Saturday, June 7, 2008

Numero Uno

Ok. This is an all-tennis post/Roland Garros update:

The men's and women's French Open Championship matches are now set! Tomorrow, World #2 Ana Ivanovic of Serbia will square off with Marat's Lil Sis Dinara Safina of Russia for the French Open title. Whoever wins here will get their first ever grand slam title. This will be Ana's third grand slam final, after she lost to Justine Henin in last year's French Open, and to Maria Sharapova at the Australian Open last January. On the other hand, Dinara will be making her grand slam final debut.

The 22 year-old Dinara, ranked 14 in the world, has been having the best clay court season of her career. She won the German Open a few weeks ago by defeating three top 10 players (then-#1 Justine Henin, #5 Serena Williams, and #7 Elena Dementieva.) At the French Open, she did a repeat by beating current #1 Maria Sharapova (6-7, 7-6, 6-2, after being match point down in the second set), Elena D again (quarterfinals, after being down a match point again 4-6, 7-6, 6-0), and #4 Svetlana Kuznetsova (semifinals, 6-3, 6-2).


I
caught Ana's semifinal match against 3rd ranked and fellow Serbian Jelena Jankovic yesterday. It was a great match that ended 6-4 in the third set after 2 hours and 15 minutes. Lots of tension too, because whoever won that match would not only get the chance to play in the finals, but would also automatically overtake Sharapova and claim the #1 ranking (Masha lost in the 4th round.) So Ana won, and she'll now be ranked #1 next Monday, no matter what happens in the final match against Dinara.

Congratulations, Ana. Not just because you'll be the new #1, and because I think you'll win the ladies' final tomorrow, but because you also managed to land on the cover of FHM UK next August. You're not just taking Maria's titles. You're also getting her magazine cover opportunities.

You've truly made it.

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Ok, I spent so much time talking about the ladies' part of the draw. So moving on to the men's side. #2 Rafa beats #3 Djokovic (also from Serbia) in the semis to keep his perfectly undefeated record at the French Open. #1 Fed defeated surprise finalist and #59 Gael Monfils of France. Rafa beats Fed in the men's final on Sunday. That's all there really is to it.

ETA: Ok, since I was unloading a bunch of info on the women, I might as well go all the way on my tennis dork mode and talk more about the men's semifinalists too. Rafael Nadal holds a 26-0 w/l record at the French Open, By reaching the semis here, Roger Federer extends his record of reaching 16 straight semifinals at Grand Slam events. Novak Djokovic also has his own albeit smaller streak by reaching his 5th consecutive Grand Slam semifinal. He is only the fourth player in the Open Era to reach 5 consecutive Grand Slam semifinals (the others are Fed, Becker and Lendl.) As for Gael, well, this really is the French dude's first big result in the ATP Tour... He's been hyped up a lot as a future champion when he was a newbie, and it took him about 4 years to finally come up with a nice result for all that hype.

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