Sunday, May 30, 2010

Paris in the Spring - RG Day 8

by Savannah
The day dawned damp and cloudy in Paris. It meant that the clay would be slow and that the players who had made it this far playing hard court tennis would have a hard row to hoe.
The first victim of the terre battue was Venus Williams. Nadia Petrova, the fire still burning in her eyes, was better suited to today's condtions.

Sometimes another fan says something better than you. Tennishead "Nelslus" made the following observations regarding Venus Williams and Roland Garros.

As soon as I saw what the weather was like today in Paris, I knew that the faint chance V had today was over and done. V's only prayer today was a nice and hot day, where she could have played more of a hard court match. ANY kind of clay match, and either Nadia or Rezai were gonna win. Nadia is simply a better clay court player than Venus. will always kill me that V won't win all of the Slam titles. ...I still think that there's some faint hope for V to get an Aussie title. But, V's window for winning Roland Garros closed years ago. She was excellent at clay at non-Roland Garros tournaments years ago, but IMO never took Roland Garros seriously enough when she had her shot at winning the thing (albeit sometimes her body broke down on her, too)- when there weren't quite as many excellent clay court players as there are today.

Not much else to say is there?
The good news was that unlike other American's who suffered disappointing losses Venus played her scheduled doubles match with her sister Serena Williams.

If people stayed the same there would be no such thing as personal growth or repentance would there?
Several of you have written to say that your attitude towards Maria Sharapova has evolved and that your hostility level has declined significantly. There was a saying that I grew up with that went "whatever doesn't kill you makes you stronger". The other one is "suffering is seasoning." I'm sure every culture has their version of these expressions. They both came to mind when I read the following comments Maria made after her loss today to Justine Henin. Both come from Piers Newbery's Twitter page.
Asked about scheduling Sharapova laughs: "I'll be politically correct. Wouldn't you love that little drama for your English papers?"

And there's this.
Gallows humour from Sharapova in her presser: "I gave the French fans what they wanted, a Justine win. Merry Christmas!"

Maria had 15 break points and converted only 3. She was the second victim of the terre battue today. Despite her determination her game is not suited for slow clay and she lost even though she didn't play badly. Would she have won if she'd continued to play yesterday? That's water under the bridge. Both she and her opponent did not want to play on in the dark. Their wishes were granted.
Jo-Wilfried Tsonga pushed through the pain and completed his last match. Today the pain proved to be too much and he retired after the first set of his match against Mikhail Youzhny. Jo plays best on a hard or indoors surface. Who knows if the conditions had been faster he would've been able to soldier on? At any rate he will get a chance to rest and be ready for London.

I watched the Stan Wawrinka vs the Monogram match online. In fact I did most of my tennis viewing online today but more on that later. Stan looked like he wanted to be anywhere but where he was throughout the match. Several chances to break were not taken and the inevitable happened. If you get a chance take a look at the top half of the men's draw. That is all I'm going to say.

I should also mention that in her loss to Caroline Wozniacki Flavia Pennetta hit 45 winners while Sunshine hit only 22.

It drizzled on and off all day in Paris but the only real rain came during the Andy Murray/Tomas Berdych match. The precipitation was hard enough to force the match to be suspended. The match resumed about 8:30p Paris time and was played to completion.
Andy Murray was fighting the slow surface, the darkness, and everyone in his box as he never got on track and lost to Tomas Berdych in straight sets. There's a segment on Tennis Channel where they tell the players not to let your opponent know you're upset. They should modify it to say when playing before drunken French fans you should think twice about letting them see you're having a mental melt down. There weren't that many people in the stands but once they saw that their "Ole" chant was getting to Murray they went to town on him. One even yelled out, in English, that he should be okay with the weather since it was just like Scotland's.

Towards the end of the match Murray went on a cursing jag that would've made Andy Roddick blush. They say that very nearsighted people like me do more than their share of lip reading to get by. That doesn't make us good lip readers it's just that we know how the mouth looks when speaking certain words. The next time the sanctimonious prudes of the USTA move to fine anyone for conduct unbecoming the player should play this tape for them although I seriously doubt that if Murray had done the same thing in Ashe stadium anything would've been done to him.

Of Embargoes and Other Such Nonsense

Once again NBC played it's trump card and embargoed the matches it wanted to air starting at noon Eastern time. This meant that Tennis Channel could not show Roger Federer's match, Venus Williams match and Maria Sharapova's match. What made today a little different was that these matches took place before noon Eastern time so they were available online. Some of us on Twitter debated what matches they would show since their coverage was still implied to be live. Well it wasn't. Like ESPN did Friday all of their coverage was taped. My daughter, who didn't have computer access where she was, thought the Sharapova match was live. She quickly figured out it wasn't and texted a friend for the scores. I thought they would show the Murray/Berdych match since they had a three hour window and had gone past 3p the day before with the Sharapova/Henin match. I've been told I think too much and once again it was proven that I do. The match was available online though and many were able to see it.

What I don't understand is this. If you're going to show what amounts to a highlight reel of select matches let fans see the matches live when they take place. While many have computer access many don't and rely on their DVR's to record matches they can watch when they arrive home.

Fortunately for those who have access to it ESPN3 is back tomorrow. ESPN2 will take over coverage at noon Eastern time but if it's at all possible it's worth waking up at 5a, again Eastern, to catch Tennis Channel's live coverage. Katrina Adams has joined the crew in Paris and will provide her insights.

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