Back from the courts after Grigor & Dmitry lost the first set in doubles. Too tired to watch Mugzer/Sepmugzi.
Clement v Roger-Vasselin
Not much too say, really. Arnaud was overpowered by Edouard, which is, to say the least, quite sad! Arnaud's serve was worse than usually, his second serve barely reaching his opponent. Since the beginning of his qualifying campaign, Edouard seems in total confidence, never doubting, and using well his variated game, full of mixity. Clement struggled to return ERV's serve, which was quite good today, at least better than his usual standards. Clement ventured a couple of times to the net, but failed to encounter any kind of success there. RV's passing shots and low shots succeded in forcing Clement into failing. Quite a cold hanshake in the net, I'm not sure Clement is really motivated anymore, and with such a performance, a soon retirement is to be expected IMO. Very good performance overall from Edouard, who will have the tough task to play Berdych tomorrow.
No problem from the Croat, much much helped by Andrey's poor performance. His serve was absolutely off today, the proof being that he spent the whole match practising and reproducing service motions. From the baseline, he was far from being ridiculous - that's supposed to be his best assets - but could not handle at all Ljubicic's serve. Ljubicic appeared to be quite calm and never doubting about the end of the match, even it is noted that he played less and less good as the match unfolded. Tursu shouldn't be a problem next time around.
Tsonga v Stakhovsky
Such a shame Sergiy couldn't close the match. He was playing very well today, much better than in his first round match against fellow Ukrainian Marchenko. He served solid throughout the whole match, never allowing Tsonga to attempt any of his typical hard returns of serve. Stakhovsky had a few good tries at the net, closing some key rallies there. After he took the first set, everyone could really smell the upset, especially since Tsonga had been playing on Sunday at Rotterdam after a tough week, and a R1 match on Tuesday. That's a lot of tennis for his standards! Tsonga had his usual moaning sessions, complaining and yelling at each occasions. Stakhovsky was on the other hand the usual calm and composed player, taking a lot of time between the points and never getting angry. After having lost the second set after a series of horrible UEs, he suddenly became passive in the final set, and his loss looked more and more inevitable, especially since Tsonga was really fired up as the match unfolded. I wouldn't say that JWT will have a cool time in the quarters, whether he plays Simon or Youzhny.
Bednarek/Golubev v Cilic/Zovko
Something I had never seen before - except for the Bondarenko sisters - in a doubles match, members of a time arguing during the actual match. According to what a friend of mine told me about Bednarek/Golubev R1 win, Bednarek, despite the fact that he is supposed to be a doubles specialist, was the weakest link, so that the opponents played everything on him. That was the case today, and you could tell that Cilic & Zovko had a smart pleasure hitting everything back on the Polish player. Golubev tried to compensate and played for the team literaly on his own, Bednarek missing absolutely everything. The Pole is quite bitchy on the court, throwing rackets and insulting everyone he is in contact with. Weirdly enough, Golubev was the best player on the court today
the two games his team scored was thanks to him, and not only thanks to his serve, but thanks to inspired passing shots and lobs. Cilic's tremendous serve was the key today though, and Zovko is, from what I've seen today, not especially gifted at the net. Weird match overall, and as I said, huge argument on the bench between the Pole & the Kazakh during and after the match, the two men walking out of the court separately...Not sure these two will play together again.
Clement/Mahut v Brunstrom/Marx
Just watched the first set. No problem for the Frenchmen who were more in a demonstration than in a real match, and they still won it in straight sets, so quite a good sign. Clement was really fired up, motivated, pumping his fist. The atmosphere was extraordinary, with Mahut being his usual clown on the court. Clement & Mahut laughed the whole match when Brunstrom & Marw were obviously not liking it at all. I had no idea Brunstrom was such a rude guy, throwing balls directly on the chest of their opponents, moaning to the umpire at each occasion. Marx is an average doubles player, quite gifted at the net - even if he once missed the ball when having to hit a super easy overhead, something to which Brunstrom reacted by nodding and complaining to his coach, nice attitude, huhu - but from the baseline, the German is absolutely horrible, missing by far some easy forehands, landing at the bottom of the net or at the top of fences. I left when the Frenchmen lead 7-6. The second set won 6-1 is not a surprise according to what I saw.
Gulbis v Petzschner
...or should I say, the Gulbis Show. The guy is crazy, we know that right, but today was a bitchfest at his best! Ernests is famous for complaining and kicking himself after each and every error. Today, his rackets spent more time flying and hitting the ground than hitting tennis balls. He tried a new combination of frustration gestures: throwing the racket, trying to pick it up, failing to do so, pretending it's a balloon and destroying it by foot.
I had never seen that before! He also hid his face in his shirt and stood like that for a full minute, so that the umpire went for a "Are you okay Ernests ?", to which he answered "Yeah, can't you tell I'm fine ?". Petzschner had fun moonballing, slicing everything back, not missing any of his volleys, which you can imagine drove the Letton even crazier. The most surprising aspect of Gulbis's furor was that he found ways to complaing when hitting some superb winners. And you can easily imagine what the awful ballboys-girls and linesmen-women endured, having to bear some absolutely hilarious death stares. After having lost the first set, he just turned into an error maching, sending every balls everywhere but on the court. I didn't manage to catch his coach, but he must have been destroyed at his student's performance. As a fan of Ernests, I quickly understood that it would be more a comic performance than a real match, and on that I can't say he disappointed me.
Not much to say about Petzschner then, who was one of the medused spectator and who just walked through the match really.
Dimitrov/Tursunov v Benneteau/Tsonga
Amazing match there, with all four players joking around. You had to wonder whether it was a R1 match or an exhibition. Grigor & Dmitry were absolutely hilarious, even trying some weird tactics (Grigor standing on the same side to Dmitry when Dmitry served, Tsonga finding it easy to smash a return down the line on the empty space, Tursunov joking and carrying Dimitrov on the other service box
). More a practice match than a real competition there.