Five things we learned from day five at Roland Garros
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Rafael Nadal loves centre court. And why not. He has won nine French Open titles on the hallowed clay. And quite frankly if he can’t express his love on centre court … well, where?
Nadal made his declarations just after disposing of his fellow Spaniard Nicolas Almagro in straight sets to advance to the third round. After the game, Nadal told the crowd of his affections. It was done in French. Zut, alors.
Roger Federer is a smooth operator in French. Novak Djokovic has uttered a few words in the language of Molière and now the top hombré is joining le bandwagon. The review thought he’d stay resolutely with the English or Spanish. We feel a little let down. Et tu, Rafa?
There are no easy matches at this level
This is a phrase that is oft heard as elite sports players crunch each other into the dust. And you know what? They’re right to spout the cliché for there is truth within. Anna-Lena Friedsam is a 21-year-old German. She started on the tour in 2011 and has risen from 612 to world number 85.
Technically she should have been sliced up by the 19 times grand slam champion Serena Williams. But, oh no. The youngster took the first set 7-5 and had La Williams in all kinds of angst. Williams eventually edged the second set and just about held on after breaking early in the decider. It was not a splendid day for the world number one. But it is her and not Friedsam who is into the third round.
When in doubt listen to your big sister
Williams was abject bordering on the abominable during the match against Friedsam. But she does have elder sibling Venus – a winner of seven grand slams - to lean on in times of woe.
Musing after advancing to the third round, 33-year-old Serena said: “I don’t really want to reflect too much on the match. One thing Venus always tells me is that a win is always a win and as long as you live to survive the next day, you can always improve. My level is 100 times better than I played against Friedsam. I take more solace in the fact that I can play better as opposed to the fact that today was the best I could play … then I would be in trouble.” You said it sister.
Rankings are a mug’s game
If the example of Williams v Friedsam was instructive, then the match between Julia Goerges and Caroline Wozniacki was apocryphal. The two had played seven times before their second round clash on day five. Goerges, though, had won both of their encounters on clay. That did not change.
“On clay she has a way to make me feel that I am not playing very well. I was trying to do better this time on clay against her. It didn’t work. My game against her matches better on hard courts or perhaps on grass. But today she played well. She played the way she had to and I didn’t. I had like a million chances in the first set. I did not take them and when you don’t, you get punished. And you lose.”
They’ll do anything for entertainment
The British third seed Andy Murray spent two hours and 31 minutes coming through his second round match with Joao Sousa. After the four set win he encountered his post match interviewer Fabrice Santoro kitted out in a kilt.
“You said it was unusual to see me in shoes, so I thought I’d try another look,” said Santoro, a former tennis player, pointing to his kilt.
“I don’t know what to say … I really don’t know what to say,” gasped Murray.
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