PostHeaderIcon My New French Open Feature: “Shock or Not?”



Welcome to a new feature that I’m trying out during this year’s French Open. It’s called “Shock or Not?” Sometimes an upset isn’t really that much of an upset.  Other times, an expected win can be anything but! Here are a few match results (and one style question) that fit nicely into this format. Let me know what you think.

Gael Monfils defeats Tomas Berdych – Shock or Not? YES

Tomas came into the French Open with decent results from the spring clay court swing, including semifinal appearances in Madrid and Rome, and a defeat of World No. 1 Novak Djokovic in Rome. More importantly, his head seemed to be in a better place without the crippling big point tightness. All of that went out of the window against the French showman Monfils. All in all, not only was it a SHOCK loss, it was also a really BAD one too.

Gael Monfils defeats Ernests Gulbis – Shock or Not? YES

This shock is a little more qualified than my earlier shock at Gael’s defeat of Berdych.  Whereas Berdych has performed consistently at this level, Gulbis’ run of form could easily go sideways at any time and then back to brilliant in the next tournament. What shocks me more is that Gael’s body recovered pretty well after the Berdych match. Let’s see if he’s so fortunate in his third-round encounter.

Benoit Paire defeats Marcos Baghdatis – Shock or Not? YES

Not necessarily the win, but I expected the match to go five tough dramatic sets…and it did not. But then again, this is not the same Marcos from a few years ago.

Urszula Radwanska defeats Venus Williams – Shock or Not? NO

Urszula is a tough opponent, so I knew this would be a tough one for the physically-challenged Venus. Though Urszula was never going to go deep at Roland Garros, she was more than capable of taking a few scalps along the way.  And with the combination of a bad back, decreased energy/training, and a slow clay surface, this was a bad draw for Venus.

Dinah Pfizenmaier defeats Urszula Radwanska – Shock or Not? YES

Just when you think Urszula’s reached her breakthrough moment, she falls at the next hurdle. There may have been a letdown after the tough match against Venus, but there’s still no excuse for an easy 3 and 3 loss in the next round to No. 127 (unless she just wasn’t up to playing big sister, Aga, if she’d won).

Marion Bartoli defeats Olga Govortsova – Shock or Not? NO

Though it should be a shock that Marion would be so thoroughly tested by a woman ranked 50 spots below her, their head-to-head was 2-1 for Marion with two of those matches going the distance. Their last meeting at the 2011 French Open was a similar 3-set affair.  Olga had her chance to turn this match-up round, but failed.  Maybe next time, Olga.

Jamie Hampton defeats Lucie Safarova – Shock or Not? YES

Lucie is a strong player, clay or otherwise. Jamie, however, is riding high on momentum and confidence after a finals showing in Brussels. To that I say, “Ride on girlfriend!”

Melanie Oudin defeats Tamira Paszek – Shock or Not? YES

No slight to Melanie, but anytime she makes it to the second round of a slam these days is GREAT!

Caroline Wozniacki defeats Laura Robson – Shock or Not? YES

After poor play this spring, I was shocked to see that Caroline tuned Laura so easily in straight sets. I’m not sure if this says more about Caroline’s resurgence than it does about the tremendous amount of work that Laura needs to do. (UPDATE: Caro is out in the second round to Jovanovski.)

Serena wins so easily wearing full eye makeup – Shock or Not? YES

I realize of course that it’s not really full eye makeup with the lack of shadow and fake eyelashes, but come on?! Maybe it’s a guy thing, but I’m shocked that she’s never had a combination of sweat/eye makeup derail her on court. Then again, when the scorelines are as one-sided as she’s produced, there hasn’t been a lot of sweat.

One Response to “My New French Open Feature: “Shock or Not?””

  • David says:

    Love it!! Great idea for a column!

    #1 – yes because of Berdych’s recent clay results. Shows his head can still get in the way.

    #2 – not, because Gulbis hasn’t had a lot of clay play this year

    #3 – not, because Paire had some good clay results and he’s playing on home soil

    #4 – not, Venus needs to hang it up

    #5 – sadly yes, as Ule cannot keep momentum after a grueling match

    #6 – no, but let’s revisit Bartoli in 2 rounds

    #7 – big yes, and a big you go gurl!

    #8 – not, as Oudin has had goodish clay results

    #9 – yes, for all your reasons

    #10 – lol, maybe it’s maybelline

    OK now mine…

    #1 – Isner d Berlocq YES with credit to Isner, Berlocq was coming off some good results

    #2 – Gimeno-Traver d Monaco YES c’mon Monaco, you finally win a tournament and fold?

    #3 – Mattek-Sands d Li YES YES YES, proving head and heart count for everything

    #4 – Cetkovska d Pavly…YES, Hingis has some work to do

    #5 – Puig d Petrova – NO, new school d old school

    #6 – old school players McEnroe, Martina, and Carillo bemoan the loss of serve/volley (on clay!) – NO they still can’t grow up into a new century

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