Meeting the challenge – again and again!

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Well experience delivers once again –Tommy Haas reached the quarter final at Roland Garros for the first time, in decisive manner against Mikhail Youzhny, at the tender age of 35!

Once seen as a boy wonder and future world number one (he got to number 2 in the world in 2002), a year ago Tommy was outside the top 100, yet here he is, at the tail end of his career, with his best ever performance at the French Open and ranked just outside the top 10.

Today he played extremely well.  Having his serve broken in the first set, he then reeled off six straight games to win the first set 6-1.  With Haas playing well, rather than respond by lifting his game, Youzhny did what so many of us do, in that reeling he looked out of sorts, got angry and making mistake after mistake, going on to drop the second set 6-1.  In the final set Youzhny found some sort of form, making it more competitive but continued to lack belief and Haas ran out the winner in a straightforward 6-1 6-1 6-3 to set up a quarter-final with Djokovic.

Djokovic himself did not looking too convincing, having come through his first three rounds straightforwardly, he dropped the first set in his fourth round match against Kohlschreiber, before running out the winner in four sets.

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Another outstanding match…

On the other hand, Nadal will be relatively pleased, after beating Kei Nishikori in straight sets, he sat back to watch his next opponent, Stan Wawrinka, battle through a five set match of the highest quality.

Richard Gasquet has now lost five grand slam matches having been two sets up but this was no capitulation in the manner of his loss to Murray at Wimbledon five years ago. These two players, ranked nine and ten in the world, gave it their all, with Gasquet winning the first set tie break, having looked second best throughout the set, he then looked more convincing in the second, winning it 6-4.  It was in the third, when Stan got angry after a dispute with the umpire over line calling, that he seemed to use to motivate him, winning the set 6-4 and getting the late break in the fourth to level and take the match into the final set.

Both players continued to go for their shot and managed to hit winners from the back of the court.  Despite the momentum moving firmly in Stan’s direction and Gasquet looking visibly tired by the end of the fourth set (requiring a medical tie out) it wasn’t until the fourteenth game of the final set that match Gasquet faltered and Wawrinka won it with a forehand down the line.

Gasquet will undoubtedly feel gutted but both men played their part in an outstanding match.  Can Stan recover sufficiently to threaten Rafa in a couple of days?

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