Pretty good day for the home players in Bercy today. Well, unless you’re Jeremy Chardy. He put in a classic WTF?! (not the tournament) performance against Pico, who didn’t have to be any more than solid. Although, being Pico, he managed to sneak in some agony and drama-queen behaviour as well.
Toys. Pram. Out of.
Anyway, it was a disappointing end to the season for Chardy. Also out and not happy about it? Philipp Petzchner, who was ousted by Julien Benneteau in an odd match of wildly varying quality which also included more than a bit of handbags. I was trying to watch two matches at once (and work at the same time), so I’m not sure exactly what’s going on here:
But I did see Petzchner behaving badly in the last game, making ridiculous challenges on balls that were quite clearly three feet wide, and as he shook Lars Graf’s hand at the end, I could have sworn he said something like ‘Thanks for taking the money’. Apparently he also told Benneteau he was going to be aim for his face. In which case, don’t let the door hit you on the ass on the way out of 2009.
More good news for France came in the unlikely form of French qualifier David Guez, 179 in the world, who upset Stanislas Wawrinka in not-even-hugely-close straight sets. Seriously, what has Wawrinka done for anyone lately? OK, I’m not a fan, but thinking back on 2009, I remember him for (a) beating Federer in Monte Carlo and (b) stretching Murray to five under the Wimbledon roof. Am I missing something? Because from where I’m sitting, two good matches in a year (one of which he still lost) isn’t really cutting it.
Anyway, Verdasco narrowly avoided being upset by Seppi himself, so there’s that good news to consider, and Kolya was in suitably crushing form, rolling over Becker with the loss of just three games. But back to the French. Qualifier Arnaud Clement dismissed Feliciano Lopez 63 61, and then defending champion Jo-Wilfried Tsonga delighted the home crowd with inspired play in the first night match. Montanes was actually playing great tennis, I thought, even in the first set, but Jo was just that damn good. Loved it. Hope he hasn’t peaked too soon.
Also loving his hair at the mo.
I didn’t even mean to watch Simon-Ljubicic, as Gilles was 0-3 down against Ljubicic in the H2H and I thought it would be depressing, but I got sucked in and I’m glad I did. Gilles was playing very not like himself in the first set, being really aggressive, going for his shots and hitting big winners, and he took it 63. An inevitable lull came in the second set, but by the time the match was into the decider, it was really good stuff. Gilles finally earned a break point with Ljubicic serving at 2-3 down (I think), only to hurt his knee lunging for a return (which he missed). He immediately limped to the net and asked for the trainer; Carlos Bernades told him he would have to wait until the end of the game, only for Ljubicic to sportingly say that it was fine by him. After medical treatment, he somehow held serve for 4-3 despite double-faulting twice and received more treatment, saying to the trainer that came on that he was in pain but that stopping play wasn’t an option. And that point, you would be forgiven for thinking that Ljubicic really had the match on a plate, but oddly, it didn’t work out that way. Despite barely running for anything and clearly being in pain, Gilles chipped, sliced, drop-shotted and volleyed his way through two more service games to take the match to a tiebreak. Which he won. And I still don’t quite know how. Yes, he hit some ridiculously good shots, but all Ljubicic had to do was go for his shots or even just make Gilles run. Instead, Gilles seemed to hypnotise him into just chipping the ball right back. It was bizarre and not a good way to end the season for Ljubicic, but I’m a Gilles fan. So I don’t really care. Allez!
Singles – Second Round
 N Davydenko (RUS) d B Becker (GER) 62 61
 F Verdasco (ESP) d A Seppi (ITA) 67(3) 64 64
 J Tsonga (FRA) d A Montanes (ESP) 61 75
 G Simon (FRA) d I Ljubicic (CRO) 63 36 76(4)
Singles – First Round
N Almagro (ESP) d M Chiudinelli (SUI) 62 64
[Q] D Guez (FRA) d S Wawrinka (SUI) 63 64
J Monaco (ARG) d J Chardy (FRA) 76(6) 75
J Benneteau (FRA) d P Petzschner (GER) 46 75 63
[Q] A Clement (FRA) d F Lopez (ESP) 63 61
Doubles – First Round
B Soares (BRA) / K Ullyett (ZIM) d P Cuevas (URU) / O Marach (AUT) 61 76(6)
M Granollers (ESP) / T Robredo (ESP) d J Del Potro (ARG) / F Gonzalez (CHI) 76(2) 62
C Kas (GER) / P Kohlschreiber (GER) d J Monaco (ARG) / R Nadal (ESP) 46 75 15-13 – saved 2 M.P.
J Kerr (AUS) / T Parrott (USA) d M Damm (CZE) / J Erlich (ISR) 63 64
J Brunstrom (SWE) / J Rojer (AHO) d [WC] S Grosjean (FRA) / F Santoro (FRA) 63 36 10-5