Third and final day of the first round today.

- Justine Henin, Maria Sharapova and Rafael Nadal cruise into second round.
- Andy Roddick survives five set scare: the 6th seed came within two points of defeat against Jarko Nieminen, but he
prevailed after a intense battle 6-2, 4-6, 4-6, 7-6, 6-3. It was Roddick’s first match on clay this season.

- Upset of the day: Kimiko Date Krumm defeats Dinara Safina 3-6, 6-4, 7-5
What an embarrassing defeat for two time finalist Dinara Safina who lost to 39 years old Kimiko Date Krumm.
Safina lead by one set and 2 breaks, and then 4-1 in the third set, but she self imploded and offered the match to the japanese veteran. It was Date’s first Grand Slam victory since the 1996 US Open.
Other seeds upsets: Sam Querrey (18), Juan Monaco(26)

- Frenchman of the day: Gianni Mina
The young Frenchman offered some resistance to Rafael Nadal but was overpowered 2-6, 2-6, 2-6.

Gianni Mina

- Stat of the day: 7
After 7 first round exits Frenchman Nicolas Mahut finally won a match at Roland Garros. He defeated Mischa Zverev in 3 straight sets.

- Quote of the day: Rafael Nadal

“I think I played bad, but I won anyway, without problems, so that’s always important and positive thing. But I can do a lot better next round.”

3 years after her last match in Paris (her win against Ivanovic in the 2007 final), Justine Henin will try to conquer a 5th French Open title. A quick look back at Justine’s previous performances at Roland Garros:

Henin at Roland Garros 2010

1999: 2R Lindsay Davenport d Henin 6-3 2-6 7-5
First participation for Henin, who lost to number 2 seed Lindsay Davenport.

2000: DNP

2001: SF Kim Clijsters d Justine Henin 2-6 7-5 6-3
19 yrs old Kim Clijsters and Justine Henin established themselves as Grand Slam contender by reaching 2001 Roland Garros semifinals. Henin leading 2-1 in their head-to-head won the first set easily, but Clijsters prevailed 2-6 7-5 6-3.
In the final, Clijsters was four times within two points of winning her first GS title but lost to Jennifer Capriati 12–10 in the third set.

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Meet Gianni Mina

Runner up at last year’s French Open juniors, Gianni Mina could be mistaken for Gael Monfils’ younger brother.

Gianni Mina:

Gianni Mina

Gael Monfils:

Gael Monfils

But their looks are not the only thing that they have in common: they have similar playing style and were both very successful in juniors.
In 2004, Monfils finished the year as the world’s number 1 junior, winning three of four junior Grand Slam events (Australian Open, French Open, Wimbledon). Mina reached the finals in Roland Garros, and the semifinals at the US Open in 2009, and won the 18 years old category of the Orange Bowl.

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FWOTD #2: TERRE BATTUE – Red clay

Safina coup droit

The surface is made up of natural clay covered with crushed brick as a fine surface dressing. This layer gives the ball extra grip when it hits the deck, making the surface characteristically slow.
But clay courts’ speed depends greatly on weather conditions: when there’s a bit of rain, the surface is moist, the balls pick up water, become heavy and slow down even more. But when it’s hot and sunny, the court is dusty, and the ball zip through like a harder surface.
Clay court maintenance demands the greatest care and constant humidity. Too much water risks drowning the clay, making it unplayable from a few hours to several days. That’s why the courts are sprinkled manually and have to be protected from rain.

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Court Philippe Chatrier - Roland Garros


Court Philippe Chatrier - Roland Garros


Court Philippe Chatrier - Roland Garros


Court Philippe Chatrier - Roland Garros

I’m just back from 4 days in Paris and I just wanted to share a few pictures of yesterday’s Children’s Day at Roland Garros (previously known as “Benny Berthet Day”).
Children’s Day at Roland Garros is a charity event, devoted to fund raising for charitable organisations. The idea is simple: on the eve of the tounament’s opening day, stars of tennis are invited to take part in one set exhibition matches. So, for just 19 euros, you can watch some of the top players in action and help a good cause!

A few pics from yesterday:

Showman Gael Monfils:

Gael Monfils

A Monfils clone?

Gianni Mina

A 1991 Andre Agassi clone?

Bob Sinclar

More stories, videos and photos soon.