Roland Garros: 5 things we learned on Day 13 - Elements rule Roland
The women's semis were played simultaneously on different courts and were completed. The men's semis were staged consecutively on the same court and only one was finished.
Good clean lateral thinking
The downpours on Wednesday that washed out the day’s play caused a scheduling conundrum. It meant that the men’s quarter-finals from the top half of the draw and the women’s last eight from the bottom section had to be played on Thursday and the semis would follow on Day 13. Normally, all the semis are played on Court Philippe Chatrier. But with threats of further showers on Day 13, that could not be risked. So how to divide the spoils and keep players and broadcasters sweet? The women’s semi finalists were not consulted and were placed on Court Suzanne Lenglen and Court Simonne-Mathieu – both named after women and the lads went on Chatrier. What could be simpler?
Liberté, égalité, controversé
More like what could be more disastrous. The WTA – which runs the women’s game – didn’t like the decision or attitude. Amélie Mauresmo, the French former women’s world number one, called it a disgrace. There were raised eyebrows too from the female semi-finalists. Especially since the men's semi-finals were not placed on separate courts and played at the same time. But it won’t happen again. All the big matches can go on Chatrier because there’ll be a retractable roof there next year.
The goddesses are having a last laugh
There was divine retribution. Play was called off at 1835 on Day 13 due to rain. The semi-final match between top seed Novak Djokovic and fourth seed Dominic Thiem had been going for 88 minutes. Had the two started their semi-final at around 1300 - the same time as Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal - on, say, Suzanne Lenglen, then the winner would have been probably home and getting ready for Sunday’s final instead of having to come back on Saturday at noon.
The unseeded Czech 19-year-old Marketa Vondrousova and eighth seed Ashleigh Barty will be the women playing in the final on Day 14 ON CHATRIER. They came through against the 26th seed Johanna Konta and the unseeded American Amanda Anisimova respectively. Barty’s progress was a marvel. She was 5-0 up in 15 minutes or so in the first set, had two set points but then lost six consecutive games before regrouping to take the set into a tiebreak. She lost that and was 3-0 down in the second set but she won six on the trot to pocket the set. See-saw stuff in the decider too which she claimed 6-3. Gritty performance.
Elemental Rafa winds Roger
Alpha bromancers Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal have 20 and 17 Grand Slam titles respectively. Rafa can make it 18 on Sunday after disposing of Federer for the sixth time at the French Open in 14 years. It was 6-3, 6-4, 6-2. Not as painful as some of the skewerings the Swiss has been subjected to in Paris. Still Federer was happy with his run to the semis. And impressed. “He played in an incredible way,” said Federer of his Spanish nemesis. “He has incredible abilities on clay. I don't look like I fight but I do. And I tried to turn the match around until the end. But the further we got into the match, the better he seemed to feel in the wind.”