May 30, 2014
When the going gets tough, the tough get going.
Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic found mental strength in adversity to overcome some sticky moments on the Parisian clay today.
That’s what separates the champs from the also-rans. The very best find a way, even when it doesn’t quite feel like their day.
‘I lost my head once at Roland Garros when I was young,’ reflected Federer. ‘Now I just increase my focus.’
Both Fed and Novak wobbled to drop sets against Dmitry Tursunov and Marin Cilic respectively at Roland Garros. But crucially, both superstars struck back immediately to show who was really in charge. Federer won his first set 7-5, dropped the second to an excellent Tursunov tie-break, but hit straight back with a break early in the third to resume control and take the set 6-2. He never looked back and wrapped up victory over the ailing Russian 6-4 in the fourth. Overall it was an impressive display.
Roger said afterwards: ‘I thought I had control, Dmitry is always tough but I served well and even though I had to be careful with my work I thought I was a deserved winner.’
4 in three hours and eleven minutes. Novak said later:’It all went well for the first two sets but then I dropped my intensity and he came back. He pushed me to the limit but at the end of the day I won and that’s what matters most.’ Cilic, the 25th seed, blended wrist-inspired power with deftly-carved drop shots to take a third-set tie-break 7-2. Yet Djokovic raced to a three-game advantage in the fourth after saving triple break points on his own serve. Despite a fresh Cilic comeback, the popular Serb finished the job to put a testing afternoon behind him.
Meanwhile Poland’s Agniezska Radwanska was unable to show similar tenacity against one of Cilic’s lesser-known compatriots. Radwanska lost 4-6, 4-6 to Ajla Tomljanovic of Croatia in the shock of the day.
And now, astonishingly, all three top seeds have fallen in the first week of the women’s tournament.
5 behind before she began to claw her way back into the first set at Roland Garros. But she failed to raise her game for long enough to mount a meaningful fightback. Instead the world number 72, who has suffered from glandular fever in the past, clinched the unlikely victory which propels her into the big-time.
Romania’s Simona Halep is now the highest remaining seed left in the women’s draw, though Maria Sharapova’s vastly superior experience makes her a strong contender for the title.
Want to see some more gloriously unpredictable tennis at Wimbledon next month? Want to witness the greats up-close-and-personal, digging deep to prevail?
Just click on the following link…