Roland Garros – Day 10 + 11 (QF)
(2)Novak Djokovic d. Fabio Fognini w/o
Fognini  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.
(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.”
(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.”
(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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