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Rediff.com  » Sports » Isner's ace barrage make mockery of slow clay

Isner's ace barrage make mockery of slow clay

Last updated on: May 28, 2010 11:13 IST

A barrage of aces

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Giant American John Isner slammed down 38 aces to beat Swiss Marco Chiudinelli at the French Open on Thursday.

The wet weather in Paris did not dampen the 17th seed's power and his big weapon was working a treat as he moved through to the third round where he now takes aim at Czech Tomas Berdych on Friday.

He just hopes his serving shoulder stays loose.

"Feels good," Isner, who had never previously won a round at the French Open, told reporters after his 6-7, 7-6, 7-6, 6-4 victory.

"I'll do the necessary things to take care of it and be ready to go if I get on court tomorrow," he added.


Image: John Isner returns during his match against Marco Chiudinelli
Photographs: Reuters
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'I felt like my court stayed fairly fast'

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Fellow American Andy Roddick, another fearsome server, said the slow courts had hampered his deliver during his victory against Blaz Kavcic, but Isner had no problems getting his bombs to cut through the red dirt.

"Believe it or not, everyone was talking about how slow the courts were playing," added Isner who bounces the ball between his legs, basketball style, before launching into his serves.

"I felt like my court stayed fairly fast. What also helped me was he stood up a bit in the court instead of standing way back. As long as I kind of hit my spot, it was a good chance it would be an ace," Isner explained.

Isner still has some way to go if he is to break the Roland Garros record for aces in a single match.

That mark is held by Croatia's Ivo Karlovic, who thundered down 55 here last year, despite losing to Lleyton Hewitt.


Image: John Isner

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Tough day at the office for Roddick

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Sixth seed Andy Roddick took one look out of his hotel window on Thursday and knew straight away he was in for a tough old day at the French Open.

The American's power-based game does not respond well to damp clay on a cool and rainy Parisian day but that is exactly what he had to contend with during what he described as a "crappy" 6-2, 5-7, 6-4, 6-2 defeat of Slovenia's Blaz Kavcic.

"Yeah, it was brutal for me out there," Roddick told reporters after booking a place in the third round.

"I couldn't get my serve to go anywhere and the ball was just sitting up. I woke up this morning, looked out my window, and knew that it was gonna be a long one.

"I'm going in knowing it's gonna be crappy tennis. You know, I just want to be the less crappy one out there," he added.


Image: Andy Roddick in action against Blaz Kavcic

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An astonishing 17 breaks of serve

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Roddick, one of the game's most fearsome servers, was broken seven times by Kavcic but stuck to his task stubbornly to set up a clash against Russia's Teimuraz Gabashvili where victory would mean he equals his career-best last-16 finish here last year.

"There's not a whole lot you can do," Roddick said. "The slice is out of play, the serve was pretty much out of play.

"I mean, it's kind of just a matter of just running and sticking it out, and that's pretty much what happened?"

In a match disrupted by two rain breaks featuring an astonishing 17 breaks of serve on Court Suzanne Lenglen, former world number one Roddick's experience eventually told as he went through in two hours and 57 minutes.

At one point, however, immediately after the first rain delay, he lost eight consecutive points.

"We came in, (coach) Larry (Stefanki) gave me the whole, 'Start strong and you can take this over'. I started and lost eight points in a row, so that didn't really go according to plan."


Image: Andy Roddick reacts after winning the match

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Murray beats dogged Chela

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Fourth seed Andy Murray continued doing things the hard way as he battled past gritty Argentine Juan Ignacio Chela to reach the third round of the French Open on Thursday with a 6-2, 6-7, 6-3, 6-2 victory.

The British player returned to Court One leading 6-2, 3-3 after bad light had curtailed play the previous day but was pegged back when Chela stole an 80-minute second set on a tie-breaker.

Murray then went a break down in the third set but raised his game to strike back and Chela's dogged resistance wavered in the fourth as his opponent moved up a gear to clinch victory in three hours 30 minutes.

Marcos Baghdatis, a player he has lost to on both their previous meetings, awaits in the next round for Murray who recovered from a two-set deficit in the first round against Frenchman Richard Gasquet.


Image: Andy Murray returns during his match against Juan Ignacio Chela

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Fognini wins Parisian shootout

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Fabio Fognini claimed the best win of his career after Gael Monfils blinked first in their shoot-out of a French Open match, which had been halted in the Parisian dusk the night before amid astonishing scenes.

The Italian clinched a 2-6, 4-6, 7-5, 6-4, 9-7 win to conclude a four hour 16 minute gunfight after the bad-tempered match was halted on Wednesday with the fifth set poised at 5-5.

Both had argued with officials at 4-4 the previous night about the darkness that cloaked Court Philippe Chatrier, Fognini eventually being docked a time penalty point.

Monfils, seeded 13th, saved three match points before umpire called it a day, sending the match into extra-time on Thursday when another 31 minutes of play saw the Italian reach the third round for the first time.

"At 5-4, I was knackered, I just wanted to go home, but I like to play," Monfils told reporters.


Image: Fabio Fognini celebrates after his match against Gael Monfils

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Bad-tempered match

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The ill-feeling resurfaced before the first point on Thursday when Fognini, who was booed by the partisan crowd when he entered the court, fired a shot into Monfils's feet as the Frenchman was on his way to practice at the net.

Monfils, usually up for a good show, looked at his opponent a surprised look on his face. When his opponent hit a routine shot shortly afterwards, Monfils let the ball hit his chest and again stared at Fognini as atmosphere simmered in the warm-up.

Asked whether there was tension between them, Fognini said: "No, not with Gael. I know Gael very well. We've known each other since the juniors. We know each other very well, and there was a bit of clash with the crowd, but that's normal."

The Frenchman, who reached the quarter-finals in Paris last year and the last four in 2008, had two break points on Fognini's serve in the final act but the Italian, mixing his game with cunning drop shots, saw them off, sticking out his chest at the change of ends.

He got the last word, however, on his first match point of the day when Monfils's forehand sailed long.


Image: Gael Monfils and Fabio Fognini speak to officials during their match

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Date Krumm defies doctor's orders

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Japanese veteran Kimiko Date Krumm's French Open adventure ended on Thursday after she defied doctor's orders to take to the court for her second-round match.

The 39-year-old, who stunned former world number one and last year's runner up Dinara Safina in the first round, was routed 6-0, 6-3 by Australia's Jarmila Groth but was severely hampered by a calf injury that flared up against Safina.

"Yesterday I took an MRI. I went to the clinic, and the doctor said 'of course don't play. It's too risky'.

"The results were not good, but I had the same problem before so I feel if I'm standing in the middle I don't feel the pain.

"My character, it's not like to retire or don't play. I just wanted three games or one set or two sets. But I wanted to try and do my best. I tried to continue," she added.


Image: Date Krumm reacts after losing her match to Jarmila Groth

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