Wimbledon 2011: Review Of The First Week

As Wimbledon takes it’s traditional break today, we shall look back at the week that was of this years Wimbledon championship. This tournament has come with stunning memories, frustrating rain delays and surprises in both the men’s and women’s singles.

The headline news of the womens field is the long anticipated return of the Williams sisters. Venus returns after a hip muscle injury which sidelined her for the majority of the season. The four time Wimbledon champion faced the toughest battle against the 40-year-old Kimiko Date-Krumm who took Venus to the distance. However it was nerves from Date-Krumm which helped Venus in the end as she enters the 3rd round and now will play in the fourth.

Venus Williams scrapes through an epic second round match against Kimiko Date-Krumm and is now in the second week of the tournament.

For Serena, the comeback to Wimbledon meant much more. After winning the championships last year, she had an accident in a restaurant by stepping on glass. However this injury would then lead to several medical problems which put Serena out for 11 months. She now returns, more thankful than ever. She too has engaged in some battles with three sets against Aravane Rezai and Simona Halep. However she comfortably won the gruntathon between her and Maria Kirilenko which earns her a spot in the fourth round where she will meet and inform Marion Bartoli.

Serena on fire against Maria Kirilenko.

In the beginning of the tournament, many players are either delighted or disappointed with their location within the draw. But imagine how it felt for John Isner and Nicolas Mahut to verse each other once again in the first round following their longest ever match last year. This was the match that the sporting world was talking about. But many questioned if this sequel of the Isner and Mahut saga would be just as good as the first. Unfortunately, this match didn’t go the distance as many hoped. Isner successfully prevented another marathon, much to the dismay of fans, winning 7-6 6-3 7-6. It took nine hours less to win this time around.

No marathon this time for Isner and Mahut.

This years championships has also been shaken up by numerous upsets from both the mens and the womens side. The womens side has lost 4 of its top 10 seeds before the beginning of the second week. Australian Sam Stosur was the first to be ousted as she lost to Melinda Czink in the first round. The nexpected upset of the French Open Champion Li Na came next as she lost an epic battle with wild card Sabine Lisicki. Finalist Vera Zvonereva was favoured to be a finalist or even win this years championships, but last years semi finalist Tsvetana Pironkova had different plans as she got revenge by winning in straight sets. Schiavone was the last upset of the top 10, blowing several opportunities and losing 11-9 in their two day match against Tamira Paszek.

Lisicki celebrates her win against Li Na. The score was 3-6 6-4 8-6.

The top men have been more solid with Murray, Federer and Nadal all cruising from match to match. Djokovic faced a challenge against Baghdatis which lead him to boiling point and a smashed racquet. However he still ended up winning in 4 sets. Unfortunately, top 10 seeds Roddick and Soderling weren’t so lucky.

Andy Roddick came in favour to win his match against the Spaniard in their third round clash, winning their last 7 meetings. But a big service game and a dominant and aggresive game plan lead Andy Roddick packing early, leaving a quarter final epic against Murray to never be fought. Another surprise was Robin Soderlings surprising loss against Aussie teenager Bernard Tomic. A stomach illness appeared to be troubling the Swede, but the Australian kept delivering different shots which frustrated the number 5 seed. After coming back two sets to love against Hewitt in the previous round, he was unable to pass another Aussie as Tomic wins the biggest victory so far in his career.

Feliciano Lopez shocks Andy Roddick in the third round.

On of the surprising events of the tournament was the form of the two qualifiers in the mens draw. Bernard Tomic and Lukaz Kubot both came from qualifying and have now reached the fourth round. Kubot had a great run in back to back grand slams with a 3rd round appearance in Roland Garros. He ousted an impressive field of competitors from Ivo Karlovic, Arnaud Clement and Gael Monfils and will now face Feliciano Lopez. Bernard Tomic as mentioned before has had stunning run and shows signs of the future of Australian tennis after Lleyton Hewitt. After ousting Davydenko, Andreev and Soderling, he now faces Belgian Xavier Malisse.

Tomic on a run at Wimbledon.

 

Before we conclude, this years Wimbledon has also been filled with some hilarious moments. It started with Caroline Wozniacki crashing Novak Djokovic’s press conference and grilling him about his one match losing streak. Also Ryan Harrison had a hilarious moment during his shirt change. It seemed he couldn’t figure out how to put on a shirt. Also a first round match up between Americans Alex Bolgomolov Jr. and Donald Young had a intense situation turn awkward and comical. Watch below to see what happened.

This concludes my review on the first week. For more posts on Wimbledon and tennis in general, subscribe or RSS to my blog. Also follow me on twitter for updates on current and future posts and events. If there is anyone you know who would enjoy this or should be recommended to, please share. Once again thank you for reading and feel free to comment on your view of Wimbledon.

All images are courtesy of the official Wimbledon page.

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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

 

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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.

 

Roland Garros Day 10: Quarter Finals Begin

Ten days have past and we now reach the business part of the tournament. The quarter finalist have been chosen, the field is getting smaller and the competition is getting tougher. Tennis fans are in for a treat today with three quarter final matches and a fourth round match which will conclude today.

The Conclusion Of Murray Vs Troicki

The match stands at two sets all at 4-6 4-6 6-3 6-2. The deciding set will be played today which will determine the final quarterfinalist of the mens draw. Murray has fought a spectacular comeback against the number fifteenth seed Troicki. Andy has played through the right ankle injury which prevented him to play his best tennis and in turn, losing the first two sets. Troicki lead a break in the third set which saw the likelihood of Murray’s departure more likely than ever. However, he fought through and found himself playing the shots he’s renowned for. He equaled the match at two sets all when the match was suspended. The two men would have to wait another day to continue there match.

Ankle injury seems to be taking it's toll

Troicki fighting for his first quarter final.

Murray should win this match due to the extra confidence of winning those last two sets and extra recovery time for his ankle.

Murray digs deep.

Judging on the past few days, it seems delayed matches have been a current trend. It started off with Djokovic Vs Del Potro, then we had Monfils Vs Ferrer and now we have Murray Vs Troicki. The question is, should scheduling be fixed to assure all matches finish before dark? With the exception of the Isner Vs Mahut which was something else. Also maybe Roland Garros should actually apply light in the stadium so matches can finish at night.

Federer Vs Monfils

The match which will determine the semi final opponent of Novak Djokovic. Federer comes in this match after playing a great first week and still yet to drop a set. Monfils comes in after winning a marathon match the day before against David Ferrer. Federer has the advantage physically and mentally in this match, even with a victory against Monfils in the French open in 2008 and 2009. The crowd will be behind Monfils today, however I believe they’ll show respect towards Federer in this match.

Effortless tennis by Federer.

The crowd all on their feet for Monfils.

I predict Federer in straight sets once again, though i’ll support Monfils. Federer will be a tough match up for Djokovic, especially with Djokovic fighting for equalling history.

Schiavone Vs Pavlyuchenkova

Pavlyuchenkova has finally made her breakthrough in a grand slam after shocking number 3 seed Vera Zvonereva in the previous round. The teenager faces the veteran Schiavone who beat Jankovic in the thrilling sets. Both women will fight for each point and attempt to out hit the other. Schiavone is likely to have the edge due to her grand slam experience, her current form and the possible support she’ll have from the crowd. I predict Schiavone in two sets.

Schiavone celebrates victory against Jankovic.

Kuznetsova Vs Bartoli

Many bets have predicted a Wozniacki and Stosur quarter. However, these two have taken advantage of their upsets. Bartoli has been a crowd favourite in the tournament. The question is, how does she use this support today against her opponent. Kuznetsova will be facing off against Bartoli with the confidence of winning the tournament in 2009. Although the crowd will be behind Bartoli, my prediction is that Kuznetsova will make quick work with the French woman in two sets and set up a possible encounter with Schiavone.

Marion Bartoli is the last french woman left in the french open.

Fabio Fognini: Man Of The Day

As the whole world is focused on the Swiss maestro Roger Federer on centre court, meanwhile on court Suzanne Lenglen, a battle has taken place between two unseeded players.

Representing Spain, we have Albert Montanes, thirty years old, ranked number 38 and fighting for his first ever grand slam quarter final.

Albert Montanes fighting for his first grand slam quarter final.

On the other side of the net we have Italian Fabio Fognini, twenty four years old, ranked 47 in the world and just reached the fourth round of a gran slam for the fist time.

Fognini fights Montanes for first quarter final.

The match was scheduled as the first in Suzanne Lenglen. Many were focused instead on Vera Zvonereva who lost her fourth round match today against Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova. By this time, the match had already reached the fourth set which was won by the Italian, leveling it at two sets all and the beginning of the fifth and final set.

Albert Montanes began to take control as he lead 5-2 in the final set. However, he failed to take advantage of this lead as Fognini fought back to equal 5-5. Both men then continued to hold their games comfortably, with Montanes fighting for a few match points.

As Fognini served at 6-7, 15-30, two points from defeat, he suddenly began to feel the unbearable pain of cramps in his left thigh. A controversial decision was made as he received a medical time out mid-game and fighting for serve. It’s interesting to note that medical timeouts for cramps in no longer allowed.

Fabio Fognini in obvious pain.

However Fabio continued to fight back, only restricted to move side by side. He faced numerous match points which were wasted by Montanes and also made a large number of foot faults. The crowd were divided, some were supporting his fighting spirit, other accused him of cheating.

After blowing several match points, Montanes lost his service game which put Fognini ahead at 10-9. After 4 hours and 22 minutes, he served through the pain to stun the thirty year old and win his match 4-6 6-4 3-6 6-3 11-9. Up next, Fognini will face Novak Djokovic in his first grand slam quarter final. This makes him the first Italian man into the final 8 of Roland Garros since 1995.

Fognini battles through the pain to win his match.

The Italian committed a total of 104 errors in the match. He admitted after the match that he may be unable to compete in his quarter final match saying “I am in a lot of pain. It’s not cramp, I felt the muscle stretch. I have 48 hours to recover. I don’t know about the next match. I will go and see the doctor and then see what happens.”

Many fans have shown support for Fognini, while other have labeled him as a drama queen. For me, Fognini fought hard and showed his fierce fighting spirit which he brings to the game. In my opinion, this has been the best match so far in this years french open. I’m excited to see what he’ll bring to the ATP tour in the future. Although it’s certain Djokovic will win, i’ll be going for the underdog Fognini in their next match. Good Luck Fabio Fognini in your next match and your future in your tennis career.