French Open Daily: Day 6
With the top seeds on the women's side dropping like flies, the oddsmakers are listing Victoria Azarenka (above) as the new title favorite. (AP)
What's Happening Saturday
The third round concludes. Tennis Channel's live coverage runs from 5 a.m. ET until noon. NBC continues with live and same-day action from 12 until 3 p.m. ET. (Clip and save the complete TV schedule.)
Saturday's must-see match is no different than Friday's must-see match: the blockbuster third-rounder between No. 2 Novak Djokovic and No. 25 Juan Martin del Potro (Court Suzanne Lenglen, not before 7 a.m. ET).
Other key matches to watch on Saturday include:
• No. 30 Roberta Vinci vs. No. 4 Victoria Azarenka (Court Philippe Chatrier, 5 a.m. ET): Guess who's the betting favorite on the women's side? The trendy pick is Maria Sharapova, but the oddsmakers are fancying Azarenka at 7-to-2. Which can only mean she's ripe for a fall.
• No. 6 Li Na vs. Sorana Cirstea (Court Suzanne Lenglen, 5 a.m. ET): Speaking of newly tabbed French favorites, Australian Open runner-up Li Na seems to have shaken off her post-Melbourne slump just in time for Roland Garros. The 29-year-old always conjures her best stuff at the majors, but she could get a stern test from Cirstea, who made a breakthrough here in 2009 with a run to the last eight.
• No. 10 Mardy Fish vs. No. 18 Gilles Simon (Court Philippe Chatrier, third match): Not the easiest draw for the last American standing on the men's side: going against a seasoned Frenchman (and 14,840 of his countrymen) on center court. But a victory would go a long way toward halting -- if only temporarily -- the endless parade of what-happened-to-American-tennis stories.
The complete order of play for Day 7 can be found here.
What Happened Friday
The mostly warm weather of the first five days gave way to cold and windy conditions (high of 64 degrees).
• Upsets ravage women's draw. Caroline Wozniacki's stunning upset loss to Daniela Hantuchova got all the pub, but No. 8 Sam Stosur and trendy sleeper pick Julia Goerges went down earlier Friday, opening up the women's side for some second-week surprises.
• Djokovic-Delpo halted for darkness. Djokovic won the first at 6-3. Del Potro won the second by the same count. And the two will play a best-of-three match Saturday for the right to face Richard Gasquet in the last 16.
• Federer blasts way into fourth round. Behind a booming serve that clocked in at 130 m.p.h., Roger Federer stormed to a 6-1, 6-4, 6-3 victory over Janko Tipsarevic to book a date in the fourth round with ...
• ... Stan Wawrinka rallies back. Down two sets to none against homestanding Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, the other top Swiss player rallied for a dramatic 4-6, 6-7(3), 7-6(5), 6-2, 6-3 triumph.
• Other seeded players march on. No. 7 David Ferrer advanced (and note: he still hasn't dropped a set). Other men's seeds to progress included No. 9 Gael Monfils and No. 13 Richard Gasquet. Women's seeded winners included No. 3 Vera Zvonareva, No. 5 Francesca Schiavone, No. 10 Jelena Jankovic, No. 11 Marion Bartoli, No. 13 Svetlana Kuznetsova and No. 14 Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova.
Novak Djokovic makes The Onion ... Questions for Roger Federer? None in English ... Sports business analyst Rick Horrow with a commercial look at this year's French Open ... No one has a more navigable draw to the semis than Andy Murray ... Elena Baltacha's latest dispatch for BBC Sport ... The filmmaker behind the WTA's new "Strong is Beautiful" campaign is being accused of turning women's tennis into soft porn.
Photo of the Day
Mike and Bob Bryan get up simultaneously during their second-round men's doubles match (from SI.com's Best Shots from Day 6 at the French Open).
0 ... Number of times in the Open era (since 1968) the top two seeded women at a major tournament failed to make the round of 16 prior to this year's French Open.
26-2 ... Career record of Maria Sharapova at Grand Slams (including qualies) against opponents ranked outside the top 100. Sharapova's third-round opponent, Yung-Jan Chan, is ranked 129th.
9:15 p.m. ... Time of day in Paris when the third-round clash between Djokovic and Del Potro was suspended, 26 minutes before sunset.
Inside the locker room (where Djokovic shares a special message for all the kids out there).
They Said It
"I was really unlucky -- I always had to face the Williams sisters."
--Daniela Hantuchova, slayer of Caroline Wozniacki, explaining her modest record at Grand Slams