John John's French Clay Reports (Monaco+French Open)

04-10-2010, 06:13 AM
I'll post in this thread reports from Monte Carlo Qualifyings + MD matches.
Same for the French Open. :D
Hope you'll like it, I'll try not to be too bitchy. :angel:
On my way to Monte Carlo now to see all my little Ukrainians in the Q matches, and hopefully Arnaud practising shirtless before his match. :)

04-10-2010, 07:21 AM
great idea, I think this is the first time I've ever read a post of yours that isn't about match results with emoticons and I can't wait, please post pics if you can :D

04-10-2010, 07:39 AM
I look forward to it. Have fun. :D

04-10-2010, 11:31 PM
nice. Look forward to reading

04-11-2010, 08:05 AM
Thanks to a riot of the French Train Company, I've come home very late yesterday. That was a great day of tennis (or not...).
I'm on my way now for Day 2, I'll post everything tonight.

04-11-2010, 08:51 AM
Good Idea (Y) Can i put in a request for an Ernests Gulbis report and pictures? If you can't don't worry! I look forward to your awesome reports! People should do this more often!

04-11-2010, 03:31 PM
Day 1

Stakhovsky v. Navarro : Sergiy was much in control in the first set. He played his usual aggressive game, going very often to the net and being able to finish off the points very quickly.
Navarro started playing better in the early stages of the second set, managing to kill Sergiy’s aggressive game by starting to moonball and slice everything to avoid the Ukrainian’s power.
In the final set, the Spaniard was playing his typical slow game and Stakhovsky was no longer able to attack as well as in the first set. Sergiy’s backhand was off today, and he seemed quite unhappy about his serve too. He looked very frustrated after the match, while Navarro was noisingly celebrating VAMOOOS after each point, and with his entourage at the end of the match.

Dolgopolov Jr. v. Ventura : Oleksandr was by far one of the most impressive player of the day. His abilities in returns of serves are tremendous, and that was one of the keys of the match today, as, as far as I remember, he broke Ventura’s serve each time in the last game of each set. He stands way inside the baseline on the Spaniard’s second serve, and very often follow his returns to the net. From the baseline, you would say he has a typical game composed of solid groundstrokes, but he builds the points most of the time down the line and ALWAYS follows his attacks at the net. That’s smartly done from the young Ukrainian, who seemed much more experienced than his record and age say.

Guez v. Zverev : David Guez is a guy from my town – Marseille – and he has always been firy on a court. And that obviousely did not change. Smashing rackets, biting himself, insulting the linesmen – in French, not very smart thing to do on his home soil – and insulting his entourage seem to be part of his usual behavious on a court. Zverev had nothing special to do but waiting for the Frenchman to self destruct. He has good shots but nothing making him special anyhow.

Nieminen v. Bubka : That was the match of the day for me, as it featured two of my faves. Jarkko, having changed his serve motion quite much, was in control of most of the rallies. Bubka did shine by his ablities to hit some winners from anywhere on the court. He still made way too much unforced errors to hope worrying the Finnish who should be able to qualify for the MD.
As he did in Marseille, Bubka stayed a long while sitting on his chair after the handshake, noisingly crying in his towel.

Roger Vasselin v. Kunitsyn : Edouard destroyed himself as he was in a totally off day. Moody and unable to hit any winners, missing everything – even some overheads – he gave an incredible amount of free points to his transparent opponent, who was pretending to be upset by his own game when he was doing nothing but moonballing Edouard to death. He should be an easy prey for his opponent tomorrow.

De Bakker v. Martin : I was secretely hating De Bakker for being in the top 100 with such a poor record on the ATP tour draws. But I have to admit that I was wrong as far as his tennis level is concerned. He was totally dominating the experienced Spaniard. His serve and his forehand are just tremendously powerful and precise! He looked quite fit and quick and could make some damages, especially on quicker surfaces.
Martin on the other hand, looked like he was about to cry all match long…looking down, looking at his bottle of water without actually drinking it during the changeovers…that was pretty sad. He even refused to shake the umpire’s hand at the end of the match after having barely touched De Bakker’s fingers during the “handshake” after having put his rackets in his bag way before the end of the match.

Marchenko v. Balleret : That’s what you would call a match offered to the opponent. Against an annoying another clay moonballer yelling ALLEZ after each point, Illya must have hit 30+ unforced errors, receiving a point penalty when splitting his racket into three pieces on a fence. He, moreover, did look quite umconfortable on clay, barely trying to slide and refusing to run at the Balleret’s “dropshots” – which landed more in the middle of the court than behind the net.
Sad way to lose for Illya, and definitely not the right attitude.

Clement v. Smirnov : Well, Arnaud can thank the young Ukrainian for getting through this first match. The Frenchman’s serve was erratic all match long, and he looked injured, taking a medical time out in the closing stages of the match, even if leading.
Smirnov was not at all on the top of my list of Ukrainian’s potential future top 100, but he now definitely is. He has a hell of a serve, and has very good hands at the net. His lack of experience costed him the second set, and he gave up in the final set. He, like his countryman Bubka, spent a few minutes in tears at the end of the match.

Gil v. Golubev : Well, Andrey is not of a kind to smile and celebrate on the court. I’ve watched the whole final set of this match, and he did not smile, pump his fist, nor looked like he felt any emotion. His game is 100% based on his serve, as he always attacks the returns of serves, missing most of them but hitting some firing ones too. He got close to a loss, but managed to drive the Portuguese crazy in the end of the match. During the final set tie break, Gil received a warning after having hit a ball out of the court…a ball which landed right on the head of an old woman, which provokated a general laughter, including Gil’s. The Kazakh’s dropshots and efficiency at the net mentally and physically destroyed Gil’s chance to win this very tight match.

Also to note :
- I came across in the venue : Gulbis, Bagdhatis, Chiudinelli, Bhupathi, Marc & Feliciano Lopez, Ferrer, Tsonga, Simon (even if not playing) and a few others.
- Practise sessions : Bolelli + Seppi + Fognini, Andreev/Korolev, Murray/Bagdhatis, Tsonga/coach, Benneteau/Robert, and of course the crazy race around Nadal who was with an unknown hitting partner.

That’s it for today, see you tomorrow for the day 2, for the qualifying matches and some first round matches. :wavey:

04-11-2010, 03:35 PM
Great reports, thanks :)

04-11-2010, 03:38 PM
Day 2

Nieminen v. Hernandez : Jarkko didn’t give any chance to Hernandez today. Oscar managed to break back in each set – as far as I can remember – but the Finnish was playing very solid tennis today, much convincingly than yesterday for instance. His serve was more regular and he played a few impressive volleys, especially on the match point after a very very (very) long rally. Contrarily to yesterday, Oscar was never given the opportunity to come back and Jarkko never let himself falling asleep by the slicings and moonballings of the Spaniard. Good luck in the MD, Jarkko!

Dolgopolov Jr. v. Zverev : Expected win for the Ukrainian, who though played slightly more poorly than yesterday. Zverev showed the lack of weapons his game has, and didn’t manage to answer Oleksandr’s powerful grounstrokes. Olek struggled to close the match in the closing stages of the second set, but managed to break once more and finally got an easy last service game. Let’s hope he picks Luczak in the MD! :angel:

Golubev v. Clement : Well, that was expected but the scoreline is very harsh, but deserved being given the way Clément played today. He had no answer to Andrey’s powerful serves, and Andrey kept, like yesterday, attacking his opponent’s serve. Against a poor server like Clément, his firing forehand returns were very efficient. That’s a good sign for the rest of the season for Andrey if he keeps playing this way.
Funny how Andrey looks like a 14-yr old boy and how poorly he is dressed. He mustn’t have any sponsors, wearing a dirty visor and some visibly old shoes. :sad:

Ferrer/Lopez v. Lopez/Verdasco : Very fun match! And the weakest link is…Feliciano! :yeah:
Not giving a damn about that match visibly, which irritated Fernando who preferred laughing at that rather than getting busy giving advices to Feli.
Marc Lopez is definitely the man of the match, intercepting a lot of volleys, especially since Fernando & Feli had obviousely decided that serving/volleying was optional today. :help:
Ferrer made a good job from the baseline, and serving consistenly all match long. The handshakes were a very nice Spanish party!
I decided to leave after this match, as only Korolev was a favourite to watch, but the weather started to get seriousely threatening and with the riots of the French Train Company, I really wanted to go home early.

Also to note :
- Practise sessions : Tsonga/Gasquet, Murray/Hutchins, Bhupathi/Mirnyi + Nestor/Zimonjic :eek: ,
Petzschner/Kohlschreiber, Almagro/Garcia-Lopez, Llodra/Chardy…

See you tomorrow for Day 3!

04-11-2010, 03:46 PM
great reports :yeah:

04-11-2010, 03:47 PM
Thanks for the great reports, and enjoy your time in MC.

04-11-2010, 03:50 PM

04-11-2010, 03:51 PM
Thanks :yeah:

04-11-2010, 04:05 PM
thanks :)

04-11-2010, 04:08 PM
great idea, I think this is the first time I've ever read a post of yours that isn't about match results with emoticons and I can't wait, please post pics if you can :D

haha, exactly what I thought.

Good stuff John John. :worship:

04-11-2010, 10:01 PM
great reports, nice work :)

04-12-2010, 06:34 AM
I'm on my way to Monte Carlo. Chances of rain are quite high, and it's cold out there. :sad: Let's hope rain will not spoil the day!
See you tonight for the reports.

04-12-2010, 05:33 PM
Day 3

The first match I went and see was Ernests Gulbis (LAT) v. Marco Chiudinelli (SUI) :
There was no much crowd as there was a Frenchman and some big names on the main courts.
Ernests looked more mature physicly than when I saw him for the last time - 2 years ago.
It was the very first time I've seen Chiudinelli playing, and I was not much impressed by the Switzerland's player.
Ernests still looks so powerful, especially when serving, his serves being always very fast and direct, and not missing much. Marco's serve on the other hand was his weakest
point today, and Ernests managed a few very good returns of serve which made the difference, especially in the first set.

I then moved to see the match between David Nalbandian (ARG) v. Andreas Beck (GER) :
Nalbandian had won the first set 63, with two breaks of serve. He faced a break point in the first game of the second set, but still looked solid.
On the other hand, Beck looked right away erratic and his serve was clearly his weakest point.
Even if leading, David kept moaning after each and every error. His double handed backhand remains a beauty though.
He accelerated the rythm in this second set, and quickly led 41, letting the German powerless.
He quickly concluded the match, and looks strong before his R2 encounter against Youzhny.

I then went and see the match between Andrey Golubev (KAZ) v. Jeremy Chardy (FRA) :
I was glad to see Andrey leading as he's one of my favourites.
When I arrived on the court, Andrey was leading 62 54.
Chardy looked miserable, his serve motion being still much ridiculous. Andrey just looked as if he was waiting for an unforced error, which
happened most of the time. I regret he was not as agressive as in qualifyings.
Chardy managed to bring Golubev into a tie break, which was totally dominated by Andrey, winning there in straight sets! :hearts:

I then moved back to the Center Court for the match between Feliciano Lopez (ESP) v. Tomas Berdych (CZE) :
The sun was now hiding itself, the wind appeared and some drops of rain started to pour. The match was very intense from the very first points of the match, and Feli looked
much more interested in this match than by his doubles yesterday. He broke right away...but nicely came back to basics quickly, missing everything, trying to hit everything in
forehand and not hitting a single backhand, uselessly slicing as much as he could...
Berdych did nothing special, just remained solid, gradually cutting off the number of unforced errors in such difficult conditions of wind and cold.
I didn't stay as Berdych seemed to be in a roll now.

I then went to see Oleksandr Dolgopolov Jr. (UKR) v. Julien Benneteau (FRA) :
Olek was up a break in the first set. :)
His usual jumped serve was efficient, and his flat and powerful shots were working well against Benneteau. He was, as in qualifyings, returning inside the baseline.
The wind was making the match looking quite low in terms of quality...and you could not say the same about how perfect the racket throwing of Olek is. :hearts:
Benneteau is still this average baseline player, not creating any kind of pace, yelling ALLEZ after each of his opponent's fault. :help:
With a more secure mental strenght and if he stopped complaining after each point, Oleksandr could be an ever more solid player, especially against those experienced guys.

I than moved to see Richard Gasquet (FRA) v. Daniel Gimeno-Traver (ESP) :
Gimeno-Traver was up a break in the second set. He was playing his usual Spaniard moonballing claycourts tennis, boring Richard to death.
Still, Gasquet managed to break back right away, with some solid groundstrokes, especially on the backhand side.
From this moment on, Gasquet proved to be more and more agressive, and had a little kiss at the net when one of his volleys just flipped on the band of it and landed on the
other side. A few double faults were still disturbing his game.
Richard struggled to keep the ball in play, which helped much the Spaniard to score so much games! Funny how Gimeno-Traver can rely only on the opponent's UEs. :help:

I then went to the Court n°9 to watch Bernard Tomic (AUS) v. Benjamin Becker (GER) :
I didn't expect much from Benjamin on clay and...I was right! :tape:
Tomic looks quite confident for his age, and he's hitting the ball very hard indeed.
I didn't stay long, but Tomic seems to be a fan of dropshots. :lol: Which is not a bad thing considering Benjamin's taste for running forward. :o :p
After having won the first set 64, Benjamin quickly started to develop his power all around the court.
Tomic showed a few physic limit, as he struggled to take back his breath between each point, as Benjamin was hitting less and less UEs.

I came back on the Court des Princes for the match between David Ferrer (ESP) v. Peter Luczak (AUS) :
The Australian came from the qualifyings, so it's always dangerous, but from what I had seen of David's form yesterday in doubles, I was quite confident to see the
Spaniard dominating the muscular Australian.
David quickly dominated the first set 62, the Australian seemingly not having the weapons, especially on clay, to disturb Ferrer's advance to the second round.
Luczak tried the dropshots a lot, unsuccessfully.
David will now play Golubev in the second round ; despite the Kazhak's good tournament so far, David shouldn't have any problem to get through.

My next and final match of the day presumably was Juan Monaco (ARG) v. Jarkko Nieminen (FIN) on the Court des Princes :
Jarkko started very well, moving the Argentinian around.
Monaco looks much stronger in persons than in pictures or on TV. Jarkko is still so thin and tall and somehow fragile as far as movements are concerned.
He surprisingly plays with FINLAND written on his shirt. :lol: Since qualifyings, Jarkko's serve looks surprisingly slow.
Monaco is a typical claycourts player, moving around very well, and playing well with angles and slices.
Monaco was martyrising Jarkko's backhand and he looked frustrated to be unable to attack Jarkko's first-second serves. I came back home at the end of the first set, and I've
just seen Juani was through 75 75, with a lot of break of serve...not surprising considering both players' serve % and efficiency today. :tape:

See you tomorrow for Day 4! ;)

04-12-2010, 05:44 PM

04-12-2010, 05:53 PM

04-12-2010, 06:06 PM
Can't wait for tomorrow's reports. Thanks!

04-12-2010, 06:15 PM
Poor Bubka...

04-13-2010, 07:10 AM
Thanks John John Well appreciated! :)

04-13-2010, 07:18 AM
Great Job john

04-13-2010, 02:34 PM
Day 4

The first match of my program today was the match on the Center Court between Igor Andreev and Marin Cilic.
Igor played his usual game, very handy on clay, with a heavily lifted forehands. He turns a little bit more around the backhand to play on the forehand side though, as his
backhand is not that bad.
As far as Cilic is concerned, if you cut off the head, you'll have a copy and paste version of Ancic. Very similar serve motion and groundstrokes.
Igor played really well, his forehand cross court making a lot of damages of course. Too bad he's not gonna be seeded at the French Open, as he could face some big names
in the opener. :sad: The first games were all very close as Cilic seemed to struggle with his game for his first match on clay. Igor was the first to get up a break after a
very long game at 2-2 on Cilic's serve. Some tremendous forehands and a couple of dropshots gave him an early lead. He infortunately got broken back right away after a
disastrous game. Thanks of a couple of lovely volleys, Igor broke back, serving then for the set. But once again, he got broken back immediately. Igor served a very good
first set tie break, quickly leading 5-2. He concluded the first set 76(4) on a new forehand winner.
The start of the second set was all about Cilic, succeeding in everything he was doing, especially at the net. I left when Cilic was leading 41 second set.

I moved to the Court des Princes to see the match between Michael Llodra and Fabio Fognini.
The court was very crowdy because of the presence of another crappy French player. I did not expect much from Fabio considering his recent form.
Fognini still lacks of pure power to properly answer Llodra's totally flat shots. Fognini played his usual careless tennis, seemingly not giving a damn about what was
going on. Llodra was quickly leading 3-0. Llodra was playing his usual agressive game, servying and volleying as much as he could.
Llodra broke Fognini's serve early in the set and kept ahead, leading 6-3 after a few very nice rallies between the two.

I decided then to go and see the match between Eduardo Schwank and Thiemo de Bakker.
When I arrived, Schwank got broken at 5-5, the Dutch now serving for the match. So, I didn't get to see much of this match, but de Bakker was in the same kind of form
than during Qualifyings, serving very well, and hitting the ball very hard. Eduardo was not playing bad, a few good and intense rallies took place. Thiemo concluded the match on
his first occasion. Let's hope he'll play the same way against Nadal tomorrow.

I returned on the Court des Princes after Llodra's win to see Lukasz Kubot versus Viktor Troicki. I was curious to see how Kubot would do after having lost 61 60 last week
in Casablanca. And he got broken to love in the first game. :lol: Troicki's service motion is still very funny. :lol: The match was pleasant to watch with these two
hard hitters. Troicki has an early lead but quickly saw Kubot coming back on form, especially as far as his serve is concerned. Troicki has his usual moaning and negative
attitude, complaining about the numerous Kubot's efficient dropshots. Two enormous forehand returns offered the first set to Kubot. The second set was all about Troicki.
Kubot started to hit more and more unforced errors while Troicki applied himself to serve as much 1st serves as possible. The final set was on the same basis, Viktor playing
solid tennis to force Kubot into hitting errors. He'll have to play much better though if he wanna have a chance in the second round against Robredo.

I decided to leave the tournament to watch Gasquet/Berdych on TV and as I had forgotten my cellphone at home, I could not live without it any longer. :angel:

04-13-2010, 03:11 PM
Day 4
As far as Cilic is concerned, if you cut off the head, you'll have a copy and paste version of Ancic. Very similar serve motion and groundstrokes.

:confused: They are nothing alike in any respect. Mario doesn't have that back swing/arch on serve. Marin doesn't have that huge preparation for the FH and is generally better off the baseline as much as Mario is better in the forecourt. They are both tall and lanky, though ;)

04-13-2010, 07:51 PM
No pictures? How do you not have any pictures?

04-14-2010, 06:27 AM
Because I don't like taking pictures, and I have only a poor numeric camera which is bad for taking tennis pictures, especially on the big courts.

04-14-2010, 06:38 AM
Because I don't like taking pictures, and I have only a poor numeric camera which is bad for taking tennis pictures, especially on the big courts.

just buy one :)

04-14-2010, 05:18 PM
The first match of the day for me was the match between Ernests Gulbis and Stanislas Wawrinka.
Ernests was in one the day where you can't ask him to play anyhow. More than missing, especially on serve, which is a shame considering that it's his best shot...
He hardly managed to return Wawrinka's serve. The Swiss was very efficient on this part of his game, and did not make any mistakes.
Gulbis was approximative, and had his usual negative attitude on the court, moaning at everything.
I did not stay any longer than the 6-1 lead for Wawrinka.

I went on the Court des Princes for the Court des Princes for the match between David Ferrer and Andrey Golubev. Ferrer was 5-2 up in the first set.
Andrey saved two set points on his serve with the first real errors from Ferrer. But Ferrer did not shake to serve the set out, leading now 6-3.

I then went on the Center Court to see the match between Juan-Carlos Ferrero and Benjamin Becker.
When I arrived, Ferrero had just taken the first set 6-3. The favorites seemed to be on a roll this morning...
Becker's movement on clay is quite approximative, while Ferrero of course is playing very naturally on it.
Ferrero was not especially impressive, but was just keeping sure that he would not let a chance to the German to come back in the match.
Ferrero quickly broke in the early stages of the second set to lead 63 20.
It was from that moment on a battle of serve and Ferrero could have won way more easily than 63 64.

I then went to see the match between Juan Monaco and Michael Berrer.
Juani obviousely seemed to be injured, serving very slowly and not moving well. He never managed to play his best, and Berrer just had to assure his service games.
He won but was far from impressive, not benefiting from Monaco's obvious lack of form.
Juani. :sad:

I then took a little break in the players' lounge, sitting next to Tsonga playing at Mario on a Nintendo DS! :lol: I watched on TV the poor performances of Djokovic, Serra and above all MURRAY. :tape:

I came back on the courts to watch the match of the day as far as I'm concerned, David Nalbandian v. Mikhail Youzhny.
I think I had never seen Youzhny in persons before, and he looks much taller and stronger than I expected. This match promised to be a battle of the backhands, and right away
I was not disappointed with that! Youzhny was the first to show some signs of weakness, especially on his serve, but managed to saved two break points to hold and lead 3-2.
Youzhny also saved numerous break points at 4-4 and himself broke Nalbandian's serve at 5-4 to lead 6-4, and broke again at the start of the second set to lead 6-4 2-0.
He was now totally dominating Nalbandian from the baseline, not making any errors while Nalbandian's realism was far from good and he missed lots and lots of opportunities.
Suddenly, David started to make Mikhail play more and more shots, and came back from 0-2 to 4-2...

I left the match at this point. That's all for my reports of the Monte Carlo Masters Series. See you at the French Open of Paris.

04-14-2010, 05:49 PM
Thank you very much for this report :D Haha Tsonga!