Roland Garros: Week One roundup

Although the high seed count in both draws going into the second week is high, there have been plenty of shocks, upsets and master tennis in the most intimate of Slams.

The men’s competition has seen confident displays from both the top seeds as Federer and Nadal continue to see off some very tough competition without the loss of a set. Okay Hewitt (Rafa’s 3rd round victim) is not a huge stretch nowadays especially on clay but never an easy foe for a nervy comeback Spaniard.

And Federer has had to deal with dogged resistance in the early rounds and then a potentially disruptive hurdle in Stanislas Wawrinka in the last 16. The Swiss, seemingly more confident tenfold on the clay after last years triumph, advanced in straight sets.

Elsewhere, the biggest casualty by far is Andy Murray after a straight sets loss to Tomasz Berdych who despite his opponents rust, was truly as good as the 6-4, 7-5, 6-4 scoreline suggested. Andy Roddick continued to disappoint on the red stuff limping out to Russia’s unseeded dangerman Gabashvili in round 3. Gael Monfils can also be filed under the ‘underperformed’ tab after allowing the diminutive Fabio Fognini back from the brink in the dusk of the second day before falling 9-7 the next morning.

If anything – unlike previous years, the men’s draw has favoured the clay court specialists – nice to see amidst the impending time where every tournament will play the same, such is the fitness of the top 100 nowadays, tactics and preferences will mean little.

Almagro, Verdasco, Melzer and Soderling are all still alive and kicking as of the fourth round or later at the cost of higher ranked Tsonga, Cillic, Ljubicic Gonzalez and Ferrer.

The Women’s event is shaping up nicely too and thanks to several comeback kids not yet reaching the lofty heights of the top 16, – like in Australia – we have enjoyed some tasty early matchups. The first big name to fall was undoubtedly the finalist of the last two years Dinara Safina, who is still struggling with a back problem, but undoubtedly some confidence issues are hounding her too.

Such names as Radwanska, Zvonareva, Azarenka and poor Svetlana Kuznetsova also waved goodbye by the third round – a tournament that has threatened to make a mockery of the eastern European dominance of the tour in recent years.

Tasty encounters included Justine Henin seeing off a fighting Maria Sharapova in round 3 over two days (the rain has been more of an issue this year than in recent memory).

Nadia Petrova is my pick for a place in the final, having already seen off the much imporoved but still flaky Venus in straight sets. Petrova does have both Dementieva and possibly Wozniacki to get past, but I feel she is more than up to the task.

Elsewhere, it is tough to concentrate on anything but that mouthwatering quarter final between Serena and Justine – but they have to get past Shahaar Peer and Sam Stosur respectively first of all.

Lastly, a little note for Daniela Hantuchova, who after beating Yanina Wickmayer en route to a faultless run to the last 16 can enjoy a relatively quiet sector of the draw after the departures of Radwanska, Zvonareva, Ivanovic and Kleybanova.

Jelena Jankovic stands in the Slovakian’s way however (and my kiss of death support of course).

So there you go, much more mouthwatering encounters to savour on the grey skied clay courts of Paris.

Au revoir to the following seeds after the first week:

Men

Andy Murray
Andy Roddick
Jo Wilfred Tsonga
David Ferrer
Marin Cillic
Fernando Gonzalez
Gael Monfils
Ivan Ljubicic
Juan Carlos Ferrero
John Isner
Sam Querrey
Stanislas Wawrinka
Tommy Robredo
Ernest Gulbis
Marcos Baghdatis
Juan Monaco
Alberto Montanes
Lleyton Hewitt
Feliciano Lopez
Phillip Kohlschreiber
Victor Hanescu
Guillermo Garcia Lopez

Women

Venus Williams
Svetlana Kuznetsova
Agnieska Radwanska
Dinara Safina
Viktoria Azarenka
Na Li
Maria Sharapova
Marion Bartoli
Flavia Pennetta
Aravine Rezai
Yanina Wickmayer
Maria Jose Martinez Sanchez
Vera Zvonareva
Lucie Safarova
Jie Zheng
Dominika Cibulkova
Alona Bondarenko
Alisa Kleybanova
Anastasia Pavlyunchenkova
Maria Kirilenko
Alexandra Dulgheru
Kateryna Bondarenko

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