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Sunday 1 June: Tale of the day

Sunday, June 1, 2008
By Drew Lilley

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10.16 pm: Right, that’s me. Thanks for your comments all day long - to all the Dutchies and Jelenas and South-East Asians and Hamburgers and Brits and Americans… the list goes on. See you tomorrow, same time, same place. Always a pleasure, never a chore…

9pm: Just a reminder - here's tomorrow's schedule.

8.49 pm: Nadal and Almagro will face each other on Tuesday or Wednesday in the quarters…

8.47 pm: Nadal wins, but for a guy who straight-setted and dropped only three games, he doesn’t look happy. Only three games dropped but two on his serve. Hmm… invincible against most, but maybe others may find a chink in his armour.

8.43 pm: Good grief, that had tiebreak written all over it and then Almagro breaks in the 12th and final game of the set and takes the match. Three French defeats today as Chardy bids farewell while Almagro is signing the TV screen and telling us all how he loves his Mum – as we he should.

Nadal meanwhile breaks again and is serving for the set.

8.39 pm: Sloppiness is creeping in – Nadal loses another service game…

8.28 pm: Nadal hits yet another forehand a millimetre over the net. How he does that I just do not know. Amazing. He holds and is now three games from victory. Almagro and Chardy are heading for a third tie-break and we know what happened in the first two.

8.23 pm: Normal, or rather Nadal service has been resumed as the Majorcan maestro breaks up again. Verdasco sighs, closes his eyes…

8.18 pm: Chardy does some break-point carving but Almagro pulls out the big serves and wards off the danger. Rafa breaks and then WOW! Verdasco breaks back! The king of clay is human.

8.05 pm: The trainer comes out and gives Verdasco some treatment to his thigh.

8.01 pm: Rafa holds after a little difficulty and takes a second-set bagel behind a whiptastic forehand that barely cleared the net and died as it hit clay. A bagel - against a player of the calibre of Verdasco. Awesome.

7.56 pm: Chardy double-faults weakly into the net. Aie aie aie mess, as my daughter would say. Almagro then drops a droptastic drop, Chardy slides too late and the set is over. The Frenchman bounces his racquet off the clay and it pings high into the air, over the net (unlike his last shot) and lands at Almagro’s feet. Temper temper…

7.55 pm: Same point is played out on the Almagro serve and Chardy wins it this time. Almagro then returns up an absolute storm and it’s 7-7.

7.52 pm: Almagro holds his two but Chardy is now serving at 5-4. He takes the first so it’s two set points. Ooh, Chardy nets one in a game of half-court volleying. Almagro then serves up an absolute storm at it’s 6-6 at the second changeover. Oh, and Nadal has broken again. Bo – ring. (Just kidding, it’s awe-inspiring actually).

7.48 pm: Rafa comes back from 0-30 down to hold serve and go 4-0 up, including a wonderful drop that high-jumped, arching its back just over the net and landing on the map on the other side. Metaphorically speaking. It’s a TB between Chardy and Neecolath Almagro and the French carte sauvage (as they certainly do not call the wild card – they say la wild-card) is 4-2 up at the change-over. “Jeremy” clap clap clap etc.

7.42 pm: A ball-girl arrives with a bunch of ‘nanas and gives one to Rafa (this is during the change-over – she doesn’t barge in mid-point). Rafa’s three-up already so Berdathco needs the ‘nana that the girl gave him and no mistake. I need a ‘nana as well – just when I was getting ready for dinner, the rain stops. Curses!

7.40 pm: Verdasco is a break down in the second and trying to hold. Chardy meanwhile has rediscovered his serve and has taken it to 5-5. Dutch meisjes with –ie in their names are hereby allowed to post again (poor Elaine was getting a repetitive stress injury. These youngsters – no staying-power…)

7.34 pm: The doctor has come out to Rafa just as they were about to re-start and is offering him a painkiller, presumably. The crowd on Chatrier start slow hand-clapping. Off goes the doc, game on,

7.33 pm: Bad news for French fans. After a titanic struggle, Neecolath Almagro breaks back and it’s 4-4 in the second.

7.27 pm: Almagro carves out™ three break points before Chardy has stretched his racquet strings, but Chardy comes out with the perfect response – three big services. A backhand passing shot has the Lenglen crowd shouting “Jeremy!” clap clap clap.

7.25 pm: Chardy – Almagro back under way. The Frenchman is a set down but a break up don’t forget.

7.24 pm: Here’s tomorrow’s schedule already by the way.

7.15 pm: The players are bouncing up and down in the corridors leading to the show courts, ready to come out and trying to keep limber.

7.10 pm: I thought I’d wait until there was some good news and here it is – the covers are coming off! I bet my folks are tucked up back in their hotel reading the paper and sipping tea already.

6.49 pm: Big downpour but hopefully temporary, like the one a couple of hours ago.

6.46 pm: Almagro and Chardy off as well. Talk amongst yourselves (like you weren’t doing that already… There’s a 5-post-per-hour moratorium for anyone with the letters –ie in their name. You know who you are – you’ll get repetitive stress injuries in your typing fingers).

6.45 pm: Ooh, umbrellas up, and they’re being used as nature intended, ie against the rain, rather than protecting from the sun. Rafa does a runner, Almagro plays on.

6.43 pm: Mary Pierce’s protected ranking is No25, by the way, so when she comes back, she would be seeded already at a Grand Slam! She’s looking at playing at the Olympics this year and good luck to her, I say. She incidentally was very elegantly dressed and Eli on the radio reckons she was absolutely charming.

On Lenglen, the French cockerel is growing as Chardy has broken to lead 3-2 in the third set. The Mexican wave is now going around Lenglen, having crept across from Chatrier,

Berdathco is serving in the first game of the second set and has been desperately trying to hold for 10 minutes. He was elected Spain’s most glamorous man in a magazine last year but that’s no help to him at this precise moment…

6.33 pm: A booming Chardy serve sends Almagro a-tumbling, making his lime green shirt (what is it with these Spaniards and that colour) go all red and crumbled brick-y. The French wildcard, in only his second major, is being watched by some of his illustrious predecessors, including Cedric Pioline (sporting a much shorter coiffe than before) and Guy Forget (as shaven-headed as ever). Chardy is ranked only 145 but will have his ranking down into double figures by the time the new classification comes out (tomorrow).

Ooh blimey, speeding ticket alert! Nadal has won the first set 6-1. He’ll lose his licence if he goes any quicker. Berdathco wasn’t given a look-in in that first set.

6.25 pm: Some big Rafa fans are decked out in lime green and are holding up cards which spell out “RAFA”. It’s a Mom and Dad and a kid, with the poor wee nipper having to wear a green shirt and more importantly a hideous green headband. That’s cruelty. Get on to the authorities. Chardy meanwhile is struggling like billy-oh to win his serve with the Spaniard’s backhands hanging in the air and hovering like a Nadal forehand.

6.14 pm: Almagro immediately carves out a mini-break then serves at 212 then 219 km/h (that’s four stone three pounds and eight guineas four shillings and sixpence in imperial measures). Then there are two more mini-breaks and the tie-break is over before it has even begun. 6-0 at the change-over with a Neecolath megaserve to come. A mini-bagel? The crowd shout “Jeremy clap clap clap” but to no avail. Even on the second serve Almagro has enough to take the tie-break in a mini-bagel 7-0.

Nadal meanwhile has made it 3-0. More bagels than a Greenwich Village bakery.

6.11 pm: Return and volley from the Frenchman but he longs it and we will have a TB on Lenglen. Verdasco meanwhile on Chatrier hits a lob that can’t find the line and Nadal is already a break to the good.

6.08 pm: Set point Chardy! Now that would be a smash-and-grab. 6-5 30-40 up – you can’t get back from that. But Almagro does and it’s deuce. And then he comes to the net and carves out, yes carves out, another game, break and set point. Can he take it? Nope. Big serve, big follow-up. Deuce. Rafa’s also looking likely to break, a mere five minutes into his match.

6.03 pm: This time it’s Chardy’s turn to ward off a break-point, which he does. Almagro has had six break points but taken none of them. Chardy then sends a service right into the corner and holds to lead 6-5. Fair play to the Frenchie. Two of his compatriots have already fallen on a day when normal Serb-ice has been resumed (ba-da-boom, a joke for all the Jelenas out there).

5.58 pm: Rafa’s still got that white cellotape below his knees and it seems to be working for him, adding some extra stability to his poor kneecaps. We can’t have a player of his calibre having knee problems at his young age – would be a real shame for tennis in general.

Chardy battles to deuce on the Neecolath Almagro service but the Spaniard whips up a forehand storm to hold.

5.50 pm: Chardy is holding his own against the bandito Almagro, 4-4 in the opener (could go all the way that one). Rafa meanwhile is out on court in that lime green shirt and matching headband of his warming up.

5.35 pm: Aye aye, here it comes. Djoker comes to the net on deuce and slices a backhand volley that dies before PHM can get anywhere near it. PHM serves to stay alive and despite a booming first serve, he follows it up with a tame one into the net and the Djoker is through in straight sets. He calmly acknowledges the crowd – job done, simple as. His service was just too good for his opponent today (as Novak himself says to the reporter as he comes off court). PHM is off, doing one pretty sharpish and no doubt very disappointed but he took his tourney into a second week which is better than his seeding would have suggested.

5.31 pm: The crowd are Mexican waving, with Djoker looking around and drinking in the atmosphere. A famous French singer by the name of Patrick Bruel (as opposed to crème brulee) is in the crowd and a wee kiddie passes one of those oversized tennis balls along about two sections of the crowd along with a pen and gets the singer to sign for him, which he duly does.

Meanwhile, back on court, PHM is serving to stay in the match and is doing a decent job of it, Djoker hitting one long and taking himself to tasks with what no doubt were some choice Serbian epithets (one of the Jelenas could no doubt have lip-read and translated).

5.21 pm: Chardy holds the opening game in his battle with that most noted of clay-court banditos Nicolaththth Almagro.

5.17 pm: Oof, aie aie aie and hoo cha cha. PHM comes into the net and goes right over on his right leg. That’s got to smart. His shirt now looks like Nadal’s on the final Sunday every year at about 6pm. A ball-boy wipes off the clay dust to a round of applause and PHM gets ready to rejoin the battle. Nole makes sure he’s OK then bashes two big serves past him to make it 4-3. Concern but definitely no pity. PHM then changes his shirt to cries of “ooh ooh ooh” from Jen here who immediately goes looking for photos.

Hello to my new facebook friends by the way, two of whom are called Jelena. That’s my lucky name today. You all now need to join the “Drew Lilley’s Roland Garros blog” group. You know you want to. I don’t want to lose you between now and Wimbledon you see.

5.13 pm: I hope you’re all listening to Mary. Ooh, there’s former clay-court legend Guillermo Vilas who held the consecutive clay winning streak until a certain Majorcan came along.

5.05 pm: Giant-killer Chardy – and Murray-masher Almagro is up next on Lenglen. Mathieu meanwhile is fighting. Nole the Djoker is pushing him to deuces a-go-go but he manages to hold. 2-2.

5.03 pm: Previous winner on Radio Roland Garros alert – Mary Pierce is on right now!

5 pm: Hopp Suisse! Patty wins and salutes Lenglen. Miss Ivanovic is next up and that should be quite the battle as Patty is clay-court-tastic – a Kleybanova in fact! Patty signs autographs and even calls someone back who was so chuffed at getting the Swiss Miss’ name on his big fuzzy ball that he forgot his pen.

4.56 pm: PHM finds his rhythm and wins five points in a row to hold, while Patty breaks against the long-legged Slovene and will serve for the match in precisely two minutes. Hopp Suisse. If she wins, it’ll be a Basle derby in the next round – she and LovelyAna are both from that quintessentially Swiss city where they throw French words into their German sentences comme ca, as if it were par for the course.

4.52 pm: Did I study to get where I am today, ask my Dutch meisjes down on the forum below. Yes and no. I did languages not journalism, and then when a very famous TV station which covers more tennis than anyone and for whom my stalker Barbara Schett now works was looking to launch their website ten years ago here in Paris, I was taken on since I could write French and English and I knew a fair bit about sport. So I was lucky in that respect.

PHM is off to a terrible start in this third (and final?) set. 0-40 down after a slew of misplaced forehands. Katy Srebotnik meanwhile is the same height as me I have just discovered. Wow, she looks about 6’7” but that’s probably because she’s all leg. And she jumps when she serves.

4.48 pm: Djoker wins a point on deuce which means that he… what does he do? He… that’s right carves out a break point and when PHM nets tamely off the backhand, the second set is Serbian property. Which is obviously good news for me as I have been renamed Drewosevic, Drewovic and Lillosevic by many of you.

Speaking of which, somebody request me as a friend on facebook. I want to see what you all look like.

4.46 pm: Djoker holds after one heck of a battle. PHM then has to serve to save and we end up in a deuces wild situation. Patty meanwhile has her own deucalicious game which she wins to go 4-3 up on Katy Sree.

4.39 pm: My gosh but Katy Srebotnik is tall. Patty tries to peppermint lob her but the slender Slovene reaches athletically and pats it into the empty court. Patty then booms down one of her trademark serves only to follow it up with a double. Breakback mountain, dubbed into Slovenian.

Djoker goes 0-40 down then wakes up. PHM helps him by totally dominating a point before netting (much to the chagrin of his coach Mats Wilander but to the delight or Djordje Djokovic, the youngest of the all-tennis-playing clan who apparently is even more promising than Nole at that age).

4.35 pm: All-out attack from PHM now – he’s a set and a break down and he knows that he has to pounce on the Djoker’s serve. Which he does. Djoker slides but PHM outhits him.

4.32 pm: Patty’s hubby and coach is in the crowd, looking a hirsute and eccentrically dressed as ever (big Gavroche-style cap which I suppose is tres Parisian). Katy’s hanging in there against the Swiss miss in the second set.

Speaking of hanging in, that’s pretty much what PHM is doing. Djoker’s lost his rhythm a little but he’s still capable of wanging a big winner down every so often. Which he does on the service return – backhand back past PHM, where he was standing but just too quick. Break point and… second serve and… PHM longs it. Ah la la say my French colleagues (as opposed to “ooh la la mess” which is what my trilingual daughter says when she spills some food).

4.26 pm: Nole’s serve is looking big but erratic. He’s going all-out on attack and PHM is hanging back. Ooh, Olivier Grosjean is in the crowd as well – the great and the good of French tennis is out there supporting PHM. Speaking of which, I bumped into Nathalie Tauziat on my rounds earlier, who is now working for the French federation.

Ha, the big erratic service lets him down and PHM breaks back, mainly thanks to Nole going onto the second serve but still trying to attack which leads to him shanking some shots. “Paulo” clap clap clap “Paulo” clap clap clap say the crowd.

4.21 pm: The break has suited Nole Djoker who has broken straight away, before PHM has even got his tracksuit top off (metaphorically speaking). PHM didn’t have a shave this morning which is very naughty of him – (a) it’s a Sunday and (b) my folks are there so he should have made an effort.

4.18 pm: Supporting PHM on Chatrier we have a French footballer, attacking midfielder Franck Ribery, known to his friends as daylight (bad a boom). He’s sitting in front of Richard Gasquet, whose knee is bent so can’t be giving him too many problems so hopefully he’ll be OK for Wimbledon. And he’s presumably had surgery since his cap wasn’t on his head and that can only have been removed by the surgeon’s knife since he never takes it off. Play under way again on both courts.

4.13 pm: And here come PHM and Nole. A short sharp shower that was, nothing more. I can ever see a fair bit of blue sky.

4.11 pm: Aha yes, here they come, back out and Katy and Patty are indeed showing the way. Hopp Schwiiz.

4.10 pm: Rain has stopped, covers never even got on. Come on chaps and chap-lettes, let’s have you back out on court. Particularly Patty Schneeeeeder and her dragon tattoo.

4 pm: It’s fine rain, but there’s a fair bit of it. It’s not torrential by any means and should clear very soon. Talk amongst yourselves in the meantime…

3.54 pm: Patty smashes a winner down and wanders off, bilaterally. Katy follows and play is suspended here too.

3.53 pm: So how’s the men’s No3 seed and arguably Nadal’s closest challenger doing? Ah, play suspended on Chatrier.

3.48 pm: Merci beaucoup Elaine, always a pleasure to have you blog while I lunch. There’s a trace, just a trace, of rain in the air out there but it won’t keep them off the courts. Peppermint Swissie Schnyder has indeed run away with the first set 6-2 over Katy Srebotnik, who has just tossed her racquet in the air (but caught in, avoiding a code violation). Patty is wearing an open-necked dress today after the “tracksuit on backwards” little number she wore previously.

3.40 pm: Schnyder is running away with the first set, serving at 5-2…

3.36 pm: Boom! Ace-ace from the Djoker! Deuce! PHM beaten at the net to give Nole advantage and his first set point...and Paulo's just returned a forehand into the net!6-4 to Djokovic...

3.32 pm: Awesome stuff from “Paulo” as the French fondly refer to him…he anticipates the smash from Nole and returns sublimely on his next service, then Nole double faults! Three break points!

3.28 pm: Djokovic invites PHM into the net with a deft drop volley off the backhand but the Frenchman puts his return into the net…he’s got advantage on his serve though and holds...the Djoker serves for the first set.

3.24 pm: But that’s enough about me, looked like PHM might come close to breaking serve there but Nole served up an ace to wrap up the game…

3.20 pm: Followed by another one…that takes the pressure off a little bit…I’m awfully torn between my love for the Frenchman and the Serb (it’s Elaine btw!), I desperately want PHM to give the Djoker a run for his money, but I’d also be gutted to see the Serb go out…now there's a dilemma!

3.18 pm: The sky’s clouding over now having started out sun-tastic…hope that’s not a bad omen for PHM, he’s just lost two points to bring it to “juice” on his serve…but he's pulled an ace out of his pocket!Hurrah!

3.16 pm: Srebotnik’s held her first service game, now just waiting to see if Schnyder can do the same…

3.08 pm: Deuce 3, PHM doesn’t take “advantage” on his adv, he leaves the Djoker’s forehand, expecting another long one no doubt but it’s just inside the baseline…so Djoko-ko-ko is the first to break!

3.06 pm: The Djoker has a second break point on PHM’s serve as he sends a smash into the trams, but it’s deuce 2 as the Serb hits another forehand long!

3.00 pm: It’s all square on centre court as Mathieu serves in the 5th game…so far PHM is giving as good as he gets...

2.54 pm: Three match points for Gulbis…and Llodra hits a forehand long…fantastic match from the Latvian superstar! We’ve got another William’s eliminator up next on Lenglen, Slovene Srebotnik takes on Swiss Schnyder or "peppermint patty" if you prefer…

2.52 pm: Gulbis put a backhand in the net so Llodra’s not going home yet…

2.47 pm: Ernests holds serve, Mathieu gets the game under way and holds his serve also…it's now at deuce on Llodra's serve... and he double faults to give Gulbis match point!

2.44 pm: Gulbis is playing some superb tennis against Llodra, he’s just taken two points in succession off the Frenchman, passing him at the net with a forehand to the right, then to the left…he hasn’t broken though, he serves at 4-2 in the third set…

2.36 pm: The home crowd are certainly going to relish our match of the day, PHM has been playing som great tennis so far and whether you like him or not (I know he’s made some “controversial” comments in the past), you can’t deny the Djoker’s really at the top of his game this season…

2.32 pm: Next up on Chatrier is the men's No3 seed and the third Serb of the day, the Djoker himself…Hopefully Jankovic will recover from her niggling injury in time for the quarters, she'll be glad she avoided a third set…

2.27 pm: JJ longs the first but now it’s 6-3 on her serve. She summons up all her strength and… we’re into a long rally… and… JJ defends and… Aggie longs! JJ wins! Superhuman effort, and Aggie also put in a great display to fight back despite the disruptions.

2.25 pm: Aggie serves at 2-5. Critical city. Net cord bounces up and JJ buries it. 4 match points!

2.23 pm: JJ questions another call which again goes against her but it’s only on service. Aggie gets a really lucky net cord – 4-2 at the changeover.

2.22 pm: Aggie’s cracking again. Nets an easy forehand and it’s 0-4. Can’t get a first serve in at the critical moment. 4-1 JJ.

2.21 pm: Break then two great, grrrrreat serves from JJ and it’s 3-0.

2.17 pm: Gulbis serves out and wins the TB, 7-4. Well played that young swan. JJ leads 40-15 on her own serve – and she finally takes the game, her first in six, and we have a tie-break. Wow…

2.14 pm: JJ hits one out, questions, the ump confirms and it’s 6-5, JJ to serve. What a turn-around. On Lenglen, it’s 3-3 at the changeover in the TB. All action here. Is Llodra going to do a Benneteau, a Monfils? He returns a Gulbis serve with a cracking half-volley and runs to the net, roaring like a lion to celebrate his mini-break.

2.12 pm: JJ is blowing her nose a lot as well – does she have clay fever? Ad Aggie, saved. Ad JJ… saved.

2.09 pm: Incredible! JJ slips right in the corner, gets up off her derriere and fortunately the shot she had hit was (a) in and (b) looping so gave her time to get up. Aggie fluffs two shots later and it’s break point. Which she saves. What a game.

2.07 pm: Llodra holds in a matter of seconds, Gulbis needs to hold to save the set. And Aggie has saved all three break points. Deuce. JJ then sends a forehand into corner followed by a smash and it’s Ad JJ. A fluffed forehand and it’s deuce.

2.06 pm: Three breaks points for JJ! Aggie saves the first then lays down a drop on the second that stretches JJ just a touch too much. One more break point to save…

2.04 pm: In true French form (this week at least) Llodra breaks back with a divine drop and it’s 5-5. The Frenchies, with the crowd behind them, are battling away this week like crazy.

2.03 pm: It’s definitely game on here as JJ is broken. Aggie to serve, 5-5. Gulb and Llod are still in deucey form.

2 pm: Gulbis saves the breakpoints. Gutsy stuff. Aggie drops to win the first point on the JJ serve, which the crowd likes. Llod carves out another break point.

1.57 pm: Aggie holds. She’ll still serve at 5-4 but the tide may have turned. No treatment this time at the change-over… Three games in a row for Aggie. On Lenglen, Gulbis is serving at 5-4 but LLLLodra has got the crowd right behind him and has two break points.

1.56 pm: Mega rally, JJ finally nets. 30-30. Great service, JJ nets, 40-30.

1.55 pm: Aggie loongs an easy one. 15-30.

1.55 pm: JJ’s best chance is here I reckon. 0-15 after she draws Aggie to the net and then passes her. Aggie then batters her and JJ defends, defends but longs a lob. 15-15.

1.54 pm: JJ longs it and this match is alive yet! 5-3!

1.52 pm: JJ comes to the net and drops to get a match-point and… then shanks one into the crowd. More deuce. The Gulb meanwhile is giving LLod the run-around. 5-3, LLod to serve to save. Aggie carves out a break point, JJ wipes her hands…

1.50 pm: Aggie saves one and then another as JJ nets. Deuce. Finally Aggie is waiting for JJ to tire – the right tactic against an injured player but she’s only doing it since she’s match-point down and too nervous to hit her shots.

1.48 pm: Aggie Rad serves but JJ is serving for the match! Rallytastic but Aggie keeps making simple errors that she wasn’t doing before! Match-point!

1.47 pm: Who will be the next WTA No1 – courtesy of Orla’s lightning typing.

If Sharapova reaches the final she will remain the No1 player on the Sony Ericsson WTA Tour.

Sharapova can also stay No1 if she…

  • Loses in the fourth round AND neither Ivanovic, Jankovic or Kuznetsova reach the final.
  • Loses in the quarter-finals, Kuznetsova does not win the title AND neither Ivanovic nor Jankovic reach the final.
  • Loses in the semi-finals AND neither Ivanovic nor Jankovic win the title.

Ivanovic will become No1 if she…

  • Reaches the final, Sharapova does not reach the semi-finals, Jankovic does not reach the final AND Kuznetsova does not win the title.
  • Wins the title AND Sharapova does not reach the final.

Jankovic will become No1 if she…

  • Reaches the semi-finals, Sharapova does not reach the third round AND neither Ivanovic nor Kuznetsova reach the final.
  • Finishes as runner-up, Sharapova does not reach the semi-finals AND Kuznetsova does not win the title.
  • Wins the title AND Sharapova does not reach the final.

Kuznetsova will become No1 if she…

  • Reaches the final, Sharapova does not reach the quarter-finals AND neither Ivanovic nor Jankovic reach the final.
  • Wins the title AND Sharapova does not reach the semi-finals.

1.45 pm: LLodra is battling but can’t break the GuLLbis serve. Radwanska at the moment reminds me of Hantuchova at Wimbledon last year. Serena was playing on one leg and Dani Hani got the panic (as she often does in a third set). Serena went for winner or bust, winners came off and Dani Hani just sat back and let a one-legged player walk (hop?) all over her. And my mate Kader was the ref that day and wouldn’t let Serena go for a toilet break. Serena was all wound up, Kader his usual laid-back self.

1.41 pm: Aggie comes to the net and she’s trying to attack but JJ passes her inch-perfectly. She’s saved a break-point here and is now serving for a 5-1 lead. Her movements still don’t appear to be hampered and Aggie hits one out – 5-1 Jankovic. Aggie, make the rallies last, that’s all you need to do! Hit topspins that bounce up on to the JJ forehand side – test her!

1.38 pm: I see there was a shout-out to Shahar Peer down below in the comments. I saw her as well this morning and she was looking good, a lot fitter and slimmed down from last year. There was also a question on who will become No1 in the WTA rankings based on potential results – explanation to follow.

1.34 pm: Stefan from French Radio Roland Garros tells me that it’s Llodra’s elbow that’s giving him gyp. And back on Chatrier, incredibly, it’s another break for JJ! Poor Aggie Rad has totally lost her rhythm. Ooh, JJ races to her seat to get more treatment in the two-minute changeover… She only needs to win two more games but surely Aggie Rad can get herself set mentally and pummel JJ’s forehand side to try to exploit the injury.

1.31 pm: JJ is fighting out there. Her service seems fine and she’s also played some forehands and backhands since she got back on court and all looked OK. And she’s held. My little JJ’s a fighter and no mistake. Often a break like that throws the opponent off rhythm as well unfortunately.

1.30 pm: It’s all happening here – the doc is out to tend to LLodra on LLLenglen. He’s given him a pain-killer and is examining his foot I think (difficult to see from the camera angle and I was also concentrating on JJ). LLod is back on his feet now tho.

1.28 pm: She’s back up on her feet to a warm round of applause. The massoosse keeps rubbing her shoulder. One minute remaining (in the injury time-out) announces the chair umpire. 30 seconds… the trainer keeps rubbing feverishly and JJ goes back out on court.

1.26 pm: “The whole arm is like stressed up,” says JJ. Aggie is waiting patiently, standing stork-like as she stretches her right leg. JJ’s on the floor now, getting a shoulder massage from the doctor. She’s doing it – she’s lying on the floor like the ballboys did the morning! Hopefully this will sort her out. The crowd start a round of applause to try to get her back up on her feet.

1.24 pm: “It hurts a lot,” she tells the doc. “It’s here when I do that,” she say, raising her arm at a right-angle as if to hit a powerful forehand. Aggie Rad is trotting around, trying to keep limber.

1.22 pm: The trainer is out a JJ has a shoulder problem. “It hurts when I try to control it” she tells the trainer, who is strapping her shoulder up big time.

1.17 pm: JJ slides, loses her footing and loses the point. In between almost every point she’s toweling off her grip. She’s all of a sudden not at home out there. Maybe I need to go and reassure her…

1.16 pm: The Gulb strolls to the first set. Only one break but he was pushing for more throughout the set,

1.15 pm: Aggie breaks back! JJ just isn’t attacking and great that she is at defensive tennis, she can’t possibly get every shot back is she sits back and lets the No14 seed play her shots.

1.13 pm: Lllllllodra serves strongly to save the set and succeeds. Brought to you by the letter S (and of course L – Lilley can’t comment on LLLLLodra without the L key taking a bashing).

1.12 pm: Aggie Rad ought to have broken there. When she gets into a rhythm she sends JJ hither and thither but she just can’t seem to put her away.

1.08 pm: JJ breaks to open the second set. Her backhands are big, loopy and deep and she’s forcing Aggie back. The Polish girl being ground down here. Inexorable stuff from the strong Serb.

1 pm: Llodra rushes to the net and Ernests calmly passes him with a shot which belies his youthful inexperience.

12.58 pm: JayJ dusts herself down, concentrates, does two seconds zen meditation which she learnt from the ballkids this morning, saves a break point and then steams to the first set. 14 winners for JayJ, only 6 for Aggie Rad. The umbrellas are again out on Chatrier and again it’s to keep the sun off the players. Phew what a scorcher it is here.

12.53 pm: Ernests the Baltic boy (he’s so painfully young still) breaks to lead 2-1 over LLLLLLLodra on LLLLLLLenglen. Ooh, JJ aces. She’s serving for the set under the watchful eye of Ma and Pa Jankovic (and Ma and Pa Lilley). Ooh, she’s done one of her trademark slides and instead of doing the splits, she came a cropper on her derriere, which she is now dusting off with a Roland Garros towel.

12.47 pm: JJ is gradually taking command against an opponent who is very much worthy of her No14 seeding having won 26 and lost 12 matches so far this year. 5-2 to JJ though – see, I brought her luck this morning.

12.38 pm: Aha, JJ breaks back then ooh, she holds! About time. A hold is as good as a break here! Llodra and Gulbis are out on Lenglen.

12.32 pm: Aggie Rad breaks up again to lead 2-1. Cmon JJ. On Lenglen meanwhile, Ernests the Latvian swan Gulbis will soon be taking on Michael “double L” Llodra, he of the checked 80s throwback tennis shirts.

12.29 pm: The fight didn’t last long. Arantxa Sanchez Vicario is poised court-side with her microphone and yes, si si, Carla Suarez Navarro is in the quarter-finals. Flavia graciously congratulates her with a peck on each cheek. No water on the hair today either – maybe she’s saving it for her quarter-final against JJ or Aggie. Little feather Pennetta was her own worst enemy today – 37 unforced errors. That was two points per game that she gifted to the Canary Islander.

12.26 pm: Little feather is now fighting and having missed a break point, she’s carved out another one (break points are always carved out in my book). JJ has carved out two herself which Aggie saved, but she’s got another one and taken it (thanks to a particularly effete drop from the Polish no14 seed). 1-1.

12.22 pm: Little feather Pennetta is a step too slow while Canary Carla is on a cloud. She has just carved out her 14th break point of the match and taken it. She’ll serve at 5-2 for the match – amazing. She’ll face the winner of Aggie and JJ next up and ooh, Aggie broke JJ to open. This is why I suggested to JJ that she does the ball-kid meditation thing before she starts as she seems to lose the opener almost every time. It’s a shame to start every match two-down!

12.13 pm: Jelena Jankovic and Agniezka Radwanska are out ready for their fourth round match and they each have heavy strapping on their right forearms. Aggie looks almost like she has a cast on hers, it’s that big. She’s also got two patches on her right leg around the back of the knee – presumably to warm the muscles up or maybe it’s one of those elemental, copper-bracelet-type things. Jelena meanwhile has changed from the slinky black number she was wearing when we had a chat earlier which is obviously only for warm-ups and talking to her favourite journalists, and now she’s wearing her usual powder blue.

12.08 pm: The stats tell strange tale. 18 winners, 14 unforced and only 50% on the first serve for Ana but she pounced on absolutely every chance. Suarehhh Nabarro meanwhile is 2-1 up with a break. Little pen needs to react, and soon.

12.06 pm: Whoosh. Double bagel. Ana wins 6-0 6-0 over poor Petra. What a performance… She’ll face the winner of Schnyder and Srebotnik in the last eight. Petra leaves and she’s all smiles, fair play to her, she got probably further than she expected but she came up against Ana on fire today. Incredible.

12.04 pm: Ooh, Carla is dominating that other match and has opened the second with a break!

12.02 pm: Ana holds, 5-0. Hopefully Petra can avoid the ignominy of the double bagel… The ironic thing is that she’s not playing badly but Ana’s just flying. And even when Petra knocks her off rhythm, she shakes it off and is back on form by the next point.

11.59 am: Petra has a break point! Ana serves a boomer, forces her back, and again, then smashes. No dramas. Ooh, another break point…

11.57 am: Ana has won 32 points in three-shot-or-less rallies. i.e. on the back of a big service or hitting a winning return. Amazing. I would preach a little caution here – she won’t be able to play like this against one of the top seeds as she’s now trying to hit winners on every shot. Carla Suarehhh meanwhile has won the opener 6-3.

11.54 am: Ana leads 4-0. Cetkovska is playing well enough to beat a mere mortal but Ana is something special today. Meanwhile Carla is about to break Flavia! And she does, on the back of some backhands that the Italian hits far too long.

11.48 am: Woe betide Petra if she misses a first service, Ana is eating her second offering for breakfast. I would say lunch but this match is going to be over by midday. At which point I will concentrate on the Carla – Flavia match on Lenglen, which is 3-3 at the moment with more deuce than the breakfast buffet in my hotel.

11.43 am: My oh my. Petra Cetkovska is playing reasonably good tennis but Ana is head and wonderfully smooth tanned shoulders above her at the moment. Her timing is impeccable, much to the delight of coach Sven Groeneveld in the crowd. 3-0 Ana. I hope my parents haven’t blinked or they might have missed the action out there.

11.34 am: Cet loses the first set. And I’m afraid it’s a bagel for the young Franco-Czech, despite battling hard in the sixth game and hitting a few winners. LovelyAna is on imperious form – she just picks her moment, doesn’t try to hit a winner straight out of the box but as soon as the ball sits up to be hit, she hits it. Petra needs to go for her shots because if she plays percentage tennis, Ana will just wait for the right moment then pounce.

Some good analysis from you guys down there in the comments section. Some of you should work in the sports industry with analysis like that.

11.28 am: Little feather Pennetta breaks, Carla Canary Isles doesn’t care – she just breaks right back. She hasn’t done the “bottle of water on the head then share your hair like you just don’t care” act yet but it’s only a matter of time in my humble opinion.

11.25 am: Ana’s broken again. She’s doing to Cetkovska what Juju did to her in the final last year – pouncing on a nervous service and showing no mercy.

11.17 am: Ana’s held, broken and held. Her serve looks to be on impressive form. Long and deep, penning Petra Cetkovska back. Flavia little pen has held to make it 1-1 against Carla Suarehh Canary Islander.

11.12 am: We’re under way. Ana – Petra on Chatrier, under the watchful eye of my favourite ref Kader Nouni. Read more about Petra here. On Lenglen, Carla Suarehhhh Nabarro has held to open against Flavia little feather Pennetta.

11 am: /public announcement mode. Being the doting son that I am, I got my parents tickets for yesterday and today and they’re on Chatrier today so they’ve got a star-studded line-up. Tickets actually are surprisingly easy to apply for and some are still available (ground passes) and there are of course the evening ones. Click here to find out more. I just applied for tickets about last January I think it was and was lucky enough to get through in the ballot for some of what I applied for. It’s a very fair system. /end of public announcement mode.

10.50 am: Jen Jen is back again, moderating your comments. Any that were submitted on yesterday’s tale of the day will feature there. Otherwise this morning’s will be down here.

10.45 am: So, what’s the gossip? Well, the ball-kids here are incredibly conscientious. From 10am onwards they are all in the stadium, warming up assiduously. Star-jumps, neck rolls, criss-cross jogging. At the end of the routine, they all then lie on the floor in one of the players’ areas and spend five minutes all lying there in a circle, feet all in the middle like a bunch of synchronized swimmers on dry land, meditating about the day ahead (I kid you not). I was walking past and I hear in dulcet Serbian tones “What are they doing?” “You should try it before you go on court Jelena,” says I, “it could help you!” Yup, the luscious Jellybean and I exchanged pleasantries. And the thing is, when I spoke to her, she stopped, turned, listened and smiled. Down to earth is our Jellybean, that’s why we love her.

9.45 am: Morning one and all, Drew here and let me tell you it’s a gorgeous day – a scorcher! Four men’s and four women’s fourth round matches today and looking at the line-ups, we’re half-Serbian, half-French. I want to know who you think will win the various singles matches today – post your predictions and at the end of the day, we’ll see who comes closest.


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