In the Shadow of the French Open

May 6, 2009

The French Open looms ever closer; now the Rome Masters is over and Rafael Nadal has taken that crown (let’s not mention those predictions I made a fortnight ago, shall we?) and everybody now moves on to the Madrid Masters, starting 10th May. Roger Federer banished some demons after defeating Rabek Stepanek in the third round, but was beaten by Novak Djokovic in the semi-finals. And when, unfortunately, Djokovic could not retain his title in the finals, Andy Murray slipped into his World No. 3 position.

So the clay season is well underway and there’s one dominating figure who just refuses to be beaten; can anyone topple Rafael Nadal before the clay season is over? And even then, what about grass? He’s worked hard to prove his worth on that surface too, his ultimate triumph being his Wimbledon victory last year. 

Speaking of the French Open, David Nalbandian will most likely not be attending due to an injured hip. It’s been affecting the Argentine more and more as of late, and it looks as though he’ll be making a decision for surgery by the end of the week. It would take up to six months for him to recover, ruling him out of not only the French Open, but Wimbledon and Argentina’s Davis Cup quarterfinal against the Czech Republic. It’s an unfortunate injury and he’ll be missed for the rest of the season.

Serena Williams is out of the Italian Open, a shock first round exit at the hands of Patty Schnyder. It comes just a few days after she claimed herself to be ‘the real number one’ and the ‘best in the world’, despite the fact Dinara Safina having moved into the No. 1 spot recently. So  it wasn’t exactly the greatest moment for her to crash out of the first round of a competition; losing her third match in a row for the second time in her career.

Williams’ sister Venus is through to the second round but only after a tough match against Lucie Safarova, who truly tested the American in her first match on clay of the season. Svetlana Kuznetsova, Caroline Wozniacki, Jelena Jankovic, Ana Ivanovic and Dinara Safina have all made it through their first rounds to advance in the tournament.

These next few tournaments sit in the shadow of the French Open, that great beacon of the clay season inching closer. Everybody is gearing up to the excitement; the next few weeks should be telling as to who is going to get where. The second Open of the year starts 24th May at Rolland Garros, and I very much doubt – even after all this build up -  that it’ll be a disappointment.

 

-          SophieG  

Written by: SophieG

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