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Tuesday, 2 June 2015

Vive La France
#RG15 has shown some good and not so good moment

With the French Open beginning Week 2, there have been lots of moments captivating the hearts of tennis and sports fans from around the world last week.  Roland Garros often produces some big upsets, some huge wins and some of the most unforgettable moments of the Grand Slam season.

#TwineTime serves up some mid-event shots on the week that was in Paris:

Match

The Big Boys Reign Supreme:  With all the talk of upsets on the ladies draw (more on this later), the men's draw has operated status quo for the most part the opening week.  The favorites all remain and none have really been pressed too hard, meaning they should be fresh and ready to go this week in the big push for the title.  It all starts with the quarterfinal match up we all wanted to see (still seems weird to write): Novak vs Nadal!  Murray is right there as a title threat, possibly awaiting the heavyweight title survivor in the semi.  Fed seems primed for a run to the final as the bottom half of the draw still looks to be his for the taking...but watch out for the #Stanimal!! 

Set

Vive la....Suisse?: Sure the French Open is the grand stage for French players but it appears there is a Swiss Army cutting through the draw.  Federer and Stan Wawrinka are still alive on the men's draw, unfortunately playing one another in a quarterfinal mind you.  Although that guarantees a Swiss male to be in the semifinal.  The Swiss women are usually packed up and home enjoying delectable chocolate by now but not this year.  Have you heard of Timea Bacsinszky?  I suggest you get brushed up her profile and quick.  The 25-year old is becoming the new Swiss Miss with her run to the quarterfinals, where she has a VERY winnable match up with unseeded Alison Van Uytvanck.  Oh and the original Swiss Miss, Martina Hingis, seems to be back as well.  Alongside partner Sania Mirza, the top seeded ladies seem poised to take home the women's doubles. 

Game

Jack Sock: The young American has been mostly known for his Wimbledon men's doubles triumph last year with Canadian Vasek Pospisil, forming the #CanAmConnection.  But Sock made a name for himself on the singles courts this past week.  Being the last American man standing, Sock found himself in the 4th round eyeing up French Open royalty Rafa Nadal.  Sure Sock didn't prevail but he did take a set off the champ and looks poised for a stellar singles campaign in 2015.

40

Ana Is Back:  Ana Ivanovic entered the French Open ranked 7th in the world and trying to fight her way back into the Grand Slam relevance picture.  Many believed the days of competing in slams were behind her but she has turned back the clock this week.  Let's remember Ivanovic is only 27 years old and is a former French Open champion (2008).  Ok sure that was 7 years ago but she finds herself back in the hunt and with a very realistic shot at making the finals.  She gets #19 Elina Svitolina in the quarterfinals and a possible semifinal showdown with either #13 Lucie Safarova or #21 Garbine Muguruza.  This is Ana's first quarterfinal appearance in Paris since her title win and she looks poised for another championship run....and tennis fans, males especially, could not be happier to see more of her.

30

Help Halep:  Last year's finalist Simona Halep came into this year's French Open with big expectations....perhaps too big.  The young Romanian caved perhaps under the immense pressure in her second round loss to Mirjana Lucic-Baroni.  This is the kind of shock exit that can either derail the rest of her year or, hopefully, motivate her to come back fighting harder during the grass court season.  Halep is a great player and I still think can be a factor in the upcoming Slams....let's just hope she can continue her business-like attitude on the court and keep this disappointing result in the past.

15

Don't Call Me Mr. Sharapova:  Well if Grigor Dimitrov wants to be known for his action on the court and not off of the court he might want to start stepping up his game.  "Baby Fed" suffered a shock opening round loss to Jack Sock (of course as seen above Sock is no unknown player).  But Grigor is ranked #11 in the world.  Now maybe we cut him a bit of slack (hence why he nabbed the 15 slot) in that the clay is just not his surface.  He suffered a similar result last year in Paris (losing to fellow big server Ivo Karlovic) and has a best result of reaching the 3rd round in 2013.  We have to anticipate a resurgence of Grigor as the tour shifts towards his favorite surface, grass!  Last year he bounced out of Paris early and turned that result into a semifinal finish at Wimbledon.  Let's hope we see a similar result in 2015!

Bagel

#GenieArmy Searching for Answers:  Wow 2014 must seem like an eternity ago for the young Canadian Genie Bouchard.  Last year saw Bouchard make the semi-finals at the Aussie Open and French Open, followed by the Wimbledon final.  2015 has been a direct opposite almost.  Sure, at the Australian Open she returned to the quarterfinals before bowing out to Maria Sharapova, no harm in that result.  But since then, her game and her head seem to be stuck on a beach on the Gold Coast.  She has struggled to not only win games but even win sets.  Currently ranked #6 in the world, after her opening round loss to Kristina Mladenovic (who is having a stellar season take nothing away from KMlad) the Genie Army may find themselves outside the Top 10.  The fall is hard and unforgiving during your sophomore season on tour!