2. Andy Murray is really bored. Apparently he’s sitting around watching clips of Gael Monfils on YouTube, and I love that about him.
youtube.com/watch?v=5QjmX-… check out monfils dancing… guys got some serious moves
— Andy Murray (@andy_murray) May 27, 2013
3. Via @TheSixthSet, Tomas Berdych has now lost in the first round of a Slam for seven consecutive years.
For a player of his caliber, that’s pretty shocking. And this loss comes directly after he beat two members of the Big Four on clay in his last two tournaments. He can be maddeningly inconsistent.
1. When my gut tries to convince my brain that it’s a good idea to pick Tomas Berdych to make a slam final, I should go get my gut checked. And once I’m there, I should have my brain checked, too. As we know, the World No. 6 went down in flames to the hometown favorite Monfils in a five setter earlier today. Berdych clawed back from a two sets to love deficit, only to lose the fifth 7-5. Apparently, Tomas has the unfortunate tradition of losing at the French Open in odd-numbered years:
RT @isis1122 If I’m not mistaken, Berdych lost R1 at RG in 2007, 2009, 2011 and now 2013. On the upside, next year he’s safe, I guess
— enrico maria riva (@enricomariariva) May 27, 2013
And also this:
Consistency “@danielevallotto: For the seventh straight year Tomas Berdych makes an early exit in the 1st round in one of the 4 Slams”
— enrico maria riva (@enricomariariva) May 27, 2013
But who picked Berdych to make it out of a tricky quarter that included this Monfils match as well as potential encounters with Gulbis and Ferrer? Me! Never trust Tomas Berdych again … and unless Li Na ends up winning the French, don’t trust me, either.
2. Laura Robson is not an automatic winner when she plays a big name on a big stage. The youngster lost 3 and 2 to Caroline Wozniacki, the former World No. 1 who was on a five-match losing streak. The key to remember here is that Robson doesn’t fare all that well against consistent players, as Lindsay mentioned in our French Open preview Podcast. Had Wozniacki been a big hitter, the upset would already be in the books. At least that’s one advantage of being more or less weaponless, eh, Caroline?
3. IBM is doing a nice job with their stats for this event. I couldn’t watch any of Jerzy Janowicz’s straight set win against Albert Ramos, but I gathered quite a bit of evidence from the stats offered on the Roland Garros site. For example:
Janowicz ended the match with only four backhand unforced errors. That’s an incredibly encouraging stat for Janowicz. Sadly, he did end up with 22 forehand unforced errors. So there’s still progress to be made.
Wait a minute … now I’m confused: the main stats page claims that Janowicz had 46 total unforced errors (yikes), and so does the “momentum” page. If 22 UFEs came off the forehand, and three double-faults are added … Janowicz committed 21 backhand unforced errors. Which is more in line with what I’ve been tracking in the past few weeks (Jerzy’s unforced errors tend to be evenly distributed between his two wings, but he tends to hit more forehands than backhands).
Hence, thanks for nothing, IBM.
4. Juan Mónaco and the 2013 season just don’t go well together. Just days after the Argentine from Tandil won his first title of the season on the clay in Düsseldorf, he lost what had to be a heartbreaker of a five-setter to Daniel Gimeno Traver. Mónaco was up two sets to love, but that sizeable lead ended up meaning nothing.
This has to be a very difficult result to digest for Juan, since Roland Garros is the one slam most Argies look forward to (and the one where the media looks at them more closely). Plus, it has to hurt that for the second straight slam, he’s out after just one match. The title at Düsseldorf was supposed to mark a turning point for him – but now he’s back to square one.
5. Tennis is weird: All four guys who played in the two ATP finals that took place last Saturday in Düsseldorf and Nice ended up playing five-setters today. As we know, Monfils (Nice runner-up) beat Berdych; Albert Montañés (Nice winner) beat young American Steve Johnson; Jarkko Nieminen (Düsseldorf runner-up) beat Paul-Henri Mathieu, and Juan Mónaco (Düsseldorf champ)…well, we know what happened to him.
1. The French Brain theory marches on, and boy was it exhausted today as there were a lot of French tennis players in action. Tsonga and Gasquet won fairly easily, but against much inferior opponents. The real drama happened elsewhere.
Julien Benneteau was serving for the match at 5-4 in the third set against Ricardas Berankis. He was up 40-0 before losing five straight points, and eventually dropping the set 5-7. After the set was complete, he went off-court to get his groin looked at, and things seemed dire. Then he raced out to a 4-1 lead in the fourth set, before eventually being taken to a tiebreak in that set too. Thank goodness he won the tiebreak 7-5. Of course, he finally won once Jo was done with his match and had passed the brain over.
But while Benny was surviving, Adrian Mannarino, a Frenchman who’s a blast to watch but suffers from a severe, severe case of Frenchbrainitis, was crumbling. Mannarino went up 4-1 in the fifth set against Pablo Cuevas, and then even had two match points, before finally losing 5-7 in the decider. Brutal.
And we all know what happened to Gael Monfils. Of course at the end of the day he pulled off a roundabout but spectacular upset over No. 5 Tomas Berdych. Overall there were six victories for the French today, and it was a reminder that although it is often incredibly painful, there are reasons why we just can’t quit the French.
(But seriously, Benny. Next time you’re up 5-4, 40-0, SERVE OUT THE DAMN MATCH.)
2. There will be an American man in the third round! John Isner and Ryan Harrison both incredibly easily marched through the first round, which is pretty mind-boggling. They will meet in the second round, which is unfortunate unless you think about the fact that it means that an American man will be in the third round of the French Open!
As my friend Rachael tweeted me, “Roddick is gone, so the curse has been lifted.”
3. I’m usually a staunch defender of umpires, who surely don’t get paid enough for what they do, but chair umpire Louise Engzell really, really blew it today and should be punished accordingly.
Unfortunately there doesn’t seem to be a video of the incident up, I’ve been searching for it all day to try and blog it, but Sports Illustrated has a good story up on it. Basically, AMG hit a forehand that went just out, and she screamed “NO” after she hit it. It was on her serve as she faced a break point that would give Li Na a chance to serve for the match, so it was a big deal. The ball was initially called out, but Engzell overruled it and said it was in.
Li Na went completely mad, pointing to the mark and asking Engzell to come down from her chair to check it. Engzell would not get down from her chair, which is absolutely insane, especially during such an important point. But about 15 seconds after her call, she decided to call hindrance on Medina Garrigues–a call that seemingly came out of nowhere–and thus overturned the call and gave the point to Li Na.
So the outcome was correct: Li Na got the point, the break, and served out the match accordingly. But the way Engzell handled it–the bad overrule, refusing to get down from her chair to check the mark, and then the extremely late hindrance call–was absolutely absurd. My head is still spinning.
4. Laura Robson doesn’t like long rallies. I thought that Caroline Wozniacki might get back just enough balls to win the match, and it turns out I was right! (I like being right, and enjoy pointing it out when I am.) Robson loves going toe-to-toe with big hitters. She’s not as good when she has to generate her own pace and play cat-and-mouse.
So Wozniacki marches on, and it must be said that she’s in a great section of the draw. I’d love to see her gain some momentum, confidence, and perhaps a little bit of swag.