AEGON Champs: Three Musketeers…
Originally published on: 07/06/10 23:55
Roland Garros only finished on Sunday, and despite the tennis calendar’s notoriously quick switch from punishingly slow clay to zippidy-quick grass, the French aren’t letting go of the world’s attention without a fight. Digging their heels into the Queens Club turf on behalf of their nation on day one, Richard Gasquet, Julien Benneteau and Michael Llodra all comfortably rolled through to round two in straight sets. We could’ve even seen them joined by a fourth musketeer (apologies to the legendary Jean Borota, Jacques Brugnon, Henri Cochet and Rene Lacoste for the hugely unfair comparison) were it not for the fact that only one Frenchman could win the clash between Arnaud Clement and his conqueror Benneteau.
Kazakhstan’s Andrey Golubev took the brunt of the French onslaught and slunk off court just 55 minutes after stepping up to play 30-year-old Llodra – the oldest of the French trio, while Richard Gasquet spared little energy in despatching Kei Nishikori.
With time on his hands after his first round exit to Andy Murray at Roland Garros, Gasquet played like a man who’d been honing his craft on grass every waking second since. Letting the cat out of the bag after his routine 6-3 6-3 victory, the 2007 Wimbledon semi-finalist admitted: “There are courts in grass in Paris.” And after his supremely assured on-court performance, Gasquet continued with the same level of self-confidence throughout his post-match presser.
“I can serve well and I can return well. I can go to the net. I can do a lot of things,” grinned the 23-year-old.
Good news. Excluding Andy Murray, there’s still a Briton in the draw. Just. Rain interrupted British No.2 Alex Bogdanovic’s match with Grigor Dimitrov, three games after the Bulgarian had forced a deciding set. The pair will resume play at 12:30pm tomorrow, with Bogdanovic 2-1 up. The 26-year-old Brit has already fared better than compatriots Jamie Baker and James Ward, who each suffered straight sets defeats – to Uzbek Denis Istomin and the in-form American Robby Ginepri.
Moment of the day
Courtesy of Rafael Nadal. The deluge put an end to Boggo’s match with Gregor Dimitrov, but it didn’t stop the French Open champ in his tracks. A day after winning his seventh Grand Slam title, Nadal insisted Queens groundstaff re-erect the net on the practice courts, where he proceeded to hit for 20 minutes in torrential rain.
And for tomorrow
Gael Monfils is second up on centre court after the conclusion of Bogdanovic v Dimitrov, before the two-Andy’s – Murray and Roddick – get their campaigns underway. The 2009 champ faces Ivan Navarro of Spain, before A-Rod takes on Russian Igor Kunitsyn.