27 May, 2013

Roland Garros 2013 - Day 2, Three Thoughts

Gael Force - The consensus "best match on paper" of the first round, turned out to be the barnburner we all hoped for; 5th seeded Tomas Berdych vs. the wild card (in more ways than one) 81st ranked Gael Monfils, the former top 10 Frenchman on the comeback trail from injury.  On Court Phillipe Chatrier, Monfils known as Sliderman had the big stage he relishes, the big opponent he loves to face and seemingly for the first time in too long, the health to play at the highest level of the sport.

26 May, 2013

Roland Garros 2013 - Day 1, Three Thoughts

Roger Rolls - World No. 3 Roger Federer coasted past a potential challenge from Pablo Carreno-Busta, launching his Roland Garros campaign with a rather routine 6-2, 6-2, 6-3 win.  Coming into today's meeting with the all-time major champion, the Spaniard was the reigning King of the Futures, having amassed a 39-1 record on the lower-level circuit this year including a 25-0 run on clay.  His success at lower levels encouraged some prognosticators to assume he would give the Swiss an early test.  Federer, on the other hand, indeed proved that the future is not now, not yet at least.  The Swiss master won 83% of his first serve points and going 7-for-7 on break points.  Long story short, Federer blitzed the Barcelona native in a miserly 80 minutes as if he had lunch reservations at L'Entrecote.  Federer will face another less-heralded qualifier in his second round match, 28 year old Somdev Devvarman of India.  Federer won their first meeting back in 2011 and he'll be heavily favored to double up.

Roland Garros 2013 Bracket Breakdown - The Women

After a few years in the wilderness, women's tennis has re-emerged with a cache of compelling storylines and its own big three: Serena Williams, Maria Sharapova and Victoria Azarenka, the queen bees dominating the current era of the game.  The question going into this major is pretty much the same as it has been for the last two years.  Will Serena Williams win the title...or beat herself so someone else can do it?

For the 2013 French Open men's bracket breakdown, click here

Roland Garros 2013 Bracket Breakdown - The Men

Apropos, no?
It's the most wonderful time of the year to be a tennis fan.  The annual European swing between Monte Carlo and Wimbledon heralds the start of the northern summer which means as many hours on court as a man can stand, not to mention on TV, two of the tennis calendar's crown jewels - Roland Garros and Wimbledon; to say nothing of the most venerable events on tour jammed into this period: Monte Carlo, Rome, Stuttgart, Queen's Club, and on and on.

With Roland Garros, aka, the French Open upon us, we take a look at the draws to find out who will leave Paris with shiny new hardware and who will leave as annoyed as a Parisian waiter who was just asked for ketchup.  First up, les hommes (the men).

For the 2013 French Open women's bracket breakdown, click here

11 May, 2013

The Sunday Line: Madrid Finals

Blacklabel Tennis' take on this weekend's ATP and WTA finals.

(1) Serena Williams v. (2) Maria Sharapova

When Maria Sharapova defeated Serena Williams to win Wimbledon (her first major) in 2004, she was all steely serve and stinging groundies; a player perfectly crafted to dominate the field on fast courts.  Yes, she's won Wimbledon and the US Open, but the Siberian Siren who stands before us today has morphed into a clay court colossus.  With 25 consecutive wins on the red clay, including seven at Roland Garros that completed her career grand slam, Sharapova should be considered the runaway favorite any time she plays on the surface.  But yeah, there's Serena.