Monday, June 01, 2009

American Clay Monster

Updated June 2, 2009

R16: Monfils def Roddick 6-4, 6-2, 6-3

"The Parisian crowd is quite stupid." — Toni Nadal, Rafa's uncle and coach.

Yeah, that's about right.

Congrats to Gael Monfils for jumping around like a goon and inciting the partisan crowd after breaking Andy in the third set when you were up two sets to love and in no danger of losing, that was real classy; congrats to the French Tennis Federation for their court judgement and biased scheduling, you got what you wanted, one of your home boys into the quarterfinals; and congrats to the tournament director who wouldn't call the match as it got dark even though they did it for Fabrice Santoro in the first round when he played Christophe Rochus when Rochus had only one game left to serve out.

Congrats to Andy on his best showing yet at the French Open and for behaving quite well considering the odds you were up against that day. Onwards now to playing real tennis on grass.

"Clay is for Mars." — Janko Tipsarevic

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R128: Roddick def Jouan 6-2, 6-4, 6-2
R64: Roddick def Minar 6-2, 6-2, 7-6(2)
R32: Roddick def Gicquel 6-1, 6-4, 6-4
"It's amazing, because you never hear the story of a clay court specialist, why don't you prepare and play better on grass? I've never once read that story in my life." —Andy Roddick

Once again Andy Roddick is the last American male standing at a grand slam, and frankly it's about time he lived up to his seeding and to his potential at Roland Garros. I've always felt that he's a better player on clay than people say he is. He has underperformed at the French, be it bad luck with injuries or (mostly) the lack of belief that permeates most of the American men's thinking. Finally, Andy has risen above all that and he fights today for a place in the quarterfinals, which would be his best showing at Roland Garros ever in his career. He has not dropped serve or a set yet.

You can watch Andy's completed matches and highlights here (U.S. residents only, I think). I found a livestream of Andy's match with Monfils here.

Here's Andy's interview with the Tennis Channel after his third round match.

Related news items:
• "Roddick keeps going and going and …?" [ESPN]
• "Roddick Sculptures Another Win in Paris" [New York Times]
• "Roddick Breaks Through to Fourth Round" [New York Times French Open blog]
• "Roddick's rebuilding finally makes him a threat on clay" [Yahoo! sports blog]
• "Improved Roddick putting on show at French Open" [Matt Cronin, Fox Sports]

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