Friday, May 31, 2013

RG.6- After a Valiant Effort, The Rad Survives to Threaten Paris

Q: So, you ask, why is it that every slam seems to revolve around a Radwanskian threat around here, anyway?
A: Because It wants it that way.

Hmmm, maybe that might be a key to smiting The Rad in the end. We shall see.

Of course, such spotlight-seeking -- like yesterday's play-and-wait strategy hoisted upon half the draw -- did nothing to thwart the advance on Day 6, as Agnieszka Radwanska battled and defeated a game Dinah Pfizenmaier, 6-3/6-4, in a 3rd Round match which proved that The Rad's impact is indeed slightly weakened and "off-center" when faced with the demise of half Its human alter ego, even if the slayer of said Ula was placed before Aga on this day. Distraction IS possible. "Revenge" need not be an unbeatable obstacle when it comes to this malevolent entity.

(Note to self: tell Citzen Anna about this, though she likely already knows.)

Pfizenmaier had chances to push Radwanska and force her to come up with something extra, as her usual array of oddities weren't used to full effect today. But the German always came up just short. Perhaps it was that her hair wasn't as blonde as it used to be, allowing newly golden-tressed Aga to "have more fun?" She opened the match by breaking A-Rad at love, but then gave the break back a game later. Down 3-4, Pfizenmaier seemed to hit an ace to get to 30/30, but it was called out. With replay not in use in Paris because of the physical evidence left on the court, the call was then "confirmed" upon inspection of the mark by the chair umpire (I believe it was Mariana Alves, which leads to a whole new slew of conspiracy theories), though HawkEye seemed to show that the ball had indeed nipped the line. Down 15/40, Pfizenmaier then netted a forehand one point later to fall behind 5-3. Radwanska proceeded to serve out the set. In the 2nd, Pfizenmaier had two break point shots at 3-4, but failed to convert either.

Thus, the result matches (2008, 09 & '11) the deepest-ever penetration of Radwanskian forces in Paris. Previous incursions were stopped by the likes of Jankovic, Kuznetsova and Sharapova, but it is Ana Ivanovic who takes up the latest potential fight for survival in the next skirmish.

May peace be with you, AnaIvo.

...early in the day, Serena Williams continued her (so far) unassailable romp through the draw, taking out Sorana Cirstea 6-0/6-2 to reach the Round of 16. Elsewhere, Maria Sharapova finished off her 2nd Round match, eliminating Eugenie Bouchard, and Stefanie Voegele reached her first career slam 3rd Round by taking an 8-6 3rd set from Kaia Kanepi, coming from a 4-1 deciding set deficit to emerge with the victory.

The enigma that is Svetlana Kuznetsova is still alive in the draw, too. But one has to wonder if her minor break in concentration at the end of her 6-4/7-6 win over Bojana Jovanovski might be the first step toward oblivion for her at this Roland Garros. Up 4-2 in the 2nd, Sveta looked like she was going to coast to her ninth Round of 16 result in eleven appearances in Paris. But she served for the match at 5-4 and 6-5, getting broken both times, before winning a 7-3 tie-break to close things out. If Kuznetsova can't prevent the ball from rolling in the same direction it was in the late going here, it'll be good news for her next opponent, Angelique Kerber.

...a few Awards were wrapped up today, as Ashleigh Barty's 2nd Round loss meant that Virginie Razzano, a year after back-to-back years as the Joie De Vivre winner, is the "Last Wild Card Standing." Razzano then lost her 3rd Round match to Ivanovic.

Oh, and a "Zombie Queen" was crowned, too. Her name is Marion. Marion Bartoli. After slipping through her 1st Round match with Olga Govortsova the other day despite falling a break down on three different occasions in the 1st set (ultimately winning a 10-8 tie-break), saving two match points in the 3rd and winning on her own fifth MP, was at it again today against Mariana Duque-Marino, albeit on a smaller scale. In the 2nd Round encounter, Bartoli once again had to come from behind to win, falling back 4-1 in the 1st, then an early break in the 2nd before going on to win in straight sets, 7-6(5)/7-5. All hail the new, energetic ZQ.

(Hmmm, not that it really means anything, but the other four former Zombie Queen winners in Paris have either been ranked #1 or won a grand slam title, including two-time honoree Vika Azarenka, who's been both.)


Gael Monfils still being Gael Monfils. After all his heroics, and seemingly the recasting of himself as as much an actual player as entertainer, he STILL went out of this Roland Garros after blowing a two sets to none lead and four match points against Tommy Robredo. Even The Rad can't change Monfils. Maybe he should be enlisted in The Cause?

...and, finally, I had the final scene from "Thelma & Louise" pop into my head the other day when thinking about this Roland Garros. In a way, I suppose it's sort of fitting. Although, I'm not sure if its the movie version of the field throwing themselves up against Serena in a last ditch effort at final freedom... or whether maybe or not its akin to all of us going up against The Rad. Either way:

#1 Serena Williams/USA vs. #15 Roberta Vinci/ITA
Svetlana Kuznetsova/RUS vs. #8 Angelique Kerber/GER
#4 Agnieszka Radwanska/POL vs. #14 Ana Ivanovic/SRB
#20 Carla Suarez-Navarro/ESP vs. #5 Sara Errani/ITA
xx vs. xx
xx vs. xx
xx vs. xx
xx vs. xx

xx vs. xx
xx vs. xx
xx vs. xx
xx vs. xx
#32 Tommy Robredo/ESP vs. #11 Nicolas Almagro/ESP
#23 Kevin Anderson/RSA vs. #4 Davis Ferrer/ESP
#6 Jo-Wilfried Tsonga/FRA vs. Viktor Troicki/SRB
#15 Gilles Simon/FRA vs. #2 Roger Federer/SUI

2008 Dinara Safina, RUS (2 MP down in 4th, 2 MP down in QF; reached final)
2009 Victoria Azarenka, BLR (down 7-5/4-1 in 3rd Round, match suspended/darkness; reached QF)
2010 Samantha Stosur, AUS (down MP in QF; reached final)
2011 Maria Sharapova, RUS (down 6-3/4-1 in 2nd Rd.; reached SF)
2012 Victoria Azarenka, BLR (down 7-6/4-0 in 1st Rd.; avoided earlier #1 exit; reached 4th Rd.)
2013 Marion Bartoli, FRA (down break 3 times in 1st & 2 MP in 3rd set in 1st Rd.; 4-1 1st & break in 2nd set in 2nd Rd.; in 3rd Rd.)

2008 Mathilde Johansson/FRA & Olivia Sanchez/FRA (2nd Rd.)
2009 Olivia Rogowska/AUS (2nd Rd.)
2010 Jarmila Groth (Gajdosova)/AUS (4th Rd.)
2011 Iryna Bremond/FRA, Caroline Garcia/FRA & Pauline Parmentier/FRA (2nd Rd.)
2012 Claire Feuerstein/FRA, Melanie Oudin/USA & Irena Pavlovic/FRA (2nd Rd.)
2013 Virginie Razzano/FRA (3rd Rd.)

TOP QUALIFIER: Anna Schmiedlova/SVK
TOP EARLY-ROUND (1r-2r): #1 Serena Williams/USA
TOP QUALIFYING MATCH: Q2: #24q Barbora Zahlavova-Strycova/CZE d. Alexandra Panova/RUS 1-6/7-5/10-8
TOP EARLY-RD. MATCH (1r-2r): 1st Rd. - #13 Marion Bartoli/FRA d. Olga Govortsova/BLR 7-6(8)/4-6/7-5
FIRST VICTORY: #5 Sara Errani/ITA (def. Rus/NED)
FIRST SEED OUT: #11 Nadia Petrova/RUS (lost 1st Rd. to Puig/PUR)
UPSET QUEENS: Slovak Republic
NATION OF POOR SOULS: Czech Republic (2-8 in 1st Rd.)
LAST QUALIFIER STANDING: in 3rd Rd.: Ormaechea/ARG, Pfizenmaier/GER(L)
LAST WILD CARD STANDING: Virginie Razzano/FRA (3rd Rd.)
LAST PASTRY STANDING: in 3rd Rd.: Bartoli/FRA, Cornet/FRA, Razzano/FRA(L)
IT "??": xx
COMEBACK PLAYER: Nominees: Kuznetsova/RUS, Ivanovic/SRB, Mattek-Sands/USA, Jankovic/SRB
CRASH & BURN: #10 Caroline Wozniacki/DEN (4 of 5 pre-4th Rd. slam exits since lost #1 ranking, before which had reached 4th Rd.-or-better 10 of 11 times)
ZOMBIE QUEEN: #13 Marion Bartoli/FRA (1st Rd.: down a break 3 times in 1st & 2 MP in 3rd set; 2nd Rd.: down 4-1 in 1st & a break in 2nd set in 2nd Rd.; in 3rd Rd.)
JOIE DE VIVRE: Nominees: V.Williams/USA, Bartoli/FRA, Kuznetsova/RUS
AMG SLAM FUTILITY UPDATE: lost 1st Rd. to #6 Li Na, once again failing to reach a slam QF in her career (so Anna Smashnova still has a buddy)

All for Day 6. More tomorrow.


Blogger Zidane said...

The Hawk Eye having a margin of error, I would rather trust the good ol' imperfect human eye, especially when the Hawk Eye shows that it barely touched the line.

I guess The Rad might have lobotomized myself in my sleep.

Fri May 31, 07:33:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Diane said...

Was that actually a Hawk-Eye they were using for TV? The Hawk-Eye is a strung-together collection of, I think, ten cameras. Each camera gets a shot of the ball and the line, and then the Hawk-Eye computer mixes them all together and comes up with the best possible answer.

Prior to the use of such devices, line umpires had a 70% accuracy rate, which is truly terrible. I think it's way past time for Hawk-Eye to appear on clay courts. The "mark" isn't always clear--it isn't even always the right mark.

Fri May 31, 07:37:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Todd.Spiker said...

I don't know if that was the "official" Hawk-Eye or not. Not sure how they get that video animation where it zooms in when it's not officially being used.

Yeah, I'd generally agree that it's not necessary on the clay.
Although, as Ernests Gulbis showed a few weeks ago there can be quite a dispute even when the mark is on the court, or the line. At least the replay "settles" the issue, as all the players (well, maybe all but Federer) seem to agree to go along with what the system says, placing no blame on anyone and just moving on, no matter what the margin of error might be.

Fri May 31, 09:03:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Diane said...

The only thing I don't like about the Hawk-Eye system is that it made some of the chair umpires tentative and lazy. However, that situation seems to have improved in the last couple of seasons.

Federer would find fault if they used a diamond laser from the space program!

Fri May 31, 10:10:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Todd.Spiker said...


Fri May 31, 11:08:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Leif Mortensen said...

Have we got an American flying under the radar - I think so. B. Mattek-Sands is playing a good game of tennis right now and has just won over Ormaechea from Argentine and is going to meet Kirilenko/Voegele in round 4. And do we have an old champion back? - YES - Schiavone just played a terrific match against Bartoli and is going to meet Azarenka in next round. The way Azarenka played today Schiavone definitly has a good chance. Nice - congrats to both ladies.;-)

Sat Jun 01, 09:45:00 AM EDT  

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