Paris – round 3rd + QF’s
It might have been a great day for the Frenchmen. There were three French guys in quarterfinals and each of them had a reasonable chance to move through to the last 4, however, “only” two of them fulfilled expectations; because they are placed in different halves of the draw, at least one French finalist is still uncertain. Jo-Wilfried Tsonga disappointed severely local fans, he was clearly outplayed by David Ferrer 2-6 5-7 producing two shocking volley errors in the final game as he was broken to ’30’. Tsonga is very weak this year when it comes to meetings with the Top 10 players, he has just won 1 out of 12 those matches. Volleys weren’t any problem for Michael Llodra who was attacking the net constantly after 1st and 2nd serves to notch a 7-6 6-3 win over Sam Querrey. The American had break points only in the 7th game of the 2nd set (five in total). One of the best French players in recent years, 27-year-old Gilles Simon  had a bad record (4-6) in Paris prior to this week. Now everything is changed, Simon has advanced to semifinals not dropping a set. In first quarterfinal he faced Tomas Berdych, whom had beaten in 4 of 6 previous encounters. Simon was exceptionally good in defense, retrieving many difficult balls and forcing the Czech player to committing errors. Berdych led 4:1* in the 2nd set, but Simon, strongly supported by Parisian crowd broke twice in a row, and erased a 0/40 hole in the final game serving much more harder than throughout the match. “I’m happy to play well here this year, because when I was young I grew up nearby and I came to see this tournament. It’s a very special tournament to me,” said Simon after his 6-4 6-4 victory. “I always wanted to do well here. Until today, I always played awfully bad when I came here, so I’m trying to enjoy this year in Paris.” A Jerzy Janowicz‘s fairytale continues. He played dimly first three games against Janko Tipsarevic, it looked like the 21-year-old Pole didn’t have anything left in the tank a day after his sensational win over Murray. Janowicz possess an amazing serve though, which allowed him to get a couple of games. He broke Tipsarevic to lead 3:1 in the 2nd set and the momentum shifted in his favor. The two following long games (4 & 5 deuces) were a highlight of this year’s tournament: excellent shot-making and Janowicz feeling the energy of the crowd took them both. It pumped him up tremendously, the Serb seeing bombs landing on his side simply melted, and as Janowicz fired two big aces (220 km/h) in the 6th game, ‘Tipsy’ decided to retire losing 6-3 1-6 1-4 (0/40). He retires more often than any other player, it’s his 7th retirement in the last two years!
Jerzy Janowicz knew that he needed something special to have any chance against Andy Murray. The Polish qualifier applied enormous service effort and overusing of drop-shots – in the end this tactics made him happy. He led 5:4* (30/0) in the 1st set having served 9 aces, which meant in five service games he already equaled his ace-record this week! Murray escaped with a bunch of big serves and everything indicated he got the match under his control winning 10 of the next 13 games… 5:3 in the 2nd set, a moment later 5:4 (30/0) on serve, and Shanghai’s deja vu haunted him – exactly at the same scoreline Djokovic being down against Murray, played his best point of the match then, magically turning things around; Janowicz did the same – he won quite a long rally with a sublime BH dropshot. Two points later Murray had a match point but sent a forehand long. At 1-all in the 3rd set, Janowicz played probably a game of his life mixing up winners of all sorts to break the Scot after two ‘deuces’. In no time at all he won the following three games. Was Murray thinking: [Djokovic and Federer are already focused on London, so what’s the point to fight here for a win if I face a tough retriever tomorrow (Monaco/Tipsarevic). Maybe it doesn’t make sense to be tired before London?] ?? Janowicz serving to win the match was tense for the first time, but his powerful serve (22 aces in total) + a couple of dropshots helped a lot to calm down. He saved three break points and converted second match point with a forehand down the line, the biggest win of career he celebrated like winning a major, rolling on the floor: 5-7 7-6 6-2 in 2 hours 25 minutes! “This was the most unbelievable day in my life,” said Janowicz. “I beat the Olympic champion, US Open champion. Unbelievable feeling for me. Still, I have the feeling that in a few minutes I’m going to wake up and it will all be gone. No matter what happened today, I have to do my job tomorrow.” It’s a significant moment of the last 24-month period because it means no “Big 4” player will win a big tournament for the first time since Paris 2010!
32-year-old “wild card” Michael Llodra  and five years younger Tomas Berdych  are playing their 200th tournament at the main level this week, both successfully. The Czech despite a slow start (0:5) quite convincingly ousted an “excessively focused” Kevin Anderson 1-6 6-3 6-4 (their third meeting this year, second in Paris – Berdych won all); in turn the indoor-specialist Llodra used all his trickery to snap Juan Martin del Potro‘s 11-match winning streak. Llodra stunned the Argentine 6-4 6-3 not being taken even once to ‘deuce’ on serve (their fourth meeting this year, Llodra’s first win). “Coming here I knew I was playing well,” said Llodra. “But now, thinking I would be able to beat Isner and del Potro, I wasn’t sure. It’s true that the conditions are getting faster, so I served very well today.” There were two emotional matches between the London contenders: Janko Tipsarevic outsmarted Juan Monaco in a baseline duel 6-3 3-6 6-3 on Court No. 1, a few hours later in a no-break encounter on Centre Court, Jo-Wilfried Tsonga was pretty hopeless on return games, but explicitly better in tie-breaks (7/4, 7/3) than Nicolas Almagro. Tsonga beating the Spaniard for the sixth time on sixth occasion, secured himself a spot in London simultaneously awarding Tipsarevic, because Almagro was the last man left who could surpass the Serb. Earlier in the day, a theoretical London contender (must have won the whole thing) Milos Raonic played poorly and lost 3-6 6-7 to Sam Querrey. A little consolation for the Canadian – he recorded his 1000th ace of the season, it’s something only five ‘servebots’ have accomplished in history within a season (Pete Sampras, Goran Ivanisevic, Andy Roddick, Ivo Karlovic & John Isner).
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