French Open 2011: Rafael Nadal, Andy Murray and a Double-Dose of America

Dimitri KayCorrespondent IMay 25, 2011

PARIS, FRANCE - MAY 24:  Rafael Nadal of Spain hits a forehand during the men's singles round one match between Rafael Nadal of Spain and John Isner of USA on day three of the French Open at Roland Garros on May 24, 2011 in Paris, France.  (Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images)
Clive Brunskill/Getty Images

Court Philippe Chatrier

Second Round: Andy Murray[4] vs. Simone Bolelli

Although Murray beat his first-round opponent 6-4, 6-1, 6-3, the scores do not tell the whole story. The Scot kept switching on and off which led him to get broken a couple of times—all from his own wrongdoing.

Furthermore, the Australian Open finalist got himself into needless rallies which may come back to haunt him should he go deeper into the tournament. Bolelli has only won one match this year on the main tour and Murray, with the chasm of talent he has over his opponent, should make light work of Bolelli.

However, that is a big should. If Murray does not keep his concentration in check and lets Bolelli into the match, he could have a long mid-day.


Court Suzanne Lenglen

Second Round: Rafael Nadal [1] vs. Pablo Andujar

Heavy is the head that wears the crown and at the moment, King Rafa is feeling it. It has been some time now that Nadal needed something shocking to happen in order for him to kick-start himself out of the funk he is in.

The Spaniard's losses to Djokovic are not enough, because the Serb is a top player and anyone can lose to top players. Nevertheless, the five-setter that Nadal had to endure in the first round might have lit that spark that was needed to get the defending champion going full throttle.

The five-time French Open champion will have an easier opponent today. Andujar, a fellow Spaniard ranked No. 48 in the world, is four months older than Nadal but has only won 28 career matches.

This could be a good time for Rafa to get back to the brutal, relentless and aggressive game that so epitomizes him, in order to make his intentions clear to himself and to the world that Nadal is back in full force to defend his title.


Court 2


Second Round: Mardy Fish[10] vs. Robin Haase

The second American to take to the courts—after Sam Querry—will be Fish. The No. 10 seed may have his day cut out for him in his young Dutch opponent.

Haase took Nadal to five sets in their second-round match at Wimbledon last year; a match that had plenty of déjà vu to the one the Spaniard had on Tuesday.

Haase has a huge serve which he can also hit wide with plenty of kick. Against Nadal, he came to the net frequently, but against Fish on clay, will he use the same tactic? This match could end up being an intriguing contest—more mental than physical.

The American also possesses a great serve and is very successful when venturing to the net. Even so, the shot that may give Mardy the win is his very reliable two-handed backhand. Haase lacks consistency and if Fish can attack the former’s backhand and engage in backhand rallies, Fish’s steadiness and experience at this level will send him through.


Court 7


Second Round: Sam Querrey[24] vs. Ivan Ljubicic

This match will be dominated by mega serves, short points and a few rallies in between.

Although Ljubicic has stated many times that clay is his preferred surface, it is hard to defy time. At 31 years old, the Croatian is past his best and it is unlikely that he will be able to get past a much younger and faster opponent.

Unless the Monaco resident serves with authority and keeps the points really short, his chances of progressing seem limited.

On the other hand, however, this could be Querrey’s best chance of going deep at Roland Garros. The American has already tackled the hardest part: getting past the first round—something that he had never managed before.

Querrey has a big serve and a huge forehand that he can hit both flat and with topspin. So even if the American’s serve may not be up to par, he will still be able to rely on his go-to shot: the forehand.