Wimbledon 2011: Men’s Final

What a fortnight it’s been, with new stars emerging and the spectacle of great tennis seen all around the grounds, we’ve finally reached our final day of the tournament. It all leads to the final two men in the draw. Current world number one Rafael Nadal will take on the new number one Novak Djokovic for the title of Wimbledon Champion 2011.

Rafael Nadal

Nadal playing for his third wimbledon title.

  •  1st Round: Michael Russell 6-4 6-2 6-2
  • 2nd Round: Ryan Sweeting 6-3 6-2 6-4
  • 3rd Round: Gilles Muller 7-6 (6) 7-6 (5) 6-0
  • 4th Round: Juan Martin Del Potro 7-6 (8) 3-6 7-6(4) 6-4
  • Quarter Final: Mardy Fish 6-3 6-3 5-7 6-4
  • Semi Final: Andy Murray 5-7 6-2 6-2 6-4

The final of 2007 was the last time Rafael Nadal has lost a Wimbledon match. Ever since then, the Spaniard has won 20 straight matches on the All-England-Match, which excludes his withdrawal from the 2009 tournament. The world number 1 now faces the challenge of rival Novak Djokovic. Nadals recent performances has shown his obvious adjustment to the grass game from his clay dominance.  He’s sailed in the first two rounds of the tournament and was mentally stronger than Muller in the third. In the next three rounds, he would lose one set in each match against former US Open champion Del Potro, American Mardy Fish and British hope Andy Murray to reach another Wimbledon slam final.

However Nadal’s status as the number one player in the world has now been taken by his opponent and regardless of how he does today, he will no longer hold the position. Nadal’s aggressive left-hander style has earned him the place as one of the best players of the sport. But can he summon the strength against the ATP’s new world number one and defend his title?

Novak Djokovic

Novak Djokovic finally reaches his number 1 goal.

  • 1st Round: Jeremy Chardy 6-4 6-1 6-1
  • 2nd Round: Kevin Anderson 6-3 6-4 6-2
  • 3rd Round: Marcos Baghdatis 6-3 4-6 6-4 6-4
  • 4th Round: Michael Llodra 6-3 6-3 6-3
  • Quarter Final: Bernard Tomic 6-2 3-6 6-3 7-5
  • Semi Final: Jo Wilfred Tsonga 7-6 (4) 6-2 6-7 (9) 6-3

On the other side of the net, we have Novak Djokovic. All tennis fans would know the tremendous form that the Serb has run this year, with a 43 straight match winning streak and only one loss in the entire year, it’s not surprising that Novak Djokovic is the new world number one. Like his opponent, he cruised through easily in the earlier rounds before running into Marcos Baghdatis which reduced him to smashing his racquet. The struggle seemed to persist against Australian qualifier Bernard Tomic, but won despite the constant shift of momentum during the match. His final challenge and match of his life was against Jo Wilfred Tsonga who pulled off a stunning upset against Roger Federer. He took the first after coming back a break down and took the second convincingly. But the Frenchman fought back winning 11-9 in the third set tiebreak. In a tight fourth set, Djokovic managed to seal victory, a first time appearance in a Wimbledon final and the number one ranking.

Djokovic has had a record breaking run this season which involves a second grand slam title in Australia. Can he continue this form to claim a third grand slam title against the defending champion?

Head To Head

  • Nadal Leads 16-11
  • Last Meeting: ATP World Tour Masters Rome Final, Djokovic wins 6-4 6-4
  • Last Grand Slam Meeting: Us Open 2010 Final, Nadal wins 6-4 5-7 6-4 6-2
  • Last Grass Meeting: Queens Club 2008 Final, Nadal wins 7-6 (5) 7-5

Although Nadal heavily favours Djokovic in all time matches, Djokovic has won the last four meetings all in 2011 and the last two encounters in straight sets.

Betting Odds

(From Oddschecker.com)

  1. Rafael Nadal 13/19
  2. Novak Djokovic 10/7

Prediction

My final prediction will say that Novak will win in four sets. I think the confidence he’s earned from this year and  his new status will enable him to win today. Nadal may take advantage of his frustration but in the end, Novak will outplay Nadal for the title.

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Wimbledon 2011: Men’s Draw

We’ve now reached the third grand slam of the year and it’s the one which means most to the players. Wimbledon is upon us. Time to bring out the accents, the strawberries and the white clothing as we’re in for a fortnight of amazing tennis.

The men’s draw will have it’s eyes focused mainly on the top four players. Despite that, their are many stories to look out for. Will Murray make the Brits proud? Will anyone challenge the big four? Can Nadal defend his title? And especially, what will be the result of the anticipated Isner and Mahut match?

Quarter 1: Nadal’s Quarter

With the two time champion Nadal in is quarter, it’s hard to see anyone else coming out alive out of this quarter. The Spaniard may have difficulties with Pablo Andujar in the second round, who challenged him on the clay. His fourth round has also set up a confrontation between possibly Gilles Simon or 2009 US Open Champion Del Potro, which could be an epic. On the bottom half of this quarter is Tomas Berdych which could be a repeat of last years final for Rafa’s quarter final match. The men who challenge Berdych are Fernando Verdasco who has slipped in the rankings this year and Mardy Fish who is enjoying his new top 10 status.

Quarter Final: Nadal Vs Fish

A bit of a bold decision going for Mardy Fish but I believe Tomas Berdych will come under too much pressure to defend his points, just like w saw in Roland Garros. Also whoever Nadal versus, it’s unlikely anyone will send Nadal packing before the semis.

Semi Finalist: Nadal

Quarter 2: Murray’s Quarter

This quarter contains the Brits biggest hope Andy Murray. Everyone all over the country will stop to see this man play. But it’s Murray who is yet to deliver the expectation of millions of admirers. Richard Gasquet and Stanislas Wawrinka will likely be his biggest threat. The other Andy may be the one that crushes the Brits dream. After missing the French Open, Roddick’s back to prove a point. The only competition I see him having is Gael Monfils. However unless one of them gets food poisoning, it’s likely it will be between the two Andy’s.

Quarter Final: Murray Vs Roddick

This match will depend on Murray. In 2009, Roddick defeated Murray in the semi. I’m seeing the same result this year.

Semi Finalist: Roddick

Quarter 3: Federer’s Quarter  

This quarter contains the six time champion Roger Federer. Again, there’s very little player who could challenge Federer in this quarter. Though it does contain some exciting matches, particularly the Isner Vs Mahut replay. Other players which Federer could face include David Nalbandian, Mikhail Youzhny and Nicolas Almagro. On the top half of this quarter, Ferrer faces a more challenging task on the way to the quarters. His fourth round match up contain many tough competitors such as the Ukrainian Alexander Dolgopolov, Fernando Gonzalez, rising star Grigor Dimitrov and number 12 seed Jo Wilfred Tsonga. The competition for is section will be fierce.

Quarter Final: Federer Vs Tsonga

Although Tsonga or whoever gets this spot will earn their place here, Federer unforunately will be too strong.

Semifinalist: Federer

Quarter 4: Djokovic’s Quarter

With the almighty run coming to an end, Djokovic is back with a vengeance remains a contender to win the title. He faces many tough competitors in his quarter, but fortunately, they’re all located on the top half. Some big names which face Djokovic include Baghdatis, James Black and Victor Troicki. However i’m sure we’ll be seeing him in the quarters. Unfortunately, it’s the Swede Robin Soderling who faces the toughest journey ahead. First round up against Petzchner and than a second roun against Kei Nishikori or an injured Lleyton Hewitt. Yet ‘s only made the third round. Nickolay Davydenko waits in the third and Florian Mayer, Ernests Gulbis, Jurgen Melzer and french open quarter finalist Alejandro Falla could be his fourth round match up. If Soderling get’s through all this, he’ll be in red hot form.

Quarter final: Djokovic Vs Soderling

This could potentially be an epic, but Djokovic seems the likely winner of this battle.

Semi finals:

Nadal Vs Roddick

Roddick will challenge Nadal just like we saw against Federer in 2009. But Nadal will have the answers to dispatch Roddick.

Finalist: Nadal

Federer Vs Djokovic

These two seem to be always meeting in semi finals. Djokovic will ensure that Federer doesn’t beat him again, but Federers experience on the grass has him favoured over the Serb.

Finalist: Federer

Finals:

Nadal Vs Federer

We’ve once again reached a Nadal Vs Federer final. Who could forget the classic in 2008? Federer has improved on the clay against Rafa and we’ve obviously seen Nadal do the same on grass. My favourite will be Federer in this match, but Nadal seems to strong for him now. I predict a four set win by Nadal.

Winner: Rafael Nadal

 

Thank you for reading my post, follow me on twitter and subscribe for more posts on wimbledon. Also, feel free to comment on your opinions. 🙂

Federer Vs Nadal: 2011 Roland Garros Final Preview

The greatest rivalry in mens tennis continues as Roger Federer from Switzerland and Rafael Nadal from Spain will battle in what will be their 25th meeting. They’ve versed each other in 8 grand slam finals, with the last meeting in the 2009 Australian Open Final. With the form these two have shown in the tournament, this promises to be a thriller of a match.

  • Head To Head: Nadal leads 16-8
  • Grand Slam Final Head To Head: Nadal leads 6-2
  • Last Meeting: ATP World Tour Masters 1000, Nadal wins 5-7 6-1 6-3
  • Last Clay Meeting: ATP World Tour Masters 1000, Nadal wins 5-7 6-1 6-3
  • Last Roland Garros Final Meeting: Final, Nadal wins 6-1 6-3 6-0

Rafael Nadal

As we’ve just seen above, the statistics heavily favour the king of clay. He’s beaten Roger Federer four times in the french open and three times in the final. He showed huge domination in their last meeting in the 2008 final.

  • 1st Round: John Isner 6-4 6-7 6-7 6-2 6-4
  • 2nd Round: Andujar 7-5 6-3 7-6
  • 3rd Round: Veic 6-1 6-3 6-0
  • 4th Round: Ljubicic 7-5 6-3 6-3
  • Quarterfinal: Soderling 6-4 6-1 7-6
  • Semi Final: Murray 6-4 7-5 6-4

Nadal began the tournament with lackluster performances against his first two opponents. Many doubted his ability and the possibility of winning this years title. It wasn’t until his quarter final against Robin Soderling where eyebrows were raised and doubters were silenced. He showed a dominating force against the Swede which would then continue in the semi finals. He now comes into the finals as the favourite to win the title.

This time around, there’s more at stake for the world number one. If he wins tonight, he’ll equal Bjorn Borg’s record of six Roland Garros titles. If he loses, he will lose his number one ranking to Novak Djokovic.

So will we see Nadal make history? Or will we see a brand new world number one?

Nadal will play for his 6th Roland Garros title.

 Roger Federer

The Swiss maestro is arguably the best player of all time. He’s won 16 grand slam titles but only one french open title. The year he won, he defeated Soderling in the final who knocked out Nadal in the 4th round. Roger Federer comes into this match with a lot to prove.

  • 1st Round: Lopez 3-6 4-6 6-7
  • 2nd Round: Teixeira 6-3 6-0 6-2
  • 3rd Round: Tipsarevic 6-1 6-4 6-3
  • 4th Round: Wawrinka 6-3 6-2 7-5
  • Quarter Final: Monfils 6-4 6-3 7-6
  • Semi Final: Djokovic 7-6 6-3 3-6 7-5

Roger Federer came into the tournament as the number 3 seed and under the shadow of his younger competitors. Throughout the past fortnight, he’s proved us wrong and shown that he’s still a force within the men’s game. He’s only one set this french open and has played an overall better tournament than Nadal. Many of us predicted that Roger would be knocked out by Djokovic. But in fact it was Federer who surprised and ended the 43 match winning streak. Following this win, Roger will surely come in playing the best clay court tennis of his life.

In the previous round, Federer ruined Novaks chance of history when he stopped his legendery streak. If Roger wins tonight, he will stop Nadal equaling the record number of French Open titles and also knock Nadal off the number one ranking.

Can the swiss maestro finally overcome Nadal on clay? Or will NAdal be too strong once again?

Federer hopes to beat Nadal for the first time at Roland Garros.

 Betting Odds:

  1. Rafael Nadal 2/5
  2. Roger Federer  2

My Prediction

I’m unsure what will happen. Federer is playing the best clay court tennis of his life but Nadal seems too strong. Who could forget their last meeting in 2008. Three years later, he now has his own french open title. I’ll definately be rooting for the underdog Federer. But the statistics of all the head to heads and Nadals dominating force on clay is what makes me favour Rafa winning this year’s french open.

Djokovic Streak Ends at 41

The unstoppable force of Novak Djokovic has swept the world of tennis this season. However, his legendary run has finally come to an end. In the he loses after 41 consecutive victories , just one match short to equal the record of Mcenroe’s 42-0 streak in the 1984 season.

It all began in the Hopman Cup where Novak Djokovic didn’t lose a single match. He continued the form into the Australian Open where he beat Roger Federer and Andy Murray in the final on the way to victory. What we didn’t know was that these victories were only the beginning of his phenomenal run.

Djokovic wins the Australian Open.

He then followed this victory by winning in Dubai, Indian Wells, Miami, Madrid and Rome. These victories were also filled with difficult matches which the Serb eventually overcame. Djokovic defeated Nadal in both Indian Wells and Madrid after coming back one set down in both. He then continued this Rafa assault by defeating him again in the final of Rome. But it was Andy Murray who proved to be his greatest challenge. In their three hour encounter in Rome, Djokovic was two points from defeat until a double fault allowed him to come back and win the match. Throughout his streak, he lost ten sets in his matches against Nadal (two), Murray, Federer, Bellucci, Ferrer, Bedych, Lopez and Del Porto.

Coming into the french open, Djokovic emerged as a huge favourite to take it all while some predicted that his streak would end during the fortnight. Novak sailed past his first two matches to meet 2009 US Open Champion Juan Martin Del Potro in the third round. The Serb lost a set but came back the next day to win the next two. On what was supposed to be the match which he would most likely equal the record, his Italian opponent Fabio Fognini withdrew before their quarter final match which gave Novak a walkover into the semis.

Equaling the record suddenly got tougher as his next opponent was 3rd seed Roger Federer. Federer seemed in control as he won the first two sets. The former world number one has never lost a grand slam match from two sets up so Djokovic now faced mission impossible. The Serb began the third set with an early break to lead 3-0. He took advantage of his opportunity and took the set 6-3.

Confident Federer.

Djokovic looks above for help.

The fourth set began with both men holding their serves. In the 9th game at 4-4, Djokovic won a hard earned break to lead 5-4. But Federer denied a 5th set from happening and broke back in the following game. Another match tiebreak occured where dusk approached, the energy of the crowd turned electric and the future of the streak would be determined within the next several points.

The final moments were nail biting tennis. Federer hit his 17th ace followed by a winner to lead 6-3 in the tiebreak. Djokovic then survived a lucky net cord and served an ace to bring the score at 6-5. Hearts raced between the two players, the crowd and all the viewers watching at home. Roger tossed his final ball in the air and slammed an ace right down the middle to bring the crowd at it’s feet.

Federer into the finals.

 

The two champions embrace.

Roger Federer now faces 5 time French Open winner Rafael Nadal in the final in what we hope lives up to all their amazing matches. For Djokovic however, it’s a bitter loss. One win short of history and also one win short of the desired number one ranking. If Federer does defeat Rafa, then Novak is the new number one. In the next few weeks, it’ll be interesting how he bounces back after a tough loss. Though i’m sure that Novak will fight back in his following matches.

Roland Garros Quarter Final Review

The last two days of quarter finals is done and we now have our semifinalists. We’ve seen players step up to the occasion and get one step closer to the final. Although Novak Djokovic got a walkover into the semi finals, for everyone else, it wasn’t that easy as they battled the wind to get into the semi finals. Now we look back at the last two days of matches.

Federer Vs Monfils 6-4 6-3 7-6(3)

The Swiss maesrto is matched up against home favourite Gael Monfils. Gael Monfils came into this match an underdog despite winning their last match in the Paris Masters. Monfils began with a roaring start as he lead 3-1 in the opening set. Federer then bounced back to put the set back on serve. The 2009 champion didn’t allow Monfils any more chances as he took the first set 6-4, and won the next 6-3. Monfils began to lead Federer in the third set where Federer once again raced back from behind. The third set was determined by a tiebreak where he won 7-6 (3) in two hours and 34 minutes of play. Roger Federer will now play the long awaited match against Novak Djokovic in the semi finals.

Monfils congratules Federer.

Schiavone Vs Pavlyuchenkova 1-6 7-5 7-5

The veteren Schiavone battles against the Russian teenager Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova who has just reached her first grand slam quarter final and also upset the number three seed Vera Zvonereva. The match started with a surprise as Pavlyuchenkova dominated the first hour of play leading 6-1 4-1.It seemed all was lost for Schiavone until she battled back with the fierce passion she’s known for and won the second set 7-5. She continued the momentum in the third set with a dream start at 5-1. Pavlyuchenkova refused to go away as she went for all or nothing. The final set equalled at 5-5 where both players traded game points and break points where Schiavone finally broke and served for the match. Schiavone then clinched victory on her third match point and earning a place in the semi finals. Although Pavlyuchenkova didn’t win today, she leaves with a promising future ahead. Schiavone will now face Marion Bartoli for a place in the final.

Schiavone through to the semi finals.

Bartoli Vs Kuznetsova 7-6 (4) 6-4

The frenchwoman Bartoli comes in as the underdog against 2009 french open winner Svetlana Kuznetsova. Unlike Svetlana, Marion comes in with the home crowd behind her. She used this advantage to battle past the Russian. She lead 5-3 in the opening set before losing focus to see the scoreboard at 5-5. The set eventually went into a tiebreak where Bartoli took advantage of the situation and claimed the first set. She lead 2-0 in the second and both women began to hold their serves. Leading 5-4, Bartoli seized her opportunity and raised her arms in the air as she won match point. The last French woman to win the french open was Mary Pierce in 2000. Bartoli has come one step closer to becoming the next french woman to win her home grand slam.

Victory for Bartoli.

 

Li Na Vs Azarenka 7-5 6-2

Victoria Azarenka comes into her match one of the favourites to win this years french open. Her Chinese opponent Li Na comes into this match as the 2011 Australian Open runner up and her first appearance at the quarterfinals in Roland Garros. Both women have had success this year so this promised to be a thrilling clash. The match began with both women holding their serves in the first set.  Li Na eventually broke Azarenkas service game and won the first set 7-5. Azarenka fought hard to get back into the match, but the world number six was too strong as she took out the second set 6-2. Li Na will now face Maria Sharapova in the semi finals.

Li Na ousts Victoria Azarenka.

Sharapova Vs Petkovic 6-0 6-3

Both Maria Sharapova and Andrea Petkovic have claimed victory over each other this season. However it was Sharapova who was too much for Petkovic as she won convincingly on her least favoured surface. The match started with complete dominance from the Russian with a 6-0 2-0 lead. Despite what the score suggests, Petkovic actaully had game point in each game. The German seemed to be fighting back to equal the score at 2-2. Both women would then break each others serves. However, this game would be the last won by Petkovic as Sharapova raced to victory with 6-3 in the second set. She now faces Li Na in her semi final and equals her best result in the french open.

Sharapova screams into the semis.

 Murray Vs Chela 7-6 7-5 6-2

The result of this match was a predictable one, but the scoreline was not. The fourth seed who injured his ankle in his third round match, recovered from two breaks down in the first set only to win 7-2 in the tiebreak. The momentum seemed to switch to both men in the second set where despite blowing a 5-2 lead,Murray eventually took the second 7-5. Chela began to break down as the Brit began to lead the third set. After 2 hours and 53 minutes, Murray reached his first Roland Garros semi final and sets up a clash against world number 1 Rafael Nadal.

Murray in semis for the first time.

Soderling Vs Nadal 6-4 6-1 7-6

Robin Soderling is the only man ever to beat Rafael Nadal at Roland Garros. He proves as a huge threat as Nadal has struggled to play his best. The demonstration that the number one player has shown has silenced the doubters.  Nadal took early domination against the Swede with a convincing 6-4 win in the first set and a 6-1 win in the second set in just 33 minutes. The plan Soderling went for wasn’t going well as he hit many balls wide and saw Nadal chase ball after ball to see them smashed past him. The third set proved to be a thriller as Soderling dug deep and broke Nadals serve to equal at 5-5. After many incredible rallies, Nadal took the third set at 7-3 in the tiebreak to reach the semi finals. He now faces Andy Murray in the semi final and has now regained his form.

Nadal during an incredible rally.

 

French Open Mens Draw Analysis: One Week Later

Unlike the women’s draw, the mens side has been more solid and consistent. With the exception of a few absences and some pretty bad predictions from last week, the big four still remain in contention.

Quarter 1: Nadal

Previous Prediction: Nadal Vs Simon

Nadal hasn’t gone past his first two matches as smoothly as we hoped. Though he proved us wrong by an easy victory against Antonio Veic. He now faces Ivan Ljubicic who defeated an unwell Verdasco. Despite the potential challenge, Nadal will find his way into the quarters. Meanwhile, the following match promises to be battle with two time runner up Robin Soderling and home favourite and french man Gilles Simon. Soderling has the experience, but Simon will have the support.

Nadal Vs Simon

I still stand by my prediction even though Soderling is the better bet. I’m sure Nadal will win here.

Semi Finalist: Nadal

Quarter 2: Murray

Previous Prediction: Murray Vs Melzer

This section has completely opened up for Murray with the defeat of Jurgen Melzer. In the previous match, he badly rolled his ankle and says it still ached during his press conference. If this really does affect Murrays game, we will see a new semi finalist from here. It’s likely to be Victor Troicki who has to get past Murray to equal his best result. This is very difficult to predict with the injured ankle. Argentinian Juan Ignacio Chela and qualifier Alejandro Falla inhabit the other side of this quarter. Both have taken advantage of the open draw and one will achieve their first quarter final in a grand slam.

Troicki Vs Falla

Troicki may take advantage of Murray’s situation while Falla who almost knocked out Roger Federer in Wimbledon will over Chela.

Semi Finalist: Troicki

Quarter 3: Federer

Previous Prediction: Federer Vs Monfils

The quiet man of this years french open, Federer is fine to play with the spotlight on his two higher ranked opponents. He faces compatriot Stanislas Wawrinka who upset the number 9 seed Jo Wilfred Tsonga in a grueling five set match. In the other section is David Ferrer Vs sliderman Gael Monfils. Both have played well this year and have rised in the rankings.

Federer Vs Monfils

Monfils is powerful on clay, but I believe Federer will over come him in this match.

Semi Finalist: Federer

Quarter 4: Djokovic

Previous Prediction: Djokovic Vs Haas

I look back laughing at my prediction. I guess I expected too much of the returning veteran. Djokovic has proven his status as the favourite by defeating Juan Martin Del Potro. He faces another tough matchup against Richard Gasquet and the french crowd. I believe Novak should win this match and will likely win against Fabio Fognini or Alberto Montanes.

Djokovic Vs Fognini

Semi Finalist: Djokovic

Semi Finals:

Nadal Vs Troicki

It should be Murray, but i’ve changed my mind to Troicki after the sprained ankle. I’m sure Nadal will win this in three or possibly four sets.

Finalist: Nadal

Federer Vs Djokovic

An interesting match up, particularly on clay.I trust Novaks streak will still  go on after this match.

Finalist: Djokovic

Grand Final:

Djokovic Vs Nadal

This will be the match of the year. The streak will either end or continue after this tournament. In my opinion, Nadal will be the one ending it. In a grueling five set match I predict the winner will be….

 

Champion: Djokovic

A Look At The First Week Of Roland Garros 2011

There’s nothing more exciting than the first week of a grand slam. For me, this is mainly due to the busy schedule and the amount of matches that are available during the day. The first week of this year French open has been entertaining and yet surprising. The bets placed on players have now been questioned, particularly in the women’s draw. We’ve seen the top two seeds and last year’s runner up in the women’s field defeated. We’ve also seen the king of clay Rafael Nadal struggle to win his matches. The second week will be the business part of the tournament and it will sort out the champions from the tennis players. Before that happens, let’s look back at the memorable moments of the first week.

In the women’s draw, there have been some stunning upsets and some new stars born. I would like to go back to the very first match between Razzano and Gajdosova. This was a very sentimental match as both women have lost their husbands in the past few weeks. Jarmila Gajdosova divorced her husband weeks before the tournament and Virginie Razzano sadly lost her husband to a brain tumor. It’s unfortunate that these two had to meet each other in the first round but I would like to congratulate both women, particularly Razzano on coming back after losing so much.

Virginie Razzano bravely returns after the death of her husband.

Another memorable moment was the match between Lisicki and Zvonareva. Lisicki, a former Wimbledon quarter finalist, is returning from injury and a slump in her ranking and has given the world number three a run for her money. In this match, Lisicki has impressed and shown the potential of what she can bring to the game. It was a close and it was a long match. In the end Vera clinched the match after coming back match point at 5-2 down in the third set. A devastated Lisicki had to be taken off the court on a stretcher due to injury. I hope in the future that Lisicki can get fitter so she can really perform to her ability.

Zvonereva defeats a devastated Lisicki.

We’ve also seen a number of upsets in the women’s draw. Sharapova and Zvonareva were lucky to find themselves coming back to win their tough second round matches. However, Clijsters, Stosur and Wozniacki weren’t so lucky. Clijsters had a convincing lead in her match against Arantxa Rus, but she failed to maintain the lead and ended up losing the match. Meanwhile, the 2010 runner up Sammantha Stosur started off on a bad note by losing the first set. She looked like she was coming back after a quick second set win and an early break in the third set. Dulko continued to play consistently as Stosur began to play numerous unforced errors which in the end cost her the match and possibly, her place in the top 10.

Clijsters digs deep but loses her second round match.

Finally, we’ve seen the world number one Caroline Wozniacki demolished by Daniela Hantuchova. This is an upset that many didn’t see coming. Hantuchova in the past has a history of blowing big leads, but today she kept her level and kept her calm when it really mattered to achieve her equal best place in the tournament. All these upsets have caused the draw to be more open than it was before. This year we could see someone unexpected to win the whole thing, just like Schiavone last year. It will be interesting to see what becomes of the womens field in the next week.

Hantuchova celebrate victory.

We now move to the men’s draw where it’s been more consistent with the top players. We’ve still seen upsets from Berdych, Melzer and Tsonga in the early rounds, but the main competition and threats still remain in play.

Federer has been an underrated pick to win this year. With the focus now on Rafa and Novak, we now see Roger playing under the radar for once. Roger is now into the fourth round without dropping a single set. Nadal on the other hand had an unfortunate first round match up with John Isner. The match required him to fight hard as he faced defeat two sets to one down. In the end, he was able to claim victory over marathon man and big server John Isner. The second round match up was against compatriot Pablo Andujar who has taken fans by surprise by challenging Nadal on his dominant surface. He had great energy and self belief and has now made my list of favourite tennis players. Nadal has progressed now to the third round where he will meet Croatian Antonio Veic who knocked out Nickolay Davydenko in five sets. With the tough competition ahead in his draw, Nadal has to recover his form quickly to what we all expect from him for him to win the tournament.

Nadal celebrates a hard earned win.

Andy Murray has also been an underrated force in this tournament. Despite not being as strong on clay as his other three competitors, his draw has completely opened up with the defeat of number eight seed Jurgen Melzer. Murray will surely make the semis unless he plays terribly. He may not win the championship but he’ll be progressing far into the second week.

Finally, the red hot favourite player of the season and the big favourite to win is Novak Djokovic. Novak is coming in with a huge streak (not sure the exact number as every source tells something different). He’s coming in with a victory against Nadal on clay, which is reasonable for him to be picked as the favourite. But today, Djokovic now faces his biggest challenge in his third match encounter. Argentinean player Juan Martin Del Potro is his biggest threat to making the finals and ending his streak. The match currently stands at 6-3 3-6 and will continue later today. Whoever wins in my opinion will be in the final and likely to win the whole thing as well. For now, the epic battle will continue on court Suzanne Lenglen today.

Thumbs up from Djokovic.

The man who may end it all.

This concludes my look at the first week of Roland Garros. It’s been a really entertaining week and definitely worthwhile for me staying up in the cold to watch the matches. Tomorrow I will make a new analysis with some revised predictions on who will be the winners of the 2011 French open so be sure to follow my twitter account and subscribe to my blog. For now, enjoy the tennis and good luck to the players.