Monday, June 5, 2017

Garcia takes flight into French Open quarterfinals

I don't take much interest in tennis handshakes (that is, unless Professor Strycova is demonstrating); I think way too much is read into them by fans. But the handshake, and everything that went with it, after today's all-French round of 16 match did make me smile. I know she's a controversial figure (not with me--I could watch her every day), but I've always felt that Alize Cornet had a good heart, and at the end of today's match, she displayed it. Caroline Garcia, for her part, was warmly receptive.

Both Cornet and Parmentier, I imagine, momentarily got caught up in the "bash Caroline" campaign that occurred right before Fed Cup competition. The new head of the French Federation turned a routine Fed Cup disappointment (it happens all the time, with every team) into a chance to redefine patriotism (the current White House has a lot of vacancies--maybe he should apply) and go all judgmental and authoritarian. Garcia was the victim, and it doesn't take a Ph.D. in psychology to figure out who the instigator was.

Anyway, Garcia won in straight sets, and her "airplane" may have flown a bit lighter today after that post-match meeting at the net. This is the first time the French Fed Cup star has reached the singles quarterfinals of a major.

The Frenchwoman's opponent in the quarterfinals will be Karolina Pliskova, the reluctant clay court winner. Now that Pliskova has gotten the hang of this winning thing, she just keeps doing it. But Veronica Cepede Royg didn't make it easy for the Long Tall One. She took the first set 6-2, but then Pliskova was able to adapt better, and to take control of the match, winning it 2-6, 6-3, 6-4.

Simona Halep, looking very much like The Boss, dismantled clay court notable Carla Suarez Navarro, 6-1, 6-1. Halep has yet to drop a set. She next meets Elina Svitolina, who rose from the dead in her round of 16 match against qualifier Petra Martic. Martic--just returning to the tour after a long injury layoff--went up 6-4, 3-6, 5-2 against the Ukrainian star, and then saw Svitolina go down 0-30.

Svitolina held, and that was all it took to bring Martic down to clay Earth. She lost her nerve, Svitolina smelled it--you know how it goes. Svitolina prevailed, 4-6, 6-3, 7-5. A more experienced player, say, someone like Simona Halep, would not have caved. This makes Svitolina--depending on your perspective--either a gifted, mentally tough escape artist or a (insert creature of choice) on thin ice. Stay tuned.

And since it wouldn't be a French Open blog post without Kiki Mladenovic, here's the latest news: She's out of doubles. Mladenovic and Kuznetsova were defeated in straight sets in the third round  today by top seeds Bethanie Mattek-Sands and Lucie Safarova.

Tomorrow, Mladenovic faces off against Timea Bacsinszky, and Jelena Ostapenko challenges Caroline Wozniacki.

The final seven nations represented:

France: Mladenovic and Garcia
Latvia: Ostapenko
Denmark: Wozniacki
Switzerland: Bacsinszky
Ukraine: Svitolina
Romania: Halep
Czech Republic: Pliskova


Todd.Spiker said...

On the "bright side," at least Katrina Adams is no longer *the* most attention-starved head of a national tennis federation. ;)

I don't know, there's something a little unsettling about the way Giudicelli is positioning himself right along the edge of the box, overlooking the court like an authoritarian dictator pridefully observing the success of the French athletic ideal that he's trying to show off to the world in order to prove that his beliefs are sound. Or something like that.

Diane said...

He creeps me out. And you know, at some point, he'll turn against Kiki, and all hell will break loose.

Todd.Spiker said...

As he was watching Kiki lose today, TC had a shot of him looking down at her as she walked by with her head down. I couldn't help but act out, with French accent, of course, what was going on in his.

"This... after all I do for you? Ahhhh" (waves hand dismissively)

Diane said...

Like I said, he'll turn against her (maybe now?) and the plot will thicken.