RG Diary Sunday May 29
Originally published on: 29/05/11 19:26
There is no rest day at the French Open, so it was business as normal at Roland Garros today, for Day 8 of the Slam. With the first match on Court Philippe Chatrier, we were given a vision of the future of the women’s game.
19-year-old Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova defeated the No. 3 Seed Vera Zvonareva 76 26 62. Their only one previous meeting was at Stuttgart earlier this year when Zvonareva had beaten the teenager in three sets. Today however it was a different story with Nastia thumping some serious forehands to book her place in the quarterfinals. In her own words “I believed till the end, and I just tried to play my best every point. So what else could I do? I was just trying to fight, you know, and I really I wanted to win so badly, so I think I did everything to do it”.
Having interviewed her in Melboune earlier this year we found out that her grandma was a National basketball player and so today that fighting spirit that is clearly firmly etched in her DNA came to the fore. And as a very generous Zvonareva commented of her young opponent, afterwards. “She’s been very consistent, and she’s definitely young and she’s got great potential. I’m sure we will see her a lot in the future”.
Pavlyuchenkova next faces Francesca Schiavone who today beat Jelena Jankovic 63 26 64 on Court Suzanne Lenglen. The match, although scheduled to be the second match, did not start until 3.45pm as it followed what turned into a marathon match between Fabio Fognini and Albert Montanes. The Italian eventually booked his place in the quarterfinals with a scoreline of 64 46 63 36 11-9. The match lasted four hours and 22 minutes and Fognini, who appeared to suffer cramping towards the end managed to stay standing until the end but with very restricted movement. To say his victory celebration was muted in an understatement.
Montanes, his off court friend, would not be drawn on whether he felt the on court medical treatment Fognini had received was legal. But merely would say “Everybody does what they have to do. Everybody plays their game. He’s played really well. I’d like to congratulate him and wish him all the best for the matches to come”.
He will need lots of luck when he faces Novak Djokovic, now unbeaten in 41 matches and who enjoyed a straightforward three set victory over Richard Gasquet 64 64 62.
Marion Bartoli booked her place in the quarters too, as Gisela Dulko retired after just over an hour with an injury to her left thigh, the score 7-5 1-0 (ret). We loved the fact the French woman, playing at her home ground, arrived on court wearing her player accreditation badge, or maybe she was afraid she might forget who she was. The other women’s match between Daniela Hantuchova and Svetlana Kuznetsova was moved to Court 1 while Gael Monfils and David Ferrer took to battle on Court Suzanne Lenglen.
With Pavlyuchenkova today we have a vision for the future and today’s tennishead award for Innovation at Roland Garros goes to the 2050 Lab, which is situated opposite Court Philippe Chatrier. On the walkway between the two, engaging folk, as pictured here, are dressed in boiler suits and carry LCD screens above their heads. Their job is to lure you into the exhibition, the biggest feature of which, is a lively animation of what Roland Garros will look like with the planned development due to be complete by 2016. The exhibition space also houses the Babolat stringers, a great innovative game courtesy of BNP Paribas, a 3D TV demo and tons more to make you focus on the future.