The end of Djokovic’s 43-match winning streak

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Roger Federer ousted Novak Đoković in the semifinal at Roland Garros in four sets yesterday, breaking an impressive streak of the Serb consisted of 43 matches won in a row. Due to loss, Djokovic didn’t secure himself the number 1 … Continue reading

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Roland Garros – Day 13 (SF)

# Only for the fourth time in the Open era,  top four seeded players met in the semifinals at Roland Garros (12th time overall in majors). The other interesting historical circumstances: Nadal and Murray joined a relatively modest group of pairs that met in all four Grand Slam tournaments whereas Djokovic and Federer made the sixth pair to play in three consecutive Grand Slam tournaments!

1st semifinal:
(1)Rafael Nadal d. (4)Andy Murray 6-4, 7-5, 6-4    [3:17 h]

A bilaterally high-quality tennis in the first two sets, both players had the same amount of winners (11 in the 1st set and 12 in the 2nd set); in both sets Murray was arguably close to win them, but “King of Clay” responded with his amazing stamina in the most important moments. He already led 5:1* in the 1st set, but the Brit had two break points to level at 5 games apiece – Nadal saved break points with long rally and serve & volley action. There were four consecutive breaks of serve in the longest 2nd set (73 minutes), Murray finally broke the streak, led 5:4* – Nadal easily held then, and won five games in a row. From 2:0* in the 3rd set, the defending champion was only trying to hold his serve. The level of Murray’s game slipped significantly, however, he had break points in three consecutive games (six in total). Nadal won the last game of the match to ‘love’, producing very good shots to finish all rallies (two forehands, one backhand and smash). The Spaniard said on a chance to tie Borg’s record of six titles at Roland Garros: “[I have] a lot of respect for the great Bjorn, but I am focus[ing] on try[ing] to play well. For me, is much more important [to] win Roland Garros than equal Bjorn.” Nadal celebrated his 25th birthday with a cake after the victory… Stats of the match

2nd semifinal:
(3)Roger Federer d. (2)Novak Djokovic 7-6(5), 6-3, 3-6, 7-6(5)    [3:39 h]

It was their third straight Grand Slam semifinal and eighth Grand Slam match overall, which place them just two matches behind the record holders, Ivan Lendl and John McEnroe! Djokovic before the match had an unusual long break between matches (four days!) because of Fognini’s walkover in the last eight. The level of tennis in this second semifinal was tremendously high throughout. In the 1st set, Djokovic led 4:2, at 5:4* had a double set point – when Federer saved the first set point, Djokovic was ironically laughing because was caught “contre pied“. The Serb had also his chance in the tie-break – 5:4, but Federer won the last three points and took the initiative at the beginning of the following set. Djokovic was forced to save a lot of break points to avoid a ‘1-6’ or ‘2-6’ set. He raced into a 3:0 lead in the 3rd set and held his service games to the end of the set. The 4th and the last set was arguably the best set which was played on the day, and the most thrilling as well. Djokovic broke Federer after five deuces at 4:4 (the Swiss won his first four service games easily), but couldn’t push the match onto Saturday (there was 9 p.m. and potential 5th set was impossible). Djokovic had a break point at 5:5, in the 12th game was twice two points away from defeat. In the tie-break Federer with the help of two good serves made a triple match point – the Serb saved two of them, but at the third one, Federer served an ace down the middle (his 18th) and roared in ecstasy. 9:38 p.m. appeared on the on-court clock – it’s the latest finished match in the history of the tournament; by one minute has been surpassed a record established eight days ago by Chardy & Simon! “I’ve trained a lot during my whole life for these kinds of matches,” Federer admitted, “There was an enormous amount of pressure on Novak and he really played well.”

# Top 4 seeded players in Parisian semifinals:
1984: 1 – McEnroe, 2 – Lendl, 3 – Connors, 4 – Wilander
1985: 1 – McEnroe, 2 – Lendl, 3 – Connors, 4 – Wilander
2006: 1 – Federer, 2 – Nadal, 4 – Nalbandian, 4 – Ljubicic
2011: 1 – Nadal, 2 – Djokovic, 3 – Federer, 4 – Murray
# Pairs of players who have faced each other at all four majors (in parantheses – years between they did it):
(1985-1987) H.Leconte vs. A.Mansdorf
(1980-1989) J.McEnroe vs. I.Lendl
(1983-1989) J.McEnroe vs. M.Wilander
(1991-1993) S.Edberg vs. J.Courier
(1991-1994) P.Sampras vs. J.Courier
(1989-1995) P.Sampras vs. M.Chang
(1990-1995) P.Sampras vs. A.Agassi
(1992-1996) P.Sampras vs. T.Martin
(1994-2000) P.Sampras vs. M.Tillstrom
(1995-2000) P.Sampras vs. M.Philippoussis
(2004-2006) R.Federer vs. N.Kiefer
(2002-2006) M.Safin vs. O.Rochus
(2005-2007) D.Tursunov vs. T.Henman
(2001-2009) A.Roddick vs. L.Hewitt
(2007-2009) R.Federer vs. JM.Del Potro
(2007-2011) R.Nadal vs. A.Murray
# Three consecutive matches at all slams:
(US Open 1983 – Roland Garros 1984) I.Lendl vs. M.Wilander
(Roland GarrosUS Open 1984) J.McEnroe vs. J.Connors
(Roland GarrosUS Open 2003) P.Srichaphan vs. D.Hrbaty
(Wimbledon 2005 – Australian Open 2006) R.Federer vs. N.Kiefer
(Roland GarrosUS Open 2008) J.Chardy vs. F.Gil
(US Open 2010 – Roland Garros 2011) N.Djokovic vs. R.Federer
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Roland Garros – Day 10 + 11 (QF)

1st quarterfinal:
(2)Novak Djokovic d. Fabio Fognini w/o

Fognini [49] suffered an injury (left leg) during his epic win over Albert Montanes and decided to pull out of the quarter-final match against D’Joke. It’s the first case at Roland Garros in the Open era that a player gives a walkover in the last eight or onwards (the last time in Paris, it occurred in 1965 when Cliff Drysdale received a walkover from Thomas Lejus at the same stage of the tournament). It means that the Serb is just one win away from reaching the No. 1 in the world – he has to win his semifinal match; if he wins, he will equal McEnroe’s record of the most winning matches to open a year (42). “I have a small muscle tear and the doctors have decided that I should not play” said Fognini – the first Italian man to reach the Roland Garros quarter-finals since Renzo Furlan sixteen years ago.

2nd quarterfinal:
(3)Roger Federer d. (9)Gael Monfils 6-4, 6-3, 7-6(3) [2:34 h]

It was their third meeting on Centre Court in Paris in the last four years. Both previous encounters (semifinal in 2008 & quarterfinal in 2009) Federer won easily. This time wasn’t otherwise out there, although Monfils is a better, more matured player… Federer served less aces than usually (only 4), but his 1st serve average speed was very good – 194 kmh – which definitely helped him in windy conditions, along with the forehand that was functioning very well throughout the match. Monfils couldn’t force Federer to play more from the backhand side, the Frenchman didn’t risk anything at 30-15 in two Federer’s important service games (“Lamonf” leading 5:4 & 6:5). Federer wasted six break points in total at 4:4 & 5:5, but stayed focused and won the tie-break convincingly on the third match point with a solid forehand winner. Federer on Djokovic: “He’s been playing fantastic this season, so I know I have to play some of my best tennis. I have a couple of days to prepare for that and come up with a good game plan.”

3rd quarterfinal:
(1)Rafael Nadal d. (5)Robin Soderling 6-4, 6-1, 7-6(3) [2:35 h]

Nadal and Soderling met on Centre Court in Paris for the fourth time #. It was almost a copy of their last year’s final. The only difference this year – 3rd set, in which Soderling had his slim chances. Nadal won easily first two sets against the shaky and tentative Swede. The defending champion led *2:0 in the 3rd set, but Soderling relaxed himself and made a ribreak, later on had three break points at 5:5. It was a time when Nadal was pushed to a deep defensive and all depended on Soderling’s winners/unforced errors ratio. “I am through. I’m in the semifinals, so that’s the thing,” Nadal said, “I have to be playing better and better every day if I want to have chances to win the final and that’s what I’m going to try.”

4th quarterfinal:
(4)Andy Murray d. Juan Ignacio Chela 7-6(2), 7-5, 6-2 [2:53 h]

This match was playing on Court Suzanne Lenglen, concurrently with the Nadal-Soderling encounter. Murray won his first match point just ten minutes after Nadal celebrated his advancement to the semi-finals. It was a quarter-final consisted of long rallies on a regular basis. Initially, better dealt with them Chela (4:1 in the 1st set with two breaks), but Murray implemented successfully drop-shots over time. It allowed him to mix the pace, and confused Chela made a double fault on his third  set point. The Brit took the tie-break easily and dominated the next two sets. Chela admittedly won five games in the 2nd set, but Murray already had set points serving at 5:2 in that set… The Argentinian had a better tournament than would have expected, but a worse consideration for him is the fact that he confirmed a status of the eternal quarter-finalist ##. Just like Nadal and Soderling, Murray and Chela met in Paris for the third straight year (!) – Murray has won seven meetings in a row against the Argentinian veteran.

The prospect of the Friday semi-finals is great: four best players in the world, Nadal fights to maintain his No. 1 position and (if wins) tie Bjorn Borg‘s record in number of the French Open triumphs; Djokovic tries to become the new No. 1 and (if wins) overcome John McEnroe‘s record of the most consecutive wins to open a year!

# Four matches between Nadal and Soderling on Philippe Chartier Court:
2006, 1R:  Nadal d. Soderling  6-2, 7-5, 6-1
2009, 4R:  Soderling d. Nadal 6-2, 6-7(2), 6-4, 7-6(2)
2010, F:     Nadal d. Soderling  6-4, 6-2, 6-4
2011, QF:  Nadal d. Soderling  6-4, 6-1, 7-6(3)
## Chela’s quarterfinals in the most prestigious events:
Masters 1000: 2002 – Miami; 2003 – Monte Carlo, Madrid; 2004 – Indian Wells, 2005 – Hamburg; 2007 – Indian Wells, Miami, Rome
Grand Slam: 2004 – Roland Garros; 2007 – US Open; 2011 – Roland Garros
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Roland Garros – Day 8 + 9 (4R)

The highest ranked player born in the 70’s – Juan Ignacio Chela [34] prevailed in five sets against qualifier Alejandro Falla [120], who was trying to join Thierry Champion, Adrian Voinea, Filip Dewulf and Marcelo Filippini as the fifth player to reach Roland Garros quarter-finals after playing the qualifying tournament. The Colombian was pretty close, leading two-sets-to-one he squandered four break points at 4:4 – Chela saved two of them ripping forehands. The 31-year-old Argentinian won 4-6, 6-2, 1-6, 7-6(5), 6-2 in 3 hours 55 minutes. Chela has won his last 7 five-setters, it’s intriguing that he had lost the first eight five-set meetings  and was one game away from losing another one, when the luck suddenly changed its direction!
The same amount of time on court spent Andy Murray [4] and Viktor Troicki (two-day battle, suspended at 2 sets apiece). Troicki [15] led 5:2 in the 5th set, ’30-0′ serving in the following game, but more patient and clever tactically Brit survived 4-6, 4-6, 6-3, 6-2, 7-5. It was a weird match overall, Murray started it with a 0:5 deficit (three breaks of serve), then had two break points to level at ‘5 all’. In the 3rd set, Serbian player led 3:2 with a break when the momentum shifted. “I was a bit nervous and didn’t go for my shots at those points, and he took advantage of it,” Troicki said, “Definitely one of the toughest losses in my career.”
Roger Federer, Novak Djokovic and Robin Soderling won their matches without any serious troubles. These three guys presented the best form in the four rounds (Federer as the only one hasn’t even dropped a set). Rafael Nadal doesn’t impress this year, he now faces Soderling in a repeat of last year’s final.  “I have improved since the tournament started. I’m able to play better and I’m going to continue on this path,” said Nadal adding on his next match, “For me it will be a tough match. He’s played two finals here at Roland Garros, so he knows what this means.”
A match between Gael Monfils [9] and David Ferrer [7] on Court Suzanne Lenglen was stretched over two days due to darkness. The match was suspended with Ferrer leading 2:0 in the 4th set. Monfils losing the first game after the resumption, strategically tanked the set, but came back to his his standard attitude at the beginning of the 5th set and got a break to lead 3:1. Serving at 5:3 he had a double match point, another match point at 6:5. Tenacious Ferrer had a moment of hope in the 13th game, but Monfils fought off a break point with a service winner. In the following game he passed the Spaniard twice, broke him to “love” to notch a 6-4, 2-6, 7-5, 1-6, 8-6 victory in 4 hours 7 minutes. Monfils is the second best 5-set specialist (behind Nadal) among players who have played at least 10 five-setters. Ferrer, once the second best, has currently lost 4 five-setters in a row, including two to Monfils #.

Longest match:
4 hours, 22 minutes: Fabio Fognini d. Albert Montanes 4-6, 6-4, 3-6, 6-3, 11-9
Most aces:
12 – Andy Murray, defeated Viktor Troicki in five sets
5-set barometer:
13-9 David Ferrer
11-5 Andy Murray
9-2 Gael Monfils
7-8 Juan Ignacio Chela
6-2 Albert Montanes
5-5 Fabio Fognini
5-5 Viktor Troicki
2-4 Alejandro Falla
# Two five-setters between Gael Monfils and David Ferrer in France:
Davis Cup QF, 2010 (Clermont-Ferrand): Monfils d. Ferrer 7-6(3), 6-2, 4-6, 5-7, 6-4 – 3 hours, 57 minutes
Roland Garros 4R, 2011: Monfils d. Ferrer 6-4, 2-6, 7-5, 1-6, 8-6 – 4 hours, 7 minutes
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RG, 4R: Foggy comedy (against all odds)

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As 24-year-old Fabio Fognini [49] and seven years older Albert Montanes [38] a few minutes after 11 a.m. stepped into the Court Suzanne Lenglen, probably no-one thought it would be the most dramatic match of this year’s tournament. I’ve been watching … Continue reading

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Roland Garros – Day 6 + 7 (3R)

Just like during an adequate stage of the Australian Open ’11, the third round at Roland Garros disappointed. There weren’t any upsets, only one 5-set match was played, in which the final outcome was predictable in the last two sets…
Rafael Nadal [1] after awkward first two matches, came back on the right track trashing Antonio Veic [227] 6-1, 6-3, 6-0 in 101 minutes to improve his sensational Roland Garros record to 41-1! Similarly easy passage had Roger Federer, Robin Soderling and Andy Murray (twisted his right ankle in the 2nd set) – all guys dropped just 7-8 games during their straight set victories.
Novak Djokovic [2] made a new record # of the most successive wins in a season – 40 – overcoming Juan Martin del Potro [26] in the first match of this year’s Roland Garros which lasted two days – the match was suspended due to darkness at one set apiece. Djokovic drew conclusions after the first two sets and changed his tactics on Day two, playing consequently on Del Potro’s weaker backhand. The Serb won in four sets (6-3, 3-6, 6-3, 6-2) and said: “I knew before the match he was going to be a difficult opponent to beat. I went into the match a bit more nervous than usual and we both made a lot of unforced errors at the start. I think I was managing to control my game a little bit better today and I think that resulted in the win.”
In the most interesting third round battle between two 26-year-old players, Stanislas Wawrinka [14] came back from the brink against 20 days younger Jo-Wilfried Tsonga [17]. Wawrinka trailed 0-2 in sets and *1:4 in the 3rd set. Tsonga leading 6:5 was only two points away from victory, also at 5:4* in the tie-break. The high quality tennis disappeared after the tie-break in a consequence of Tsonga’s physical problems. Admittedly he began the 4th set with a break, but since then, Wawrinka took control on the occurrences and converted his third match point in a shaky last game to win the second time in his career escaping from a tie-break at a 0-2 deficit in sets ##.
Alejandro Falla with Juan Ignacio Chela and Fabio Fognini with Albert Montanes found themselves in the same section of the draw in the last 16, and it means that at least two unseeded players (Ivan Ljubicic may be the third one) will appear in the quarter-finals. One first-time quarter-finalist in majors is guaranteed from a Fognini-Montanes pair. The only qualifier in the last 16, Falla says: “I was having a lot of trouble; I was almost beaten by a German in the second round of the qualifiers. I managed to get through it, and that was the turning point.” The Colombian was a break down in the 2nd set and a point from a *1:5 deficit in the 3rd set of his match against Sebastian Rieschick (Falla won 1-6, 6-4, 7-5).

Longest match:
4 hours, 3 minutes: Stanislas Wawrinka d. Jo-Wilfried Tsonga 4-6, 6-7(3), 7-6(5), 6-2, 6-3
Most aces:
12 – Alexandr Dolgopolov and Viktor Troicki in a 4-setter against each other
5-set barometer:
15-9 Stanislas Wawrinka
5-2 Jo-Wilfried Tsonga
# The five longest streaks to open a season (season! not year):
40 – Novak Djokovic (2011)
39 – John McEnroe (1984)
25 – Ivan Lendl (1986)
19 – John McEnroe (1985)
18 – Bjorn Borg (1980)
## Wawrinka’s two similar 5-set wins (won tie-break at 0-2):
US Open 2006, 2R: Robin Soderling 6-7(4), 2-6, 7-6(4), 6-0, 6-1
Roland Garros 2011, 3R: Jo-Wilfried Tsonga 4-6, 6-7(3), 7-6(5), 6-2, 6-3
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Roland Garros – Day 4 + 5 (2R)

On Court No. 17, Guillermo Garcia-Lopez [33] and Marsel Ilhan [123] played one of the longest Parisian 5-setters in terms of games in the decider #. The Spaniard, who seeks his first fourth round in majors (26 appearances), saved a triple mini-match point at 5:5 and won 6-4, 1-6, 6-2, 4-6, 13-11 in 3 hours 58 minutes, obtaining the only break of the 5th set in the final game.
All Top 5 players moved safely through into the third round, however in different styles. Roger Federer [3] had a training session against Maxime Teixeira [181], for whom the second round at the Roland Garros was the best result in career. During his 6-3, 6-0, 6-2 win, Federer notched a 13-game winning streak. The match lasted 84 minutes, 8 minutes less than a third set of Rafael Nadal’s [1] encounter against Pablo Andujar [48]. The defending champion saved a personal record of eight set points in a 7-5, 6-3, 7-6(4) victory in 3:18 hrs on the Suzanne Lenglen court. Andujar led *5:1 (40-0) in the 3rd set, had an adv-SP and another 4 set points in the following game. He led also 30-0 at 5:4! After a similar scoreline (7-6, 6-4, 7-5) to the third round advanced Andy Murray [4], he rallied from a 3:5 deficit in two sets. “It was so difficult because the wind wasn’t consistent; it was swirling the whole time,” explained Murray his troubles against Simone Bolelli [126]. “There was no real rhythm and your legs get kind of tired too because you’re doing so many small adjustment steps. It was really tricky today“.
Novak Djokovic [2] wasn’t even forced to play full three sets because his opponent Victor Hanescu [60] retired (left thigh strain) in the middle of the 3rd set; it’s interesting that he did it against Djokovic for the third time in six meetings! I’m looking forward to D’Joke’s next match against Del Potro. The Serb has won 41 straight matches, the Argentinian 9 (21 out of last 23). “It’s going to be a great match, a battle, and he has always had a quality to be at the top of the men’s game“, Djokovic said. “He is playing equally well on any surface. Big serve, great groundstrokes. For his height he’s moving really well. He’s just overall a top player for me. It’s going to be a big challenge for both of us, obviously a great match for people to see.”
Six qualifiers are still in the tournament after first two rounds. Lukas Rosol [111] becomes the biggest revelation among them. Tall (196 cm) and skinny Czech has won two consecutive 5-setters. Today against last year’s semifinalist Jurgen Melzer [8], came back from the brink – *1:4 (15-30) in the 4th set (Melzer missed an easy overhead), then saved two match points at 5:6 – the first one with an ace, the second one with risky backhand cross-court immediately after Melzer’s return. In the 5th set Melzer leveled from 1:4 to “4 all”, but Rosol prevailed with his offensive, uncompromising ground-strokes. Rosol won just two ATP matches before the Roland Garros ’11. Melzer will drop out of the Top 10 and probably will never come back…
The organizers can’t complain so far, their four best players (Simon, Tsonga, Monfils and Gasquet) didn’t waste too much energy, each of them won his match in a more than 2-hour battle. Gilles Simon [18] managed to do this just before the darkness. His match (4-6, 6-4, 6-1, 6-4) with fellow Frenchman Jeremy Chardy [61] was finished at 9:37 p.m. – the latest finished men’s match in the Roland Garros history. Chardy had a break point in the last game – if had converted it, the match most likely would have been suspended to Friday.

In the first round in doubles, Daniel Nestor claimed his 800th doubles match win as the first man in history ##, partnering Max Mirnyi to a 7-6(6), 6-3 victory over Frenchmen Gael Monfils and Josselin Ouanna. “To be honest, I wasn’t thinking about it,” said Nestor. “I was reminded back in the locker room but it’s not something I was thinking about during the match.”

Longest match:
3 hours, 59 minutes: Lukas Rosol d. Jurgen Melzer 6-7(4), 6-4, 4-6, 7-6(3), 6-4
Most aces:
24 – Marsel Ilhan, five sets, lost to Guillermo Garcia-Lopez
5-set barometer:
13-11 Jurgen Melzer
12-8 Nikolay Davydenko
6-8 Juan Ignacio Chela
3-3 Guillermo Garcia-Lopez
2-4 Kevin Anderson
2-1 Marsel Ilhan
2-0 Antonio Veic
2-0 Lukas Rosol
# The six longest Roland Garros matches in terms of games in the 5th set (the Open era):
2007: 1R – Philipp Kohlschreiber d. Lukas Dlouhy 6-2, 3-6, 7-5, 4-6, 17-15
2004: 1R – Fabrice Santoro d. Arnaud Clement 6-4, 6-3, 6-7, 3-6, 16-14
1985: 1R – Darren Cahill d. Mark Dickson 3-6, 6-2, 6-1, 2-6, 14-12
1994: 2R – Ronald Agenor d. David Prinosil 6-7, 6-7, 6-3, 6-4, 14-12
1992: 2R – Emilio Sanchez d. Wally Masur 3-6, 5-7, 6-3, 6-4, 13-11
2011: 2R – Guillermo Garcia-Lopez d. Marsel Ilhan 6-4, 1-6, 6-2, 4-6, 13-11
## Five players with the most wins in doubles (the Open era):
1). 800 – Daniel Nestor
2). 782 – Todd Woobdridge
3). 729 – Mark Knowles
4). 723 – Sherwood Stewart
5). 709 – Jonas Bjorkman
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Roland Garros – Day 3 (1R)

The five-time Roland Garros champion – Rafael Nadal [1] – changed colour of his shirt (from yellow to blue) and stepped onto the court in new shoes with a revealing number “5” which has to indicate the number of his triumphs in Paris, however, today only reminded that Nadal is a 5-set master #. Today’s opponent John Isner [39] is tough, but rather out of form lately and we could expect Nadal’s straight set victory. Perhaps the Spaniard has lost a bit of his confidence after two defeats to Djokovic on clay within seven days and played below his normal level – lost the 2nd set despite ‘4:2’ up and the third one despite a set point at 6:5*. Isner couldn’t stand the pace though, and lost the next two sets explicitly. In the crucial 3rd game of the final set, Nadal passed him three times in a row with returns. Credit to Isner for his fighting spirit, he saved a match point at 3:5, and played a great rally from the baseline at 30-30 in the following game. The champion converted his first match point with powerful forehand and prevailed after 4-hour battle – his first 5-setter in Paris! “Always it’s very, very close match against John because with his serve he arrives to the tiebreak and you play under pressure all the time,” Nadal said. “For moments in the tiebreak, I didn’t play very well. I was probably too nervous.”
Theoretically the fourth best clay-court player at the moment (24-6 record in ’11) beside Djokovic, Nadal and Ferrer, Nicolas Almagro [12] was stunned by a qualifier Lukasz Kubot [122], whom had beaten in three previous meetings. The Spaniard, who notched his 10th career title three days ago in Nice, after winning easily the first two sets, led 5:4* (30-15) in the 3rd set – Q-bot won the point with a combination of smash and volley. Almagro led 4:2 and had a double mini-match point in the 7th game of the 4th set, but Kubot escaped again. ‘Cabeza’ was serving at 6:5 and again was two points away from victory at 30-15, although Kubot leveled at two sets apiece. In the decisive set Almagro led 3:0*, but couldn’t maintain his lead also this time and after 3 hours and 50 minutes the Pole celebrated one of the most amazing wins of the season. Only a few players lose a match in career being close to win all losing sets leading 2-0, Almagro has suffered this type of loss for the second time! ##
Two veterans, former Australian Open finalists, and the oldest players of this year’s Roland Garros, Rainer Schuettler (35 years) and Arnaud Clement (33.5 years), maybe this year for the last time appeared in the main draw. Today, Clement [158] won a tight 4-set battle against Filippo Volandri [73] 6-3, 1-6, 7-6(9), 6-4 (the Italian led 4:0 in the 3rd set and had 3 set points in the tie-break) whilst Schuettler [98] was outplayed by Alexandr Dolgopolov [22] in straight sets. The second section of the draw is wide open, I suppose only Dolgopolov can inhibit Andy Murray in the 4th round from advancing for the first time in career to the Parisian semi-finals.

Longest match:
4 hours, 1 minute: Rafael Nadal d. John Isner 6-4, 6-7(2), 6-7(2), 6-2, 6-4
Most aces:
22 – Kevin Anderson, four sets, defeated Nicolas Mahut
5-set barometer:
15-3 Rafael Nadal
12-12 Xavier Malisse
11-6  Dmitry Tursunov
8-8 Nicolas Almagro
7-4  Lukasz Kubot
3-5 John Isner
2-2 Edouard Roger-Vasselin
1-0 Lukas Rosol
# Top 5 in 5-setters in the Open era by percentage (at least 15 matches)
1. (.833) 15-3 Rafael Nadal
2. (.818) 18-4 Johan Kriek
3. (.813) 13-3 Ross Case
4. (.812) 26-6 Bjorn Borg
5. (.762) 16-5 Harold Solomon
## Almagro’s two defeats being close to win all losing sets at 2-0 ahead:
US Open ’08, 3R: G.Muller  7-6(3), 6-3, 6-7(5), 6-7(6), 5-7
Roland Garros ’11, 1R:  L.Kubot  6-3, 6-2, 6-7(3), 6-7(5), 4-6
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Roland Garros – Day 2 (1R)

Novak Djokovic [2], the main contender to the title (along with the defending champion Rafael Nadal), has successfully begun his Roland Garros campaign. The Serb outplayed in the first round Thiemo de Bakker [71] 6-2, 6-1, 6-3, notching the # 40th consecutive win and improving his record in 2011 to 38-0! He displayed his amazing form especially in the 3rd game of the 2nd set when hit two winners from the baseline, drive-volley and finished the game with a combination of overhead and dropshot. Djokovic: “It was a great first match for me in Roland Garros. I was serving really, really well and being very aggressive, using every opportunity to step into the court. I was quite in control of the match.”
Very likely in the eagerly anticipated third round encounter, Djokovic will meet Juan Martin del Potro. The Argentinian [26] needed four sets (6-7, 6-3, 7-5, 6-4) to dispatch Ivo Karlovic [148]. ‘DelPo’ saved three break points in the vital 6th game of the 3rd set… On the opposite pole to Djokovic is Andrey Golubev [44]. The Kazakh lost today his 12th straight match (in four tight sets to Thomaz Bellucci) – it’s 10 matches away to overcome Vincent Spadea‘s shameful record of 21 consecutive defeats (1999-2000).
The biggest upset of the day came from Court No. 2 where last year’s semi-finalist Thomas Berdych [6] won easily first two sets against qualifier Stephane Robert [140]. 31-year-old Frenchman delighted his supporters winning convincingly another two sets. In the topsy-turvy 5th set, Berdych led 4:2 and had a match point at 5:4 – Robert saved it with a service winner, and got the next point with a forehand winner breaking string in his racquet. Five games later, Robert broke his opponent with six winners in just one game (!) and made his first win (3-6, 3-6, 6-2, 6-2, 9-7) being one point away from defeat, simultaneously getting the first 5-set triumph and beating for the first time in career a Top 10 player. “I gave it all today,” said Robert, who hit 62 winners. “I fought for my life.” Berdych concluded “That’s tennis. That’s what can happen in the long matches. Sadly it happened to me today.” Berdych last year lost in Paris also in a 5-set match, but then it was a semi-final clash.

Longest match:
4 hours, 27 minutes: Albert Ramos d. Javier Marti 6-3, 6-7(5), 4-6, 6-1, 6-3
Most aces:
22 – Ivo Karlovic, lost in four sets to Juan Martin del Potro
5-set barometer:
13-7 Thomas Berdych
1-2 Stephane Robert
1-0 Albert Ramos
0-1 Javier Marti
# 40th consecutive win:
Guillermo Vilas d. H.Gildemeister 6-1, 6-2 (Paris 1977, QF)
Bjorn Borg d. B.Carmichael 6-0, 6-0 (Bastad 1978, 2R)
Ivan Lendl d. S.Davis 6-1, 6-3 (La Quinta 1982, 1R)
John McEnroe d. J.Higueras 6-4, 7-6, 3-6, 6-3 (Roland Garros 1984, QF)
Roger Federer d. T.Haas 6-4, 7-5 (Dubai 2007, SF)
Novak Djokovic d. T.De Bakker 6-2, 6-3, 6-1 (Roland Garros 2011, 1R)
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Philippoussis still unbeaten

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34-year-old Mark Philippoussis won his third straight ATP Champions Tour event, overcoming his peer Carlos Moya, for whom it was a debut in the series (the Spaniard retired from professional tennis last year), after a tight final battle in Bogota. … Continue reading

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