Sunday, May 30, 2010

Roland Garros Results: Federer and Soderling Advance, Venus Upset, Henin Ousts Sharapova

An overcast covered the courts of Roland Garros and even the main stadium, Phillipe Chatrier, had plenty of open seats, but anyone who was absent on the the exciting action day 8 brought missed out. On the mens side Tomas Berdych, who has yet to drop a set, continued his brilliant clay-court display by backing up his dominating win over John Isner with a 6-4, 7-5, 6-3 victory against 4th seeded Andy Murray. On paper this looks like an upset but with Murray's recent sluggish brand of tennis and Berdych's controlled aggression, the "upset" comes as no surprise. The Czech's quarterfinal opponent will be Mikhail Youzhny, who advanced after Jo-Wilfried Tsonga retired down 6-2 with a hip injury. The Frenchman struggled with the same hindrance in his 3rd round match, and unfortunately was unable to earn a win for his thousands of disappointed Parisian fans.

The big news on the womens side was Nadia Petrova's defeat of Venus Williams (yes, I predicted this one too) as the Russian had little difficulty overpowering the 2nd seed to reach her 3rd career French open quarterfinal. Following her 6-4, 6-3 win Petrova told the press that her."quarterfinal encounter with compatriot Elena Dementieva will be "like a battle to death." Dementieva had no trouble winning 6-1, 6-3 over South African Channelle Scheepers.

Roger Federer had to go through the trouble of playing a good friend on Sunday, as the Swiss' Round of 16 opponent was Stanislas Wawrinka, but the only difficulty the world number 1 had was the mental side of things, as the defending champ earned a 3-set win, 6-3, 7-6 (5), 6-2. Federer's quarterfinal match will be against Robin Soderling, playing some of the most solid tennis of anyone in the men's draw, but Fed dismissed any sort of doubt and expressed his confidence (some could call it cockiness).

“I’ve never lost against him [Soderling], so obviously that’s a good record to have. But because of the improvements he’s made, he’s an opponent not to underestimate.” When reminded of the win Soderling, who beat Marin Cilic 6-4, 6-4, 6-2, did earn against him (in Abu Dhabi in January), Roger replied, "exhibition play."
Justine Henin and Maria Sharapova entered Center Court on Sunday after sleeping on their match, tied at one set apiece. Henin played masterful tennis in the 1st, winning in 6-2. The Belgian looked like she was headed for a quick win before the Sharapova of old showed her unmatched grit and determination in taking the second 6-3. They played some of the most enthralling tennis of the entire tournament and Henin took the deciding set and the match 6-3. The encounter deserves it own blog post so on to the rest of the matches.

In the 3rd quarter of the women's draw, Francesca Schiavone used her crafty and physical style to wear out Maria Kirilenko 6-4, 6-4, who struggled to back up her upset win over Svetlana Kuznetsova. The Italian will take on Caroline Wozniacki, who needed 3+ hours to knock out a feisty Flavia Pennetta. AFter winning the first set 7-6 (5), Wozniacki, seeded 3rd, lost her first tiebreak of the entire year, 7-5 to Pennetta. The 14th seed, though, crumbled in the final set, hitting tons of unforced errors while Wozzi played marvelous defense.

Tomorrow, Rafa, Serena, Henin and Djokovic will be on court.

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