Thursday, 30 June 2011

Roland Garros photos - better late than never

Fran practicing

Rafa

Andy



Rafa fans

The one and only - Kader Nouni! (And a Rafa facepalm)





"Maybe next time, no?"

"Very very happy to be in final"

Nole shirt in action :)

Nole!

Roger

Roger fans (a.k.a. 99% of the stadium)





Almost the only Serbian fans in the crowd. One of them had "No. 1" on his shirt... Alas :(


Finals day, sitting on court #1 and watching on the big screen


2010, Serbia def. France in Davis Cup finals. Had to take a photo! :)

There are some more, less interesting (or slightly repetitive) photos on my facebook. Here's a link to the album.

Tuesday, 28 June 2011

It's just another Manic Monday...

Oh boy, what a day. I'm still completely overwhelmed by all the things that happened today.


I'll start with the women's side - both Williams sisters and Caroline Wozniacki went out in the span of a couple of hours. And once again, we get the "Draw is completely open!", "Slamless #1", "WTA is weak" comments over and over again. Well, there's only one thing I can say - the WTA is absolutely WONDERFUL right now. While I generally watch the ATP much more, I can't pretend that it's not a bit boring that the top 4 just make their way to every final. The WTA matches are full of so much drama (in a good way) and are so unpredictable, that you can really look out for any result. The players are really giving their all out there, and calling them weak is an insult to every single one of them. Just look at Marion Bartoli, who had wonderful results this year, winning a title just before Wimbledon, and beating Serena Williams in a second-set tie break where others might have slipped away. If that's your definition of weak, then... well, I don't know. I'm enjoying the women's results here.

On the men's side, we had some wonderful stuff, as well.
Awesome point #1 (Djokovic-Llodra):

Awesome point #2 (Nadal-Del Potro):

Nadal and Del Potro both gave their fans a scare today, with an injury timeout for each. According to quotes from Rafa's press conference after the match, he wasn't sure he would be able to continue, and he's not sure what the injury is all about. Meanwhile, anti-fans already started saying that the injury was fake, that Nadal was using gamesmanship to throw Del Potro's momentum off, and what not. Well, it definitely didn't look like that to me - the pain looked genuine enough. Did Del Potro also fake his injury? Of course not. And since both were able to continue playing, I think those comments are just unnecessary.

Anyway, enough with the top 4, I give you the man of the day - Feliciano Lopez!

After losing the first two sets, and saving a couple of match points in the third set tiebreak, he was able to turn it around, finally winning in five sets, 3-6 6-7(5) 7-6(7) 7-5 7-5.

This took him a very short time, only 4.3 hours. And a couple of hours later, he showed up on court again, to play his mixed doubles match, with Andrea Petkovic. This is surely the most wonderful doubles pairing I've ever seen in my life, and thankfully - the Wimbledon organizers know that as well, and keep putting them on courts that have cameras ;) And they've won their match, too! So we can see them again tomorrow, this time on court no. 1.


I'm hoping there will be some joint pictures tomorrow, they're all giggly and adorable together. Feli, you rock, especially when you're smiling.

(Photos: Getty Images)

Sunday, 26 June 2011

Wicked Week in Wimbledon

If there's anything good about the Middle Sunday of Wimbledon, is that it lets you breathe out the air you've been holding inside since the tournament began - for a week now, I've been feeling something along the lines of "Aaaaaah, there's too much tennis to follow everything properly!". Those are the joys of the Grand Slams - at any given moment, there's something going on that you must be watching, but you're also feeling that you're missing out on most of the action.

My predictions so far are mostly wrong: Del Potro does get to meet Nadal. Petzschner couldn't take Soderling out (though he should've, in my opinion - he was playing better, had a lead in every set, but the mental side wasn't enough) - but Soderling did go out early, almost losing to Hewitt and falling eventually to Tomic (while being sick). My only correct prediction so far - Isner did beat Mahut in three sets, but he didn't get to the fourth round as I though he would, and Federer will be playing against Youzhny, instead. Llodra didn't meet Troicki, who lost to Lu, but he will meet Djokovic tomorrow, so this one is half true. As for my last two predictions... I'm waiting for Friday and Sunday.

On the Ladies' side, I didn't make any predictions, but there's exactly one thing that I want right now - seeing Sabine Lisicki lift the Wimbledon trophy.
Please, make it happen. (Photo: Getty Images)

The talking point of this week at Wimbledon was, of course, the court scheduling. With rains disrupting play almost every day, those who got to play on Centre Court were the lucky ones who got to play their matches mostly uninterrupted. But apart from that, there seem to be quite a few ego wars regarding this issue, not as much between the players themselves, as in the appalled media. They grilled Serena with questions about her being scheduled for court no. 2, making it look as though she was complaining about it - which, as far as I could see, she wasn't.

So, my take on the matter: First of all, the problem is mainly with scheduling only three matches on Centre Court, and starting play at 13:00. It would be much better to put 2 men's and 2 women's matches there, and start playing a bit earlier, like they do on the outer courts.

Apart from that, I think that the women's matches that were held on CC, were really worthwhile. Schiavone against Dokic? Serena  against Rezai? Date-Krumm against Venus? Lisicki-Li? These were much more interesting than Federer beating Kukushkin, Nadal passing Russell and Djokovic disposing of Chardy, weren't they? So even though it's a pity that Roger plays three straight matches on CC, and Serena only plays one - I applaud the match choice itself.

It's been that way for some of the men's matches, as well - both Tsonga-Dimitrov on court no. 1 and Soderling-Hewitt on CC were very much worthwile. Exhibit A:


And exhibit B:


To sum it up - yes, the scheduling needs to be improved. But it isn't as bad as people are trying to portray it.

Andy Roddick vs. Feliciano Lopez was another great match (played on CC, incidentally), with Lopez surprising Roddick in straight sets - 7-6(2), 7-6(2), 6-4. But Feliciano made the news for a bunch of other reasons, as well - mainly, being the subject of Judy Murray's crush. She's been tweeting a lot about his good looks for a while now, embarassing Andy on the way. So while Feli is finding it funny...
Q. Do you realize your nickname here is actually Deliciano. What do you say to that nickname?
FELICIANO LOPEZ: It's coming from Andy's mother. She's so funny. It's just something that everybody knows now because somebody post it on Twitter.
Q. Do you like that nickname?
FELICIANO LOPEZ: I have to like it. It's kind of funny. I mean, it's okay.
... Andy is disgusted, but also getting back at his mother:
Q. If you get through on Monday and López keeps winning, I'm curious who you think your mum might be supporting if you meet Deliciano?
ANDY MURRAY: I think it's about time she stopped with that nonsense. Makes me want to throw up. It's disgusting. Yeah, it's disgusting.
I was practising with him before the tournament. It's quite funny because she'd been writing about it on, you know, Twitter like all the time. And I was practising with him before the tournament and my mom was on the side.
I said, when we were warming up, I shouted across the net, I said, Feli, if we sit down for a drink, if you could take a picture with my mom, because she thinks you're beautiful.
She went bright red. I'm not doing it. I'm not doing it. Refused to take the picture. Quite funny. Not like her.
Yeah, I hope she'll still be supporting me.
In the meanwhile, I tweeted Judy about Feli playing twice on the same day (singles against Roddick and doubles with the charming Andrea Petkovic, who encourages Judy's antics), and her response to me is now part of a Daily Mail article (both online and printed):
So I'm famous now, appearing in British newspapers ;)
(Thanks to @emmaphickey for the alert!)

Monday, 20 June 2011

Super quick Wimbledon predictions

My list of predictions, this will be telegraphically short:
  • Del Potro won't get to meet Nadal in the 4th round.
  • If Petzschner is injury free, Soderling will go out tomorrow. I'm predicting a QF for Philipp (including a possible win over best friend Jurgen Melzer, who I'm hoping is also over his injuries).
  • Isner will beat Mahut easily...
  • ... and will go on to meet Federer in round 4.
  • Llodra will play against two Serbian players in a row - Troicki, then Djokovic.
  • Semis will be the exact replay of the Roland Garros.
  • Final: Federer def. Nadal.
Of course, I can easily see myself being wrong in all of the above. This is just for fun.

Sunday, 19 June 2011

Eastbourne final: lights, rain, retirement

The rain delays in England caused many matches this week to take two, or even three days to complete. They also made it necessary to hold both semifinals and finals of the AEGON International tournament in Eastbourne on the same day - both for the women and the men.

So, first of all, congratulations to Marion Bartoli, who won a well-deserved trophy today, beating Sam Stosur in the semis and Petra Kvitova in the finals of the WTA tournament.

But I'm here to talk about something else. Andreas Seppi, from Italy, beat Igor Kunitsyn in the first men's semifinals of the day, and Janko Tipsarevic was the winner of the second semifinals, winning against Kei Nishikori. A few hours later, they met for their final match. And this was the start of a pretty dramatic chain of events, some of which I really can't understand.

My first question is - why weren't the semis scheduled to start at the same time? We've seen unreasonable scheduling from quite a few tournaments lately (Roland Garros, anyone?), this was just another example. My second question - why was almost everything played on a single court, on a day where you have to complete so many matches? Yes, I get that SF should be put on centre court, for the benefit of the people who paid for their tickets... But how exactly are you going to fit 5 matches (2 singles SF, 2 singles finals, 1 doubles finals) in about 9 hours - 10:30 to 19:30 approx., when it gets too dark? And that's before the possible rain that can disrupt play even more.

Well, the answer is - you're not going to fit all those matches in. And so, after Seppi took the first set, 7-6(5), and Tipsarevic won the second, 6-3, the third set started a little while after 19:20, local time. Shortly afterward, Tipsarevic asked for the match to be stopped, since it was too dark to see the ball properly. The umpire, Steve Ullrich, declined, and the tournament director was later called on court. He didn't want to call the play off either, despite Tipsarevic's argument that his match against Ward was stopped at the same time a few days earlier. (I tried to find the exact time when that happened, but didn't succeed - if anyone knows where I can find it, I'd appreciate it)

The arguments continued all the way through the next few games, as Tipsarevic was broken twice. At *4-0 30:30 to Seppi, it started raining. Ullrich stopped the players immediately, and they soon went back to the locker room. At this point, I fully expected the match to be halted - the grass was slippery after the rain, the players already cooled down, and it was getting darker by the minute. But no, after the rain stopped, the match resumed, despite Tipsarevic's continuing protests. The delay benefited him temporarily, as he managed to break back twice and get back on serve, at 4-3*. According to one of the commentators on Eurosport, at this point the ATP officials wanted at least one more game to be played before the match was stopped and rescheduled for the following day (but he wasn't 100% sure he heard correctly).

Then, during one of the points of the eighth game, Tipsarevic slipped on the grass. Badly. A medical timeout was required, his thigh was bandaged, and he limped back to the baseline. Even the commentators were agreeing at that point that it was getting too dark to keep on playing, but the match still went on. Wincing and moving badly, Tipsarevic tried to close the game, but after saving one of two break points, ended up getting broken for 5-3, hardly even standing. One point later, at *5-3 15-0 to Seppi, Tipsarevic retired.

In the couple of hours that passed since the match was over, I've seen lots of comments saying Janko shouldn't have retired - that it was poor form, disrespect for the opponent, pathetic, overly dramatic, and plainly dumb, to pick a few. Well, I vehemently disagree. I think that standing on the court (when you can hardly stand without doubling up in pain), and waiting for your opponent to hit 3 aces, without trying to return the serve, does not make you look better. I really don't think this could've made Seppi (or anyone else, for that matter) feel better about his win. Of course, nobody wants to win because of a retirement, but do you want to win because your opponent doesn't try to play at all? It feels the same to me, if not more disrespectful. I know a lot of people will disagree with me on this, but this is how I feel.

Janko tweeted some time after the match:
I know I have a wonderfull life full of love and happiness.But sometimes I feel that I dont deserve the things that are happening to me

Retirement or no Andrea was a better player today and he deserved to win this event
Seppi will be back on court tomorrow, to play the doubles finals.

Friday, 17 June 2011

Wimbledon Draw - Scattered first thoughts

I saw the Wimbledon Draw about ten minutes ago. Basically, this post is a collection of things that I would've tweeted, but there are too many thoughts, so I'm writing it all down here. I hope to post a normal draw-dissection/predictions later on (though probably not today).

The order of thoughts is based on the Wikipedia drawsheets, look at it here.
  • Fognini vs. Raonic - well, at least we can hope that with Milos's serves, Fabio won't have a chance to wreak a havoc in this Slam.
  • The bottom part of Nadal's first section has Del Potro and Simon as the seeded players, 3 qualifiers (or lucky losers), and one Wild Card - Dudi Sela. Del Potro isn't the best on grass, Simon played in The Boodles exhibition tournament with bandaging this week, so... dare I hope for a surprise fourth-rounder against Nadal here? I probably dare not, but hope dies last.
  • Verdasco vs. Stepanek - tough first round for the Spaniard, who doesn't do all that well on grass...
  • Cilic-Ljubicic in a Croat derby in first round? Ouch.
  • Wawrinka didn't get Federer anywhere near him! That's a first, he played him both in AO and RG this year. Anyway, Wawrinka and Gasquet's section has another close group of qualifiers.
  • OK, maybe I shouldn't be surprised at the amount of qualifiers drawn together, they seem to be everywhere. Forget it :)
  • Karlovic/Tipsarevic? #JankoSigh
  • Isner/Mahut. I don't even know what to say. Will they play on Court 18? That'd be cruel. Centre Court, maybe? But it won't be the most interesting tennis you could think of... Anyway, I think it's going to be a 3 sets match. Maximum 4. OK, maybe... No, I just don't know.
  • Ah, so we don't get Wawrinka/Federer, but we might get Troicki/Djokovic. Of course.
  • Also, of course Roger and Novak fall into the same half. Sure. It only happened in 13 out of the last 15 Slams (or so I've read on twitter, sorry if this is wrong).
  • I'm going to cry at the statistics of this draw, see you later...
Edited to add: This is the funniest thing I've read lately (Yes, Andy Murray's tweets included) - a liveblog account of last year's Isner/Mahut match. Start at 3:45 pm, and make sure you're not drinking anything as you read it.

    Wednesday, 15 June 2011

    Preparing for Wimbledon

    Going into Wimbledon 2011, there are several things on my mind.


    First of all, an honourable mention to the Williams sisters, who made their return to the tour this week in Eastbourne. Venus, who only played in Grand Slams in the last year (apart from the last Roland Garros, of course), won her two first matches - against Petkovic in three sets and against Ivanovic in two. Judging by today's match, she's good to go all the way. Serena, whose last tournament was Wimbledon 2010, won her first round against Pironkova (in three sets), but lost against Vera Zvonareva today, after serving for the match in the second set. I didn't see most of it, unfortunately, but from what I read - she got pretty tired by the third set. Even though, I still wouldn't bet against her, at least until the second week of Wimbledon.


    The Wimbledon seedings were announced today, and the main news here are also about the Williamses. The Ladies' seeds are determined by a committee, and so - Serena will be seeded #7, and Venus will be #23 (while their current ranks are #26 and #33). They were supposed to be 8 and 24, but unfortunately, Kim Clijsters is out of Wimbledon with another injury :(
    The Gentlemen's seeds are calculated by a fixed formula, and if you want to, you can find all the seedings here.

    On to different matters entirely.
    In the beginning of the week, the last Wild Cards to the Championships were announced. I was immensely glad to hear that Dudi Sela, Israel's #1 racket, was one of those to get a WC into the main draw. This was a direct result of him winning the Nottingham 2 Challenger, which was his third straight ATP Challenger title. That means he now has a little streak of 15 matches going on. But I'm not suggesting anything, you know ;) It's only challengers, after all.


    Still, Sela is now back to being the main hope of the Israeli tennis in the upcoming Grand Slam, the one in which he had his best Slam results - reaching the round of 16 (and losing to one, Novak Djokovic). Gaining confidence from his previous wins and playing on grass - his favourite surface - the current #81 might hope to proceed a couple of rounds in the tournaments. Or, at least, I hope that he might.

    Other Israeli hopes are not that high - both our qualifiers, Amir Weintraub and Julia Glushko, lost in their first qualifying matches. Shahar Peer had 4 first-round exits in her last 6 tournaments (I ecxlude matches against the elusive Ms. Bye, who never wins anyway) - since parting ways with her coach in Indian Wells, basically. That includes a first-round loss at the Roland Garros. So I'll be surprised if she makes it anywhere near the second week. Or the second round. Andy Ram and Yoni Erlich had a shaky season so far, but they ousted two-time defending champions Fyrstenberg/Matkowski in Eastbourne yesterday, so there's hope for a good run here and in Wimbledon.

    Last, but not the least - you can't write anything on Wimbledon and not mention that Isner/Mahut match from 2010. If you're playing James LaRosa's drinking game, take a few swigs now (if you're not - better start playing now). In fact, I originally intended to write mainly about this match, but somehow got carried away.
    So, first of all - there's an absolutely wonderful article about that match, going behind-the-scenes of it all (Did you know that Isner texts Mahut twice a week since then? Yeah). I very much recommend reading it.
    This match is pretty much the only thing I remember from last year's Wimbledon (I already mentioned that in the opening post of this blog). Seeing it, you could just feel history being made before your eyes. At the end of the match, I was sure that they were going to put up a sign saying "The longest match ever took place HERE" on court 18. When I was on a tour of the Wimbledon grounds last August (highly recommended if you're looking for something to do while in London), we were taken to court 18 as a part of the tour. And I was a bit disappointed not seeing such a sign anywhere. You can clearly see the disappointment in this picture.


    Anyway, it's there now.


    I think we're officially ready for Wimledon 2011 now!

    (Photos: Wimbledon official site, Getty Images, Me, Wimbledon facebook page)

    Sunday, 12 June 2011

    It's raining tweets, hallelujah!

    It was a very rainy day today all over England. So, while the all-German-all-Philip finals in Halle (Kohlschreiber def. Petzschner 7-6(5) 2-0 ret.) and the Wozniacki Open finals in Copenhagen (Wozniacki def. Safarova 6-1 6-4) took place as scheduled, play in Birmingham, Eastbourne and Queens (London) was suspended, with most of the matches rescheduled for tomorrow.

    Being stuck in the locker rooms brought out A LOT of tennis players to twitter. Sania Mirza, Elena Vesnina and Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova discussed iPhones and the newly made doubles draw for Eastbourne (which Anastasia "accidentally" helped make). Nastya also chatted with Julia Goerges about their practice yesterday, while Andrea Petkovic complained about what her coach, Petar, was doing to her.

    Meanwhile, Anne Keothawong and Laura Robson exchanged "planking" pictures (check it out, seriously. Explanation here). Jarka Gajdosova, Ivo Karlovic, John Isner, Caroline Wozniacki, Sveta Kuznetsova - they all tweeted today, and I'm probably forgetting another 10 players or so.

    But the best part of the day started after Andy Murray got a little bored waiting for his own finals match to start, against Jo Wilfried Tsonga in Queens. Without comments, I bring you -

    (I might have missed some of the tweets - Nole also suggested that Gael Monfils could do breakdance, and Mardy Fish also wanted in on the fun. Also, I changed the order a little bit so it'd make more sense. But other than that... you get the picture)

    Oh, and by the way, Andy and Jo? They did play today, only not tennis per se...

    (Watch a 10 second video here...)
    Jo won, 2 sets to 1.

    Tuesday, 7 June 2011

    Roland Garros: We're going to the Final!

    The grass season started today, and it already seems as though yesterday's final is old history. But since I was at the Roland Garros yesterday, I'd like to stay on the clay for a few more moments.

    So, finals day. The grounds were buzzing early on, filling up long before the start of the most important match - Rafael Nadal vs. Roger Federer. The tournament's daily newspaper said it all:


    We came early, and made it just in time to see the last games of the Boys' final, and most of the first set of the Girls' final match. Who knows, maybe one day I'll get to brag that I saw Bjorn Fratangelo (USA) and Ons Jabeur (Tunis) winning their (first?) Roland Garros titles ;)
    My brother and I actually liked the girls' other finalist, Monica Puig (ranked 314 in the WTA). We already saw her playing on the semifinals day, and my brother dubbed her "Ivanovic", because of the Adidas kit similar to the one Ana's usually wearing. Yesterday we discovered that she also fist-pumps a little bit like Ana :)

    Since we only had a grounds-pass for Sunday, we watched the final on a big screen put on Court #1. With a big crowd, and all the ball kids in attendance (apart from those who were on court, of course), it was a great atmosphere. And you can see a small bit of Philippe Chatrier from there, so you really get the feel that you're watching what's happening next door.


    The weather gave us all a bit of a scare. It was predicted to rain on Sunday, but when the match started, the sun was blazing brightly and it was scorching hot. Then, at 6-5 40:40 in the second set, the clouds that were slowly creeping in decided that enough is enough. And it happily rained for five minutes or so, just enough to disrupt play, but not enough to make us move from our perfect viewing spots. We didn't even need an umbrella, and the cool breeze was a welcome change at that point.

    Rain isn't enough to stop Rafa when he's playing on Roland Garros' clay, though. A few moments before the end of the match, the sun came out again.

    Rafael Nadal def. Roger Federer 7-5, 7-6, 5-7, 6-1

    Saturday, 4 June 2011

    Sunset in Roland Garros

    Wow. How can I sum up a day like today? I'm pretty much drained emotionally right now (plus, it's 1 a.m.), so forgive me in advance if this post turns out to be not too coherent ;) All the photos you're about to see were taken with my phone, so sorry for the quality... But there are better ones coming (probably in about a week).

    So, the day started with us (my family and me) getting a little bit lost on our way from the Metro to the stadium. That's because I decided to use the etrance that was described as the less crowded on the RG site, and so we were the only ones going to the stadium from that specific Metro station. We'll use the main entrance on Sunday, and then I'll be able to compare what's better.

    After arriving, we checked out Suzanne Lenglen (Wilander & Pernfors against McEnroe and Gomez). The Legends were still warming up, so we left quickly, watched a few minutes of a Juniors' match on a nearby court, and continued on a walk around the grounds. Within 5 minutes, I already bought myself a RG hat (expensive, yet so comfortable).

    The next thing on our list was watching practices. The guys all practiced on Philippe Chatrier, so we couldn't watch them, but we did get to watch a bit of Na Li, who was hitting with her husband on court #4, both laughing and smiling.


    Then we found out that Francesca Schiavone was training on court #8, and quickly headed out there. She was absolutely adorable, and at one point gifted a tennis ball to a small child (~2 years old, I'm guessing) near the court. (Awwwwww...)
    After her practice, her coach gave out a few tennis balls, as well - and since my brother was almost the only child there at that moment, he got one :) Then she signed both the ball and in my brother's tennis-autographs-notepad. So, Forza Francesca!!! ;)


    Next, we got back to Suzanne Lenglen to catch some of that Legends doubles action. McEnroe was his usual angry self when missing shots, and we got lucky enough to see a racquet chucking :D
     


     After grabbing something to eat, and watching a bit of a Girls semifinals match between Irina Khromacheva from Russia and Monica Puig from Puerto Rico (those girls are damn impressive!), we met those two young ladies outside of Philippe Chatrier:


    I have to say, the scene itself was kind of horrible. They stand there for long minutes, surrounded by photographers and a whole crowd of spectators, and they have to pose for the cameras in some ridiculous positions. But I guess that's the price you have to pay for being a Grand Slam finalist, and all that.

    Then it was the money time. Philippe Chatrier for 7.5 straight hours. Nadal beat Murray, 6-4, 7-5, 6-4, in a very very very long match. But you know what, despite of the extreme hate he gets sometimes, Murray isn't world #4 for nothing. The guy can play some great tennis, and it was a very enjoyable match today. He broke back a couple of times - it seems that the tournament has a curse which can be summed up as "If you're serving at 5-2, you're going to get broken". But in the end, Rafa got his first birthday gift - a victory and a ticket to the finals.


    (I promise to have normal photos later, where you can... like... see the players.)

    During this match, the crowd was pretty calm. More Rafa support, but good level of applause on Andy's finest shots. As it should be. In the second match, on the other hand...

    Well, Federer won against Djokovic, 7-6(5) 6-3 3-6 7-6(5). Talk about a close score... Obviously, this result wasn't the best part of my day, to say the least... But they had a wonderful match, so different from the first one in its speed and style, and with some incredible rallies. Those are truly two of the best players in the world, and you could see it in every shot they hit. As much as it pains me to say it, the best man on court today was the one who won. I don't know if it's the long break from play (thanks again, Fognini), or the disappointment in losing the first set, but after a shaky start to the match, Novak's level dropped considerable in the second set.
    The Novak of the 43-0 streak appeared again in the third set of the match. It was like seeing a different player entirely - the backhand was doing wonders, the balls found the court in all the right places, and he wasn't broken back at all. The fourth set could have been better (well, obviously), as every break wasn't consolidated - which particularly hurt in the end, when he was serving for the set. But I think I'll hate tie-breaks from now on. When it was 6-3 in the last set, I said to my brother "You'll see, even if Nole gets those next two points, Roger's going to end it with an ace". And that's exactly what happened. So, another birthday present for Rafa, who gets to keep his #1 ranking a little longer - unless Roger beats him in the final.


    The final score is pretty indicative of what we saw today, I think. It was a very close match, but Roger was better, I can't deny it. The only thing that bothered me, as you might have guessed, was the crowd. There were SO MUCH more people rooting for Roger than for Novak. I did my best with some "Ajde Nole"s, but the level of applause for the two players couldn't be more different. One had the whole crowd behind him, and the other one scarcely got anything from most of the French. There was a bunch of Serbs in the crowd, I would've wanted to sit with them, but they were too far away :P

    So, the day ended on a sad note for me, but it was great nonetheless. We're going back on Sunday with a grounds-pass - so we'll see the finals on a large screen. I'll try rooting for Roger this time, but I'm afraid it won't be easy :P

    Anyway, thanks for helping me plan my future trips abroad, Roland Garros!


    (Photos by me. Sorry again if the post contains mistakes, too tired to spell proof at the moment. Good night Paris!)