Virginia Ruzici

From Inside Tennis, a season on the pro tour by Peter Bodo

The women’s final is played in the late afternoon. For Mima Jausovec, her match with Virginia Ruzici feels anticlimatic, especially after the stirring ceremony during which she beamed and bounced out to take her rightful place among the former champions (a parade of champions took place before the final). She is plagued by a sluggishness of spirit as she struggles to find form before an almost disinterested crowd, with one of her best friends playing the match of her life across the net.

Ruzici is pounding her extraordinary forehand all over the court, swarming over the ball with her aggressive, spidery style. Jausovec, who is only five foot three and weighs 120 pounds, is hard pressed to stay in the rallies. The pace prevents her from setting up for her shots properly. Both women have primarily forehand players, but Ruzici is more successful in keeping the ball on her opponent’s backhand side.

Ruzici takes the first set 6-2, and breaks Jausovec for a 2-1 lead in the second. She serves the first point of the next game and hits a forehand that seems clearly out during the rally. But there is no call, and Jausovec distractly drives the next ball into the net. She turns around and looks at the lineswoman, who returns her stare with impenetrable eyes. Jausovec looks at Ruzici, but if her friend has any feeling about the ball, she keeps them to herself. Jausovec just shrugs and walks to the baseline to receive service. The match is all but over. The contested point and Ruzici’s failure to respond to her inquiry have left Jausovec hurt and bewildered. It is unlike Mima to quit, but she cannot challenge Ruzici. She loses 6-2 6-2.

When it was over, I hurried downstairs to catch the contestants. Jausovec had already gone up to the locker room, but Ruzici had just come off the court, bearing an armload of yellow roses. Her eyes were wide with joy, and her words poured forth like :

“I have lost to Mima all the time before. This now makes me feel very, very good. I can’t believe it! I have won Roland Garros. It is too much for me” she cried.

I felt compelled to ask about the incident that seemed to have had so signifiant an impact on Jausovec’s spirit. All Ruzici had to do was acknowledge her friend, even if she did not agree with her. Instead, she had just lowered her eyes and moved to the other side of the court to serve the next point.
Ruzici’s answer rang with anxiety and conviction.

“I couldn’t give her that ball. I was on the other side. It was impossible to tell about that ball! In a final like this, you have to forget about friendship. A point like that, you cannot give it away. It is the one I could have lost the whole match with in the end, if I gave it away.”

Maria Sharapova’s road to the final

Maria Sharapova

The road to the final has been quite chaotic for Sharapova, with three come from behind 3-sets wins against Stosur, Muguruza and Bouchard.

Round Opponent Score
R1 Ksenia Pervak 6-1 6-2
R2 Tsvetana Pironkova 7-5 6-2
R3 Paula Ormachea 6-0 6-0
R4 Sam Stosur 3-6 6-4 6-0
QF Garbine Muguruza 1-6 7-5 6-1
SF Eugenie Bouchard 4-6 7-5 6-2
Simona Halep’s road to the final

Simona Halep

Round Opponent Score
R1 Alisa Kleybanova 6-0 6-2
R2 Heather Watson 6-2 6-4
R3 Maria-Teresa Torro-Flor 6-3 6-0
R4 Sloane Stephens 6-4 6-3
QF Svetlana Kuznetsova 6-2 6-2
SF Andrea Petkovic 6-2 7-6
Maria Sharapova – Simona Halep head to head
Year Tournament Surface Winner Score
2012 Indian Wells Hard Maria Sharapova 6-3 6-4
2012 Beijing Hard Maria Sharapova 7-5 7-5
2014 Madrid Clay Maria Sharapova 1-6 6-2 6-3

Maria Sharapova appears as the huge favorite of this final: she’ll play her third straight Roland Garros final, her ninth overall and Simona Halep only managed to win a set in their three previous meetings.

Who will win between Maria Sharapova and Simona Halep? Please share your thoughts.

Who will win Roland Garros 2014?

  • Serena Williams (33%, 40 Votes)
  • Maria Sharapova (30%, 37 Votes)
  • Li Na (11%, 13 Votes)
  • Simona Halep (10%, 12 Votes)
  • Other (9%, 11 Votes)
  • Jelena Jankovic (3%, 4 Votes)
  • Agnieszka Radwanska (3%, 4 Votes)
  • Victoria Azarenka (1%, 1 Votes)
  • Angelique Kerber (0%, 0 Votes)
  • Dominika Cibulkova (0%, 0 Votes)
  • Petra Kvitova (0%, 0 Votes)

Total Voters: 122

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Carlos Moya

3 former Roland Garros champions and a former Australian Open runner-up were on Court 1 on Thursday for a fun Legends doubles match.

The beautiful Court 1 – nicknamed the “Bullring” because of its circular shape – is a favorite among serious tennis fans because of its relatively small size and feeling of close proximity to the action.
The Court number 1 has been the scene of some stunning French Open upsets, such as unseeded Gustavo Kuerten‘s 3rd-round victory over Thomas Muster in 1997, on his way to his first of three Roland Garros titles; and Gabriela Sabatini‘s defeat – after a 6-1, 5-1 lead and five match points – to Mary Joe Fernandez in the 1993 quarterfinals. It was also the site of Marat Safin’s famous “dropped pants” match against Felix Mantilla in 2004.

Sadly, court number one will be destroyed. One more proof that decision-makers have no idea what fans like and what makes the beauty of Roland Garros. More informations on Roland Garros stadium modernization.

Court 1

Court 1

Long rallies at the net, jokes, that match was great fun for players and spectators alike:

Court 1

Albert Costa

Carlos Moya

Albert Costa is currently coaching Feliciano Lopez, Thomas Enqvist is Fernando Verdasco’s coach and Carlos Moya is now Spain’s Davis Cup team captain, but I have no idea what Gaston Gaudio has been up to since his retirement, if you have any info, leave a comment below, thanks!

Enjoy more pictures:

Simona Halep

Last year Simona Halep arrived at Roland Garros ranked No. 57. A year later, she is now No. 4, having won 7 titles in the last 13 months. Coached by Wim Fissette, former coach of Kim Clijsters, Simona is the first Romanian woman since Virginia Ruzici to reach a Grand Slam singles final. Ruzici, who is now her manager, won the French Open in 1978 and reached the final again in 1980 but lost to Chris Evert.

Halep beat Petkovic quite easily in her semi-final 6-2 7-6, she has yet to lose a set in this tournament. She’ll face Sharapova tomorrow for a remake of their Madrid final. Who’s your favorite for the title? Sharapova or Halep?

Enjoy a few pictures of the semi-final between Simona and Andrea:

Maria Sharapova

I must be honest, the first time I heard about Eugénie Bouchard I thought: well, another “new Sharapova” we will never hear of her again (remember the whole ‘Oudin is the next Henin’ ?) But how wrong I was! After having watched her semifinal against Maria Sharapova, I’m convinced she gonna win something big pretty soon.

Her backhand down the line is a beauty, her shot selection is something to work on, but with a little more experience she would have won in straight sets. Sharapova did not win the match, Bouchard lost it and that makes a big difference.

Eugénie Bouchard

Eugénie Bouchard

Maria Sharapova reaches the French Open final for the third year in a row, she will face Simona Halep for a rematch of their Madrid final.

Maria Sharapova

Maria Sharapova

Enjoy some pictures of the match:

Roger Federer

It was a busy Sunday yesterday at Roland Garros with eight fourth-round matches but also the end of two third-round matches that were suspended by night on Saturday: Verdasco-Gasquet and Murray-Kohlscheiber.

Richard Gasquet, Sara Errani and Roberta Vinci at practice on court 15:

Sara Errani

Richard Gasquet

Richard Gasquet and Roberta Vinci

Still suffering from back pain, Gasquet lost to Verdasco but he can be proud of his performance.

Richard Gasquet and Sébastien Gosjean

Big upset on court Chatrier: 17-time Grand Slam champion Roger Federer lost to Ernests Gulbis in five sets.

Roger Federer

Roger Federer

Roger Federer

Gulbis described his victory as the biggest of his career whereas Federer said he was disappointed but had already switched to grass mentally. Do you think Federer can bounce back and win Wimbledon?

Novak Djokovic dismantled Jo-Wilfried Tsonga 6-1 6-4 6-1 in one hour and 29 minutes and appears as the big favorite for the title.

Novak Djokovic

Jo-Wilfied Tsonga

Who will win Roland Garros 2014?

  • Serena Williams (33%, 40 Votes)
  • Maria Sharapova (30%, 37 Votes)
  • Li Na (11%, 13 Votes)
  • Simona Halep (10%, 12 Votes)
  • Other (9%, 11 Votes)
  • Jelena Jankovic (3%, 4 Votes)
  • Agnieszka Radwanska (3%, 4 Votes)
  • Victoria Azarenka (1%, 1 Votes)
  • Angelique Kerber (0%, 0 Votes)
  • Dominika Cibulkova (0%, 0 Votes)
  • Petra Kvitova (0%, 0 Votes)

Total Voters: 122

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Who will win Roland Garros 2014?

  • Rafael Nadal (40%, 108 Votes)
  • Novak Djokovic (29%, 79 Votes)
  • Roger Federer (21%, 57 Votes)
  • Stanislas Wawrinka (4%, 10 Votes)
  • Other (2%, 6 Votes)
  • Tomas Berdych (1%, 4 Votes)
  • Andy Murray (1%, 3 Votes)
  • David Ferrer (1%, 2 Votes)
  • John Isner (0%, 0 Votes)
  • Richard Gasquet (0%, 0 Votes)
  • Jo-Wilfried Tsonga (0%, 0 Votes)

Total Voters: 269

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Thanks a lot to Loic for the pictures!
Follow our Roland Garros 2014 coverage and stay tuned for more pictures and videos.