Nothing much to say here really, accept that Roger picked up where he left off in the Basel final and obliterated the Frenchman in 55 minutes. He got the break early in the first set and then broke once more for good measure as Mannarino was serving to stay in the set. The second set was almost a copy of the first when Roger held match point on Mannarino’s serve at 5-2. Roger did not convert but had no problem serving it out at 5-3. The first serve percentage was high at 65% and Roger only lost three points on his serve. He breezed through his service games and converted 60% of his break points. It looked all very sharp for his first match and I realy like his chances here. Roger will now play against Gasquet who beat Anderson 6-4, 7-6. The head-to-head stands at 8-2, with Roger having lost their last meeting in Rome.
Gasquet is a talented shot maker and the French always play well in France, but I still like Roger’s chances very much here. It should be a good match to watch anyway. Today the big question was whether Djokovic would play, since he still had a shoulder problem and didn’t need aggravating it before London. On the other hand he would have received a $1.8 million bonus just for showing up. In the end he comfortably beat Dodig 6-4, 6-3.
So I guess his shoulder really was fine. But if he ends up having shoulder problems again in Paris then it really would have been a dumb decision to play, or just plain greed. We will have to see. Judging from how he played against Dodig he could win this event. Murray was also in action today and doesn’t seem to have any injury problems left over from Basel as he easily disposed of Chardy.
The top three seeds are all looking good and Roger’s path to the title could be harder than I first thought. There has been a lot of talk about the court surface in Paris which has apparently slowed down now as well. No surprise there of course as the ATP insists on making everything the same these days, helping base liners like Djokovic, Murray, and Nadal. Roger spoke about it after his match as well saying that it is pretty fast in some ways, but that the surface is rough and therefor the balls fluff up, causing the speed to slow down. This will play in favor of base liners like Djokovic and Murray. But Roger says his slice gets more drag which will help him. It is a good thing Roger has so much variety at his disposal that he can really adapt to any surface. You can read more here.