Heading into 2nd Week

We got seven days in the books. What an interesting first week it’s been. We start off the first couple of days with beautiful 80-degree weather and we finish the last five with low 60s and rain everyday. What’s up with that? Great preparation for Wimbledon next month! 

The top half of the men’s draw form has really held up and my bracket is eight for eight. The two most interesting men’s matches today is Cilic vs. Soderling (first meeting) and Berdych vs. Murray (tied 1-1).

Coming into the tournament last year there was nothing on the resume that Soderling could play some clay ball. He certainly has been no flash in the pan and he’s playing a lot better and he’s become a legitimateTop 6-7 player in the world. I am going to be sitting in the stands watching Muzza (Murray) and the Bird Man. I like AM in four sets today.

I watched Berdych dismantle John Isner courtside the other day. The guy hit a plethora of winners from all over the court. Not sure if I’ve seen a player who has improved his movement on the court. He is moving like a giselle. Murray, who reached the quarterfinals here last year, got out of jail in the first round with a five-set win over Richard Gasquet. He came in here not playing well but he’s played his way into form and I like his chances to move on. I think we’re headed for a potential Fed-Murray semifinal.

On the bottom half of the draw, all the talk is about Nadal and all the Spanish players. I would like to think about Robby Ginepri and Teimuraz Gabashvili, who came into Paris  with a combined record of 2-13 match record on the year. If you would have asked anybody that either one of this guys would get to the round of 16, you couldn’t get a taker. That’s the cool thing about this tournament, you get stories like this. And how about Jurgen Melzer, who was 0-11 in Grand Slam third round matches in his career and 0-3 vs. David Ferrer and the 29-year-old Austrian takes down Ferrer to the woodshed in straight sets yesterday. These are the stories that I like to see. Interesting note about Ginepri, about five years ago, I was doing a first round match here with Chris Fowler and Nips was playing a guy I never heard of, Novak Djokovic, who won the first 15 games in a row. That match officially put Djokovic on the radar and I thought Ginepri would never win a match here.

But on the bottom half of the draw we’re headed for a Nadal-Djokovic semifinal and they are all playing for second place in the bottom half. I would be stunned if anybody takes a set off of him on the bottom half.

In the women’s draw, in the Henin- Shazzy match  today will go a long way in shaping up the women’s draw. It’s seems right with Williams on the top and Williams on the bottom that they are back at No. 1-2 in the world. They seem to play and relish when they are on opposite halfs of the draw. Not sure which has been better, Venus’ game or her outfit. But I’ve never seen Venus play this well on clay and she’s sliding and gliding like she’s a clay court player. Three women flying under the radar and we’ve hardly mentioned on our broadcast are JJ (Jalena Jankovic). SS (Sam Stosur) and the veteran Dementieva. A lot of work for the Williams to be an all-Williams final.

The two best stories on the women’s side equal to the Ginepri-Gabashvili, Aussie wild card Jarmila Groth and 26-year-olde South African qualifier Chanelle Scheepers, ranked No. 133 in the world. It’s the best result for a South African in 11 years. For some of these players it’s not about winning it but  I like stories like this. These are the sub plots of the tournament. And how about Yaroslava Shvedova of Kazahkstan, playing Groth, to get to the quarterfinals. Who would have thunk it?

The biggest shock of the tournament so far is the Bryan brothers with a second round dismal. Look for the Williams sisters to roll in doubles. They are trying to win their first doubles title at Roland Garros since 1999 and they are set to take over the No. 1 ranking in doubles. Pretty cool for one family to be No. 1-2 in singles and No. 1 in doubles.          

Hopefully the second week the weather will cooperate and we could see some serious ball. I would love to 1-2-3-4 make the semifinals and it would only be right if we another Nadal-Club Fed final. And I hope there’s no stopping the Williams sisters. I would really like to see VW win this title.

I can’t remember the last time that the top four seeded and ranked on both sides are still hanging in there going into the second week.

It should be an awesome week two!

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