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Monday 2 June: Tale of the day

Monday, June 2, 2008
By Drew Lilley

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9.40 pm: Right, that’s it from me. I need some dinner. Thanks for reading and of course for making the forum down below so lively (we’ll keep moderating tonight and tomorrow). The schedule, when it appears, will be here. In the meantime, I’ll be back tomorrow, same time same place. Always a pleasure, never a chore…

9.29 pm: Sveta signs autographs before going because that’s the lovely lassie that she is.

9.28 pm: The Kvita ain’t quitting. She levels it up at one set-all and then play is suspended for the night. I wonder whether Sveta and Vika will get called off… Yep, called off at 2-2 in the second. That's it for today.

9.25 pm: KK gets to 30-40 on the Kvita serve. Boosh – an ace and the break point is saved. Vika and Sveta are deucing out on Court No1 on the Belarusian’s serve.

9.20 pm: Sveta serves out to love. Whoosh-tastic. 8 aces so far for her today.

9.18 pm: I’ve been sidetracked. Vika Aza holds despite a struggle from Kuzi, while Kvitova ain’t Kvitting, she’s serving like a demon. 5-2 in the second, we’re in line for a third.

9.12 pm: Kuzi holds to open the second, KK wins her serve but is 3-1 down and I’m off to watch Kui and Vika. Back in 15 mins or so.

9.07 pm: Ferrer breaks back and then is suddenly 40-0 up with three match points! And he takes the first! Ferrer is through to play Monfils in the next round. Jeepers creepers, Kvitova doesn’t quit – she’s 3-0 up in the second! I’ll be here all night at this rate and I’m staaaarving!

9.05 pm: It’s an up-and-downer on Lenglen – Radek double-faults twice! Ferrer pushes him back then smashes and it’s 15-40. Ferrer’s turn to skip and gambol. Ooh, Kuzi breaks on the Vika service again and she’s taken the first set 6-2. I like Sveta – a much underestimated player. I told you last week that I was going to drool over Dinara and I look forward to drooling over both of them in Wednesday’s top-half draw quarter-finals.

9 pm: Yes he will! The crowd is right behind him and he’ll leaping like a salmon, celebrating getting back into the set.

8.58 pm: Kuzi Wuzzy holds. Big bold effort. Meanwhile Steps holds and then carves out, yes carves out, a 0-30 lead. Will he break back?

8.57 pm: On average one break point in three is taken so Vika ought to break here. And she doesn’t – big bold Sveta bigly boldly breaks back. KK serves like a demon and takes the first 6-3. Half-way there. Vika gets another break point – her seventh – and Sveta saves it. As soon as Ferrer finishes off Stepanek I’m going to watch some of this match.

8.54 pm: The Kuzmeistress breaks to lead 4-2 while KK is 5-3 up over lefty Kvitova and serving for the set. Blimey, Kuiz’s now in trouble – a sliced drop from Vika can’t be reached and she’s 0-40 down. Big serve, 15-40. Two more of those Sveta – if not four in fact.

8.47 pm: Lots of long rallies in the derby between the Belarusian No16 seed and the St Petersburg-born No4 seed (I once travelled on overnight train from the Belarusian capital of Minsk to St Petersburg. Two veeery different cities). Anyway, the St Petersburgher has held to lead 3-2. Ooh, Ferrer’s in a hurry. 4-0 he now leads.

8.43 pm: Ferrer holds, breaks and holds, KK is 4-2 up over never Kvit and Kuzzi and Azza are duecing at 2-2. We could be here all night at this rate…

8.36 pm: KK Kanepi has raced into a three-love lead (in the time it took Ferrer to go to the loo and prepare for the final set).

8.33 pm: Nope, a five-setter it’ll be. Ferrer breaks to love. It’s been an up-and-downer that one. No close sets – all but the first had multiple breaks. Ferrer changes shirt again and he’s off for a quiet toilet break it seems. Second five-setter in a row for the No5 seed. Kuzzy holds, 2-1.

8.31 pm: Kuzy holds, Azie holds as well and Stepanek breaks! He wants to finish in four sets, not five! Kvitova – Kanepi is on court 6 as well, and the Estonian emerald has held then broken to open. A Latvian in the men’s quarters, an Estonian in the women’s? I’ll raise a Baltica beer to that!

8.30pm: The net’s been let down and there’ll be no more action on Chatrier tonight. However, Kuznetsova – Azarenka is on court No1!

8.25 pm: Gael my son Monfils wins, beating the former world No3 in four sets! He’ll play the winner of Ferrer-Stepanek (looking like a five-setter there). Monfils does some strange sort of jig, looking like he’s revving up a scooter, and there’s also much chest-beatage. And he’s been nabbed by a reporter already.

8.22 pm: Did I really just hear Eli say “quasi-synonymous” on Radio Roland Garros? Give me strength… Anyway Ljubicic needs strength – he’s just been broken to lurve and will see Monfils serve for the match at 5-2 up any second now…

8.17 pm: La Monf looks to be winning this at a canter. Ljubicic is just strolling around now. Ah, Ferrer breaks. Five-setter on Lenglen anyone?

8.10 pm: Ewww. Ljubicic has got a yukky finger. He seems to have a little cut there that’s got a little bit infected. He’s having it all iodined up. Monfils is a break (and 2-1) up while Stepanek – Ferrer is 2-2 in the fourth. Still lovely weather here.

7.45 pm: Ferrer has done a Ferrer on it. Stepanek breaks and the Spaniard smashes his racquet on the floor then breaks it in half over his knee. After the change-over he’s still fuming and tosses his towel irately at the ballkid, provoking whistles and cat-calls from the crowd. As well it might. Naughty. I think he should be made to finish the set with the broken racquet, that'd learn 'im...

La Monf meanwhile has served out and taken the third set. Allez, magnifique, bravo and a hee-hon hee-hon for good measure.

7.40 pm: Ljubicic is crumbling. A weak service game sees La Monf pounce and break and now he’s serving for the set. Let’s stay with it. He cross-courts, cross-courts and cross-courts again to go 30-15 up.

7.36 pm: Ferrer strolls to a 6-2 win in the second set. Perhaps Steppenwolf knew that the set was lost and decided to keep his powder dry for the third but whatever happened, he was broken again. Ljuby Lju – Gael MySon is 3-4 in the third, with serve. Tighter than a journalist’s wallet, that match is.

7.29 pm: Ljuby breaks back but Stepanek is about to have to serve to save the second set.

7.24 pm: Monfils my son has three break points against Ljubicic. And then an ace later he only has two. A second serve and a lousy forehand later and La Monf has the break. Ferrer has a break point against Stepanek, and a cracking return later he too has the break. Breakmongous all of a sudden. Radek’s not happy – he’s onto a new racquet, casting the old one aside like a girlfriend of whom he has tired.

It’s a lovely evening here by the way. Sunny. Balmy.

7.16 pm: With serve in both games at the moment. The blog’s been a bit calmer (up the top at least) as I have been busy writing and updating the homepage so please peruse at your leisure. We’ve got the Fed match, the Safina match, a preview of the ladies tomorrow, even the Bryan brothers

7.07 pm: Ljubi Lju (actress who starred in Charlie’s Angels and Ally McBeal) serves out comfortably to take the second set and level matters at 1-1.

6.59 pm: That dark Czech horse Radek Stepanek has taken the first set from David Ferrer! What a dangerous floater this fellow is! He carved out™ seven break points and only managed to take one but that was all he needed. La Monf meanwhile is serving to stay in the second set. For those of you who asked down below whether Kuznetsova – Azarenka and Kvitova – Kanepi will be on, I wouldn’t bank on it. More likely tomorrow. Don’t forget that this year, we’ll have the quarters fully spread over two days for the men and the women, so that’s two each on Chatrier and Lenglen, so an extra Chatrier and an extra Lenglen match won’t hurt.

6.42 pm: Ljuby drops one that La Monf can’t get back and the Croat is a break up in the second.

6.35 pm: With serve in the second on Chatrier between Gael my son and Ivan the terrible (who was No4 seed here a couple of years ago – he’s No28 this year). Ditto in the first between ladies’ man Stepanek and flowing-haired Ferrer.

6.23 pm: 5-1 Monfils at the change-over. The Frenchie serves a boomer (the pair of them have been touching 230 km/h which is four shillings and thruppence in old money) which hits the net but his second kicks up and Ljubicic nets. And seconds later La Monf breaks again to take the first set – the first set won by a Frenchman in this fourth round.

6.20 pm: Ferrer holds despite a few break points, Monfils mini-breaks then holds two to lead 3-0.

6.16 pm: Whoosh, things happen fast here. Ljuby breaks back and holds, Gael holds to love and we’ll have a tie-break – under the watchful eye of French star from the early 90s Thierry Champion, his coach from the Team Lagardere set-up. Ravishing Radek Stepanek – he of the string of high-profile gorgeous fiancées – is battling headbanded Ferrer on the Spaniard’s serve in the opening game meanwhile.

6.05 pm: Safina is straight out on court for a doubles match with Agnes Szavay, playing the Bondarenko sisters. You davai, girl! In the men’s, Gael my son Monfils is a break up and serving to take the first set against Ljuby. Allez Gael.

5.57 pm: Dinara draws a heart and a smiley face on the camera and then she’s off – a few autographs but after that, she’s down the tunnel. The hard work is just beginning – Dementieva up next on Wednesday, maybe Kuznetsova after that… But well done girl!

5.56 pm (again!): Maria hits one long and wide – DINARA SAFINA HAS BEATEN THE NO1 SEED!

5.56 pm: Big serve then gutsy drop from Maria. Brilliant. 15-40, two more match points..

5.55 pm: Sharapova’s all over the show. 0-30. She nets an easy one. 0-40… three match points!

5.51 pm: All attack from Safina, Maria gets almost everything back but her compatriot doesn’t let up and boom boom boom boom., it’s 5-2. Three chances for Dina to win the match. WOW!

5.49 pm: Third break point for Dinara and that’s the one! Sharapova nets a simple forehand and it’s 4-2, Dinara to serve!

5.44 pm: Dinara turns defence into attack with a cross-court passing shot from the baseline that wrongfoots Maria. Two break points. One in saved on a big serve, another to come. Ah, a beaut down the line and it’s deuce.

5.40 pm: It’s a beautiful sunny day out there now. Plenty more tennis in store. Can Gael Monfils become the only one of the famous five Frenchman to survive the curse of the fourth round? 1-2 with serve there at the moment.

5. 37 pm: Maria holds. Epic struggle in progress here.

5.30 pm: Dinara breaks back – what a match we have here! And then she booooms down some big serves and holds to 15! No1 seed in trouble alert.

5.26 pm: Ljubicic and Monfils out on Chatrier. Ljub has won the toss and will serve. And Maria has broken to open the decider!

5.18 pm: Big serve, Maria longs the return. Set point Safina! And she takes it! One set all! Game on!

5.16 pm: Ooh! Maria double faults! The second wasn’t called out but ump Alison Lang comes down and raises the finger. Mini-brokeback! And Dinara holds! 5-5!

5.15 pm: 5-2 Maria then Dinara gets a lucky net cord that Maria sends wide. 5-3, still Maria serving.

5.14 pm: Great drop from Maria, 4-2 on the change-over. And Rog smashes and wins! About time! Gonzalez for him in the next round.

5.12 pm: Maria is on the attack, like in the first set TB, but she snatches at a forehand and nets it! 2-2. Bennett tries to pass Rog as he comes to the net but it’s out – 2 match points for the No1 seed.

5.11 pm: Safina scuffs a forehand way too high and it’s a mini-break for Maria.

5.10 pm: Rog holds to love. That’s more like it. Come on, step it up now matey…

5.08 pm: Bennett holds. Good man! Rog is just strolling around out there, letting his French opponent play. Dinara meanwhile holds to 30 and we’ll have a tie-break!

5.06 pm: Match point Rog… Good serve from Bennett and Rog slices it out.

5.04 pm: Maria finally secures the game. 6-5. Will Dinara hold up mentally during the change-over?

5 pm: Dinara fights back to deuce, while Rog gives Bennett the run-around without managing to put him away. A net-cord goes against Rog and it’s 30-30.

4.58 pm: Dina holds! She’s got her rhythm back! Feds and Bennett meanwhile are going with serve at 5-4 to the Swissie. Can Bennett hold or will Wocket Woger suddenly up his game, as seemingly only he can do? I’m betting on the latter.

4.55 pm: Emilie Loit, who made it to the third round here last week, is currently on the French version of Radio RG for those of you who parlez (well, all you have to do is ecoutez).

4.54 pm: Whoosh, down the line and Dinara breaks back! She’ll now have to serve to save…

4.53 pm: Ad Dinara – break point. She’s suddenly woken up and has the crowd behind her.

4.50 pm: Safina shakes her head – nothing is going right for her here since the break. Maria is serving, two points from the win…

4.44 pm: 5-2 Maria – it’s all over… Well almost. Poor Dinara, the break came at the wrong time.

4.41 pm: Backhand down the line from Maria – Dinara has been a step too slow since the delay – and Maria leads 4-2. Bennett has broken back as well – took him 5 break-balls to do it but he managed it. Rog really shouldn’t be allowing him so many chances.

4.37 pm: And then Fed gives Bennett three break points. These lapses in concentration… You won’t be able to do that later in the week, Rog…

4.34 pm: Bennett gets Fed right where he wants him but smashes too lightly and the Swissie gambols across court and hits a winner down the line to break. Sharap holds comfortably and it’s 3-2 – pressure’s on dynamic Dinara.

4.32 pm: Sharapova sails back to a break and it’s 2-2. Game on. Neither girl has taken this match by the scruff of the neck yet but that’s mainly because it’s been such a tight battle – neither player has let the other play their natural strokes.

And the guy with Frank on Radio RG is Matt Cronin, WTA main man. You’ll find him and I think Frank as well on http://www.tennisreporters.net/

4.27 pm: To answer a question below, the Aussie bloke on Radio RG is Frank Vardanega who works on all the Slams, plenty more tennis and some golf too. And is a top bloke who also knows his stuff inside out.

4.25 pm: Davai Dinara – she battles and holds! 2-0!

4.22 pm: We’re back under way on both courts. Federer holds to love to open the third (and final?) set while Safina, a set down but a break up, is battling to hold serve at 1-0 and a whole host of deuces.

4.12pm: Out come the Russians, back on to Lenglen, with my mucker Benoit Meylin announcing their arrival to the fans. And here come the men as well. Excellent!

4.11 pm: The ballkids are busy drying off the players’ chairs on Chatrier, the ump is towelling off his little electronic points marker… Speaking of the ball-kids, next time you are at a tournament take a moment, a game even (when you know that the server is going to win easily so you won’t miss much action) and watch the ball-kids. Here they are the embodiment of professional behaviour. Not only do they spend half an hour warming up beforehand but once they are on court, they are as accurate, conscientious and disciplined. It’s like watching synchronised swimmers or gymnasts. Their every move is accurately choreographed – wonderful.

3.58 pm: Glad to see you’ve been talking amongst yourselves. Elaine wasn’t feeling very inspired during my coffee break but you were all on fine form, especially my Singaporean fan club (nope, to my knowledge Singapore has never had a player in a Grand Slam). Ooh, Dinara’s out in the corridor, ready to play again… She’s limbering up, hands on hips doing the side to side stretching thing.

3.55 pm: Good news! The covers are off and we’re looking at getting the players back out at 4pm.

2.49 pm: Ah no they’re not – off they go off Chatrier as well. Has Fed convinced you so far? Are the two No1 seeds showing championship-winning form? Write in and tell me…

2.46 pm: Covers on Lenglen but the rain isn’t that bad. Fed finally makes two in a row pay and takes the second set. And he roars. Most un-roger-like! They're staying on there as well.

2.43 pm: Maria and Dinara are off as the rain comes down again. Fed and Bennett are at deuce with Bennett serving to save the set. Fed grinds the Frenchie down and gets his second set point this game, third in the set. Second serve from Bennett, Fed pushes him back, we’re into a rally, Fed lays a poor drop and Bennett net-cords the return over then smashes the next one to get back to deuce.

2.40 pm: Maria does the hard part (in the TB) and then lets Dinara break to open the second set. D’oh!

2.34 pm: High drama! Maria again pushes Dinara back, Dinara lobs her to perfection but it’s called out. The ump checks and… raises the finger. Game and first set Maria! Bennett meanwhile has battles back and is at Ad on his serve. And he holds! 5-5.

2.33 pm: Bennett nets a drop, Maria again pushes Masha back and then lays a forehand down the line. Set point on both courts.

2.31 pm (still!) Maria pushes Dinara back and then sends one down the line that Marat’s sister just can’t reach. 6-6 at the change-over. Bennett meanwhile is battling with Rog at 30-30.

2.31 pm: Great drop out of nowhere from Maria, as Chris and Matt on Radio Roland Garros describe it, and it’s 6-5, Dinara serving for the set.

2.30 pm: Maria nets! Two sets points for Dina, one on the Masha serve first of all…

2.28 pm: Just like during the set, as soon as Dinra (mini-)broke, Maria (mini-)breaks back. Dinara then sends one down the line to lead 5-4.

2.27 pm: Bennett passes Rog with a backhand beaut and once again, Rog’ll have to break if he wants to avoid a tie-break. Ooh, mini-break for Dinara Safina as Maria puts a comfortable forehand comfortably wide.

2.25 pm: Fed suddenly finds himself 5-3 up but 0-4 down. Groundhog set… Masha and Dina are 3-3 at the change-over.

2.23 pm: Down comes the rain that was merely in the air before. Fed leads 5-3 so we might have a break once these sets are finished.

2.16 pm: Rain in the air but not actually falling at the moment! Maria serves out to love (including some big serves and lovely drops) and we’ll have a tie-break in the Russian derby between the photogenic Siberian and the Marat-sister from Moscow.

2.14 pm: A kick second serve from Maria makes it 5-5, while Fed leads 4-1. The rain seems to be easing off again…

2.11 pm: Umbrellas coming out (for rain, not sun I’m afraid…)

2.05 pm: Dinara breaks back – her seventh break point and back she breaks. Maria only had one break point but it was enough, but here we go, Dinara is back in the set. Rog is also a break-point up on Bennett.

2.02 pm: Masha breaks! And Dinara almost breaks back. Maria won the crucial seventh game so she’ll win the set, you wait and see (Ginepri was the 10% that proves the rule).

1.52 pm: Maria holds, just, and then Rog, piqued ever so slightly be being broken, breaks Bennett to take the first set. Minimum of effort from the man from Oberwil (not far from me in Switzerland). Martina Hingis incidentally advertises washing machines and dishwashers manufactured by a company not 200 yards from where I live.

1.43 pm: Two break-balls as the French would say and Bennett breaks back. 5-4, Bennett to serve. Blimey. Our Rog is cool as a cucumber and never looks flustered. Even when he is broken, when a bit of fluster might help him. Hmm…

Dina meanwhile is 3-2 up with serve. Maria is drinking some orange fizzy pop to give her some energy, while Dina is drinking water and watching replays of herself on the big screen on Lenglen, as well she might. 30-30 in the next game with Masha double-faulting then dropping a droptastic beaut. Then it’s break point Dina but Maria survives it. Deuce.

1.37 pm: Llodra is chatting with Arnaud di Pasquale, bronze medallist at the 2000 Olympics and whose exclusive videos can be seen on the French part of this site, for those of you who parlez a bit of the old hee-hon hee-hon. 5-2 Federer in the first set. Stroll-in-the-park alert…

1.30 pm: Michael Llodra, eliminated yesterday by Ernests “the swan” Gulbis (makes him sound like a member of a crime syndicate) is in the crowd encouraging Bennett. And boy does he need it as it’s 4-1 to the Dodger. Llodra is perhaps the player most at ease in front of the cameras as far as the Frenchie players are concerned by the way – very fluent.

Masha – Dina is one all and looks like being a titanic struggle.

1.28 pm: Hmm… Rog returns at 1,000 mph (or so it seems) and Bennett is broken. Probably literally. Dina and Masha meanwhile are already setting the tone. Dinara comes to the net, Maria fires a brilliant backhand passing shot to her opponent’s forehand side but Dina dives and lays down a perfect drop. All that and it’s only 15-15.

1.25 pm: Bennett’s got his name on the board. 2-1 to Rog with serve at the moment. Masha and Dina are about to start.

1.22 pm: Russian derby repeater alert. Masha (Maria Sharapova) and Dina (Dinara Safina) are out on Lenglen. Safina is 20-10 on the year but of course won on clay in Berlin while Maria has only lost twice all year – hoo cha cha! She also won on clay for the first time ever ever ever, at Amelia Island, beating Dominika little she-onion Cibulkova in the final.

1.18 pm: Lovely Miss Miroslava’s in the crowd – Mrika Vavrinec, who is Roger’s long-time girlfriend, soul-mate and personal assistant when he’s on tour. She was a good player herself until a foot injury cruelly cut short her career. It’d drive me mad to be forced to watch a sport I used to be great at and can no longer play, but she’s Roger’s vademecum (a bit of Latin there for any ancient Romans who are reading) and always seems to have a smile on her face.

1.11 pm: Just as America (the East Coast at least) is waking up, Gonthaleth puts Ginepri out. Bobby Bob did well to get this far but I’m afraid the Chilean matador wiped el floor with him. He’s never been much of a clay-court bandito but he’s got a new co-coach (Diego Moyano) and he suddenly seems to know how to play on the slowest surface in terms of waiting, building up rallies, biding his time. He’s worth more than No24 seed and no mistake. Federer, if he gets through, will have his work cut out against him. And speaking of the hirsute Basle boy, here he is, facing Geneva-resident Julien “Bennett” Benneteau. It’s a Swiss derby here (with another one tomorrow between Peppermint Patty and Basle-girl LovelyAna).

1 .05 pm: Gonzo double breaks. So, whom did I see on my rounds between here and Chatrier? Arantxa Sanchez-Vicario looking spectacularly radiant and also speaking passable French. She’s got a real sparkle in her eyes. And of course, I saw Barbara Schett in the press centre. Am going to have to get a court order out to stop her from stalking me, I really am. Maybe if I just went up to her, gave her an autograph I could dispel the mystique that is around me…

1 pm: Gonthaleth / Gonsssaless is a break up in the third. The star spangled banner will soon be at half mast as the last American prepares to depart the tournament…

12.59 pm: Is she Elena or Elyena by the way? A few people in the crowd seemed to be shouting Davai Elyena. Is it an “e” in the middle or one of those “eeyoo” things that look like a key? (Russians, you know what I mean).

12.57 pm: And what of Zvonnie? She has more game, to use an Americanism, than Elena but she can get thrown off her rhythm and all of a sudden she’s lost four games. Her racquet-swinging and pinging incident showed that and she also seems to have to pace around to get into some sort of mindset between points. Elena just plays her game and applauds her opponents winners. But it’s Elena who wins with a beaut down the line and she takes it 6-4 1-6 6-2. Bravo Elena.

12.54 pm: Drew back and Zvonnie lives. She breaks back and it’s 2-5 in the final set. What’s my assessment of the game, have just watch about half of it? I’m afraid Elena ain’t gonna win it this year. She has some lovely ground-strokes and she’s all fluid limbs but whichever Russian she plays next up (Masha Sharapova or Dina Safina) will eat her serve up like beluga on a blini.

12.47 pm: So there you have it...apparently Ginepri makes up part of the 10% of players who don't win the set despite winning the 7th game! Gonzo's got two under his belt then

12.44 pm: So Ginepri wins the 7th game breaking serve and Gonzo breaks back! Does this mean that Drew's formula has failed? Elena's just broken too, 4-0 in the final set

12.40 pm: Elena holds serve after a couple of juicy lucys. Zvonnie's kicking herself or rather hitting her racquet off the court!

12.36 pm: Gonzo's broken Ginny!

12.34 pm: Elena's even gone and broken serve and it's 40-30 on her serve...now deuce

12.28 pm: Well, at least Elena has held serve to open the third set..same goes for Gonzalez as he leads 3-2 in the second, proving to be a tight match so far between the G-Gs…Just looking at your comments, did Drew get it wrong about the 7th game then?

12.22 pm: Well there you have it, Zvonnie’s taken the second 6-1 and she’s now doing some stretching and hitting fresh air to prepare herself for the third set.

12.18 pm: Apologies to Marlies and Aniek – your posts will be momentarily suspended…oh no, Jen’s just popped her head round the door so they’ll be up in a jiffy and you can keep us informed on the double dutchies!

12.14 pm: Zvonnie is waltzing through this second set…5-0 in what seems like 5 minutes, can Elena make a comeback? Not yet, it’s 30 all on Ela’s serve

12.10 pm: Gonzo was leading 4-0 in the tie-break, Ginny fought back to 4-4 and now Gonzo serves a bullet to bring it 6-4…and he’s wrapped it up, first set goes to Gonthaleth!

12.08 pm: Elena seems to be crumbling on her serve, Zvonnie’s really stepped up the pace, it 15-30 as it stands.

12.04 pm: And tie-breaker it is for the G-units!

12.02 pm: Zvonnie’s just broken serve, coming into the net to pass Elena easy-peasy, so she’s 2-0 up in the second. Gonzalez is serving at 5-6 so we could well be looking at a tie-breaker here.

11.58 am: The address for Wadio Woland Gawwos is rgradio@fft.fr to answer a query from down below. Ginepri’s fighting I tell ya, fighting. He wants to prove me right with that “winner of the 7th game win’s the set” thing. Right, I’m off for an early lunch and am actually going to watch some live tennis for the first time this tournament. Elaine’s in charge so don’t be naughty otherwise she’ll be down on you like a ton of bricks.

11.53 am: Elena takes the first set 6-4. See, she was 4-2 down, broke to win the seventh game and that was it. Psychological advantage at that crucial mid-point. You don’t believe me? Ginepri’s just held to 30 to go 5-4 up.

That first set wasn’t one for the annals from the graceful Muscovites. Seven winners to six in favour of Zvonnie, and she made 15 unforced errors to Elena’s 11.

11.50 am: Ginepri holds and will therefore win the first set. You read it here first…

11.48 am: It really is a case of who can lose serve less often in the Russian battle and Elena is currently winning. Both have powerful forehands and can pounce on services and Elena has just broken to lead 5-4. Can she serve out for the set? The G-units meanwhile are playing a game of deuces wild. It’s that proverbial seventh game. You just wait and see – whoever wins it will win the set. Always happens.

11.43 am: USA! USA! USA! Ginepri breaks back. Gonzo has totally lost his rhythm, service has gone and his looping little returns back that Robbie can pulverise. Ah, and then Robbie decides to have a charitable moment and double faults.

11.39 am: We’re back into that women’s tennis kind of thing where breaks abound. 4-3 Zvonnie but Elena’s about to serve. Elena reached the final here and the US in 2004 but hasn’t been so close since. Who knows – with no JuJu, Serena or Venus and Maria and Dinara facing each other, maybe this year?

11.35 am: Zvonnie breaks to lead 3-2. She missed the European slams last year due to a wrist injury but has been on fine form since then, beating elegant Elena at Charleston this year when she got to the final and also won in Prague.

11.26 am: One of my Jelenas has come through and it’s Dobro jutro to all the Serbians out there. The Russians have got into their stride and after two breaks to open we’ve had two holds since then. Gonthaleth meanwhile has taken his socks off at the change-over to reveal two heeeeeavily strapped ankles. And the trainer is out there already – not good so early in the game. Perhaps the strapping is too tight as the doc seems to be cutting some of it off. In fact all of it off. The Chilean had just broken to lead 2-1.

11.22 am: Zvonnie’s in the game and has held to lead 2-1. This is No7 v No11 so it promises to be a cracking battle. Ginepri meanwhile battles back and holds.

11.19 am: Zvonnie breaks back and it’s 1-1 between the startling statuesque blond Muscovite and the er… other the startling statuesque blond Muscovite. The battle of the G-Units is under way with Ginepri serving, Gonzalez returning (that’s the way tennis tends to work) and the Chilean No24 seed already has a break-point.

11.15 am: Elena’s serve is not the strongest in the women’s game (OK, it’s barely a notch above Yvonne Meusberger’s) so she’s already living dangerously. A few netted forehands and wide backhands from Zvonareva end up getting Elena out of jail but it’s advantage Zvonnie.

11.11 am: Lightning start from elegant Elena. 0-15, 30, 40, game and she’s looking rock solid on fore and backhand. No easing her way into the game – bang bang bang.

11.08 am: And out come Gonzalez and Ginepri – any Americans out there getting up early to watch the match and follow the blog?

11 .02 am: Weather report: drizzled a tad this morning, sunny now, may be a tiny bit showery later but don’t let that put you off. On Chatrier, Elena called heads, correctly, and has elected to receive in her PUCCKI derby against Vera Zvonareva.

Gossip time: just saw Bud Collins, US TV legend, in the press area wearing a multi-coloured stripy shirt and a pair of Nadal-green trousers. Almost made me lose my breakfast, it did…

10.35 am: Morning, bonjour, guten Morgen, goeie morge, Namaste, A’salaam-u alaikum and er… whatever it is in Serbian (Jelenas, help me out please!) Drew here ready to take you through the eight remaining fourth round ties. Russians abound in the ladies’ draw (there’s one I missed – privyet to all the Russians reading) while the two Frenchies in the men’s draw will be looking to go one better than their three compatriots who were eliminated yesterday.

Those of you who posted overnight will have seen your comments go up on yesterday’s blog, and if you want to post now, go for it – at the bottom of the page. Let me know who you think will win today’s eight matches. And one of you lot with more time that me can scour through yesterday morning’s posts to see who got the most correct answers yesterday – I’m going to make you work for this day-long article I’m writing!


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