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TTT – French Open Update, Day 2

Yet another big upset in the men’s draw today, this time Berdych going down to Stephane Robert, a 31 yr qualifier (more on the men’s qualifiers shortly) from France ranked 140th, and playing in only his 7th Grand Slam main draw.  He played the French in 2004, then never played a slam until the Aussie in 2010, when he also acheived his career high ranking of 61 just months before his 30th birthday (very late bloomer!). Berdych, the 6 seed here and a semi-finalist here a year ago, was cruising after winning the first two sets 6-3, 6-3, but then lost both the next two sets 6-2, before finally bowing out 9-7 in the 5th. Robert next plays Fabio Fognini, the 49th ranked Italian who turns 24 tomorrow. Fognini might have the most open-faced stance forehand in the game, it’s interesting to watch him play. Incidentally, if you look at my French Draft two posts below, you’ll see I’ve now lost both my first two picks – ouch!

As for the qualifiers and lucky losers here, quite an impressive showing so far. Of 16 qualifiers and 5 lucky losers, 9 have advanced to the 2nd round, with 4 having still not played – a winning percentage of 53%. With a few matches under their belts and a little confidence, qualifiers and lucky losers can always be dangerous opponents. Two other seeds lost today as well – 31 yr old Michael Llodra (22 seed), losing to Belgian qualifier Steve Darcis (complete journeyman – 27 yrs old, high rank of 44 in May 2008, never won 2 matches at a slam), and big serving youngster Milos Raonic (26 seed), losing to another journeyman, Michael Berrer. Berrer is a 30 yr old German, high rank of 42 one year ago, who also has never won 2 matches at a slam before.

Tomorrow will close out round 1 action with a number of interesting matches including Isner/Nadal, Querry/Kohlschreiber, Dimitrov/Chardy, Monaco/Verdasco, and 2005 semi-finalist Ivan Ljubicic vs. the much younger, fleet-footed Indian Somdev Devvarman.


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