French Open Opening Day: Confusion Makes It Special.

It’s been a long day, at least for me as I woke up at 2am this morning to watch the opening match of Roland Garros 2011. The Sunday start to the event continues to get mixed reviews from both fans and players. When asked about in her post match press conference, Svetlana Kuznetsova said it felt “weird” but also nailed the reason behind the odd start day due to the event wanting to make more money on an extra day of ticket sales.

Speaking of confusion, Kuznetsova was asked about the absence of Hawk-Eye at Roland Garros. Kuznetsova, who won her opening round match against Magdalena Rybarikova 6-2, 6-3, had a few moments in the match where she questioned a call only to have the chair umpire run out and point to a different mark on the court than Kuznetsova expected. The former French Open champion said that those moments on a clay court can make it “confusing” but also that not having Hawk-Eye makes the French Open “special”. Leave it to Svetlana to equate confusion with a special moment, but I’m sure her many fans would prefer “Sveta” keep the confusion to a minimum, especially as she tries to revive her season that saw her exit too many times in early rounds this year.

Last year’s Finalist Sam Stosur when asked what she was thinking about after stepping back onto Court Philippe Chatrier for the first time since a year said with a laugh, “That there weren’t that many people this time.” I thought it a strange choice frankly by the event to put Stosur’s match against Iveta Benesova as the very first match of the day. Considering that Stosur lost the final last year, did they really need to remind her of that on her very first match by putting back out on the main stadium? In any event, Stosur handled the moment and Benesova with ease as the Australian cruised to a 6-2, 6-3 win in just over an hour.

Confusion and dismay continues for Marin Cilic’s fans as the lanky Croat crashed out of the first round to Spain’s Ruben Ramirez Hidalgo in straight sets. After looking like he was headed to the top 10, Cilic continues to underperform in big events. Ernests Gulbis who lost to Blaz Kavcic in straights as well chalked up another early exit. Gulbis, who’s been dealing with some respiratory issues lately, didn’t seem too concerned about the loss, but again, one wonders if “Ernie” will ever truly live up to his early hype last year.

American tennis saw some needed good news with three set wins by America’s Bethanie Mattek Sands and Varvara Lepchenko who upset Italy’s Flavia Pennetta. The bad news is that now Sands and Lepchenko have to play each other in the next round. But with a vulnerable Jelena Jankovic to possibly meet the winner of that match, the possibility of an American reaching the fourth round of Paris doesn’t seem like such a long shot after all.

Finally, with the unfortunate withdrawal of Lleyton Hewitt, who’s suffering from a bad ankle, that allowed Marc Giquel into the main draw as a “lucky loser”, young American Ryan Harrison posted on his Facebook page that he is next “LL” in line if someone else drops out tomorrow. Word is Tommy Haas, who’s scheduled to play tomorrow, might just give Harrison his wish, but it’s still all TBD. Am I the only one who finds the irony in America’s hopes for getting another man in the main draw rest on the body of Haas who was born German, then became an American citizen last year, but is now listed on his player profile as German again.

Confused? Good. Welcome to Paris.


1 Comment

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One response to “French Open Opening Day: Confusion Makes It Special.

  1. Us California kids who haven’t made the trek have to wake up at 2 to catch the first match live. Or stay up all night. Yes, I’m confused, but like Svetlana, happily so.