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French Open

June 05, 2008|Chuck Culpepper

A look at Day 11 of the French Open and a look ahead to today's competition (world rankings in parentheses):


Roger Federer, Switzerland (1) -- defeated Fernando Gonzalez, Chile (25), 2-6, 6-2, 6-3, 6-4. Federer confessed to feeling "rattled" after being broken three times in the first set. Of course, "rattled" for him means one of his nerves budged.

Dinara Safina, Russia (14) -- defeated Elena Dementieva, Russia (8), 4-6, 7-6 (5), 6-0. Just as against No. 1 Maria Sharapova in the fourth round, Safina trailed by one set, trailed, 5-2, in the second set and trailed, 5-3, with a match point against her in the second set. Clearly, if you're leading her a set and 5-2, you are in deep trouble.

Svetlana Kuznetsova, Russia (4) -- defeated Kaia Kanepi, Estonia (49), 7-5, 6-2. "Motivation," Kuznetsova said. "It's just motivation." The 2004 U.S. Open champion and two-time Grand Slam finalist hasn't lost a set in five matches and would be, of course, a very popular titlist among her peers.

Gael Monfils, France (59) -- defeated David Ferrer, Spain (5), 6-3, 3-6, 6-3, 6-1. As Monfils ripped off his shirt, hurled it into the crowd and revealed that lanky torso to a roaring crowd, France had its first male semifinalist since Sebastian Grosjean in 2001. It's not bad for an unseeded 21-year-old who'd won five top-flight matches all year before this tournament.

France -- Monfils reached the semifinals and five guys reached the round of 16 even with injuries idling both its top player, Richard Gasquet, and its Australian Open finalist, Jo-Wilfried Tsonga. This must be some tournament to follow if you speak French.


Ferrer (5). Lleyton Hewitt took him to five sets in the third round, Radek Stepanek took him to five sets in the fourth round, and Monfils beat him in four sets Wednesday. "I tried to do what I could, but I was lacking this little sparkle to win the match," a tired Ferrer said.

Gonzalez (25). Wednesday's loss to Federer dropped Gonzalez to 16-1 on clay this year and cost him one racket, which he smashed to disfigurement and stuffed in a courtside trash can. So handy, that trash can.


Dinara Safina, Russia (14) vs. Svetlana Kuznetsova, Russia (4). Safina's case shows that in present-day tennis, a Russian player can build off an upset of a fellow Russian by beating another Russian to qualify for a match against yet another Russian.

Ana Ivanovic, Serbia (2) vs. Jelena Jankovic, Serbia (3) -- This will be the first Grand Slam meeting for the countrywomen, with Ivanovic leading, 5-1, in their head-to-head. "You know, she plays a different game," Jankovic said, alluding to Ivanovic's preference for short points. "For me, it has been hard to follow."

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