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Wednesday 2 June: As it Happened

Wednesday, June 2, 2010
By Drew Lilley
8.19 pm: And Melzer is through, with a big second service! What a comeback! And the No.3 seed is out! Juergen will face Rafa on Friday, for a place in Sunday’s final against either Soderling or Berdych. Some unexpected faces there!

8.17 pm: Nole saves another, Nole saves another, la la la la Ooh! la la la la Ooh! (to the tune of the Conga). More match points, more saves...

8.14 pm: Melzer leads 40-30! Match point. The Austrian serves big, comes in and volleys… INTO THE NET! Deuce.

8.07 pm: Break points and deuces abound, and then the crucial moment comes. Ad Melzer. Nole moves in to dominate the net, Melzer tries to pass him on the backhand side and though the ball looks to be going out, the Djoker takes it and… nets a backhand volley. Melzer to serve – For The Win!

7.57 pm: The Melter is dropping like sterling in a hung parliament. Four hours, 4-4, 40-40.

7.50 pm: The Djoker fails to break a take point (I’m getting tired, it’s been a long match, a long tournament…) and it’s 3-3. The Melter beats his chest, yo rapper style. The Djoker throws his hands up, Woody Allen-style.

7.38 pm: Rafa wins, 6-4 in the third! Twas a hard work-out but he never really looked stretched. The crown is only two matches from returning home. And the No.1 ranking with it… And whom will he play in the semis? Well, it’s still anyone’s match on Lenglen. Djoker and Melzer hold, 2-2.

7.30 pm: JINX! Rafa breaks! And will serve for the match. Any second now. And then go and watch the remains of the day on Lenglen, where it’s 1-1, deuce.

7.26 pm: 4-3. Rafa’s edging ever closer to taking the Almagro service but not quite managing to step up to the next level. On Lenglen, Nole shakes his head, as well he might. He’s never been in this match – Melzer offered up the first two sets on a silver platter in an anthology of unforced errors. He’s traded those in for winners and Nole doesn’t know how to respond. 1-1 in the decider.

7.16 pm: Tie-mouse ears. Melzer takers the breaker 7-3 and we’ll have a deciding set! On Chatrier, it’s 3-2 Almagro, with service.

7.14 pm: Tie-bagel anyone? Six points, and all of them go the way of the Austrian. 6-0 Melzer at the changeover. I once saw Arnaud Clement come back from 0-6 to 6-6 in a breaker at Wimbledon (in the quarters in 2008) but Rainer Schuettler then took it 8-6.

Ah, Nole actually wins a point. 6-1. Tie-baguette anyone? Then he lobs Melzer whom he’d reeled in to the net. 6-2. Tie-swan anyone? Melzer nets. 6-3! Tie-mouse ears anyone? (Does a 3 look like mouse ears to you?)

7.10 pm: Rafa takes Nic to deuce but the Murcian (as opposed to the Majorcan) is up to the task and gives Rafa the run-around. Rafa gets virtually everything back, as you’d expect, but there is a limit to even his powers. 2-1 as Nic holds.

Nole also holds, via the deftest of drops which outdrops the Melzer drop, and we’ll have a tie-break. And at least you can’t have deuces in a tie-break.

7.02 pm: 5-5 Nole-Georgie, as we’re calling Juergen. And 1-0 Almagro on Chatrier, with service. There was one break point in the whole of the second set, and Nic failed to take it.

6.55 pm: Rafa takes the second. After a 7-2, we have a 7-3. If you don’t hear from me for another hour, it means that we’ve had 12 holds of service and a 7-4 tie-break for Rafa, while Juergen and Novak were busy acting out Deuces Wild! Part deux

6.53 pm: Ah, that jinx worked. Djoker holds after nine, count ‘em, nine deuces. All that, and it’s still only 4-all.

Rafa meanwhile has four set points.

6.52 pm: 4-2 Rafa in the breaker (and it was 4-0). Meanwhile I’ll get back to you if ever anyone wins the mammoth, titanic, epic eighth game on Lenglen.

6.48 pm: Tie-break on Chatrier, Deuceopolis on Lenglen (it’s been 4-3 deuce off and on for the past 20 minutes. The Djoker has lost all of his variation…)

6.40 pm: 5-5 on Chatrier – another tie-break anyone? Djokovic meanwhile is having the devil’s own game against a resurgent Melzer. Four break points saved thus far (digging himself into a 0-40 hole certainly didn’t help). The Melter is showing a deft touch – he’s dropping like the euro at the moment. BP no.5.

6.32 pm:
Break point Nic! So Rafa serves out into the corner and volleys with aplomb. Deuce. Juergen meanwhile has held and leads 4-3 after the crucial seventh game and seems to be determined to take Nole to at least a tie-break, if not a fifth set, which would see the script thrown out of the window.

6.20 pm: 3-all on Chatrier as the Spaniards hold comfortably. 2-2 on Lenglen as the Central Europeans struggle.

6.11 pm: Rafa holds at a canter, and Djoker holds at a struggle. 2-1 NAD, 1-1 DJO MEL.

6.08 pm: 1-all on Chatrier as the two Spaniards dominate each other mutually (oo-er), while on Lenglen, the Melter is having the Austrian audacity to try to break! Deuce City Idaho out there…

6.04 pm: The Melter holds to open the fourth as the match stretches beyond the two-hour mark.

6.02 pm: 7-2 Nadal in the tie-break. Whoosh. Painted the corners, unleashed whippy forehands… basically did the Nadal thing. Whoosh.

5.58 pm: Yup, MEL is only a set adrift now – DJO obliged by netting two forehands. And NAD leads ALM 3-2 with two services to come.

5.55 pm: Rafa holds and we’ll have a tie-break. And blimey, after leading 2-0, the Djoker is on the point of losing his sixth in a row! The Melter could soon be back in it at only two sets to one down.

5.52 pm: Rafa totally shanks one, so much so that he changes the offending racquet, before going on to carve out a break point, which Nic sneers at and saves before going on to hold. 6-5. The Djoker meanwhile had the chance to break riiiight back at ya in the crucial seventh game but couldn’t, and will now serve at 2-5.

5.46 pm: Lawks a-lummee! Coach Joachim Nystrom pumps his first as Juergen Melzer breaks to lead Nole 4-2! Nadal meanwhile comes back from 15-30 down – two points away from losing the set – to hold.

5.41 pm: 5-4 Almagro, 3-2 Melzer after a couple of holds.

5.37 pm: Lucky seven! Juergen breaks back at the seventh time of asking. 2-2 there, 4-4 on Chatrier – that’s four games for Nic which is more than he managed in the triple baguetting he took against Nadal here two years ago.

5.31 pm: Nic won the first three, Rafa the next three. Can Nic three-peat? He’s just held to make it 4-3 on the back of a fearsome ace straight down the middle. The Djoker meanwhile is not having things all his own way, but the Melter has just squandered another break point – his sixth in the match, none taken – and it’s still deuce on the Nole service.

5.24 pm: Thank goodness for that, someone found the script. Almagro leads 3-2. He’s still been pushing Rafa back and sending him left and right, but the Rafa we know and love has been getting to everything and then, when the time it right, curling winners into corners. We’re back on service.

Meanwhile, on Lenglen, Juergen’s cutting down on the ol’ unforced-‘uns but it’s still two sets and a break as far as the Noler is concerned. He’s into the home straight now.

5.15 pm: Almagro leads 3-0. SCRIPT! Rafa took him to a deuce or two but Slick Nic held.

Meanwhile, back on script, Nole breaks to open the third. Two sets and a break up – the Djoker’s on cruise control.

5.09 pm: Almagro holds to open and breaks. Er… script somebody? Script? I’ve lost my script… Nole has his script though and is merely waiting for Melter to unforce yet more shots high, wide and ugly. 5-2 on the back of another break becomes 6-2 and the Djokster has a two-set lead.

5.03 pm: Almagro serves to open – follow it here. Nole meanwhile has stared down a break point (mainly thanks to yet another unforced-er from Melz-er) and it’s 4-2.

4.57 pm: Nadal – Almagro are out on court, with Carlos Ramos in the chair. Rafa’s 35-1 here at RG (and we know who the one was – Rockin’ Robin – the first person to beat two defending champions in a row since Game, Set and Mats Wilander defeated Yannick Noah in 1983 and Ivan Lendl the following year). Both Rafa and Nic have won 19 matches on clay this year. Rafa’s lost none though (having done 3/4s of the red slam at Monte Carlo, Rome and Madrid) while Nic has lost 9. They have met six times, four on clay. Six. Zip. Rafa. Including here in 2008. They met in Madrid at the Caja Magica last month, and Nic won the opener before Rafa 6-2 6-2d his way into the final after that.

4.54 pm: The Djoker’s not hanging around in this one – a comfortable hold is followed by an equally comfortable break. The lefty is coming into the net with regularity but his volleys are barely landing in the tramlines, let alone the main court.

4.43 pm: 1-0 as the Melter holds comfortably. They each hit six unforceders in the opener but Nole out-winnered the Austrian 12-7.

4.39 pm: Nole holds at a canter and takes the opener 6-3. It’s been a good day for Serbia so far, can he make it two semi-final representatives?

4.37 pm: Two match points carved out by a big kicking second serve. And she only needs one! Stosur is through on the back of yet another big serve! She has slain Serena! 8-6 in the third! She’s into the semis. 6-2, 6-7, 8-6. We will have a new Grand Slam winner! Sammy’ll face Jelena in the semis, while Franny Schiavone will take on Elena Dementieva (finalist, Olympic winner but still without a major to her name).

4.36 pm: The Djoker decides its time for him to come to the net, and breaks to 15. 5-3, Djoker to serve for the opener.

4.33 pm: Point du jour. Sam passes, Serena claws it back, Sam is pressed back, Serena bounds in and Sam passes her for good. 15-40. And then another – incredible – backhand passing shot makes it 7-6! She’s broken! ‘Re’s been coming to the net all match and the Sto has chosen now to start passing her! Better late than never. Right, Sam serving for the match, take 2.

4.30 pm: 3-3 on Lenglen (Melter serves to 30), 6-6 on Chatrier as Sam digs a 0-30 hole then big serves out of it. You still get the impression that Serena is the more comfortable out there, but all it takes is one bad game…

Ah, 4-3 on Lenglen, the Djoker topping off his latest service game with an ace.

4.23 pm: Two unforced howlers from Sam (a volley where it was easier to get it over the net and then a forehand which hasn’t landed yet) give Serena a break, set and match point, but a decent service saves it, and she follows up with two more to level matters at 5-all. Gutsy.

On Lenglen, Djoker and Melter are into a holding pattern. 3-2, no deuces since those early ones. The Melter, who is the best Austrian lefty since Stefan Koubek (I’m being ironic there) is bidding to become the first Austrian since Thomas Muster in 1995 to reach the semis here. And this is his first ever Grand Slam quarter to boot.

4.18 pm:
2-1 Djoker after a stronger service game. And speaking of strong services, Sam can’t live with Serena’s at the moment. 5-4, ‘Re holds to 15, all four points on aces or service winners. I can’t see Sam doing any but keeping her head above water at the moment, but things change quickly in tennis.

4.12 pm: 1-all on Lenglen. Neither Djoker nor Melzer served well but they held, after a quick up-and-down in Deuce Street.

4-3 ‘Re on Chatree, but the Sto is currently forehanding her way to 4-all.

4.05 pm: Serena holds thanks in no small part to three aces! 3-2. Pressure on Sam’s muscular shoulders. And Djoker – Melzer is under way. Nole serves to open, and it’s gone to deuce already.

Don’t forget that you can follow exclusive coverage of Sam-Serena in Turning Points.

3.56 pm: 2-1 as Serena touches the back of the baseline at 40-30…

So, Djoker – Melter. They’ve only ever played twice, on the other two surfaces. Djoker won on (indoor) hard in Metz in three sets in 2006, and on the grass in Halle last year for the loss of over five games. Halle is one of the Wimbledon warm-up tournaments – Federer always plays there, while plenty of others go to Queens which is in London, like Wimbledon.

3.54 pm: At 30-40, Serena gets a net cord, Sam drops but it’s way too obvious and Serena wrong-foots her with the follow-up. 1-1. Meanwhile, out on Lenglen, we have Djokovic and Melzer out on court!

3.49 pm: Ooh, Sam breaks to open the decider! Now all she has to do is hold six times (I know, easier said that done… She had a wobble against JuJu and still came through. Can she do the same here?)

3.45 pm: Set and match points abound! Serena absolutely freight-trained that tie-break 7-2 – picked her spots and hit with power and accuracy.

And at 30-40 on Lenglen, we have a second serve, and… a double fault! Argh! Jankovic is through, 7-5, 6-4, and into the semis, to the delight of her mother Snezeca who is in the crowd, as always. She’s all smiles as she leaves the court, and will face the winner of the match on Chatrier at the moment. How will Sam come back out for the third set, having served for the match and, let’s be honest, choked?

3.40 pm: 3-0 as ‘Re mini-breaks then holds twice. Sam then holds once but Serena pummels her second service and makes it 4-1. Sam then misses a line and it’s 5-1 at the change-over.

3.38 pm: Tie-break on Chatrier, while on Lenglen, JJ holds to lead 5-4. YS will have to serve to save the match…

3.35 pm: The Sto holds, big style, to 15. Serena again has to hold to stay alive. And oh my goodness! At 30-40, YS sends JJ back, back, back, JJ lobs one up in desperation, YS comes into the net and… totally misses the ball. Air shot. Breakback mountain, 4-4.

3.31 pm: JJ’s not getting the ball into the right spots and YS has just punished her, forehand –style, with two Soderlings into the corner. 4-3, YS a break to the good and about to serve.

And it’s 5-5 on Chatrier after Serena held at a canter, sending the Sto left and right, hither and thither.

3.28 pm: Samantha Chokur? I hope not, but Serena’s just got her first break of the match to get it back on service at 4-5. Maybe the Sto can take the ‘Re’s service again and close out that way.

Yaro Shvedo meanwhile held to love on the back of some smokin’ services including an ace, and it’s the crucial seventh game there, JJ to serve.

3.23 pm: JJ and YS are still stuck in that traffic jam on the road out of deuceville, but Sam has just broken Serena to lead 5-3! Serena stopped at one point (after Sto had netted on game point) and almost seemed to be in tears… She will be in a minute if the Sto can hold! And win!

Ooh, JJ finally holds! 3-2. Pressure on Yaro.

3.17 pm: The Sto holds via an ace which blows its way right under Serena’s racquet. Whoosh. 4-3. Another eight points is all she needs. JJ meanwhile is spending half-an-hour in Deuceville, courtesy of her Kazak penfriend.

3.13 pm: JJ breaks back, after YS was 40-15 up. She’s being made to battle, and no mistake, but you get the impression that if the yellow peril (JJ is in her trademark lemon outfit again) can hold, she’ll cruise into the semis.

Sto meanwhile is serving at 3-3 in the cruuuuuuuuucial seventh game.

3.06 pm: Serena holds via a deuce or two, while Yaro feasts on JJ’s second serve to break right back up and lead 2-1! Soderlingesque forehands from the 22-year-old Kazak.

3.01 pm: The Sto holds to love (2-1) and JJ breaks right back (1-1).

2.57 pm: Ooh! Was that in the script? Yaro breaks to open the second! Mind you, she did that to open the first… Serena meanwhile comes back from 15-40 down, aces one, wins the others (including a beaut of a drop volley at the net) and holds to make it 1-1. Sam’s only five games away though…

2.53 pm: And here we go. 0-40, three set points. Yaro saves the first after an epic rally and with a great backhand DTL FTW (down the line for the win), but the yellow peril is not to be denied. She steps into a second serve next up and eats it for lunch. 7-5, Jankovic is half-way towards another semi here at the French (her semi against Ana in 2008 was some of the greatest women’s clay-court tennis I’ve ever seen).

2.49 pm: Jayj leads 6-5, meaning that Yaro’ll have to serve to stay in the set. Meanwhile, about 75 yards away, the Sto has just broken again and taken the opener 6-2! Oh my! We are six games away from having a new GS champ! And are we counting Serena out already? Pfff, the very idea. This is the ‘Re we’re talking about. 12-time Slam champ. Sam’s definite got the measure of her at the moment tho…

2.45 pm: Yes she can! Barack Stosama holds, punting down an ace, and leads 5-2! New Grand Slam champion alert.

2.43 pm: We’re into a holding pattern on Lenglen. 5-4 JJ and not a sniff of a deuce on either side for a while. Can the J-Unit step it up and break?

I’ll tell you who has stepped it up tho – the Sto! 30-40, Serena tests her backhand and finds it faultless. Sam then comes inside out and Serena can only looong in reply. 4-2 to the Sto! Now, if she can hold in the crucial seventh…

2.39 pm: Gutsy hold from the Sto to lead 3-2. The Shved also comes to the net and stop-volleys to perfection to make it fours on Lenglen.

2.36 pm: JayJ’s service certainly has settled down – to the tune of a 180 km/h ace. She holds to lead 4-3 and the pressure is on Yaro now. Serena meanwhile is the one upping the ante on Chatrier, and it’s her turn to take the Sto on a stroll down deuce lane, or chemin de l'egalite as they call it here.

2.31 pm: Serena holds to make it 2-2 but it’s via deuce again. If Sam could just up the ante a little, particularly on the big points…

Ooh, speaking of upping the ante, JJ has just backhand-down-the-lined at 30-40 to break back to 3-3!

Serena is the only Grand Slam winner left in the last six, by the way… So if she falls, we are guaranteed a new champion. Elena Dementieva (who faces Francesca Schiavone in the semis) made the final here in 2004, losing to Anastasia Myskina, who is now enjoying life as a Mum and an occasional commentator.

2.26 pm: 3-2 Shvedova. The 22-year-old Kazakh was only just outside the seeds here (she’s 36 in the world) and won her only title to date in Bangalore three years ago. She made the semis on the Barcelona clay as well this year. JJ’s service has settled down but now she has to break to get back into the set.

The Sto meanwhile leads 2-1, but with service. ‘Re beat her in the Round of 16 on the way to the Aus Open title earlier this year, but this is on clay, don’t forget – more a Slammin’ Sam surface. And don’t forget that you can follow Charlotte’s live text commentary on that match via “Turning points”.

2.18 pm: Yaroslova is all over the JJ serve. A loooong helps the Serb to save break point, but the second one’s the charm. 1-0 Shvedova, a break to the good already. In fact make that 2-0 as she shows JJ how she should have served. I can’t remember Jankovic ever holding her serve to open a match. And that’s only a slight exaggeration. Her service is fine, it’s just a bit of a diesel engine – takes a while to warm up.

The Sto meanwhile holds to open and is taking ‘Re for a walk in Deuce Park at the moment.

2.13 pm: Jelly and Yaro have only ever met on hard as well, and Yaro’s win came at last year’s US Open as well! Eva Asderaki is in the chair for that one, where JJ is serving to open (Sam’s opening the other match).

2.09 pm: Serena and Sam have only ever met on hard courts before, and Sam won at Charleston on clay earlier this year (before the European swing). Will that give her the edge? You can follow that match, being chair ump’ed by Mariana Alves, on Turning points.

2.06 pm: Here we go: Serena – Sammy on Chatrier, Jelena – Yaroslava on Lenglen! Serena and JJ lead the head-to-heads 3-1 and 2-1 respectively, so it’s pretty close between then.

12.39 pm: Good afternoon one and all, and welcome to day 11 at the French Open. The day after Rockin’ Robin rocked the tennis world, again! Play will get under way at 2 pm, with Serena Williams and Sam Stosur getting the ball rolling on Chatrier while Lenglen plays host to Jelena Jankovic and surprise package Yaroslava Shvedova. Ladies first, natch. And the after them, we have followed by Nadal – Almagro on Chatrier and Djokovic – Melzer on Lenglen.

I got two out of four in terms of predictions yesterday so I need to up my game. Nadal, Djokovic, Serena, Jelena. There, I said it. And you guys, what do you think? Write in and let me know.

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