Spain Shocked at Roland Garros

It wasn’t a disaster for the 16 Spanish players competing in the first round of the 122 year-old tournament, as only one of the top five actually lost, but there were definitely signs of Rafael Nadal and Nicholas Almagro. The third and eleventh seeds respectively both lost their opening set to weaker opponents. The German who came close to beating The King of Clay was Daniel Brands, he won the first set due to poor play Nadal. He returned the ball in a mediocre fashion, straight back to him, it was like the two players had swapped places in the first and for three games in the second. Those three games Brands won, but Nadal brought back his little slide and powerful forehand, shortening the rallies. He cam back to win the set in a comfortable tie-break, 7-4. In the next two sets, we just saw more of the same, with Nadal dominating all of his service rallies, and on some occasions managing to cope with Brands’ ridiculously powerful serve.

He won the match 4-6, 7-6, 6-4, 6-3, giving him a 53-1 all-time win-loss record at the tournament. In the next round he faces Martin Klizan. Then if Fogini loses, he would face Lukas Rosol (the man who beat him at Wimbledon) in the third round.

David Ferrer had no such trouble dispatching his Australian opponent – Marinko Matosevic. It was wrapped up in straight sets, although the Aussie wasn’t broken much due to powerful serving, ever more present with younger players. This is what David Ferrer had to say, he will play fellow countryman Albert Montanes in a few days, followed by Sousa or another Spaniard by way of Feliciano Lopez after that.

“I start playing good with my game, but it is not easy with Matosevic. He has a very good serve, very good power with his shots, and sometimes I can’t play my game” said the fourth seed. When asked about his chances he only stated: “I am only focused with every day. Now I want to enjoy these next two day of rest. My next opponent will be Montanes or Johnson, and I want to use these next two days to relax, and to practice.” 

Nicholas Almagro played similarly to Nadal in his match, playing quite poorly in the first two sets, but coming back to win it in four against Andreas Haider-Maurer. Almagro was more attacking than the Austrian, with more aces yet more unforced errors, and more winners yet more unforced errors. The result was that he won 14 more points that his opponent. He grew as time went on, and as he got used to the atmosphere, he played with consistently better, so Almagro beat Haider-Maurer 4-6, 6-4, 6-3, 6-3. The fourth seeded Spaniard, Marcel Granollers was beaten by fellow countryman Filiciano Lopez after winning the first set, and forcing Lopez to five sets.

Meanwhile, top seed Novak Djokovic’s straight sets victory over David Goffin was closer than it appears. Throughout the first set it would have been hard for a new person to tennis to tell which was world champion, as they both stringently held serve in tight games. All that separated the pair in the tiebreak was a silly backhand volley unforced error from Goffin, meaning the Serb won it 7-6(7-5). The odd great forehand from Novak and a lot of unforced errors from his opponent lead to him winning the set 6-4. In the final set, Goffin’s service games were tight and Novak’s uncontested, yet they both held up until 5-5. Another backhand error from Goffin gifted Djokovic a break, and then he held serve to win the match 7-6, 6-4, 7-5.

Roger Federer was the only one of the top three who had no trouble, he destroyed his opponent in 1 hour 20 minutes, beating Pablo Carren0-Busta 6-2, 6-2, 6-3. One worrying sign again of tiredness toward the end of the match from the Swiss.

– Jacob Lee

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