France, Serena, Sharapova, Sock lead 2015 French Open midterm grades
PARIS – Halfway through the 2015 French Open, the second major of the year, let’s hand out some grades. While two of the top five women's seeds in Simona Halep and Caroline Wozniacki have dropped out, Maria Sharapova looks to raise the trophy for the third time, while Petra Kvitova and Serena Williams are still in the game to deny the defending champ her triumph. And while a matchup with Novak Djokovic looms in the quarterfinals, Rafael Nadal must first go through American Jack Sock to claim his tenth French Open title, as Roger Federer and Andy Murray still remain in the running as well.
As usual, all marks will be distributed on a belle curve. As of Saturday evening local time, here are our midterm grades.
The Short List of contenders
The men’s Big Four, Serena Williams and Maria Sharapova are all still in contention. Most have hardly had to sweat.
The French Open, indeed. Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, Gael Monfils, Richard Gasquet, Jeremy Chardy and Gilles Simon are still alive, as is Alize Cornet on the women’s side.
Apart from Federer and Wawrinka, Timea Bacsinszky makes it to Week Two. And Martina Hingis is the odds on favorite to take doubles.
He’s been saying all spring how much he likes clay. And he put his mouth where forehand is, blazing to round four. Now a date with Nadal awaits.
Ryan Shane and Jamie Loeb
The Virginia junior and UNC sophomore won the his and hers NCAA singles titles. Virginia and Vanderbilt won the team titles.
Mirjana Lucic Baroni
One of these heartstring stories that tennis furnishes from time-to-time, perhaps to balance the narratives of injury and burnout. MLB played tremendously in her win against Halep, simply hitting the third seed off the court. Then she lost a winnable match against Cornet when she tightened in the third set.
The Aussie teen plays with poise that belies this age. Two strong wins to start—one a heroic five-setter over Bernie Tomic—and a nothing-to-be-ashamed-of effort against Djokovic.
The Sunday start
It’s a boon for the fans, who have an extra weekend day to attend. It’s a boon for the tournament, which can sell an extra session, as well as an extra day of weekend television. The players—not unreasonably—resent the imposition. The easy solution: keep the session, but let it be reflected in the prize money.
A terrific win his first match, a five-set grind-a-thon against seeded Guillermo Garcia Lopez. An expected win in his second match against Sergiy Stakhovsky, no one’s clay court specialist. But Johnson simply couldn't get his teeth into his third rounder against Stan Wawrinka.
It wouldn’t be week one of the French Open without LeMonf playing a thoroughly unnecessary and thoroughly enthralling five-setter. This year, we got two.
They get a bad rap for their fickle fandom. (Both Serena and Sharapova have already been booed.) But they know their tennis. The folks at home see empty seats in the regions. (A problem that plagues most tournaments.) What they miss: the masses crowding the practice courts and wreathing the outer courts, watching up-and-comers.
All credit to the Californienne for her for qualifying effort. This has echoes of Brian Baker’s comeback story from several years ago. But Glatch let a winnable match—leading to an encounter against Serena Williams—slip by in round one, against Anna-Lena Friedsam.
With Sock leading the charge, there have been some individual bright spots for the states. But, overall, a modest first week.
Dominic Thiem? Karolina Pliskova? Anna Schmiedlova? David Goffin? Each showed glimpses of potential. But none remain in the draw.
This is to sophomore slumps what the FIFA is to a p.r. challenge. A top player a year ago, the Canadian has lost eight of nine matches and is—as she gamely admits—lost right now.
Including Bouchard, five of the top 10 don't get out of week one. Pick a side: instability at the top versus depth of field.
Another tournament, another triumph of style over substance. Nifty strokes and a crisp outfit. But the No. 10 seed couldn't even muster a set in his first match.
French Open security
Given the history—both at this event and in Paris this year— how does anyone run onto the court un-accosted (and un-Lacosted)?
With Stan Wawrinka's shorts leading the way, it has not been a strong event for attire.
Roland Garros expansion
In the most underreported story of Week One, the Paris city council rejected the expansion plans, an unmistakable blow to the tournament. As a colleague at L’Equipe put it: “Especially in Paris, here’s a big difference between drawing up fancy [architectural] renderings and actually getting construction approved.”
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