RG Diary: Wednesday June 1
Originally published on: 01/06/11 18:03
Pinch Punch first of the month, it may well be June 1, but at Roland Garros it’s simply called Day 11 and we’re racing towards the climax of the Clay Slam. Even if you don’t know that because the singles matches are few and far between, you can tell by the fact today the legends hit the courts, along with some of the world’s best wheelchair tennis players and the juniors are getting thinned out too.
Lindsay Davenport and Martina Hingis teamed up for the Legends Trophy and had no qualms about dispatching 14 Grand Slam title winning doubles pairing Gigi Fernandez and Natasha Zvereva 61 63.
In the mixed doubles, Brit Jamie Murray and Nadia Petrova were beaten by Katerina Srebotnik and Nenad Zimonjic 76 (4) 76 (5). Brit Oliver Golding, seeded 4, won his match against American Marcos Giron in the junior boys event and there were plenty of other interesting matches going on in the shadow of the two show courts.
It was the first two of the ladies quarterfinals that captured the imagination today. Both matches were played simultaneously. On Court Philippe Chatrier Li Na defeated Victoria Azarenka 75 62 to become the first Chinese player to reach the semi finals at Roland Garros.
On Court Suzanne Lenglen Maria Sharapova continued her charge to Grand Slam history defeating Andrea Petkovic 60 63. It was a shame for Petko because it took her a long time to get going, with MaSha taking the first 8 games and it was 52 minutes before Petkovic got her name on the scoreboard. She managed to get a further two games but the Russian showed why she is probably still the woman to beat here, grunting and bruising her way through to the semis with her thumping forehands. Petkovic saved the first match point with a stunning cross court shot to Sharapova’s backhand side but too little too late and the second match point was lost as the German dumped her own forehand in the net.
MaSha is now only two wins away from becoming one of the elite few women to have won a title at all four Grand Slam events. 9 women have achieved that to date in fact: Maureen Connolly (1953), Margaret Court (1970), Steffi Graf (1988) all had Calendar year Grand Slams. Doris Hart, Chris Evert, Shirley Fry, Martina Navratilova, Billie Jean King and Serena Williams held career grand slams. And MaSha would make 10.
It was then the turn of the men in the quarterfinals of the “simple messieurs” to take centre stage. Rafael Nadal against Robin Soderling on Philippe Chatrier and Andy Murray once again on the smaller, Court Suzanne Lenglen against Juan Ignacio Chela.
The men who wore white shorts and blue tops progressed to the semis, Rafael Nadal defeated Robin Soderling first 64 61 76. Andy Murray defeated the only non -European player in the quarters, the Argentine Chela, 76 75 62. Let’s hope, in spite of the same colour outfits, we can tell them apart when they meet on Friday in the semis. Oh yes of course, silly us, it will be adidas vs Nike in the battle of the brands.
At 7pm local time, Nicolas Mahut took centre stage of another sort, to talk about his new book – no prizes for guessing in the lead up to Wimbledon what that might be about and for the fact it wins today’s tennishead award for innovation at Roland Garros. Entitled “Le match de ma vie”, the book was written with Philippe Bouin, former editor of L’Equipe and focusses on That Match against John Isner including how the gutsy Frenchman won his serve 64 times during the fifth set to stay in the match. Good effort, we’re off to read it now, Bon Soir!