Tennis Freaks

“1821: Nadal, I’ve noticed, has a problem with his shorts, in that they keep on getting stuck up his jacksie and he has to pull them out before every point. Not sure why he doesn’t just get a size up, he’s probably loaded.”

Venus v Sfar as it happened

Roland Garros, Paris, 25 May-8 June

French Open: Sunday 25 May to Sunday 8 June

French Open

Second-round result:

V WILLIAMS (US) bt S Sfar (Tun)

6-2 6-4

* denotes server

By Piers Newbery

Second set:

Venus 6-4 Sfar
Sfar gives the crowd something to cheer when she battles back from 0-40 and three match points down with a couple of thumping serves. Venus has no mercy on the third though, swiping a forehand into the corner to seal the win. Sfar’s search for a Grand Slam third-round place goes on…..

We’ll be back for Federer v Montanes at around 1330 BST, I would guess.

1143: Mansour Bahrami has his own website too, with the sub-heading “Tennis’ Greatest Entertainer”. Yes.

Venus 5-4 Sfar
Sfar has a smile to herself when she lobs Venus to get to 30-30 but the American holds and is one game from victory. A shot of the crowd shows Ilie Nastase having a chuckle with Mansour Bahrami. What hi-jinks are they planning, I wonder. If there were any bobbies in the area they would be in serious danger of a hat-stealing prank, that’s for sure.

Venus 4-4 Sfar
Sfar gets back on level terms when Venus misses with a backhand return and the Tunisian is still in this, just. Elsewhere, Jankovic is two games from victory against Erakovic, Nalbandian is two sets up against Chardy, and former junior girls’ world number one Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova is heading for defeat. Shame.

Venus 4-3 Sfar
Venus moves back in front with a straightforward hold but she walks towards her chair with a face like thunder. If I were her dog Harold, I’d be worried.

Venus 3-3 Sfar
This is getting a bit lively now. Venus earns three break points at 0-40 but the devilish Sfar sliced backhand gets her out of trouble on the first two, and a killer drop shot makes it deuce. A ding-dong exchange at the net goes Venus’s way but the American agonisingly misses a first break point when a pass flicks off the net and drifts wide. Sfar cannot hold out though and tamely dumps a backhand in the net on the second break point.

Venus 2-3 Sfar
An absolute shocker from Venus lets Sfar back into the match. Venus sends a backhand way long on break point and has just made a leisurely morning that bit more difficult for herself.

1115: I’ve just noticed that the recent junior girls’ world number one is in action on Court Three. I first encountered the Russian at Wimbledon last year and couldn’t help hoping that her career would fail to take off – really don’t fancy spending the next 10 years trying to get Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova into a headline. A-Pav leads Flavia Pennetta by a set.

Venus 2-2 Sfar
Having said Sfar has a decent serve, that is when she manages to get the toss right. Still, she overcomes a few dodgy ones to hold serve with a forehand pass that Venus cannot handle at the net.

Venus 2-1 Sfar
A brief alarm for Venus as she faces a break point but Sfar cannot repeat her early break of the first set.

Venus 1-1 Sfar
Well done Selima. Under severe pressure she gets off the mark from deuce. She’s got a decent serve and nifty sliced backhand, just drops too many balls short for Venus to thump away. Meanwhile, everybody’s favourite moody Argentine David Nalbandian has taken the first set against Jeremy Chardy.

Venus 1-0 Sfar
Venus kicks off the second set by holding from deuce after letting a 40-0 lead slip. Match of the day for me looks like being Nikolay Davydenko against fellow Russian Marat Safin. Judging from yesterday’s texts on 81111 , there’s quite an appetite out there for that one among a certain demographic. And I don’t think they want to marvel at Nikolay’s consistency from the baseline.

First set:

Venus 6-2 Sfar
Venus gets to 15-40 with a brutal backhand-return winner. Sfar saves the first with a big serve but Venus attacks the net on the second and Sfar misses with a pass. Plain sailing so far for Venus, as it is on Suzanne Lenglen where third seed Jelena Jankovic has just take the first set against Marina Erakovic.

Venus 5-2 Sfar
Four games in a row for Venus, who is really motoring around the court now, all arms, legs and winners. Some good news – Sfar has a website. Some bad news – it’s in French. If you paid more attention than me in GCSE French, feel free to access it from the link on the right-hand side of this page.

1040: The weather is good at the moment but showers are forecast I’m afraid. Weather permitting, later on we’ll be back with live updates on Roger Federer against Albert Montanes, with news on Rafael Nadal against Nicolas Devilder, who sounds like the kind of cad and bounder who would be played by Nigel Havers in a film.

Venus 4-2 Sfar
Sfar is giving it her all and it’s hard to believe she’s never been ranked higher than 76 in the world. Still, Venus has the edge, battling back to break with a couple of searing forehand winners.

Venus 3-2 Sfar
Another sticky game for Venus but she takes control from deuce, thumping down a smash at the end of one particularly vigorous rally. A reminder that she’s still the best athlete in the women’s game.

1028: A small window into Venus’s world from her blog, regarding her recent journey from Rome to Paris: “Harold, my dog, was with me, and he was so well behaved the whole flight! David and I had a great 2 hour practice on the red clay. Its nice being back on the red clay and grinding! Harold ran all over the court and his paws turned a light orange from the clay. I had to brush him off but it was so cute!”

Venus 2-2 Sfar
Venus smotes a backhand down the line to get to 15-40 and two break points and then attacks the net to punch away a backhand volley. A break back and really impressive game from the American.

Venus 1-2 Sfar
And Sfar breaks to love, who’d have thought? Venus punts a backhand volley long and looks determined to get as much practise in as possible ahead of the grass, meanwhile her opponent takes advantage. Sfar so good. Sorry.

Venus 1-1 Sfar
It’s been a pretty good start, must be the sunshine. Sfar can wallop down a big serve when she needs to while Venus is all action as usual. Tunisia’snumber one (and only ranked player)holds serve.

Venus 1-0 Sfar
Let’s be fair to Sfar, she won three matches in qualifying so she’s obviously got a bit of form. As for Venus, who knows? She’s hardly pulled up any trees so far this year and isn’t a great fan of clay but she’ll still be a big threat at Wimbledon next month. The American makes a bit of a scratchy start but takes the opener with several sorties to the net.

1010: Morning, we’re going to start off with a look at Venus Williams against Selima Sfar. That’s right, the Tunisian number one.

Sfar is ranked 241 in the world, not far off her 31st birthday, and attempting to reach the third round of a Grand Slam event for the first time. A tall order I’d say.

Story from BBC SPORT


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