Tuesday, May 30, 2006

The Daily Backspin, RG 3: If a Russian Loses on the Terre Battue and There is Nobody Around To Hear Her Fall, Does She Still Make a Sound?

Hey, did ya hear about Andy Roddick losing? He did, you know. On Suzanne Lenglen, the former U.S. Open champion couldn't even finish his 1st Round match against Albert Martin.

(silence)

Oh, and Berlin champion Nadia Petrova lost on Court 2, too.

Now, onto bigger things.

(What, I can't get that past you?)

Allllll riiiiight... Petrova fell flat on her face during her first appearance in the tournament that was supposed to be her big-time coming out party. The only thing missing was a doom-laden visit from those damn pigeons. Yeah, she played with a leg injury (painful enough to forego sitting down during some changeovers... but if it was impossible for Scarlett to play a full match with it then she should have pulled her name out of the draw), and against an opponent in Japan's Akiko Morigami who was not to be overlooked despite her mediocre ranking, but a clunker is a clunker. And this was most definitely one for Petrova, who saw her fifteen-match WTA clay winning streak come to an unceremonious halt with a 6-2/6-2 defeat.

At least Akiko was happy after the match.



So, after dominating the clay circuit for the past two months, Petrova's worst Roland Garros result since her main draw debut in 2000 will likely be the prevailing memory of the period. Sort of the equivalent to a great, extended grass court exhibition put on by Jana Novotna going down in flames with a few glaringly sprayed shots on Centre Court (how fitting, considering previous discussions here at Backspin about the Novotna-esque quality of Petrova's slowly-building career... and here's to hoping a future "ultimate" victory will make character-building days like this one somewhat worthwhile in the end for Scarlett, too).

But, this time around, Nadia's gone. Yet Barbaro still lives. Is there no justice?



He still has three good legs, though. Petrova has only one.




So, Emily Westacott is safe... or at least the place next to her at history's dinner table will have to be set up with a different name card. "N.Petrova" won't be attending the party.

She has miles and miles to go before she sleeps... 'cus, alas, that Roland Garros title ain't comin' in 2006.

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Well, while there may be no j-u-s-t-i-c-e, there is still J-u-s-t-i-n-e.

JHH returned to the site of her '05 slam title and made quick work of Maret Ani, taking the first step toward removing all that nasty "tarnish" she put on Amelie Mauresmo's championship in Melbourne (seriously, isn't it well past the time that a stake was put through the heart of that non-story? Apparently not, if you're ESPN... which only remembers any tennis moment if it can be shown in full in the ten seconds that can be spared for the sport in a normal edition of "SportsCenter"). With no inherent conflict of interest involved in that never-will-be JHH/Petrova quarterfinal matchup, Backspin is now free to get behind an old favorite without the slightest hint of guilt.

Of course, don't expect any loud shouts from here about it. I wouldn't want to draw any pigeons Le Petit Taureau's way.

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Well, Slingin' Sammy Stosur had her singles ass handed to her on a plate by Ana Ivanovic today, 6-0/6-3. Thankfully for her, her doubles rump is still safely intact.

Some extended 3rd set action today, as Gisela Dulko (one of the more disappointing players on tour this year) finally had something go her way in an 11-9 decider win over qualifer Yulia Beygelzimer, and Anabel Medina-Garrigues outlasted 16-year Victoria Azarenka 9-7.

In the projected "Match of the Day," Jie Zheng continued the Chinese clay court ascension in Paris, taking out Tatiana Golovin 6-3/7-6 in the Frussian Pastry's return to action from that ankle injury in Miami. As of now, the Cookies might be the Roland Garros "Revelation Ladies" of the early rounds, going 4-2 with Zheng advancing along with Na Li, Shuai Peng and Tiantian Sun.

The other contenders for that title might just be the "forgotten" Americans, with Jamea Jackson (who now faces Anna-Lena Groenefeld in a rematch of that big Fed Cup upset), Shenay Perry and Ashley Harkleroad still breathing Parisian air, and Mashona Washington nearly taking out Maria Sharapova on Sunday. If the Chinese win the "Revelation Ladies" award, the Americans will likely be the "Upset Queens" even without the pigeons working their magic on Washington. Plus, Venus Williams is still lurking down the line in Mauresmo's path.

LAST QUALIFIERS STANDING: Julia Vakulenko, Aravane Rezai and Anda Perianu, with "lucky loser" Kirsten Flipkens holding on, as well.

JHH is the last of 2005's semifinalists left, with Petrova and Elena Likhovtseva losing, and Mary Pierce out injured.

All the women's 1st Round matches are now complete, save the Virginia Ruano-Pascual, 32, vs. Alize Cornet, 16, match that will be completed tomorrow.

*** *** *** *** *** *** *** ***

Goodbye, Andys. Both of you.

While Mr. Roddick's exit is no surprise, there was at least some thought that Andy Murray (a winner over Gael Monfils a few weeks ago) might survive his second match this month with the French teenager. It didn't happen, though. In the end, their five-set 6-4/6-7/1-6/6-2/6-1 match was fit for a porno fan... not of great quality, but at least it was long.

UNSURPRISING MATCH RESULT OF THE DAY: Ivo Karlovic def. Olivier Patience 7-6(6)/7-6(1)/7-6(10). Does Ivo ever do it any other way? He had 24 aces to 0 double faults today, while winning just 24% of the points while receiving serve. But that was a good stat in comparison to Patience, who won just 22% on Ivo's serve.

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DAY 4: Wednesday, May 31


**MATCH OF THE DAY**

...let's see.

There's Sharapova/Benesova, where the Czech Maiden had better remember that birdseed. Mauresmo/Dushevina, which probably won't be as good a matchup as one might hope. And Schnyder/Gajdosova, where Sneaky will try to avoid pulling a Petrova. If not, I advise Jarmila to duck if she sees a ball flying toward her head.

But for novelty's sake, I'll go with:


HUBER/M.NAVRATILOVA vs. G.NAVRATILOVA/PASTIKOVA

...I think I'll take the Navratilova team to win. Hmmm, is it just me, or does Gabriela Navratilova's photo almost look like it could be a mugshot of Martina?


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Hmmm, I see on the RG website that Petrova's leg injury occurred during practice. So, of course, it has to be asked. Were there any pigeons in the vicinity? Seriously, if anyone saw a winged creature resembling the one in the photo below hovering around the outskirts of Nadia's practice court, please report it to the Roland Garros authorities.



Hey, what else do I have to focus on when my Roland Garros pick goes out in the 1st Round?

(go justine.)

All for Day 3.

2 Comments:

Blogger Topaz said...

Hi, I've been a lurker for just a bit, but I love your match wrap-ups...keep it up!

Wed May 31, 07:57:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Todd Spiker said...

Thanks. Feel free to leave comments whenever you feel like it. :)

Wed May 31, 10:02:00 PM EDT  

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