Top 10: Roland Garros 2.1

5 Jun

Part 2

(Note that this article is a continuation of Top 10: Roland Garros 1.0 which you can find by either scrolling down or clicking here and a correction of Top 10: Roland Garros 2.0 which was incorrectly published earlier.)

Will

At number five on this list is Maria Sharapova and Francesca Schiavone. Despite not being considered title contenders by many prior to Roland Garros starting, they were among the few top players to surpass their seedings at this year’s French Open. Sharapova has not been particularly successful at grand slams since she came back from major shoulder surgery, this in addition with her not being a great clay court player resulted in few expecting her fortunes to turn around at the French Open this year. Schiavone wasn’t expected to win the title last year, and really wasn’t considered capable of defending the title prior to the tournament starting. (I too was guilty of this and now have to admit that her title last year was fully deserved – she truly is a great champion.) She however put in an amazing run yet again, all while playing a beautiful style of tennis. Both these ladies made it far in the tournament after being involved in matches which they came very close to losing – Sharapova was a set and a break down in her 3rd round match against the young Caroline Garcia, while Anastasia Pavlyunchenkova was similarly close to knocking out the Italian veteran in their quarter-final encounter. Through their frequently quoted never say die attitudes these respective grand slam champions fought back to win not only those, but quite a few matches at the French Open with Sharapova making the semi’s and Schiavone being the losing finalist. A great display of will and determination by two otherwise very contrasted players.

The New World: China

Ranking number four is the French Open victory of Li Na. The 29-year old, first time grand slam winner, has always been a threat at Wimbledon, frequently putting in decent runs at the grass court major. She was however unexpectedly a force to deal with during the French Open fortnight, taking out big guns, Victoria Azarenka and Maria Sharapova in consecutive matches and beating the defending champion, Schiavone in straight sets in the final. What her victory might do for tennis in China will likely only be accurately measured a few years down the line, but if it resembles the surge of popularity which tennis has experienced in other countries which provided grand slam winners in recent years – Serbia, Russia, Italy among them, it is likely that hordes of Chinese children will pick up racquets over the next few weeks. Considering the sheer volume of people in China, the law of averages indicates that a few new Chinese grand slam champions should be along shortly as a result. This in addition with the huge numbers in viewership which having a Chinese audience brings to tennis, means that Li Na is not only a great player, but her win will also do great things for tennis and she is likely to leave have a lasting legacy for the sport.

The Epic Battles

Five set matches comes in at number three on the list. The longer version of the tennis match is truly capable of providing the most amazing imaginable situations in tennis. It was no different at Roland Garros this year. Nadal’s almost loss to Isner would have been one if it weren’t for the match being played over five sets as opposed to three. He is now in the final, with a very good chance of being the eventual champion. Andy Murray too would also have lost earlier were it not for the men’s matches being played over five sets at the majors – against the Serb, Victor Troicki in the 4th round. There were several more high drama five setters played in the 4th round – Albert Montanes vs Fabio Fognini, Juan Ignacio Chela vs Alejandro Falla and Gael Monfils vs David Ferrer. Not only do five setters cause the better player to win more often than not, but it also has the potential to result in an absolutely thrilling match with no apparent end in sight, capable of testing even the fittest player’s resolve and drive to win.

One might even be able to credit five set matches as the reason why there were far fewer upset results in the first week in the men’s draw as opposed to the mass exodus of seeds which happened in the women’s draw. I’m not suggesting women play five sets – but purely hypothetically if they were to play matches over five – the draw might play out as the seedings indicate it ought to.

Goliath and Goliath

Number two on the list is the Federer vs Djokovic semi final match. It was best described by Nadal as being the “best player of the moment against the best of the history”. This match truly lived up to this billing and was played at immense pace of shot, with overwhelming pressure on the man on a 43-match winning streak to win. The stakes were certainly high – not only was a spot in the final up for grabs, but the number one ranking was also a possibility for the Serbian man, should he have won. Unfortunately for the younger man, Federer was in devastating form, and played the match close to perfection. Particularly surprising was how demoralized Djokovic seemed in the second set, he came across as being somewhat overwhelmed by the occasion or rather the Federer play. All-in-all this was a great match between two giants which serves as excellent advertising for the sport of tennis. Both these gentleman are top fit, played with very little error and proceeded to wow the crowd for a good four hours before Federer left as the victor. It’ll be great to see if he can maintain this standard of play in the final and finally win a final against Nadal, who deservedly carries the King of Clay moniker.

The Rivalry Continued

For the fourth time in the finals at Roland Garros, Federer will have to overcome the much favoured to win Nadal. Whether or not Federer can tame the lefty topspin forehand which Nadal will direct to his one-handed backhand will surely provide some clue as to the winner of this match. If Federer is capable of hitting through his backhand and getting the result he craves, this match is likely to go down as his finest
grand slam victory ever. If Nadal executes his tactically superior game plan, as I suspect he will, it’ll be a record equalling sixth French Open title for him. As a result, this match will be one for the history books regardless of who wins, and as such tops this list at number one.

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8 Responses to “Top 10: Roland Garros 2.1”

  1. vibhu batra June 5, 2011 at 12:57 PM #

    75% of people predicting on my blog reckon #Nadal will win,while 25% #Federer.. My heart says & wants #Roger , but my damn brain says #RAFA :(((((((

    #TENNIS #FRENCHOPEN #ROLANDGARROS

  2. Emmanuel June 5, 2011 at 1:50 PM #

    Nice commentary! The grand slams have always been known to produce Great moments both on the court and off the courts! This years French Open hasn’t been any different, considering the implications of Li Na’s win, Nadal’s and Sharapova’s shock in earlier rounds, etc! Good write-up!

  3. Priyanka Victor June 5, 2011 at 3:51 PM #

    Very well researched and exhaustive post:)

    Keep blogging..

  4. Grand Slam Gal June 6, 2011 at 10:28 AM #

    What an epic tournament this year’s Roland Garros was! I’m going to link to this fab summary in my next article 🙂

    • schroeds June 8, 2011 at 2:12 AM #

      That would be amazing 🙂 Sooo excited for Wimbledon…

  5. trammerhc June 8, 2011 at 12:11 AM #

    Well done all around, thanks for reaching out to me to follow. Do you have an early feeling about Wimbledon? Rafa, Djok, Fed all have pretty good arguments.

  6. schroeds June 8, 2011 at 2:14 AM #

    Thanks for reading and the feedback all. Hope you’ll be back for more!

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. After the Red Clay Dust Has Settled - June 11, 2011

    […] Read more in this great summary of the Top 10 Roland Garros moments which is continued here. […]

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