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RG Diary Thursday 2 June

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Originally published on: 02/06/11 18:53

Today, we find ourselves at the business end of Roland Garros 2011 with the ladies semi finals taking place both on Court Philippe Chatrier and both better matches than maybe the scoreline suggests.

The no. 6 see Na Li defeated Maria Sharapova in one hour and 48 minutes 64 75 to take her place in her second Grand Slam final. She puts some of her success this year down to her new coach Michael Mortensen, although she does not know yet if he will be able to travel with her full time. But he will be here for her on Saturday and she says “He give me a lot of confidence.  Also, he say, you know, every person have the mistake, so I should give the chance to have the mistake”. So far this tournament she’s hardly put a foot wrong.

Her opponent on Saturday will be the defending Champion Francesca Schiavone who defeated Marion Bartoli 63 63. Much will be written about the combined age of the two finalists and what that says about the state of the game. Schiavone is 30 years old; in fact she will be 31 later this month. But neither woman cares much about this – Na Li commenting, “Age didn’t mean anything.  Age just paper.  It’s just plus one.  Doesn’t mean anything for the age. Yeah, I know maybe for the Asia player they growing up for a little bit late for European player, but I’m think 29 is too late, too old.  I’m still feel I am young”

The Italian has also brushed aside any ageist comments “Like I said some days ago, is like the wine.  Stay in the bottle more is much, much better.  So is good to be there.”

At the other end of the age scale, not to mention skill level, today Longines started their 2011 search for a future tennis ace with 16 children from around the world invited by the Swiss watchmaker to Roland Garros to play in their tournament. Today Britain’s Sam Ferguson defeated his opponent from Singapore. The 12 year old from Derbyshire plays again tomorrow in the quarterfinals, as this is a straight knock out tournament. The two boys that qualify for the final get the chance to take part in an exhibition match with Andre Agassi and Jim Courier, how cool is that? We’ll be dropping by to see how the young leftie gets on.

So, it promises to be an exciting day tomorrow as the men battle it out for a place in the final and what a mouth watering prospect to see the top four seeds in action. First up will be Rafael Nadal and Andy Murray followed by Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic. Stay tuned; it’s going to be a corker.

It’s also likely to be very busy, so we think we might take a taxi bike to get here and beat the traffic, another little innovation that we like. Today’s tennishead award for innovation at Roland Garros goes to all the taxi bike drivers, who have to drive all those wobbly passengers to and from the grounds. Good effort!

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