New faces, big names highlight French's first week
Posted: Monday May 30, 2005 12:54AM; Updated: Monday May 30, 2005 6:31PM
Lindsay Davenport is the only American, male or female, left in the French Open among the 22 who started the tournament.
Halfway through the second major, there have been enough upsets and emergences -- Sesil Karatantcheva, Ana Ivanovic, Vic Hanescu -- for an entertaining week. But most of the big guns remain, boding well for Week Two. Herewith are our midterm grades:
Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer: The people's choices before the event have done nothing to change that opinion. Nadal's demolition of Richard Gasquet verged on scary.
Lindsay Davenport: Who knew she was such a grinder the No.1 seed advanced to quarterfinals for first time since 1999.
Mother Russia: The Russian Revolution had lost momentum this year, but six ex-Soviettes reach the round of 16. Marat Safin and Nikolay Davydenko carry the banner on the men's side.
Argentina: Never mind ManuGinobili's week, six Argies reach round of 16.
Sesil Karatantcheva: Welcome to the big time.
Maria Sánchez Lorenzo: Less for beating Anastasia Myskina than for her class. Aware that Myskina's mother is ill, MSL consciously kept her postmatch exultation to a minimum. "I'm a human being before I'm a tennis player."
UCLA men's tennis: The Bruins upset No. 1 Baylor 4-3 Tuesday night to win the NCAA Division I men's tennis title at Texas A&M's Mitchell Tennis Center. The title comes 21 years after the Bruins won their last championship in 1984.
MassMutual Foundation: In conjunction with the USTA Tennis & Education Foundation, awarded $5,000 college scholarships to 35 high school seniors across the United States.
Justine Henin-Hardenne: The 2003 champ hasn't looked particularly sharp, but she's finding ways to survive -- ultimately, all that matters.
James Blake: Loses second-round match to Stan Wawrinka, but, objectively, he ought to leave Paris feeling awfully good about his recent progress. Same, incidentally, for Vince Spadea, who took out Al Costa before a shoulder injury spoiled his next match.
Kim Clijsters: Falls to Davenport in a tough fourth-rounder, but credit her for playing -- and winning three rounds -- on a knee that would have kept Willis Reed on the bench.
ESPN: If only by necessity, programmers have finally discovered -- get this --non-Americans. Love the extensive coverage, but might be nice to see a little more promotion on, say, SportsCenter or the NBA shows.
Venus Williams: Grinded out two wins but competed shabbily in a third-round loss to Karantancheva. That she claims never to have heard of her opponent -- clearly one of the WTA's brighter prospects -- says plenty about her level of interest these days.
Amelie Mauresmo: Yet another mental meltdown on the big stage. The pressure she's under is unenviable, but boy could she use a multipack of sessions with Jim Loehr.
American men: The early collective exit in Paris is becoming as predictable as the time and tide.
Anastasia Myskina: Defending champ bounced in round one. There were mitigating personal and physical factors, but maybe she needs to take some time off.
Pain: It was a banner week for fans of withdrawals and retirements. This trend really needs to be addressed by both tours and the ITF, and not dismissed as a cost of doing business.