Sunday, 29 May 2011

Roland Garros: The best way to win is to get injured?

Looking at the last couple of days, the answer to this question might be: YES. Only for the men, though, the women who get injured don't win here.

Yesterday it was Andy Murray, who rolled his ankle in the beginning of his second set against Michael Berrer, and after extensive taping applied, kept on standing. And winning. For two whole sets, Berrer couldn't exploit Murray's injury, and ended up losing the match, 6-2 6-3 6-2. He later said that he was too sorry for Murray, and couldn't capitalize on the moment:
It's not an excuse, but the way I am is that I felt sorry for him - that's my mentality. I should have hurt him when he's down, but that's difficult for me. I think you cannot play worse in this situation than I did.
(Since we don't have an official transcript, I took the quote from British news sites, so apologies in advance if it's out of context or missing information)

Today, we saw the same thing happening again, in what turned out to be a full-of-drama match between Albert Montanes and Fabio Fognini. After 4 sets (4-6 6-4 3-6 6-3, quite symmetric), it was *6-7 on serve in the fifth set for Fognini, and 15-30 - so Montanes had to win two more points in order to clinch the match. At that point, Fognini grimaced in pain and stopped playing. It looked like cramping (which doesn't allow you to call for a trainer until the changeovers), but the umpire summoned a trainer to check Fabio out, after which he received a medical timeout and a massage.

"Get injured. Then win! Problem?"

Again, you would think that when your opponent is injured and can hardly move, or even serve (Fognini made one foot fault after another), and all you need is 2 points (not 3 sets, like Berrer), it shouldn't take you too long to close it out. Well, that's apparently wrong. Even though Montanes had five (5!) match points, Fognini held serve thrice, for a 9-9 score. And then he broke. And held serve again. And so he won the match with 11-9 in the deciding set. I'm still finding it hard to believe.

In the end of the day, and just before play was suspended, Gael Monfils rolled in the clay with another twisted ankle, only to be broken to 2-0 in the fourth set against David Ferrer. Monfils currently leads 2-1 in sets, but will he be able to play tomorrow? Just like Andy Murray, the answer is unclear at the moment.


There's just one thing they can say on Suzanne Lenglen these days:


(Photos: Getty Images, AP Photo)

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