Schedule nonsense at Bercy on Day 2: on Court Central (14 500 seats): Chardy, Mathieu and Llodra. On court 1 (300 seats): Dimitrov, Melzer, Cilic, Dolgopolov, Querrey and Verdasco. So as you guessed it, I spent most of the afternoon on Court 1.

Grigor Dimitrov vs Jurgen Melzer

The first match on Court 1: “Baby Fed” Dimitrov against 2010 French Open semifinalist Jurgen Melzer.
Both players had a disappointing season: Melzer’s ranking fell from 8 in 2011 to 30 this year and Dimitrov is around the top 50.

Grigor Dimitrov

Grigor Dimitrov

Grigor Dimitrov

Jurgen Melzer

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Best of February 2012:

She is not a one-hit wonder after all: 2011 US Open semifinalist Angelique Kerber beat Lucie Safarova, Monica Niculescu, Maria Sharapova, Yanina Wickmayer and Marion Bartoli en route for her first WTA title.

19 yr old Lara Arruabarrena-Vecino won her maiden WTA title in Bogota, playing in just her third WTA main draw and facing a 5-2 third set deficit in her opening match.

David Ferrer keeps flying under the radar and he keeps winning: after Auckland in January, he captured 2 titles in February: Acapulco and Sao Paulo.

Lleyton Hewitt recorded its 38th Davis Cup singles victory, a remarkable 14 more than by any other Australian player.

I love every time I put the gold jacket on and playing for my country whoever it’s against and my preparation is exactly the same

Manuel Orantes has been elected to the International Tennis Hall of Fame in the master player category. Orantes won the 1975 US Open by beating Jimmy Connors in the final, and he was the runner-up to Bjorn Borg at the 1974 French Open.

Like father, like daughter: Jessica Korda, daughter of 1998 Australian Open champion Petr Korda, won her first LPGA tournament this month. The place of her triumph: Australia of course.
A nice tribute to her father’s infamous “scissor kick”.

February tournament winners: Angelique Kerber (Paris), Daniela Hantuchova (Pattaya), Victoria Azarenka (Doha), Lara Arruabarrena-Vecino (Bogota), Sofia Arvidsson (Memphis), Agnieszka Radwanska (Doha), Timea Babos (Monterrey), Sara Errani (Acapulco), Su-Wei Hsieh (Kuala Lumpur), Roger Federer (Rotterdam and Dubai), Nicolas Almagro (Sao Paulo), Milos Raonic (San Jose), Juan Martin Del Potro (Open 13 Marseille), Jurgen Melzer (Memphis), David Ferrer (Buenos Aires and Acapulco), Kevin Anderson (Delray Beach)

Worst of February 2012:

The Arantxa Sanchez Saga: the Sanchez clan seemed to be a much more normal family than the Grafs and Seles’ … until Arantxa’s autobiography release.

Lleyton Hewitt will be sidelined for four months after having surgery on his left foot, but eyes a return in tile for the Olympics. Ranked 170th, the 31 yr old Australian, will have to rely on a wild card from the International Tennis Federation to contest the London Olympics.

Aravane Rezai, for her Fed Cup debacle.

Andy Roddick: beaten by Denis Istomin in San Jose, ousted by Xavier Malisse in Memphis, Roddick has plummeted to his lowest ranking since 2001 (31).

The Swiss Davis Cup team of Roger Federer and Stanislas Wawrinka: 0-5 loss against the US team on clay. Enough said.

Robin Soderling defeats Andy Roddick 7-5 6-4:

Roddick beat Soderling twice this year (in Indian Wells and Cincinnati) but this time he was completely outplayed by Soderling and was dominated in every area of the game. The Swede served better, returned better, his groundstrokes were more accurate and powerful.

Robin Soderling

Andy Roddick

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Remember when Ivanisevic used to say every game he played, there were three players that could surface anytime: Good Goran, Bad Goran, Crazy Goran. The same could be said about Marat Safin.

A larger than life persona and one of the most charismatic tennis player ever, Marat is a man capable of blowing away any opponent or blowing up himself. A man capable of overwhelming the great Pete Sampras to win the US Open at only 20. A man capable of pulling down his shorts to celebrate a point. A man capable of showing up for a tournament with two black eyes.

Marat Safin

I’ve always been a big fan of Marat: sometimes I loved him, sometimes I hated him but now I really miss his game, his humor and his crazyness.

Part 1: 15 to 8
15 – Shanghai 2009: Just shut the fuck up and play
14 – US Open 2009: Everybody is an underachiever
13 – Hamburg 2000: a beer with Guga
12 – Hopman Cup 2009: black eyes
11 – US Open 2008: foot fault
10 – Wimbledon 2007: the spaghetti
9 – French Open 1998
8 – Wimbledon 2008: worst challenge ever?

Note: it’s not a ranking of Marat’s achievements, these are just 15 moments of Marat’s career which reflect “Marat being Marat”.
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What a strange Roland Garros this year, with very few intense battles, insipid semifinals but a flamboyant first time winner.

The Good:

– Francesca Schiavone:

Francesca Schiavone

– Sam Stosur

Sam Stosur

– Robin Soderling: Ex-bad boy Robin Soderling finished runner-up for the second year in a row. He once again impressed the tennis world with his amazing win over defending champion Roger Federer. But unfortunately for him, he didn’t really get into the final against Rafa: “I didn’t play as good as I did last year. I didn’t serve so well. I wasn’t hitting the ball as clean. You know, I had some chances in the beginning, but I didn’t take them. And then he won the first and then played really well in the second, so then, you know, that’s about… “

– Jurgen Melzer: The big surprise in the men’s draw. More famous for his girlfriends (Myskina, Cibulkova…) than for his game, Melzer reached the semifinals of a major for the first time of his career after his surprising wins over David Ferrer and Novak Djokovic.

The Bad:

– French players: What a disaster! The best frenchman was Jo-Wilfried Tsonga who was forced to retire in the 4th round against Mikhail Youzhny. Monfils was beaten by Fognini, Gasquet by Murray. There was not a single in the second week. A disaster.

– Svetlana Kuznetsova: Just 3 words: waste of talent.

– Dinara Safina: The worst performance of this French Open is without a doubt the loss of former number one Dinara Safina to Kimiko Date. 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.

The King:

Rafael Nadal

L'Equipe - Rafael Nadal