Monfils

rafa french open 2014 semi

Torrential rain delayed the start of quarterfinal action on day 11 of the French Open Wednesday and looked like it was going to force the 5th set of both men’s semifinals to be postponed due to darkness.  But both Rafa Nadal and Andy Murray managed to dominate the 5th set of their matches to finish business in record time as the sun was setting over Paris.

monfilsIn what looked like it should be a fast match for Murray, pilule Frenchman Gaël Monfils looked as if he had been playing possum the first two sets – Murray was looking like he was on the ropes. It seemed certain that the match wouldn’t have time to finish before dark, treat but with Murray clearly irritated by the call from the umpire to continue play in the fading light, buy he only needed 24 minutes for the last set to defeat Monfils 6-4, 6-1, 4-6, 1-6, 6-0 with Monfils winning just seven points in the entire last set.

MEN’S SINGLES SEMIFINALS FRIDAY

Nadal to play Murray Friday

Can anybody stop Nadal? In an unbelievable match that was looking like a nail-biter early on and perhaps even a loss for top-seeded Nadal, Rafa defeated fellow countryman David Ferrer, the man who lost last year’s final to the eight-time French Open champion.

After a slow start in which he conceded the first set 6-4, Nadal hit back to take the next three sets 6-4 6-0 6-1. The World No.1, who was beaten at Monte Carlo in April by Ferrer, remains a huge favorite to win the title.

Djokovich vs Gulbis

Gulbis defeats Berdych in quarterfinals

Gulbis defeats Berdych in quarterfinals

Ernests Gulbis followed up his victory over Roger Federer by crushing sixth seed Tomas Berdych 6-3 6-2 6-4 to claim a place in the semi-finals of a Grand Slam tournament for the first time in his career.

Gulbis will meet second-seeded Novak Djokovic, who was impressive in his 7-5, 7-6, 6-4 victory over Milos Raonic. Djokovic is through to his 22nd Grand Slam semi-final and has reached the last four at 14 of the last 15 Grand Slam tournaments.

WOMEN’S SINGLES SEMIFINALS THURSDAY

Genie Bouchard advances to seminfinals

Genie Bouchard advances to seminfinals

Sharapova vs Bouchard

Maria Sharapova had a sloppy first set vs 35th ranked Garbine Muguruza of Spain in the quarterfinals, but grabbed control of the match by breaking her to go up by 6-5 in the second set and served out the set and easily winning the last set 6-1.

The seventh-seeded Sharapova has emerged as one favorite in this upset-filled tournament. Last year’s champion Serena Williams (1) was easily defeated in the 2nd round by Muguruza 6-2, 6-2. Second-seeded and Aussie Open champion Na Li was shockingly defeated in the 1st round by 103th ranked Kristina Mladenovic of France, much to the delight of the home crowd.

Sharapova will meet 18th seeded Eugenie Bouchard of Canada. Twenty year old Bouchard is currently on a streak – winning 10 matches in a row – including a run to her first WTA title in Nuremberg, Germany, the week before the French Open began.

Bouchard was inspired to take up tennis when she saw Sharapova’s Wimbledon victory 10 years ago at age 17. However, Genie has made clear that she isn’t intimidated by Sharapova by telling reporters, “We’re not friends, so there is that. Of course as a child I looked up to her and I remember watching her in the finals of Wimbledon and, you know, thought what she was doing was so cool and I wanted to do the same thing. We’re in the semis of a Grand Slam, so I’m going to respect her but not put her too high on a pedestal and really just battle.”

Petkovic vs Halep

Halep Beats Petkovic In Nürnberg Final

Halep Beats Petkovic In Nürnberg Final

Neither Petkovic nor Halep has ever played in the semifinals of a Grand Slam tournament. But they will meet on Thursday for a spot in the final.

Andrea Petkovic, a 28th-seeded German, beat 2012 French Open runner-up Sara Errani of Italy 6-2, 6-2 and fourth-seeded Simona Halep defeated 2009 champion Svetlana Kuznetsova, also 6-2, 6-2.

TV COVERAGE

The Women’s semifinals is scheduled for Thursday, June 5th at 8 a.m. on ESPN2, as well as on NBC beginning at 10 a.m. (CT).  The Women’s final will be played Saturday, June 7th beginning at 8 a.m. (CT) and shown on NBC.

The Men’s semifinals will begin at 7 a.m. Friday, June 6th on the Tennis Channel and from 10 a.m. on NBC. The Men’s final will be Sunday, June 8th at 8 a.m and broadcast by NBC.

Have a Smashing Day! Smashing Golf & Tennis apparel is now available at the Made in Chicago boutique at 17 E Pearson St, Chicago.

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Will the Magic of Monfils Continue? (Getty Images)

If you’ve been watching the first week of the French Open, drugstore you’ve probably noticed the less than perfect conditions. The first five days of the French Open at Roland Garros have been unusually cold and rainy causing long delays and postponed matches, levitra however, there’s still been plenty of upsets, drama and exciting play to discuss.

Maria Sharapova was unable to finish her second-round match against Eugenie Bouchard on a rainy fifth day of action in Paris and the officials finally suspended play and will pick up where they left off on Friday. Match play has been delayed, but with the hope that Friday will bring better weather and a chance to finish the remaining second and third round matches before the weekend.

In the meantime, some highlights from the week so far.

Men’s Singles

Nadal First Round Scare

Rafa in Disbelief in early 1st Round (Gallo Images)

French Open favorite Rafael “Rafa” Nadal had a very scary first two sets in the first round.  Rafa struggled during his opening-round win over German Daniel Brands after dropping the first set—only the 15th set he has lost at Roland Garros—and falling to 0-3 in the second.

Of course, Rafa then made it look easy and then went on to win decisively in four sets, but it was exciting to watch live and wonder if my prediction would fall on only the second day of play.

Monfils the “Magician”

Monfils “The Magician” (Washington Post)

The biggest upset on the Men’s side this week so far has been fifth seed Tomas Berdych’s shocking loss after five sets by unseeded Frenchmen Gael Monfils on Monday 7-6, 6-4, 6-7, 6-7, 7-5 in a thrilling four hour and two minute match.

Monfils continued to perform his magic to the delight of local crowds Wednesday by beating 40th ranked Ernests Gulbis  6-7, 6-4, 7-6, 6-2, in what was one of the most entertaining and competitive matches so far.

Ironically, a Frenchman has not won at Roland Garros since Yannick Noah, the father of Chicago Bull, Joakim Noah,  in 1983.  Monfils will next play 34th ranked Tommy Robredo on Friday, who’s first 2 rounds have not have been as hard fought as Monfils, but the local crowds will be cheering on for more of Monfils magic and will be a match not to be missed.

The Other Top Seeded Men

Roger Federer (Clive Brunskill/Getty Images)

Novak Djokovic eased into the third round with decisive 6-2, 6-0, 6-2 win over Argentina’s Guido Pella Thursday, and Federer barely broke a sweat defeating Somdev Dewarman of India in the second round 6-2, 6-1, 6-1.

Women’s Singles

Mattek-Sands Shocks 2011 Champion Li

Bethanie Mattek-Sands (Photo : AFP)

Unconventionally dressed American Bethanie Mattek-Sands delivered the biggest upset of this year’s French Open so far by beating the 2011 champ and current #6 Li Na of China  5-7, 6-3, 6-2.

Mattek-Sands is renown for her unusual style and says “I’m kind of doing my own thing, I want my tennis to do my talking.”  This week at the French Open, she did just that.

Serena – Inevitable Champion? 

Serena Williams (USA Today)

Serena Williams easily extended her winning streak to 26 matches Wednesday by beating #114th ranked Caroline Garcia of France, 6-1, 6-2 in the second round.

The No. 1-ranked Williams seeks her first French Open title since 2002. She hasn’t reached the semifinal since 2003 and lost in the first round last year at Roland Garros.

Other Upsets

Former top-ranked and current #10 ranked Caroline Wozniacki lost 7-6 (2), 6-3 to 47th ranked Bojana Jovanovski of Serbia in the second round of the French Open on Wednesday.

Who to Watch Friday

(Roland Garros)

Due to the rain suspended play on Thursday, the match schedule was not finalized at time of writing.  Check link for Friday final schedule of play at French Open.

However, the following matches should be worth watching.

Men’s Singles  

  • Rafael Nadal vs. Martin Klizan
  • Gael Monfils vs.Tommy Robredo

Women’s Singles

  • Maria Sharapova vs. Eugenie Bouchard – To finish rain delayed match, currently at 6-2 4-2
  • Serena Williams vs. Sorana Cirstea
  • Agnieszka Radwanska  vs. Dinah Pfizenmaier

The matches get started at 4 a.m. on ESPN2, and will run on that channel through 9 a.m. The Tennis Channel will then pick up coverage from 9 all the way through 6 p.m., so there will be plenty of opportunities to watch on Friday. The Tennis Channel then has the French Open Highlights at 6 p.m. and this program runs again at 9pm.

Smashing Golf & Tennis – Made in Chicago
(Photo: Mike Caplan)

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