French Open in Review

7 Jun

After two weeks the French Open has finally ended and the last two players standing must feel awfully good right now.  For Francesca Schiavone, these two weeks proved to her that anything can be achieved by hard work and pure determination.  On the other hand, for Rafael Nadal, these two weeks have restored order not only in his world, but in the entire world of tennis. 

First off, I would like to make some comments on the women’s draw at Roland Garros before shifting to the men’s side.  Going into the French Open, Serena, Venus, Henin, and maybe even Jankovic were favorites to take the title.  For Serena, her best performances always come at the Grand Slams and many of us expected nothing different this time around.  Venus had won a title on red clay in February at the International event in Acupulco, reached the Rome quarters, and the Madrid final.  Despite her previously poor results at Roland Garros, many tennis analysts felt that she had a legitimate shot at winning her eighth Grand Slam.  As for Justine Henin, she took a two-year hiatus from tennis which didn’t allow her to compete for the crown that she had won four times prior to 2010.  Even though her best tennis hadn’t been played prior to Roland Garros, many thought she would win her first Grand Slam since 2007 at Roland Garros this year.  Finally, Jelena Jankovic lost to Henin in Stuttgart, Martinez Sanchez in the Rome final, and Rezai in Madrid.  All three women she lost to went on to take their respected titles, so it wouldn’t have been a long shot had Jelena won this year.  But, instead of any of these four women even reaching the final, we were left with the tenacious Aussie Sam Stosur and the emotional Italian Francesca Schiavone for the weekend.  Going into the final many favored Sam due to her massive serve and heavy groundstrokes, but Francesca, who was already having the fortnight of her life fought through Stosur and won her first Grand Slam title at the age of 29.  Now who would’ve thought that going into Roland Garros two weeks ago?

Now moving on to the men’s side.  Coming into Roland Garros, Rafael Nadal was unbeaten on the red clay with titles in Monte Carlo, Rome, and Madrid.  Many experts predicted a Federer-Nadal final much like in the years past.  But, giant killer Robin Soderling, the only man to defeat Nadal at Roland Garros drew Federer in the quarterfinals.  Despite his run to the finals last year, Soderling was a huge underdog in this match mainly because of a daunting 0-12 record against Roger.  Nevertheless, Soderling took control of the extremely slow conditions and outhit Roger for the better part of three sets and eventually booked his place in the final for the second consecutive year.  Despite all the hype that was placed on the final, as he’s done before, Nadal steamrolled Soderling 6-4, 6-2, 6-4 and won his fifth Roland Garros title. 

So before we move onto the grass court season, I want to know what your thoughts are on the clay season that has just passed and who you think will benefit most from the switch of surface from the slow red clay to the fast grass courts.

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