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First time Ana…Unbeatable Rafael

The French Open was quite open this year in the ladies’ draw with Justine Henin leaving the tour, but in the men’s draw, no one seemed able to oust Rafael Nadal…and it was the case.

Let’s start with the ladies: Ana Ivanovic finally came out winning her first Grand slam title after 2 attempts.

In straight sets (6/4 6/3), she dismissed Dinara Safina, who was making her very first appearance in a Grand Slam final. Ana played consistently all the tournament long until the semis where countrywoman, Jelena Jankovic, pushed her to a third set. This was the best match in the ladies’draw for sure. The outcome was a number 1 spot on the WTA Tour for the winner, therefore the players fought hard on each point. Now Ana has it all, she’s the number 1 player in the world and the best player of her country (serbia). It is a tremendous achievement for the young 20-year-old, who truthfully deserved it.

Last year, Ana fell to Justine Henin in the final step to the title, this year it’s her turn to shine.

Favourites are not always expected to be in the latest rounds of a Grand Slam…especially during a Grand Slam.

Maria Sharapova learnt it the hard way, falling to countrywoman, Dinara Safina in the 4th round, after leading 7/6 5/3, losing by the way, her number 1 rank. For the first time, Maria was felt to be able to win the French Open, after winning her first title on clay in Amelia Island, but unfortunately, her efforts didn’t come to fruition.

Serena Williams also lost in a surprising fashion, ousted by the modest Katarina Srebotnik in straight sets: 6/4 6/4 in the third round. Serena wasn’t able to convert her break opportunities, Srebotnik took advantage of it.It’s her least finish at the French Open since 1998. She was expected to win her second French Open this year…she’ll have to wait.

Sister Venus lost the same day, also in the third round, outplayed by Flavia Pennetta, in straight sets as well: 7/5 6/3.

The only favourite player who fulfilled expectations, was Jelena Jankovic, reaching the semis of the French Open for the second time. But once again, she didn’t manage to make it to a Grand Slam Final, falling to Ivanovic in a three-set thriller. In this clash, Jankovic led 3-1 in the last set though, but Ivanovic rallied back to clinch the victory. Jankovic missed another opportunity to win a slam, the only « weakness » in her career right now.

Svetlana Kuznetsova just lost it in the semis, downed by Dinara Safina in straight sets. Will she ever be able to win a slam again? We’ll see. What’s for sure is that she lacks confidence, like Elena Dementieva, also ousted by Safina.

In the men’s draw, no surprise, Nadal overpowered the competition for the 4th time (2005,2006,2007,2008). The 22-year-old spaniard literaly whooped opponent and World number 1, Roger Federer, with a 6/1 6/3 6/0 victory in less than 2 hours. He didn’t lose a single set all the tournament long and seems just unplayable on clay. No one has found the key to unlock his formidable « victory machine » on clay; not even Novak Djokovic, ousted in the semis in straight sets by the « king of clay ». The surprise in the men’s draw, came from French player Gael Monfils, who reached his very first Grand slam semis after upsetting clay specialist and number 5 in the world, David Ferrer, in the quaterfinals.

The 21-year-old is the first french player in 7 years to reach the last square of the French Open ( Sebastien Grosjean did it in 2001). Unfortunately for him, Roger Federer ended his dream run in the semis, but Monfils managed to take a set.

Now all eyes are on Wimbledon, where Venus Williams and Roger Federer will have to defend their titles.

Who will be the winners?…. see you in July.




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