Wednesday, May 25, 2011

French Open : Rafael Nadal downs John Isner in another marathon

The French Open – one of the Grandslam tournaments is on and here is something interesting seen live on the first round of the  tournament.
   photo from the official site : rolandgarros.com

Rafael Nadal is the no. 1 seed – he has the nickname  "The King of Clay", and has prompted many experts to regard him as the greatest clay court player of all time.   He has 9 GS titles, 19 ATP World Tour masters 1000 tournaments, part of Spain Davis cup team that  won the finals in 2004, 2008 and 2009. He completed the career Grand Slam by winning the 2010 US Open, being the seventh player in history, and the youngest in the open era, to achieve it. He is the second male player to complete the Career Golden Slam (winner of the four grand slams and the Olympic Gold medal) after only Andre Agassi.

But in any sport, form or reputation alone would not ensure a victory as the Majorcan found out in the first round at Roland Garros.  Majorca or Mallorca is an island located in the Mediterranean Sea, one of the Balearic Islands. It is the largest by area and second most populated island of Spain.  The capital of the island, Palma, is also the capital of the autonomous community of the Balearic Islands.

The tall  6ft 9", John Isner is more remembered for the marathon match of Wimbledon 2010.   In the first round match the, John Isner beat the  French qualifier Nicolas Mahut in the longest match in tennis history, measured both by time and number of games. After 11 hours, 5 minutes of play over three days, the match finished 6–4, 3–6, 6–7(7), 7–6(3), 70–68.

Any remembrance  of that  match must have sent shivers in the spines of Nadal as he fought valiantly for a a minute over four hours at  Philippe Chatrier Court. In another gruelling marathon, the top seed  downed John Isner 6-4, 6-7(2), 6-7(2), 6-2, 6-4.  As we watched the final set, the possibility of a humiliating first-round exit loomed large.  

For those who watched, it was a feast of great services flying past at more than 230 kmph and there were some long rallies as well.  Rafa has lost only once earlier in clay to Robin Soderling. The second and third were tie-breakers which the big serving American won.   In the 5th there was a glimmer of hope but Nadal prevailed with his better returns and spins. A great match indeed.

Regards – S. Sampathkumar. 


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