Very impressed by Bjorn here; very much in control of all the rallies, mixing well powerful strokes with variety; his sliced backhand was totally on today, driving Reynolds crazy most of the time. The very weak point of Bjorn was his serve though, failing to score easy and quick points with it. Bjorn’s tactics was clearly to push Reynolds far behind the baseline with powerful and deep shots in order to conclude the points with nice dropshots and good volleys too. Reynolds was seemingly not feeling comfortable on clay, failing to slide on it naturally and missing some easy shots because of some suspect ball rebounds. His serve is amazing though, but because this point was irregular, he faced a few break points, which Phau managed to take. In a period of his career where Phau appears to struggle with himself, winning this way against a seeded player is encouraging.
Conor was his usual self there: unable to move his ass off…that’s disappointing to see such a talented player not giving himself 100% on the court, especially in a Grand Slam match. In the opening games, he appeared quite firy though. He broke back Ilhan’s serve but then went on to lose the first set in a tight tie break. After that, he didn’t feel like fighting to come back it seems. I have to say that Ilhan impressed me today: in the opening stages of the first set, he played horribly, but then improved all the way through. His serve was unbeatable in the end and he seemed quite relieved to defeat the Irish after an hesitating tie break. The backhand down the line of the Turkish player is tremendous as Marsel manages to create incredible speed and power in the balls with that shot. His serve was okay and his forehand was by far his weakest point.
I arrived there when Lukasz was a set down…I was worried then considering his latest results. But the second and third set were just amazingly good. Everything touched the lines and the corners. His serve was on fire even if one has to admit that he was quite helped by Polansky’s poor baseline game overall. Polansky’s game appears to be average and his poor movement paid for Lukasz who managed to move Polansky around to disturb the Canadian. Hitting quite hard, Polansky seems to like having enough time to get ready, and as soon as he had to move around the court, he was weakened. Lukasz was firy, pumping his fist and celebrating the win big time!
Weird match; Rik played his usual game, which surprisingly seems to work well on clay. Not hesitating to serve and volley, he surprised Klec many times. His sliced backhand worked well too, forcing Klec to make his legs work…which he doesn’t appear to like! Rik tried to choke by missing some easy shots on the match points, but finally made it through with a tense second set tie-break. Not much to say about Klec, he is an average 100-150 player, hitting hard on the forehand but his backhand is a real mess. He has quite a character too, breaking two rackets during the match, receiving a warning for one of them. De Voest celebrated the victory with his coach and looked quite happy to win a match on clay…I’m not he played once on clay this year before!
The battle of the mugs, really…even if these two are parts of my favorites, that was an awful match to watch. Korolev choked big time in the first, missing at least 3 set points to give it to Marchenko. The second set never existed, Evgeny turning into an error machine. Illya was better in this set but difficult to evaluate considering Korolev’s giving up. As far as fitness is concerned, Korolev is one of the most impressive athletes in this draw, with a perfectly built body and he didn’t sweat at all under an heavy sun, but you have to wonder what he is doing of his career lately. I understand players not fighting their life in Challengers, but in a Grand Slam match… I had seen Marchenko on Saturday in Nice and thought he had tanked to go to Paris early, but his level of play was not much better…
Very good match by Victor, who seemed very happy to win again here in Paris. His game totally fits clay courts and he confirmed that today. He hardly made any unforced errors and was helped by Kudryavtsev’s horrible performance. Most of Alex’s shots ended in the middle of the net and many double faults helped Victor further more. Alex was definitely one of the numerous players wondering what they were doing here, even taking the clear occasion to get his racket bag ready at the last but one changeover…
I arrived there when Simone was 0-4 or 0-5 down in the first set. Nothing worked for him as he was multiplying unforced errors and double faults. And there, I started to regret having come to check on him. And then, in the opening stages of the second set, he suddenly started to hit harder and deeper, forcing his countryman on his backfoot. You have to know that the match was all about Simone’s willing to play or not: Vagnozzi was not creating much and in the first set, he rightly just waited for Simone to beat himself. Once Bolelli had found his way back to winning nice points thanks to superb winners and amazing quantities of convincing rallies, Vagnozzi had no answer as the score of the final set indicates…
Thiago was visibly injured right away; the warm up was already giving signs of physical weaknesses with his back but also with his ankle. Heavy strap on his lower and back and a huge ankle protection didn’t give positive signs. He tried though but couldn’t serve properly, so he just gave up. His awful season continues.
Great match, even if seen though the fences…horrible Court 18. Eduardo was in control of all the rallies: his weak point was, as usual, about RUNNING. The guy doesn’t run after a dropshot.
His serve was really the key point today, Ruben barely able to return it. The Belgian was much less impressive than when I saw him playing indoors. His serve was definitely off that day, and he didn’t have many answers to Edu’s typical heavy groundstroked. Only saw the end of the match there.
Nicolas played solid tennis but his standards are not good enough to worry a former member of the top 100. Andreas doesn’t really seem at ease on clay, and maybe was it just that he hasn’t won many matches lately. That’s a shame because his groundstrokes are quite good, but you can tell that he clearly lacks pure power, so that he has to work hard to move his opponent. Devilder being quick around the court, he struggled to win easy points. I saw the third set here, but had followed the scores on the differents livescores board in the stadium; the end of the match was all about Andreas able to close it and he struggled to do so; Devilder looked tired but Andreas failed to find easy ways to finish him. He finally managed to hit a few good serves in the end to win in a difficult match; he appeared to be quite exhausted on his chair at the end of the match.
+ I saw the battle of the Kuznetsov, with the chair umpire obviousely annoyed to have to say the name AND the last name each time
+ the Darcis/Lisnard match was creating much noise; in the close courts, you could barely hear the chair umpire because of the noise the Court 6 generated
+ Muller/Witten, the battle of the servers
+ Chiudinelli absolutely dreadful
+ Harrison/Ward, with the British choking big time, but Harrison was by far the best of the two
+ Leo Mayer amazing
+ G.Lapentti about to retire after such a match, I guess…
+ Jouan more and more impressive
Amazing come back from Victor there, he was 2-5 down in the first, and in the blink of an eye, won it 7-5! From 2-5, he just played amazing tennis; I read that gave him the match but Muller really didn’t! Outstanding winners and pure clay rallies allowed the Romanian to quickly come back. Muller was, as you may imagine, pissed off to lose it that way. The game of Gilles is all about his serve, and as soon as he loses the rhythm of it, his whole game suffers from it.
Crivoi was celebrating the win in a big way and that was very nice to see!
Phau really confirmed yesterday’s win by a very convincing match against a pure clay player. His serve was still tremendous and his baseline game is definitely back. I’ve seen Phau playing many many times, and today’s performance was by far the best. He hit many winners, even if also capitalized on Salamanca’s many unforced errors.
Horrible display by Edu… complaining and moaning the whole match, he failed to convert all the occasions he had… Missing by little what he was trying to do, he quickly turned to frustration. Dancevic capitalized on that, forcing the Argentinian to always play one shot too many. Relying on his huge serve, the Canadian managed to mix his game very well, forcing Schwank into forcing his talent. Dancevic moves quite well on clay too, but he has to change the attitude of COME ONing after each and every point…compared to the young ladies playing qualifyings that day, he was not much more mature…
Expectingly, Illya lost that match and I have to say that the score appears much more tight than the match was. Kuznetsov has not won many matches yet in Grand Slam tournaments and he struggled to confirm his domination. He really should have won that match 6-3 6-3 but was, most of the time, struggling to conclude the rallies, especially at the net where he really needs to work if he aims at improving his game. His serve is okay but far from being impressive, but his groundstrokes from the baseline appear as very powerful and convincing. Marchenko’s attitude was once again disappointing, the Ukrainian looking at his feet more than at the game…
Not a high competitiveness here, as Lukasz was dominating all the compartiments of the game. Even if the first few games were tight, he quickly found his way back on top of the match. His serve was, as yesterday, very very good indeed. His strokes are well in place and often took Silva by surprise. Lukasz’s great presence at the net helped the Pole to conclude most of the rallies quickly. A quick and convincing win there.
Very weird match…I arrived there when Rik had just won 6-0 and I expected the final set to be that way. Rik had many many many chances to dominate but just failed to score the key points. Bogomolov’s serve is very difficult to return and he saved many break points with it. Rik’s volleys were not working well in the final set and he lost a tight match. He looked devastated at the end and was tear-eyed when leaving the court.
I also saw the last few games of Harrison/Munoz de la Nava: just like yesterday, the American appears to be a very mature guy, not expressing any unnecessary feelings on the court: he looks very steady and composed. Even when his opponent hit his final huge unforced errors, Ryan just discretely pumped his fist instead of jumping around, as many do when winning such a long and difficult match.
Amazing match by Romain again; in Marseille, he was already very good and he confirms so. Lorenzi is a very good clay court player and Romain, at first, does not look very handy on it. Lorenzi was overpowered most of the times, Jouan able to create incredible pace with his forehand. His serve woks very well too. Lorenzi clearly lacks of power as he was on his backfoot for the whole match, forced to defend and the French ballbasher. Lorenzi was mad at the audience too, as one has to bear in mind that the French crowd confirmed its reputation today, clapping after each and every of Lorenzi’s unforced errors.
Very good match again played by Simone, able to create some very interesting rallies. The most important is that he was very regular and steady for the whole match, not encountering any big downs today. Donskoy was not really impressive, he just hits everything back and waits for something to happen. Bolelli was in control of most of the rallies and never looked worried about the fact that he was on his way to winning.
Impressive stuff again by Leo, playing amazing tennis. Very motivated, he pumps his fist, jumps around the court, never gives up: in the middle of the second set, he hit an amazing passing shot coming out from nowhere, for which he received huge applauses in a match where no more than 20 persons were watching… I really think he can qualify and win a match or two, depending on who he will play.
See you tomorrow for the last qualifying round.