 7-6.
Dolonts was never really a factor in their match today as Schiavone dismissed the Russian in an hour and 12 minutes breaking her opponent’s serve six times.
Next up for Schiavone in the third round is Shuai Peng of China seeded No. 29.
Schiavone will attempt to become the first repeat French Open champion since Justine Henin won back to back titles from 2005-2007. Can the Italian do it again in 2011?
After meeting Victor Hanescu for the sixth time in their careers, Novak Djokovic remains perfect.
He has not lost a match against the Romanian. Today the Serb won 6-4, 6-1, 3-2 (Ret).
Like Federer before him, Djokovic started off a little slow, not quite finding his footing or his ambition early in the match. But as the opening set wore on, Djokovic found his form and closed it out 6-4.
Then, the Serb seemed to find another gear in set No. 2 with Hanescu hanging on for dear life.
Finally Hanescu managed to win a game. Nonetheless, the set ended emphatically with Djokovic winning it 6-1.
At the end of the second set the Romanian called for a trainer who came out onto the court where he taped Hanescu’s left thigh. As the third set progressed, however, Hanescu retired with Djokovic leading 3-2.
At the end of the day, Djokovic remains only three wins away from equalling John McEnroe’s 1984 record of 42 consecutive wins to start the American's season and five wins away from Guillermo Vilas’ all-time record winning streak of 46 matches.
Next up for Djokovic will be Argentine Juan Martin del Potro on Friday, Day 6 of the French Open.
Everybody will be watching that match unfold. It will be a huge test for both players. Don’t miss this one...
Blaz Kavcic did his best to stay with the No. 25 seed Juan Martin del Potro in their second round match. But the Slovenian could not match the power of the Argentine.
Del Potro won the match in straight sets 6-3, 6-2, 6-4 in two and a quarter hours.
While the two men had similar totals in unforced errors with del Potro committing 29 and Kavcic 24, the Argentine had 38 winners compared to the Slovenians 22.
Del Potro broke his opponent’s serve seven times while Kavcic broke the Argentine three times. In the end del Potro won a total of 92 points while the Slovenian won 72.
Blaz Kavcic, ranked No. 82 in the world, won his first round match over Ernst Gulbis 6-1, 6-4, 6-2. That sent him into the second round where he met del Potro. The Slovenian received no free passes in this tournament.
Del Potro won his opener dispatching Ivo Karlovic, the mega-tall Croat whose serve is a lethal weapon. The match was not a gimme by any stretch of the imagination with the Argentine pulling it out in four sets 6-7, 6-3, 7-5, 6-4. The two men were on court a little over three hours.
Del Potro returns to the French Open in 2011 after missing last year because of injury. The Argentine’s wrist surgery kept him out of action for almost a year. Most feel del Potro is almost fully back to form.
Today’s encounter against Kavcic promised some real excitement. Tennis fans were convinced that the Slovenian could play ball after he absolutely thrashed Gulbis with his powerful serve and groundstrokes.
In the end, the Argentine had more weapons in his arsenal than Kavcic.
A del Potro win guarantees a block-buster match-up with World No. 2 Novak Djokovic in round three should Djokovic prevail against his opponent today.
That promises to be a top-notch offering on the tennis horizon.
Last year Samantha Stosur had an amazing run to the final of the 2010 French Open after finding herself in the toughest quarter of the draw––scheduled to meet Justine Henin, Maria Sharapova and Serena Williams.
Stosur defeated each and every opponent on her way to the final where she faced the feisty Italian Francesca Schiavone.
The Aussie quickly found herself a heavy favorite in the final but Stosur could not overcome the brilliant play of the Italian losing the match 4-6, 6-7.
It was a real disappointment losing the French final in 2010 after working so diligently to get there.
Stosur would love to remedy that result by winning it all in 2011.
Just as she did in 2010, Stosur faced Romanian Simona Halep––this time in the second round instead of the first. The result was similar. In today’s match Stosur dispatched Halep 6-0, 6-2.
The score does nothing to illustrate that at times Halep played some first-rate tennis. But Stosur was unrelenting and never let Halep gain any real leverage in the match.
Employing equal power and precision, the Aussie made short work of Halep, sending her back home.
Stosur once again finds herself in the third round where she will face Argentine Gisela Dulko.
The No. 1 seed Caroline Wozniacki was up first on Court Phillippe Chatrier on Day 4 of the unfolding action at the 2011 French Open. Her opponent on Wednesday was Canadian Aleksandra Wozniack.
The two had met seven times in total prior to today’s match with Wozniacki the winner in six of those contests. The two had previously met once on clay––an encounter that Wozniacki won in Ponte Verde Beach in 2009.
The Canadian, returning from injury, found her ranking suffering in her absence. She now sits at No. 162 in the WTA ranking system. In fact, Wozniack had to qualify to gain entrance into the main draw.
That meant that the Canadian had won four matches to get into the second round. But the number of wins had no real impact on the outcome.
Dane Wozniacki held steady, winning the first set 6-3. In the second set, however, Canadian Wozniack played some first rate tennis, giving Wozniacki all she could handle.
In fact the No. 1 seed suffered through 24 unforced errors and never really seemed to settle into the match, especially in the second set when Wozniack asserted herself.
In the second set tiebreak, Wozniacki had to save three consecutive set points in order to close out the match in two sets 6-3, 7-6.
In the third round, the Dane will meet Slovakian 28th seed Daniela Hantuchova, who overcame Italy's Sara Errani in straight sets.
The Frenchman Maxime Teixeira, ranked No. 181, began the match against the world renowned Roger Federer by being broken and breaking back to hold on for his first three service games.
Federer seemed a bit slow out of the gate and the French crowd held out hope momentarily that this French qualifier might make a match out of it.
But at 3-3, Federer stepped on the gas and won the next three games to close out the first set at 6-3. Then the Swiss won the next six games to take the second set at 6-0.
The French crowd could only cheer for their man when Federer finally took his foot off the accelerator to let the Frenchman back in the match in the third set at 4-0. The third set ended with Teixeira winning two games. The match was over in 84 minutes.
Federer won the match 6-3, 6-0, 6-2 without too many difficulties.
Teixeira, a French qualifier, has spent his career building his ranking playing in the ATP Challenger Tour.
The Frenchman had not played in the French Open prior to 2011. His first round match was a marathon against another Frenchman, Vincent Millot. Teixeira won in five sets 6-2, 5-7, 6-7, 6-4, 6-1.
After making quick work of Teixeira, Federer will advance to round three.
Federer’s next opponent is a man who promises the Swiss quite a few headaches––Serb Janko Tipsarevic. No top seed is happy to see the Serb facing him across the net...