Roland Garros 2016: First week round-up as drop shots and drop-outs dominate

I had intended to deliver a mid-week report but things are hectic at the moment. So, the first week is done and dusted and a lot has happened. Let’s try and summarise.

MEN

For much of the week, the big story in the men’s draw revolved around Andy Murray’s struggles in the first two rounds.  But in the last 48 hours the tournament has been robbed of two of its biggest draws. First 9 times champion Nadal pulled out on Friday with a serious-sounding multiple tendon tear in his wrist – I’m fairly convinced this spells the end for the Spaniard at the top of the game.

Like Roger, his injuries are becoming too numerous and now much harder to brush aside without putting pressure elsewhere.

Then, today Jo-Wilfried Tsonga pulled out whilst up against Ernests Gulbis with an apparent groin injury. If the loveable Frenchman’s comeback against the equally charismatic Baghdatis in round two is indeed one of his last matches here, then it was a fitting footnote.

Back to Murray, two five set contests, I avoid the word ‘marathon’ here as they were more a battle of mentality and intensity than an actual gruelling, tight any-point-can-clinch-it type of affair. Radek Stepanekwas always going to prove dangerous, but Murray’s capitulation halfway through proceedings against Bourge the homegrown wildcard was more intriguing.

Some have cited the split with Amelie (bad timing surely) but really this is nothing new from the Scot whose attitude has always been a weakness. He needed to clamp down on such wretched form and so he duly did against another tricky opponent in Ivo Karlovic. One feels the Murray charge is back on track after the comparative ease he swatted away the 6,11” danger man.

Elsewhere, the likes of Djokovic, Berdych defending champ Wawrinka and in-form Nishikori continue to progress, although it hasn’t been quite so effortless for either so far.

Best upcoming matches (really, perhaps at this stage they are all grandstand stuff)

Wawrinka vs Troicki

Nishikori vs Gasquet

Murray vs Isner

WOMEN

It has been another topsy-turvy first week for the seeds of the women’s draw, only overshadowed this time as the men have followed suit a bit more than usual.

Injuries have been rife here too, with poor Vika Azarenkabowing out to Knapp early on. The other seeds joining the title contender out of the tournament in R1 was Oz Open victor Kerber, Errani, Vinci, Konta, Pliskova and Jankovic.

Since then, it has been a bit of a bloodbath – with double Wimbledon champ Kvitova, last year’s finalist Safarova, former winner Ivanovic and Petkovicjust some of the names to exit before the halfway stage.

Contenders? Well Serena was given an almighty test by Mladenovictoday amidst the storms, and Radwanska, Halep, Muguruza, Bacsinszky and sister Venus will all promise to threaten the defending champ’s bid for a 22ndmajor title levelling Madame Graf.

Best upcoming matches

Kuznetsova vs Muguruza

Bacsinszky vs V Williams

Halep vs Stosur

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