2008 French Open – Serbians steal show on Tuesday
Nick’s Picks will have complete coverage of the 2008 French Open, and is coming to you live from Paris!! Also, Nick is teaming with Tennis Week to provide in-depth analysis of the French Open throughout the tournament! Check out Nick’s Picks for the entire men’s and women’s draws!
Two semifinal matches were set on Tuesday, and three out of the four participants are Serbian (what else is new?). The first winner was Ana Ivanovic. The world #2 took out Patty Schnyder in two sets, and looked pretty comfortable doing it. Throughout the entire tournament, Ivanovic has glided through and Serena’s earlier exit didn’t hurt her either. Ivanovic reached the finals here last year and the finals at the Australian Open earlier this year. This may be the tournament where she finally breaks through.
Ivanovic’s opponent in the semis will be her fellow Serbian countrywoman (and Bollettieri alumni), Jelena Jankovic. She beat the impressive youngster Carla Suarez Navarro in straight sets to reach the semifinals for the second straight year. Jankovic seemed in better spirits than her fourth round match and she appeared to be fully healthy, which is a great sign for her.
Navarro is awesome to watch, especially with her off-the-wall one-handed backhand. This young lady has many other positives, including great movement and balance, and a very aggressive forehand that she can drive flat or with a bit of spin. Her grip on the forehand is not extreme (a weak semi-western), which is why the ball can be hit flat or with spin. On the backhand side, she hits the one-hander with a strong semi-western to almost a full western grip, with a straight back-swing. Navarro hits with a very loose wrist, enabling her to not only drive the ball, but hit with spin or angle it. Her serve is very solid, with depth and penetration. She must add some variety to her game, including drop shots, angled shots, and a slice to her backhand. She is not comfortable at the net, and this will hurt her in many ways because she control the court most of the time, but lets her opponents off the hook by not coming in. She must also slow down and make far fewer unforced errors. Lastly, her personality and fighting spirit give her a very bright future on the WTA Tour!
On the men’s side, three-time defending champion, Rafael Nadal, will face the final Serbian, Novak Djokovic in the semis. Nadal destroyed Nicolas Almagro 6-1, 6-1, 6-1, despite Almagro being an excellent clay-court player. But against Nadal you can’t play a typical clay-court game and this killed him. Djokovic beat 19-year old Ernests Gulbis in three tough sets. Gulbis is a talented youngster, but he is still a little emotional out on the court, and that hurt him. Back to the Nadal/Djokovic match…this is the match that everyone has wanted to see, and you know center court is going to be packed with fans from both sides. Nadal and Djokovic are two of the brightest stars on the tour, and they are very familiar with each other as well. This is going to be an interesting match, and to see Nick’s take on it, click here.
On another note, Nick Bollettieri Tennis Academy student Filip Krajinovic won his second round match in the juniors. Krajinovic beat Australian Mark Verryth in straight sets, and will now face Russian Evgeny Donskoy in the third round. Good luck to Filip in the third round!!
One last tidbit…if you ever come to the French Open make sure you bring warm clothes out to the site (no matter what the weather calls for)!! It was freezing out there today!!