Tennis - French Open 2006

on June 8, 2006 with 0 comments » | ,

I have hardly followed whats happening in French Open this time... just got tired of work this evening and thought I'll catch up on sports news.

French Open 2006

PREVIEW TO FRENCH OPEN:
French Open women's seed report & men's seed report, by Jon Wertheim of SI.com

Also here is a list of French Open Champions over the years..
- WOMEN
- MEN

MENS SINGLES:

Roger Federer has advanced to the semifinals at Grand Slam tournaments after beating Croatia's Mario Ancic 6-4, 6-3, 6-4 in the quarterfinals on Tuesday. Federer will face No. 3 David Nalbandian in the semifinals. Nalbandian defeated No. 6 Nikolay Davydenko of Russia 6-3, 6-3, 2-6, 6-4 to reach his second French Open semifinal.

In the other semifinals, defending champion Rafael Nadal of Spain beat Novak Djokovic of Serbia-Montenegro, when the latter quit with a back injury after losing the first two sets. Nadal meets fourth- seeded 27-year old Croat Ivan Ljubicic, who is enjoying his best-ever showing at a Grand Slam event, with his previous-best effort being a trip to the quarterfinals at this year's Australian Open, where he lost to an upstart but eventual finalist Baghdatis. Ljubicic led Croatia to its first-ever Davis Cup title last year and helped the Croats capture the ATP World Team Championships event in Dusseldorf the week before this '06 French Open commenced. Ljubicic reached his first grand slam semifinal after he defeated Frenchman Julien Benneteau 6-2, 6-2, 6-3.

Looks like it will be another French Open finals (hopefully with a different result than last time) between Nadal and Federer....though after 3 defeats to Nadal this year*, world #1 and super-tennis player, Federer will strangely start as the underdog!! The 20-year-old Nadal has won an Open Era-record 58 straight matches on clay and has yet to lose at the French Open, where he's 12-0. Nadal, who's a brilliant 98-12 lifetime on clay, is 33-3 overall this season, including four ATP titles.

*
Nadal is 3-0 versus Federer this year, with all three wins coming in finals, including clay-court ones at Masters Series events in Monte- Carlo and Rome. Federer is a perfect 43-0 this season when he's not playing Nadal.

GO FEDERER...

 For the first time in 21 years, the top-four seeds will compete in the semifinals here. John McEnroe, Ivan Lendl, Jimmy Connors and eventual champion Mats Wilander combined to turn the trick back in 1985.
The 24-year-old Federer needs the French Open to complete a career Grand Slam. The seven-time major titlist currently holds the Wimbledon, U.S. Open and Australian Open crowns and is trying to become the first man to hold all four majors since Rod Laver in 1969. Only five men have won all four Grand Slam events (Don Budge, Fred Perry, Roy Emerson, Laver and Andre Agassi.
Federer, seeking his first-ever trip to the final at Roland Garros, has won his last 26 Grand Slam matches, dating back to Wimbledon last year. Laver holds the Open Era record by capturing 29 straight from 1969-70. The world No. 1 Federer, who lost to Nadal in last year's Roland Garros semis, will perform in his eighth straight Grand Slam semifinal. Only Lendl, who reached 10 consecutive Grand Slam semis, has a longer streak of reaching the final four.
I am assuming both Nadal and Federer will win the semis.. though it may not happen - might be a tough match for Federer against Nalbandian! (The 2002 Wimbledon runner-up Nalbandian beat Federer in last year's Tennis Masters Cup final in Shanghai and is 6-5 lifetime versus the great Swiss. Federer, however, has won five of their last six encounters, including a semifinal victory at the Rome Masters just last month. They are 2-2 in their Grand Slam meetings, but have never met at the French Open.)

UPDATE - June 9, 2006: Nalbandian retired... Federer wins and moves to finals. 3-6, 6-4, 5-2....
And Nadal's most likely is continuining his winning streak on clay....leading Ljubicic 6-4, 6-2, 3-3
So..gear up for a Nadal-Federer finals on Sunday :)




WOMEN's SINGLES

It's Henin-Hardenne vs. Kuznetsova in French Open Final
Kuznetsova advanced to her first final at Roland Garros by rallying to defeat the Czech 17-year-old Nicole Vaidisova, 5-7, 7-6 (7-5), 6-2 while Henin-Hardenne never came close to losing the second semifinal against her longtime Belgian rival, Kim Clijsters, breaking open the match at 3-3 in the opening set and winning, 6-3, 6-2, in little more than an hour. It was one of the most lopsided and disappointing matches in their long rivalry, and though it is now tied at 10 victories apiece, Henin-Hardenne holds a 5-1 edge on clay. After the match, Kim Clijsters admitted that there was no way she could have beaten Henin-Hardenne.

Henin-Hardenne has won two out of the past three French Opens and starts as a favorite against Kuznetsova, although the latter is having a great season (winner of the prestigious hard-court Nasdaq-100 tournament in Key Biscayne, Florida this year) after slumping in the wake of her first Grand Slam title at the 2004 U.S. Open. Henin-Harden almost very nearly did not get past Kuznetsova in the fourth round - the latter had two match-points - when she won the French Open last year, easily defeating home-town favorite, Frenchwoman Mary Pierce, 6-1, 6-1, in the finals. In 2005, Kuznetsova had held a match point against Anastasia Myskina in the fourth round in 2004 when Myskina went on to win the title and history almost repeated itself for the third time today when Vaidisova was serving for the match at 5-4 in the second set. But at that point, the relatively inexperienced Czech, making her debut as a Grand Slam semifinalist, proceeded to make three unforced errors with her feast-or-famine forehand and then double fault at 15-40 to lose the game. Kuznetsova rallied to take the set and swept through the 3rd set to win 5-7 7-6 6-2, bringing and end to a dream run by the Czech 17-year old, in which she beat world number one Amelie Mauresmo and Venus Williams on her way to the last four. After the match, Kuznetsova offered her sympathy to her Czech opponent Nicole Vaidisova after the teenager threw away a set and a 5-4 lead to lose their French Open semi-final.

(Note: Maria Sharpova, the fourth seed, lost in the 4th round itself - upset by her compatriot, the 14th seed Dinara Safina who came from 1-5 down in the final set before reeling off six straight games to complete a spectacular 7-5 2-6 7-5 victory.)



MENS DOUBLES:

he top-seeded Bryan brothers, Bob and Mike, will play in Saturday's men's doubles final after posting a semifinal victory Thursday at the 2006 French Open. The twins handled the 15th-seeded duo of Romanian Andrei Pavel and German Alexander Waske 6-3, 7-6 (8-6) to reach a doubles Open Era-record sixth straight Grand Slam final. The Bryans' next opponent will be the second-seeded tandem of Swede Jonas Bjorkman and Belarusian Max Mirnyi, who throttled the 13th-seeded Czech pairing of Lukas Dlouhy and Pavel Vizner, 6-3, 6-3. Bjorkman and Mirnyi beat the Bryans in last year's French Open finale. The 28-year-old Bryans are 3-4 in their Grand Slam finals, with the victories coming at this year's Australian Open, the 2003 French Open and last year's U.S. Open, where they topped Bjorkman and Mirnyi for the crown.



WOMEN's DOUBLES

Only comment: 4th seeded Chinese pair are in the semis. The Chinese women have become a major force in women's tennis - especially doubles. Hopefully, #1 seeds Samantha Stosur (AUS) and Lisa Raymond (US) can stop them in the finals even if 5th seeded Daniela Hantuchova (SVK) & Ai Sugiyama (JPN) can't.



Mixed Doubles - Finals

Elena Likhovtseva RUS (7)
Daniel Nestor CAN (7)
vs.
Katarina Srebotnik SLO (8)
Nenad Zimonjic SCG (8)



btw, apro lose-in-first-round all of this year, Sania Mirza has kept up the trend...she lost in first-round (albeit to a good player) in the women's singles - losing to Anastasia Myskina (10th seed) 6-4, 6-1. She teamed with Janette Husarova of Slovakia in womens doubles and lost there in the 3rd round (her doubles record is much better this year than her dismal singles record - its amazing to me that somehow despite losing every single tournament she has entered in the first round itself and at best in the 2nd round, she is still in the top 40 in singles seeding!!) and she teamed with Paul Hanley of Australia in mixed doubles and lost there ina first-round, again albeit against a good team - the duo of Bob Bryan (of Bryan brothers fame) & Martina Navratilova (looks like Martina has given up on Paes ...after losing the finals in mixed doubles last year.)



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