Monday, June 30, 2008

FOOTBALL: To all the Spanish Football Lovers Out There..... Congratz :)


The first Cup since 1964

The Man who brought it home
The Mastermind we all relentlessly mocked
The young captain who stood his ground against the Italians

The man from the back who hustled at the front

The Resilient Man from Brazil


The man who redeemed himself against Russia

The Lethal Duo

And a well-deserved celebration... Viva Espana!!!

Thursday, June 26, 2008

A Nice Tribute to Marat!

Here is a Marat Safin interview with David Letterman after Safin beat Pete Sampras to win the 2000 US Open:





Wednesday, June 25, 2008

He's Back!!!!! Safin Trumps Djokovic in Wimbledon !!

He's finally back... Former world number one, two-time Grand Slam champion and one of the most charismatic players on tour, Marat Safin, managed to pull off a major upset at the All England Club on Wednesday when he eliminated one of the tournament's main contenders for the title, Novak Djokovic, in straight sets, 6-4, 7-6, 6-2.

This is only the third time this year that Safin has won back-to-back matches, while world number 3, Djokovic, has reached the semifinal stage or better in the last 5 Grand Slams.


An upbeat Safin showed up on court today and reminded us of his former glories. I don't know whether it was just a good mood, some extra focus, some new-found confidence or just an I've-got-nothing-to-lose attitude but the Russian stud stood his ground throughout the match as he outplayed a miserable Djokovic, whose serving killed him on most of the tricky moments.

For many people, Safin is long gone and will never come back, but I could never rule him out. The guy won 2 Grand Slams, 5 years apart. His last Grand Slam triumph saw him defeat Roger Federer in the semis, 9-7 in the fifth set, followed by a four-set drubbing of home favorite Lleyton Hewitt en route to lifting the 2005 Australian Open trophy.

Safin was then hampered by a knee injury and never seemed to regain his form ever since. His temperamental behaviour wasn't helping either and he was often accused that he just didn't care anymore. The 28-year-old did however respond to such accusations when he said:

"I had so many injuries. So it's not because I was scratching my things on the sofa and I didn't want to play tennis. It was because I've been sick...It's not like I was partying my ass off on South Beach, because I'm trying. It takes a lot of courage to try and still go on the court when you're ranked No. 85 in the world."

Well said Marat :D

Safin has the extra advantage now of a relatively smooth draw, especially that the highest 2 seeds in his quarter have already been sent packing, Djokovic and 7th-seed, David Nalbandian. He next faces Italy's Andreas Seppi and has a potential last-16 meeting with Swiss rising star, Stanislas Wawrinka (seeded 13).

Am sure Rafael Nadal now has extra appreciation for Safin, who has given Nadal a bit of a breather who now doesn't have Djokovic on his back fighting him for the number 1 and 2 spots in the rankings throughout the tournament. Djokovic will lose points because he failed to defend his semifinal showing he achieved last year, while Nadal has the far-fetched chance of becoming number one if he wins the title and Federer loses in the quarters.

Am getting way ahead of myself, so let's just wait and see... For now, am just hoping Safin wakes up in a good mood on Friday for his third round match.

Cheers!

Thursday, June 19, 2008

FOOTBALL: Euro Talk!

Romania Broke My Heart

Romania have let me down. I was hoping they could rid us of the boring likes of Italy and France all in one blow - even Marco Van Basten seemed to want the same outcome seeing he played 9 players I almost never heard of in my entire football-watching life - but the Romanians just couldn't man up against the Holland bench.

Meanwhile, a flavorless Italy highlighted by one of the slowest strikers in the game, Luca Pony (courtesty of Early Döorß), and shameless underwear parading, Antonio Cassano, ousted 10-man France (actually we could say 9 given that Anelka touched the ball as many times as the linesmen did) and for some reason the Italians are now showing off, in their underwear nonetheless, and have their coach, Donadoni saying stuff like: "I didn't have any doubts. We have a team which can beat anyone." !!!!!!!

"The Goose" is the Man

Van Basten isn't the only Dutch who knows what he's doing with his team. Russia coach, Guus Hiddink, managed to pull his team together who had to win today against Sweden to qualify to the quarters and they did just that, as they beat the Scandinavians 2-0 to set up a last-eight meeting with Holland in Basel on Saturday.

The Russians played beautifully as they displayed some sweet passing abilities that set up 2 goals and several missed chances towards the end.

Hiddink is known to make more than the most of what he has as he led Holland to the 1998 World Cup semis before he did the same with South Korea 4 years later, followed by a second round appearance with Australia, who were making their first showing in 32 years at the 2006 World Cup.

I doubt Hiddink will be able to pull it off against his home country, given Holland's flawless performance so far at the Euro, but I'm interested to see how Russia will hold up against the Dutch.

Spaniards Remain Undefeated

The Spanish reserve team managed to pull off a third win for their side after they came back from behind to beat Greece 2-1 and join Holland and Croatia as the only teams to qualify to the quarters without losing any matches.

Spain are set to play Italy in Vienna on Sunday and I think it's about time they made something of themselves. Italy will be playing without Pirlo and Gattuso while Spain have rested most of their squad (except for Iniesta) and lethal duo, Torres and Villa, will be more than ready for the Italians.

Am rooting for Spain so let's hope they keep up the good run.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Rafa Captures First Grass Title at Queen's Club

Rafael Nadal officially went green - and am not referring to his recent Nike outfit - as he managed to grab his first title on grass by defeating his nagging rival, Novak Djokovic, in the Queen's Club final on Sunday.

The world number 2 took off to a shaky start as he found himself trailing Djokovic 3-0 in the opening set before he stormed back, leveling the match and taking it into a tie-break where he prevailed and moved on to bag the second set to seal a 7-6, 7-5 victory over the Serb.

This is Nadal's first grass-court title and it is exactly what he needs heading into Wimbledon, where he has reached the final the past 2 years but failed to overcome the resident King at the All England Club, Roger Federer.

Djokovic, who has had a good run at Queen's Club toppling Hewitt and Nalbandian en route to the final, still remains a hot contender to the Wimbledon title despite his defeat today. The reigning Aussie Open champion has reached the semis at Wimbledon last year where he also lost to Nadal, but it was because he sustained an injury and had to retire.

Meanwhile, Federer highlighted the grass-court action in Germany as he defeated home favorite, Philipp Kohlschreiber, 6-3, 6-4, to clinch a fifth Halle title and extend his winning streak on grass to 59 matches. The last time Federer lost on grass was in 2002 when he fell to Mario Ancic in the first round at Wimbledon. It's been cruise control on grass every since!

The build-up to Wimbledon this year places the three top players, Federer, Nadal and Djokovic all in top contention for the title. It's tough to tell what's gonna happen but I must say, it's looking good for the Spaniard.

Who do you think can pull it off this year at Wimbledon?!?!?

Rafa-Djoko Rivalry Taken to Grass

The stage is set for yet another Rafa-Djoko clash but this time it's on new turf and it's tough to tell who will prevail.

World number 2, Rafael Nadal, and number 3, Novak Djokovic, will face off for a 4th time this season as the two are set to fight for the Artois Championship title on Sunday, which would be the first title on grass for either one of them.

The tournament's top 2 seeds have shown incredible form on grass this week as they both overcame tricky opponents including former champions like Lleyton Hewitt and Andy Roddick.

Rafa's latest obstacle before the final was third-seeded Roddick, who has been a champion at the Queen's club four times in the past five years. The American is known to be brilliant on grass and has reached the Wimbledon final twice before, but that didn't seem to shake Rafa as he came through 7-5, 6-4 to set up his showdown with Djokovic.

Truth must be told that Roddick came into the semis benefitting from two retirements from Mardy Fish first, then Andy Murray in the quarters, which could have given him more of a disadvantage with the lack of match practice compared to Rafa. The world number 6 is also coming off an injury that forced him to miss the French Open. So maybe Rafa wasn't really playing the real Roddick after all?!?!

Djokovic on the other hand, crushed fourth-seeded David Nalbandian, a former Wimbledon finalist as well, 6-1, 6-0. The Serb has continued to show amazing form on grass as he earlier eased past Lleyton Hewitt 6-2, 6-2.

Rafa and Djoko have met on grass on one previous occasion last year in the Wimbledon semis, where Rafa got lucky and moved on to the final as Djoko retired when he was trailing 3-6, 6-1, 4-1.

Both players are playing well, both players have a lot of confidence coming into the final and both players have a Grand Slam to their name this season... but I must say am sensing Djokovic might have a little bit of an upper hand tomorrow. His brutal victory over Nalbandian is definitely far from good news for Rafa. So let's wait and see what's gonna happen.

If anyone knows where I can find this match on tv, please let me know.

Cheers!!

The no-longer absent, Reem

Glad to be back :)

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Trash Talk...NOT !!

"I feel like the number two because I am the number two and I am closer to the number three than the number one," Rafael Nadal when asked if he felt like the best player in the world.

*******************

"I don't want to answer these stupid questions anymore. They're too stupid." Roger Federer when asked:

"Imagine it's 2009 and this little fairy comes to you and says, You're going to win one tournament, but you have to choose: Wimbledon or Roland Garros. Which one?"

Someone obviously pushed some buttons. Roger's justification was:

"Because I want to win at everything. I have no preference."

Fair enough, good for you biting the reporter's head off!! They really do sometimes ask ridiculous questions.

*******************

"I can only praise him for the level of play he's had for the last two weeks and today again under pressure... It's not like it's easy for him either. He handles it very well. To come up with a performance like this under pressure shows what a great champion he is." Roger Federer on Nadal's performance in the final. I certainly have the utmost respect for the Swiss who has proven he can lose with so much grace.

*******************

"Oh, my God, you know, I had no chance today." Roger Federer admitting a painful truth!!
*******************

What exactly qualifies as a surprise ?!?!


"I think I can surprise him more than he can surprise me." Roger Federer on Nadal ahead of the final on Sunday.


Roger loses 6-1, 6-3, 6-0 to Rafa in the final!!! Too bad Fed, who knew your surprise was gonna be like this?!?! You surprised the hell out of all of us man.

The Brutal Finale: Rafa Demolishes Federer to win Fourth Straight French Open

I'm sure the Rafa-ness in the air in Paris right now is almost palpable!!!! They say third time is a charm... fourth is history baby!! Rafael Nadal delivered a brutal beating to Roger Federer in the Roland Garros final on Sunday as he tortured the world number one, 6-1, 6-3, 6-0 to retain the Coupe des Mousquetaires for the fourth consecutive year and remain undefeated in Paris.

It's hard to tell whether Federer was mentally destructed or physically unable to keep up with the Spaniard but what I know for sure is that Rafa reached a new high in the final today as he matched Bjorn Borg's record of straight victories at Roland Garros.

Federer attempted a tiny comeback in the second set after a dismal first one, when the Swiss claimed a service break back after conceding his opening service game. Rafa however mercilessly broke again and it was cruise control from then on.

I don't know why people even doubted Rafa's capabilities ahead of the final; the world number 2, who has not dropped a single set en route to the title, didn't falter throughout the tournament even against Novak Djokovic in the semis. Djokovic, who tried to pull a "Safina" against Rafa in the third set of their semifinal, thought he saw a fraction of a window to come back before Rafa stormed to a 6-0 lead in the tiebreak. The guy isn't giving anyone a chance. All you can do is salute him, and move on.

Many congratz to the champ and hopefully he takes this momentum into the grass-court season. He's reached the Wimbledon finals the last couple of years... Maybe he can pull a "Borg" this year and win back-to-back Grand Slams. Or is that wishful thinking?!?! Let's wait and see.

Cheers :)

RG Day 14 - Ivanovic Queen of Paris

She did it!!! Ana Ivanovic became the second Serb to win a singles Grand Slam title this year when she was crowned the French Open champion today at Roland Garros beating Russian 13th-seed, Dinara Safina, 6-4, 6-3 in the final.

Winning the title is Ivanovic's second major triumph this week, her first was reaching the summit of the women's world rankings when Maria Sharapova lost in the fourth round to Dinara Safina before Ivanovic eventually made it to the final and deservedly clinched the top spot in the rankings, shattering the hopes of the likes of Jelena Jankovic and Svetlana Kutznetsova, who also had a chance of becoming world number 1.

The new world number one, who lost to Justine Henin in the French Open final last year, showed a nervous yet aggressive performance against Safina, who attempted a comeback in the first set by climbing back from two breaks down but failed to capitalize on that as she conceded another break to the Serb.

Ivanovic knew what she was coming up against - a player who was on a 12-match winning streak on clay including 6 victories over top 10 players. Moreover, Safina had also saved match points against Sharapova and Elena Dementieva in subsequent rounds at the Open, a fact that made Ivanovic do her best to close out the match as soon as she could.

Am sure Safina will be down for a few days, but when she gets past the defeat, she'll be thrilled with her achievements these couple of weeks, where she defeated the tournament's number 1,4 and 7 seeds and managed to reach her first Grand Slam final. This isn't the last we're seeing from the Russian, who will become world number 9 when the new rankings come out on Monday.

As for Ivanovic, this Grand Slam title is possibly a first of several to come. Let's see how she does on grass for the rest of this month. Ivanovic made it to the Wimbledon semis last year where she lost to eventual champion, Venus Williams. Safina never passed the third round in 5 attempts at Wimbledon.


TOMORROW FEDERER - NADAL FINAL AT 15:00 PARIS TIME, 16:00 CAIRO TIME

Like Federer said, this is what it's all about :)

Thursday, June 5, 2008

RG Day 11: One, Two, Three and Monfils!!

The remaining two spots of the Roland Garros semifinals have been filled and they are not free of surprises I must add. No. 1 seed, Roger Federer, joined seeds number 2 and 3 in the semis (Nadal and Djokovic) when he made it to his 16th straight Grand Slam semifinal, which is no shocker of course, as he overcame a shaky start against Fernando Gonazlez before he managed to come through in four sets. The real stunner was Gael Monfils, who upset fifth-seeded David Ferrer with a convincing 6-3, 3-6, 6-3, 6-1 win over the Spaniard.

Unseeded Monfils, who has slipped to number 59 in the rankings following a series of injuries that troubled him since he reached a career high of 23 in 2006, has lost all his previous 3 meetings against Federer.

The Power of the 2-5 for Safina

13th-seed, Dinara Safina, made yet another remarkable comeback in Paris as she rallied back from a set and 2-5 down, to oust 7th-seed Elena Dementieva 4-6, 7-6, 6-0 and advance to her first Grand Slam semifinal. Safina had endured an ironically similar scenario against her other Russian countrywoman, Sharapova, in the last 16, when she fought back from a set and 2-5 down, also saving a match point on the way. What's up with that, huh?!?!

Up next for Safina, is another Russian, Svetlana Kutznetsova, who had an easier passage to the last 4 as she eliminated Kaia Kanepi 7-5, 6-2. My advice to Svetlana would be... BE WISE WOMAN, AND DROP THE FIRST SET AGAINST SAFINA!!!!

Day 12 Schedule:

Play starts at 14:00
Svetlana Kutznetsova [4] vs. Dinara Safina [13]
Followed by:
Ana Ivanovic [2] vs. Jelena Jankovic [3]

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

RG Day 10 - Rafa, Djoko Set to Battle For No. 2 Spot

I don't know what tennis fans are more anxious to see, a Rafa-Djokovic semifinal or a Rafa-Fed final?!?! I do know however, that it's way too hard to predict who will make it through to the final from that bottom half of the draw - Rafa or Djokovic?!?!

The two players will be fighting for more than just a spot in the final. Rafa will be fighting to keep his status as number 2 in the world, as well as trying to reach a fourth consecutive French Open final, while Djokovic will be looking to reach a third straight Grand Slam final (lost at the 2007 US Open to Federer, won the 2008 Australian Open) as well as replacing Rafa as number 2 in the rankings. A lot is at stake which will surely make this match one of the most talked about showdowns of the season :)

The Rafa-Djoko History So Far

Rafa and Djokovic have met on 10 previous occasions dating back to the 2006 French Open where Djokovic retired against eventual champion Rafa.

Rafa leads their head-to-head record, 7-3 with the most recent win coming in the Hamburg semifinals, an epic match that saw both players display some sublime tennis in front of an awe-struck tennis audience worldwide.

The two players have alternated victories in their past 5 meetings however, Djokovic has never managed to beat Rafa on clay.

How They Made it to the Semis

Rafa is coming into this match without dropping a single set so far. If his early performances in the first two rounds at the Open this year were not as solid as expected due to annoying rain delays and some mental and physical fatigue, his quarterfinal against Nicolas Almagro was a hell of a statement. I mean 6-1, 6-1, 6-1 against a claycourt specialist with an insane serve... come on!!! Djokovic must be a little bit scared. Rafa earlier ousted four lefties in a row, Fernando Verdasco (22nd seed), Jarkko Nieminen (26th seed), Nicolas Devilder and Thomaz Bellucci.

Djokovic had a tricky first round against Denis Gremelmayr which he struggled through in four sets, but then went on to post a comfortable second round win over Miguel Angel Lopez Jaen (don't ask me why all these names) followed by a slightly tougher win over Wayne Odesnik.

Djokovic was really tested in the fourth round against home favorite Paul-Henri Mathieu, but the Serb was too strong for Mathieu as he managed to come through in straight sets 4, 3 and 4.

If the fourth round was tough for Djoko, the quarterfinal was brutal. Djokovic faced his old friend and tournament surprise, Ernests Gulbis, who ousted Blake, Lapentti and Llodra en route to the quarters. Despite being far from his best, and facing some real good tennis from the Latvian, Djokovic managed to win in 3 tough sets, 7-5, 7-6, 7-5.

You never know who is better off with their quarterfinal result, Rafa or Djokovic. One can argue that Rafa came through easily and won't have to deal with recovering from fatigue before the semis while others could say that since he wasn't really tested like Djokovic was, he won't be ready for the world number 3 on Thursday. Well we'll just have to wait and see!! It's gonna be a good one anyways:)

Check out the All-Serbian Women's Semifinal

Ivanovic and Jankovic came through in style, both posting 6-3, 6-2 wins over their respective opponents. The Serbian beauties, who will faceoff in the semis, have met 6 times before with world number 2, Ivanovic, having the upper hand in 5 of them, most recently in Indian Wells last April.

Am sensing an Ivanovic-Safina final, but that's just me :)

Day 11 matches to Look Out For

Roger Federer [1] vs. Fernando Gonzalez [24]
Gael Monfils vs. David Ferrer [5]
Dinara Safina [13] - Elena Dementieva [7]




Finally, I must say: Happy 22nd Birthday Rafa :)

Monday, June 2, 2008

RG Day 9 Tidbits

* Now That's What I Call Fighting Back!! 13th seed, Dinara Safina, blasted past her Russian compatriot and world number one, Maria Sharapova, into the quarterfinals. Safina conceded a tight first set 6-7 (6), despite having several set points. Safina then made an incredible recovery, probably the best of her career, when she battled back from 2-5 down in the second set (saving a match point) to go on and win it 7-5 in the tiebreak, where she was also 2-5 down. She then easily sealed her victory 6-2 in the decider. Safina is on a merciless run as she recently beat Henin in her very last match on tour en route to capturing the title in Berlin and today she denied Sharapova a shot at making a career Grand Slam. Next up for Safina is another Russian, 7th-seeded Elena Dementieva, whom she beat in the final in Berlin last month.

* Ferrer Grinds it Out Against Stepanek - Fifth-seeded David Ferrer made it to the quarterfinals after a tough five-setter against Radek Stepanek. Both players alternated sets but the 21st-seeded Czech was the one who took the initiative and when he convincingly bagged the third set 6-1, to go up 2 sets to 1, I thought he might actually cause an upset. But Ferrer hit back, leveling the match before he came through in the decider to complete a 4-6, 6-2, 1-6, 6-3, 6-3 win and set up a quarterfinal showdown with another winner today, France's Gael Monfils.

* Federer vs Gonzalez in the Quarters - Fernando Gonzalez beat Robby Ginepri, while Federer beat Julien Benneteau to face each other in the quarters. This quarterfinal should be interesting as Federer was not his best against Benneteau, while Gonzalez remains unbeaten on clay this season (16-0), although he did miss Rome. The 24th-seeded Chilean lost 10 times to Federer before he managed to notch a single victory over the Swiss in the Masters Cup last November. Knowing Federer, he'll probably have that loss burning through his mind during his match against Gonzalez. Am sensing this is gonna be a real hot match.

Day 10 Matches to Watch

** Rafael Nadal [2] vs. Nicolas Almagro [19] **
Novak Djokovic [3] vs. Ernests Gulbis
Ana Ivanovic [2] vs. Patty Schnyder [10]

Sunday, June 1, 2008

RG Day 8 Tidbits

* Ivanovic Double-Bagels Rising Czech - World number 2 and last year's finalist, Ana Ivanovic, displayed her best performance yet this French Open, when she posted a 6-0, 6-0 victory over up and coming Czech, Petra Cetkovska, to earn a spot in the last eight.

* Djokovic Really is No Djok!! Serbian sensation, Novak Djokovic, seems right on course to another Grand Slam success, as he disappointed the French audience by eliminating one of their biggest local hopes, Paul-Henri Mathieu in straight sets. The world number 3 beat Mathieu 4, 3 and 4 and made it look really easy against the 18th-seed, who wasn't playing bad at all himself. Next up for Djokovic is the dark horse of the tournament, Latvian, Ernests Gulbis, who ousted Blake, Lapentti and Llodra en route to his first quarterfinal showing in Paris.

* Nadal Advances as Verdasco Cracks - World number 2, Rafael Nadal, demolished a seemingly fatigued Fernando Verdasco, 6-1, 6-0, 6-2, to reach the quarterfinals. Nadal barely gave his countryman a chance as the reigning champion didn't face a single breakpoint until he was up 6-1, 5-0. Verdasco, who seemed to fall apart after the second set, tried to fight back in the third set but Nadal denied the 22-seed any shot at grabbing at least a set. Nadal's quarterfinal opponent is another Spaniard, Nicolas Almagro (seeded 19), who will prove to be a tougher test than any other Rafa has passed so far.

Day 8 Fourth Round Action to Watch

Roger Federer [1] vs. Julien Benneteau
Ivan Ljubicic [28] vs. Gael Monfils
Fernando Gonzalez [24] vs. Robby Ginepri
Radek Stepanek [21] vs. David Ferrer [5]
Maria Sharapova [1] vs. Dinara Safina [13]

RG Day 7 Tidbits

An intense day of tennis featuring four 5-setters in the men's singles action, seeing 2 top-ten seeds sent packing.

* Ferrer Outlasts Hewitt - Former world number one, Lleyton Hewitt, showed signs of his famous pumped up attitude against fifth-seeded David Ferrer, and almost pulled off an upset however he fell short against the Spaniard in an epic five-set match that ended 6-2, 3-6, 3-6, 6-3, 6-4. It's good to see Hewitt battling again on court without any signs of his hip injury. Ferrer next faces 21-seed, Radek Stepanek.

* Ljubicic stuns Davydenko - Roland Garros lost its fourth-seed on Saturday as former top-ten player, Ivan Ljubicic, rallied back from 2 sets down to shock Nikolay Davydenko 4-6, 2-6, 6-3, 6-2, 6-4 to book a place in the fourth round. I really didn't see that one coming, but am definitely loving the surprises.

* Gonzalez Upsets Wawrinka - Recent entrant to the world's top ten, Stanislas Wawrinka, suffered a five-set defeat to 24th-seeded, Fernando Gonzalez. The 9th-seed Swiss, who has had an incredible run on clay this season, captured the first 2 sets before strong-hitting Gonzalez struck back to notch a 5-7, 2-6, 6-4, 6-4, 6-4 win and book himself a fourth round meeting with American, Robby Ginepri.

* Federer Outclasses Ancic - A close to flawless Federer finished off Mario Ancic 6-3, 6-4, 6-2 to set up a fourth round clash with France's Julien Benneteau. Ancic, who is crawling back up the rankings after suffering from glandular fever and other injuries, was outplayed by the world number one in every aspect. Given Federer's performance on Saturday, I think Rafa should be more than worried about keeping that cup for a fourth straight year.

* 12-seeded Robredo Makes an Exit - Stepanek made little work of his match against 12-seeded Spaniard, Tommy Robredo, as he came through in straight sets, 3, 2 and 1.

Day 8 Matches to Watch:

Novak Djokovic [3] vs. Paul-Henri Mathieu [18]

Rafael Nadal [2] vs. Fernando Verdasco [22] (An all-Spanish clash that bodes nothing but beautiful long rallies and incredible baseline showdowns)

RG Day 6 Tidbits

* The 2008 French Open became Williams-less on Friday as both Williams sisters crashed out of the third round. Fifth-seeded Serena fell to Katarina Srebotnik (seeded 27) 6-4, 6-4, while Venus slumped to Italy's Flavia Pennetta (seeded 26), 7-5, 6-3.

* Schwank's run at the Open came to an abrupt end when home favorite and Roland Garros' 18th-seed, Paul-Henri Mathieu, battled past the young Argentine in four sets, coming through 11-9 in the fourth set tie-break.

* It was an ecstatic day for the French as three other locals made it to the fourth round, Jeremy Chardy, Julien Benneteau, Florent Serra and Michael Llodra.

* 19th-seeded Nicolas Almagro eliminated 10th-seeded Andy Murray in four sets to set up a fourth round clash against Chardy.

* Nadal and Djokovic both secured their fourth round spots with comfortable straight sets wins.

Day 7 Matches to Watch:

Roger Federer [1] vs. Mario Ancic

Lleyton Hewitt [25] vs. David Ferrer [5]

** Nikolay Davydenko [4] vs. Ivan Ljubicic [28] **