The Top 5 Players On Day 5 At Roland Garros

27 May

Thursday was quite an interesting day of 2nd round matches. On the men’s side, upsets by qualifiers were the story of the day, with Jurgen Melzer, a semi finalist last year going out in five to 111th ranked Lukas Rosol, Florian Mayer losing to Alejandro Falla and Leonardo Mayer beating former Australian Open finalist Marcos Baghdatis. Although these were all upsets by players outside the top 100 they were not as high-profile as the upset which happened in the women’s draw, through the loss suffered by Kim Clijsters. In addition to Clijsters losing, Sharapova was almost upset too. It is the matches of the women considered title contenders which dominates the list of best players on the day.

At number five we have Aranxa Rus, the young Dutch girl who caused the biggest upset of the tournament thus far by capitalising on the mistakes of 2nd seeded Clijsters. In all fairness, it wasn’t like she had to do much to win, such was the extent of Clijsters’ implosion. But the 20-old secures her spot on this list by virtue of continually going for her shots, and closing out this match against a tour veteran, with not too many nerves on display. Like the above mentioned qualifiers wreaking havoc in the draw, Rus too is ranked outside the top 100.

Number 5, Aranxa Rus caused the major upset of the tournament so far, by beating 2nd seed Kim Clijsters in three sets.

At four we have the sole gentleman on the list in the shape of Pablo Andujar. While the 48th ranked Spaniard (Interestingly he is a few months older than Rafael Nadal.) failed to win or even take a set off Nadal, he played a great game, and was still pushing hard in the third set, even being 5-1 ahead at one point, despite being down two sets to love. In all fairness, he might make the list by virtue of Nadal playing horrendous tennis by his standards at Roland Garros thus far. Nevertheless, I loved his energy, his self belief and ultimately the fact that he actually provided Nadal with a tricky encounter in what is really still the early stages of a grand slam. Most of all Andujar makes the list due to this match yet again indicating that it is looking increasingly unlikely that the Nadal will succeed in his defence of the title. Somehow, the other members of men’s tennis big four look in much better shape. I would however not put it past Nadal to play himself into form as the tournament progresses. (If you have not yet read my analysis of the men’s draw – do so now by following this link.)

Pablo Andujar makes the list at number 4.

Maria Sharapova had a really tough match against yet another Spanish tennis player, Caroline Garcia. The young girl, aged only 17, which is ironically the age at which Sharapova won her first grand slam title at Wimbledon in 2004, played the first set and a half as if though it was just another ITF Futures event, and not a match on Philippe Chatrier court in the main draw of the French Open ladies singles event. Her solid play, and ability to hit winners (She hit a few more than Sharapova despite losing one of the sets 6-0) lead to Andy Murray picking her as a future world number one. Hopefully this is a moniker she will live up to, that is however something for the future, for now her play in this match places her third on my list of top 5 players on day 5 of the French Open.

After being down a break in the 2nd set, Sharapova ceased the opportunity when her young opponent let up in just the slightest amount, reeling off 11 consecutive games. She ended up winning that set, and taking the third in a bagel. This in conditions which don’t suit her at the best of time slightly frail service motion at all, a fairly torrid second serve and while playing against a young (future champion) of the sport, who had nothing to lose and was playing blisteringly brilliant tennis. Sharapova’s mental steel and never say die attitude, deservedly makes her the favourite for the title to most. Her ability to have turned this match around makes her the second best player on the day.

Number 2, Maria Sharapova, and 3, Caroline Garcia.

At number one we have one of the few matches of the day in which a seeded player was resoundingly better than their opponent. Victoria Azarenka was in excellent form, beating Pauline Parmentier, who has been ranked in the top 40 in the past, 6-1, 6-0. Mainstream media have largely ignored this result, sticking with the stories about the upsets. I however think that Azarenka has sent a clear warning to her opponents through her dominating display, she is certainly who I’ll be watching for the title.

Number 1, Victoria Azarenka.

Please feel free to comment, and any shares on twitter, facebook or stumbleupon would be appreciated. All photos from the official Roland Garros website, to find the URL of the a photo, just click on it.

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9 Responses to “The Top 5 Players On Day 5 At Roland Garros”

  1. Dimitri Sorah May 27, 2011 at 2:49 PM #

    Potentially the best match of the men’s tourney thus far goes later on today with Del Potro vs. Djokovic. The way Djokovic is playing, I can’t see a “recovering” Del Potro winning but we are talking about a former US Open Champ and top ten player before injury.

  2. Ngwakwana Asnath May 27, 2011 at 4:04 PM #

    Excellent. For someone who isn’t watching or following the tournament match by match by just reading your blogs they are so in it like die hard followers and supporters. Great work

  3. singingfolife May 27, 2011 at 5:19 PM #

    Wow! What a difference a day makes! I’m in the middle of Day 6 and my eyeballs are bulging out my head! Going back to Day 5 is like going back years! I’ll say this though-grand slam champs are competitive but level headed and strategic. If Kanepi plays her best tenns, Azarenka won’t get past round 4. 2 other dark horse I forgot to mention on the womens side are Kvitova (smart,tough & aggressive)& Petkovic. Even with Schiavone still in, the women’s draw is wide open.

  4. Moose May 27, 2011 at 5:25 PM #

    In all fairness in regards to Kim Clijsters, she did just come back after two injuries – a shoulder injury & an injured ankle (from dancing at a wedding!) – she didn’t have a lot of match play coming in & no warm ups on clay. That being said, she made 64+ errors, and played an all around ugly match. Let this be a lesson to her, if you injure your ankle (or anything else for that matter) by dancing, you should just sit and watch everyone else shake their money makers!
    FYI, http://espn.go.com/espn3/index/_/sport/tennis# shows live matches & replays, you can also watch on livescorehunter.com both of which are free.

    Great blog!

  5. Zee Monodee May 27, 2011 at 6:01 PM #

    Waiting for the Del Potro/Djokovic game right now – clash of the titans already, at this stage? Promises to be a worthy game.

    Yesterday managed to catch Andujar/Nadal and Sharapova/Garcia. Both of them who lost played amazing games, but luck didn’t seem to be with Andujar and Nadal ended up winning after a decidely tough game (reminiscent of his first game at Roland Garros this year).
    Garcia, imo, fell prey to what (I believe) plagues the French players on the tournament (seems to me Garcia is French, innit?) They start all revved up, are carried by the crowd (and don’t mention the French commentators! Every time a French player is on the pitch, I watch on Mute coz we get French commentary here!). But then they end up out of steam halfway through, and that’s where they crumble, and a good adversary opposite them capitalizes on that. Seems like what happened yesterday with Garcia – she ended the game/ third set light years from the girl who started the game/won the first set.

  6. Vidya Subramanian May 27, 2011 at 6:37 PM #

    And now with Wozniacki and Stosur gone as well, Sharapova and Schiavone could well fancy their chances. Of course, this brings up one again the debate of the top seed in women’s tennis never having won a grand slam, but throws open a large part of the top draw of this year’s French Open.

    And while I have no doubt that Rafa’s playing can still take him all the way through the tournament, it seems as though the rest of teh fellows may be wizening up to his game. The five setter against Isner was very touch and go. Could have gone either way till the very end, and yesterday Andujar gave him quite a run for his money too. Maybe the chinks in the Majorcan’s armour are now looking vulnerable. He just doesn’t seem to be dominating as convincingly any more…

    Well, the coming week will show!

  7. Andy May 29, 2011 at 1:34 AM #

    i think Del Potro will be back to his best for the US Open, he needs time to fully recover from his injury.

  8. schroeds May 29, 2011 at 12:54 PM #

    Thanks all for reading, great to hear your thoughts!

  9. rolex diamantes June 8, 2011 at 2:29 PM #

    I have never seen better than this site.

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