Peter Figura Blogging from Roland Garros: Day 9

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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Agnieszka Radwanska missed her chance. Again. She lost to Maria Sharapova 7:6, 7:5 after leading in the first set 4:1 and 40:15, and 5:3 in the second, with five set points (at 5:4, she was serving at 40:0)  Radwanska who won here as a junior cannot pass the fourth round. Last year it was a disappointing loss to Yana Shvedova of Kazakhstan. This year Radwanska had relatively easy matches in the first three rounds (she has not lost a set) and was playing well.  Despite some back problems before the tournament, she had a good chance of beating Sharapova, and with all top 3 seeds out of the tournaments who knows…

But like many times before Radwanska is her worst enemy.  Even during those fairly easy first three rounds she was showing her frustration after missing one shot.  Steering at her shoes, throwing a racquet, and yes, swearing (fortunately – quietly).

And it looked like she finally had Sharapova’s number.  Maria who was playing very well in Rome was having problems here in Paris.  This wasn’t the first match when she was down.  It happened against the youngster from France – Garcia.  But like in that second round match (she was down a set and 1:4 in the second) Sharapova focused even more.  Fighting for every point she never gave up.  Not at 1:4 in the first set, and not on five set points in the second set.

But if Garcia is young and inexperienced, Radwanska is almost tour veteran. Ranked currently number 13 in the world, she is known for throwing winning matches.  And it seemed that Maria knew that.

And it was Radwanska who played safe hoping that Sharapova is going to choke, and miss.  Well, at 40:0 being on serve – not a winning strategy.

So she lost 12 points in a row, and a macth she should have won.

Another French Open and another round of 16 for Radwanska. For many players this would be a measure of success.  But for the player who clearly has the potential to be well inside top 10, probably a disappointing performance.  Fortunaly she did not tell her father and coach Robert where to go – just like she did last year afher that loss to Schvedova.

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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