Peter Figura Blogging from Roland Garros: Day 5

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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Kim Clijsters

I must admit I went to see Kim Clijster’s match for a few minutes only. Long enough to take a few actions shots, and then go to see Rafa playing on Lenglen. The score was 6:3, 4:1 for Kim, and she was in total control of the match. And even after her opponent – Aranxta Rus from Holland won 2 consecutive games, it didn’t look like any kind of problems for the 2nd seed. So it was time to leave the Philippe Chartier court, and see Nadal playing. And it wasn’t just me. Most of the media did the same. Even after one of the tour umpires said – “Looks like it might go three sets” – no one paid any attention. Well, the umpire was wrong.  Not only did Rus win the third set 7:5, she totally dominated the third winning 6:1  And the most surprised was probably Clijsters herself, who except for the problem with the ball toss on serve (10 double faults) couldn’t find an explanation for 65 unforced errors.

Maria Sharapova

The next youngster was trying to do just the same as Rus – eliminate one of the tournaments favourites.  Caroline Garcia is not even 18 years old. Ranked 188 in the world, playing her first French Open, and only 4th match on the main tour. Her opponent – Maria Sharapova, who is enjoying an excellent clay court season this year. But it all didn’t matter to Garcia, who won first set 6:3, and was up 4:1 in the second.  And then she probably started thinking  of winning the whole thing. It’s not that Sharapova did something spectacular. She was just herself. The same Maria fighting for every point, fist pumping after crucial rallies, grunting even louder when in trouble. It was Garcia who out of a sudden started missing balls, spreading them all over the place, trying too much, when just good enough would probably give her a chance. So Sharapova slowly started climbing back. At 3:4 it seemed that winning a second set was inevitable. Three more games after it was a fact. And young Frenchwoman gave all she had in those first two sets. So the third was pure formality. 6:0 for Maria.

And again a very nice day for Canadian tennis. Daniel Nestor won his 800 match in doubles. The most among active players. Quite an accomplishment.

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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