Peter Figura Blogging from Roland Garros: Day 4

Written by: Peter Figura

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***Peter is an award winning photographer and has been involved in tennis for almost 40 years.  He contributes to Ontario Tennis Magazine and some tennis publications in Europe.  His work has been published in Rogers Cup Souvenir Program, and he also contributes his work to Tennis Matters charity. Peter works with several tennis Clubs to help them get high quality tennis photography into marketing publications and displays.***

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So after loosing Milos and Frank in the main draw, all hopes were with Aleks and Rebecca.  To represent Canada in the third round of the French Open.  A tall order – particularly for Wozniak, who sped the better part of last year, and most of this one recovering from a tendinitis in her right arm.  She has not played since March, and since last year Rogers Cup in Montreal only a few matches. So just qualifying to the main draw in Paris should be considered as a solid accomplishment. She then cruised past her first round, only to book a date with her friend, number one player in the world – Caroline Wozniacki of Denmark.

I don’t think anyone was giving Aleks a chance to beat Wozniacki. And perhaps the first set showed some rustiness in her game.  But then it all changed. She started being more aggressive, moving Wozniacki all over the court, hitting winners after winners. It was close, but Wozniak was ahead all the way until 6:3 in the tie breaker. 3 unforced errors almost looked like it took the wind from underneath her wings.  She still have a chance to save a match point and even at 7 -all. But after great aggressive play she failed to put away an easy ball. And it was all over. Wozniacki prevailed 6:3, 7:6, but the way Aleks was playing (not only this match, but the qualifying and the first round) was very, very impressive. Hopefully it will be an injury free season, and being back in top 50 looks like a reality.

Top 50 will be a reality for another Canadian – Rebecca Marino, who slowly became talk of the tournament.  Solid first round win against Kateryna Bondarenko, and Wednesday 3 set victory over Maria Jose Martinez Sanchez of Spain earned her a spot in the third round and a date with number 13 seed and a 2009 Champion Svetlana Kuznetsova of Russia.  But with her aggressive play, and a bit of luck Marino is not without a chance.

On the man side, a bit of a quiet day. At least for the top seeds. Roger Federer played a solid match and hardly was pushed by his opponent Frenchman Teixeira to any effort (from 3-all in the first set Roger won 13 consecutive games).  He almost is in a shadow of Djokovic and Nadal this year. A position he probably is not accustomed to, but the one that looks like suits him just fine.

The other top seed – Novak Djokovic, continued his winning streak this year. In the second round Romanian Hansecu had only some energy to put up a fight in the first set.  The second went 6:1 to The Joker, and then in the third Hanescu retired.

But the third one should be interesting for Novak. Although he leads head-to-head 3:0, but his opponent Juan Martin Del Potro will definitely try to improve this record.

A deeper dive into second serve statistics

The two most widely reported second serve statistics in professional tennis are the number of double faults a player hit, and their second serve winning percentage. If we’re trying to understand the effectiveness of a particular player’s second serve, relying only on those statistics has significant drawbacks. Article by Michal Kokta.

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