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.”

Archive for roland garros

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


Nadal v Bellucci as it happened

Roland Garros, Paris, 25 May-8 June

French Open: Sunday 25 May to Sunday 8 June

French Open

First-round result:

R NADAL (Spa) bt T Bellucci (Bra)

7-5 6-3 6-1

* denotes server

Third set:

1528: A fine performance from Nadal and a magnificent effort from all of you, thanks for your texts – even the dubious ones. Time for a quick break (and for some you I recommend a cold shower) before we’re back with Murray v Acasuso at about 1700 BST. My colleague Caroline Cheese is already going through her pre-match preparations, impressive stuff.

Nadal 6-1 Bellucci
There we have it, Nadal seals victory with another break of serve and, as usual, his relentless power just proves too much for an opponent on clay. A decent effort from Bellucci though.

1526: “Roddick@Queens? Brill, I’ve got weekend tickets. I’m hoping for Rafa, Djokovic, Roddick and Murray in the semis. Hopefully the draw will work out.”
From Sarah, Bucks, via text on 81111

1524: “I think Andy ‘i like to win in a hurry’ Murray will have no problems against Jose ‘i can do so’ Acasuso.”
From Dan, Frimley, via text on 81111 (Good work, Dan)

1522: “Ah fair enough (see 1512 entry) , i think my eyes are deceiving me today, i could have point my life on balls being in and they werent… Maybe its all the pant watching i have been doing.
From Lauren via text on 81111

Nadal 5-1 Bellucci
Nadal has a very minor scare at 0-30 but comes up with a beautiful swinging serve down the centre line for an ace, and he saves a break point by taking charge with his forehand. Nadal wraps up the game with a drop shot that Bellucci, understandably, doesn’t really look like he fancies chasing down. Been a long afternoon.

Nadal 4-1 Bellucci
Bellucci stays just about alive in this match with his first service hold for a while. Meanwhile, out on Court Three, Julien Benneteau proves he is not in the least bit afraid of Vince Spadea and sees him off in five sets. Just Stephanie Cohen-Aloro against Ioana Raluca Olaru to go before Murray against Acasuso. I am never typing that sentence again.

1512: “Yes Lauren (see 1506 entry) , it is just you.”
From Chris via text on 81111

Nadal 4-0 Bellucci
There’s a bit of mild controversy as Bellucci claims he stopped on a point because he heard a call from the crowd, but the umpire is having none of it. Nadal powers on.

1510: “Can ne1 outlast Rafa? 5 day matches, coming back from 2 sets down… Bellucci has 2 do something brilliant now 2 stand ne chance of winning.”
From Sarah, Cambridge, via text on 81111

1506: “Is it just me who thinks bellucci looks about 9ft tall??
From Lauren via text on 81111

Nadal 3-0 Bellucci
Nadal takes complete control with a second break in this set, grabbing it with a delicate angled forehand. For all those Murray fans out there Vince ‘I ain’t afraid aya’ Spadea is doing his best to hold our man up by taking Julien Benneteau to five sets on Court Three. There’s a women’s singles to follow, so I reckon we’re looking at some time after 1730 BST.

Nadal 2-0 Bellucci
Nadal consolidates the break and Bellucci looks a bit forlorn for the first time today. Should be plain sailing now, but don’t forget we’ve got Andy Murray coming up later. And thank you Helen and Missy for your positive comments, I just hope you’re not reading this while operating heavy machinery.

1459: “Clearly something has got into the water, the ladies on here seem to be frisky today! As a riposte could i just say, Ana Ivanovic is slighty attractive.”
From Stu in Redhill via text on 81111

Nadal 1-0 Bellucci
Bellucci looks on course for an easy hold but lets Nadal back in to deuce and the champ soon has a break point. Bellucci does well to win a long rally but Nadal gets the break two points later and that could well be that. The sounds of baying French schoolchildren fills the arena. Terrifying.

Second set:

Nadal 6-3 Bellucci
A confident hold of serve and Nadal moves two sets clear and looks all set for the second round.

1445: To summarise the flood of dubious texts prompted by Rafa and his underwear issues, Jude finds it “loathsome”, Sarah from Bucks is more of Djokovic girl, Steve in West Sussex has odd thoughts about Rafa’s left bicep, and someone out there still holds a candle for Billie Jean. What a world. Oh and, yes, Soph from Cambridge , Roddick will be fit for Queen’s and Wimbledon.

Nadal 5-3 Bellucci
Bellucci goes for a serve-volley early on and takes the point with a stop-volley that would have made Sampras proud. Remember old Pete? Charging into the net, smacking aces, volleying everything that moved… jumpers for goalposts etc. And I’m back in the room – Nadal gets a break point but Bellucci saves it with a fine wrong-footing forehand. A second chance arrives for Nadal and this time he takes it…. with a volley! Dear old Pete would be loving this.

1436: OK, that last text message regarding Nadal crossed the line – you know who you are, ‘anon’.

Nadal 4-3 Bellucci
A few signs of frustration from Nadal in this game as the tenacious Bellucci keeps him on his toes until, at 30-30, the Brazilian skies a backhand and then fails to chase down a drop shot. It’s not easy going for the champion so far but he had a similar match against Juan Martin del Potro early on last year, and it didn’t do him any harm.

1431: “As much as I love Nadal, I wouldn’t rule Bellucci out just yet. He appears to be as much of a fighter as Rafa.”
Sarah from Cambridge via text on 81111 (Thank you, Sarah.)

1431: “I’m with caroline re Marat Safin – phew!”
From anon via text on 81111 (I give up.)

Nadal 3-3 Bellucci
Bellucci gets back on level terms with a very confident love-service game and he’s not going anywhere for the moment.

1428: “Rafa is definitely maintaining those pants (see 1408 and 1418 entries) , believe me i have been keeping a close eye on them :)”
From lauren via text on 81111 (OK ladies, I managed to maintain a sense of dignity and self-restraint through a whole Sharapova match, so I’m sure you can do the same.)

Nadal 3-2 Bellucci
Just watching these two smack forehands is making my shoulder hurt. Bellucci gets to deuce with a cross-court forehand that leaves Nadal scrambling in the dust, but he follows up with a poor approach and Nadal takes the game with… guess what, a massive forehand.

1421: “Thats it. Game over. Bellucci needed to win that first set to stand a chance. If he wins now I’ll eat my own face.”
Pete from liverpool via text on 81111

1418: “In reply to ginny (see 1408 entry) , i have noticed that Rafas new trousers have a slightly looser fit than normal which may mean fewer wedgies, unlucky for us girls!”
From vicky via text on 81111

Nadal 2-2 Bellucci
Bellucci comes through a really entertaining game with a winner off his apparently weaker backhand side.

1408: “Bellucci really needed to take that first set. He might still get a set but he needed to get the early momentum.”
Mark Petchey on BBCi

Nadal 2-1 Bellucci
Another tidy service game from the three-time champion and it looks less and less likely that this afternoon will be the first time he suffers a defeat at Roland Garros.

1408: “Is rafa enjoying any of his usual pant picking action this afternoon?”
From Ginny via text on 81111 (Relatively little undergarment maintenance so far but I’ll let you know if the situation changes)

Nadal 1-1 Bellucci
Bellucci takes some frustration out with a crunching serve that puts Nadal on his backside, although the champion still gets close to making the return, and the Brazilian holds to 15 with a backhand volley.

1404: ” Im pretty sure the radio1 number is 81199, which means that “bethannie, hollie n rachel” (see 1322 entry) need to sharpen up their texting fingers. best wishes to mr rampage.”
From david via text on 81111

Nadal 1-0 Bellucci
It’s bright sunshine for the first time this week at Roland Garros and the sunny outlook is enhanced for my colleague Caroline Cheese with the news that Marat Safin has just beaten Jean-Rene Lisnard. She looks upon Safin in a not entirely professional manner. Back in the real world, Nadal holds to love.

1359: “I’m not sure what the future in this match is for Bellucci, but I certainly think his future in men’s tennis is a very bright one.”
Mark Petchey on BBCi

First set:

Nadal 7-5 Bellucci
Good stuff from Bellucci when he comes to the net at 30-15 and takes the point with a couple of sharp volleys, but the Brazilian double-faults to be pegged back to deuce. Nadal gets his first set point but mishits a backhand, and Bellucci saves a second with a forehand. Set point number three and Bellucci double-faults – shame to finish a good set in that way.

1349: “Piers do you think that anyone will take a set off nadal in the first week?”
Mike, having his hair coloured in Newcastle, via text on 81111 (This clockwatch is taking a strange turn but, yes, I think he might lose a set or two early on. Maybe in the next few minutes. Keep us updated with hair news.)

Nadal 6-5 Bellucci
The, er, “beautiful Nadal” (see below) is back on track with a love-service game and ends with a “C’mon!”, which is a recent variation on his native “Vamos!” Bellucci faces a test of nerve here to see if he can force the tie-break.

1345: “Typical, i’ve been sat waiting since monday afternoon to enjoy the beautiful nadal at his best and when he finally gets on im at work! Relying on you to keep me informed piers!”
From anon via text on 81111

Nadal 5-5 Bellucci
Another perfect drop shot leaves Nadal stranded way behind the baseline and Bellucci holds to love to draw level.

Nadal 5-4 Bellucci
A pumped up Bellucci breaks straight back, much to everyone’s amazement.

1338: “I’m glad to report Rampage (see 1322 entry) is feeling better today and enjoying the tennis.”
From Matt, via text, on 81111

Nadal 5-3 Bellucci
Nadal is really fizzing down the forehands now and when one lands smack on the baseline, Bellucci cannot handle it and gives up two break points. The Brazilian then tries to drop shot Nadal again but the Spaniard is too quick and grabs the break.

Nadal 4-3 Bellucci
Contrary to rumours flying around on 606, Bellucci was not the star of the 1980s film K-9. That was James Belushi. Nor is he related to Italian actress and model, Monica Bellucci, who really is quite special. Thomaz has only a thumping serve and great big forehand with which to make his name. Nadal, who is of course the nephew of ex-Barcelona and Spain defender Miguel Angel Nadal, holds serve.

Nadal 3-3 Bellucci
Two of the biggest left-handed forehands you’re likely to see are locked in battle here – a battle you have to think Nadal will win in the end. Bellucci shows some nice touch with a superb angled backhand though, and takes the game with a big serve.

1322: Don’t forget you can text your words of wisdom if you’re in the UK on 81111. That number is shared with Radio 1 texts, for whom the following message is intended I think: “Rampage was sick last night. Loved it bethannie, hollie n rachel x x x”.
My condolences to Mr Rampage and best wishes on a speedy recovery.

Nadal 3-2 Bellucci
Nadal holds in double-quick time.

1318: “Nadal keeps looping it into the advantage corner, but Bellucci isn’t a rightie. On top of that, Bellucci can really spank high forehands, and Nadal is just feeding em right in there.”
philisophicalarfster on 606

Nadal 2-2 Bellucci
It’s worth noting that Bellucci has won four clay-court titles on the lower Challenger level tour this year and came through three matches in qualifying, so he’s no mug, as they say in Paris. A deft drop shot comes as a shock to everyone, Nadal included, among a barrage of heavy hitting. Still, the three-time champion is the best in the world at getting everything back and recovers the break immediately.

1312: “Bellucci has got beautiful poise on his backhand side and he reminds me of a left-handed Kuerten. He seems to have a sense that he belongs with the top players.”
Mark Petchey on BBCi

Nadal 1-2 Bellucci
We’re under way and it remains blustery out on Philippe Chatrier Court, but thankfully no sign of rain yet. Nadal looks relieved to have finally been let off the leash but finds it tough going early on, facing break point after Bellucci smashes a huge forehand winner. The Brazilian goes for too much with another forehand but he converts a second break point to take a surprise lead.

In other early men’s matches, 2003 champion Juan Carlos Ferrero retired in the second set against Marcos Daniel, fifth seed David Ferrer saw off Steve Darcis, and Aussie battler Lleyton Hewitt had a good win over Nicolas Mahut.

Nadal 1-1 Bellucci
So, third time lucky, let’s hope this time we can get through without any rain interruptions. They managed two games last night in which both men held serve.

Nadal remains the world number two and three-time defending champion, Bellucci remains the world number 76 and a huge outsider.

Third set:

1240: A quick break now so that I can get a cup of tea, Nadal and Bellucci can warm up, and several hundred French teenagers can nip out for a fag. Back soon.

“I just think at the end it was physically a little too much for Rodina and she didn’t quite have enough. Sharapova, once again, delivers.”
Sam Smith on BBCi

Sharapova 8-6 Rodina
“Ma-ri-a, Ma-ri-a,” chant the youth of Paris, disproving my theory that every French teenager is in London at the moment. Sharapova closes out the match surprisingly easily, with a couple of dust storms and double-fault number 17 proving the only obstacle. She finally seals the win after two hours 28 minutes – zut alors.

Sharapova 7-6 Rodina
The quality of Sharapova’s drop shots has been variable, to say the least, but she finds a winner at the right time to get to 30-30. A backhand error from Rodina hands Sharapova her first break point of the set but she drags a backhand wide. A slapstick rally of net cords and missed chances follows, with Rodina putting a forehand long with the court gaping. Sharapova takes advantage by forcing an error on her second break point and the world number one can see the finish line, at last.

1228: Just to clear up the mystery that has gripped no-one but myself, the Noel Gallagher lookalike in the crowd is in fact her coach, Andrei Youzhny, brother of Russian player Mikhail. So he’s not Hispanic.

Sharapova 6-6 Rodina
Like Kenny Loggins, Sharapova is on a Highway to the Danger Zone here. At 15-15 she gets a huge slice of luck when a thumping forehand catches the net and loops just inside the line. She then pulls a forehand winner down the line before a desperate attempt at a lob that Rodina smacks away. Sharapova recovers with a huge forehand that literally knocks Rodina off her feet. No tie-break so we could be here a while.

1222: “In that game I was expecting a mental cave from Rodina but it didn’t happen, and she looks like a player who almost believes she can win this.”
Sam Smith on BBCi

Sharapova 5-6 Rodina
It’s all looking good again for Rodina at 40-15 but she drags a couple wide and is pegged back to deuce. In a lengthy rally, Rodina withstands a battering and forces the error before sealing the game.

Sharapova 5-5 Rodina
A thumping backhand winner followed by the now traditional Sharapova double-fault leave Rodina at 30-30 and just two points from victory. Rodina is playing in her first ever Grand Slam match, just to get things in perspective. Sharapova again comes up with two big first serves to get herself out of trouble.

Sharapova 4-5 Rodina
A slightly dubious drop shot gives Sharapova the first point – it’s a bit floaty and would probably have lobbed one of the Rochus brothers, but it does the job. The wind is blowing the ball all over the place and Rodina looks frustrated for the first time, as does Hispanic Noel in the stands, but she hangs on. One game from a huge shock. That’s huge, people.

Sharapova 4-4 Rodina
Rodina lunges out wide and hooks a forehand pass around Sharapova at the net for 15-15, and follows up with an even better forehand winner down the line from behind the baseline. Sharapova dumps a forehand into the net and it’s 15-40, two break points for Rodina…..

Sharapova smacks down two of her best serves of the day, the stuff of champions. She then double-faults, but recovers with yet another huge first serve and takes the game with a classic cross-court forehand off her hips.

Sharapova 3-4 Rodina
No sign of cramp as Rodina serves her way to 40-0 and moves back in front. We are getting close to a major shock now – the top women’s seed has not lost in the first round at Roland Garros in the Open era, i.e. since 1968.

Sharapova 3-3 Rodina
Sharapova opens with a wayward forehand and double-fault number 14 but despite struggling desperately for form, the top seed battles back. A searing forehand winner gets Sharapova to 40-30 and prompts Rodina to crouch down and feel her leg – maybe cramp. Sharapova holds.

Sharapova 2-3 Rodina
In contrast with Sharapova in the previous game, Rodina looks very much in control on her serve. She takes it to love and certainly has the upper hand at the moment.

Sharapova 2-2 Rodina
After plenty of tense, scrappy stuff, we get the point of the match so far at 15-15. Both players strike the ball beautifully in a lengthy rally that ends with Sharapova arrowing a backhand down the line that Rodina just cannot return. She responds with a flowing off-forehand winner but Sharapova edges the game. “C’mon!” she screams, as dad Yuri urges her on from the stands. He scares me.

Sharapova 1-2 Rodina
A big serve sees Rodina hold serve and she looks pretty unflappable at the moment. Sharapova has made 49 unforced errors and 12 double-faults so far. I would consider that a solid set, but the world number one is probably not going to be happy with those stats.

Sharapova 1-1 Rodina
A few unforced errors from Rodina let Sharapova off the hook a bit and the top seed is still shrieking and urging herself to “C’mon!”, which is a good sign if you’re in the Maria camp. I remain utterly impartial.

Sharapova 0-1 Rodina
Rodina takes the lead in the match for the first time and Sharapova will need all her battling qualities to get through this.

Second set:

1133: “Sharapova has given Rodina so many points. All credit to Rodina but she hasn’t done anything dazzling and Sharapova is faltering.”
Alastair Eykyn on BBCi

Sharapova 3-6 Rodina
Sharapova does her bit and moves to 40-0 but Rodina will not lie down and recovers to deuce, at which Sharapova double-faults again. A poor approach and dodgy volley set up Rodina to make the winning pass and level at one set all.

Sharapova 3-5 Rodina
The dust is blowing all over the place and annoying the players during the changeover. It reminds of afternoons spent on Broadstairs beach when I should have been in double English. Fortunately, neither of these two ladies are likely to be smacked in the head by a wayward frisbee. So, Rodina…. a love game betrays no sign of nerves at all and I refer to my original prediction, this could be a test for Sharapova now.

Sharapova 3-4 Rodina
The service problems look to be behind Sharapova as she eases to 40-0, but moments later we have double-fault number 10 and it’s deuce. The world number one grits her teeth and fires a superb forehand winner down the line before closing out the game.

1114: “What’s hurting Sharapova right now is the amount of unforced errors – eight in the first set, 13 so far in the second.”
Sam Smith on BBCi

Sharapova 2-4 Rodina
The camera keeps returning to someone who I presume is part of the Rodina ‘support team’, although he looks like a Hispanic Noel Gallagher. Anyway, Rodina does brilliantly to recover from 0-30 and move two games clear.

Sharapova 2-3 Rodina
Blimey, Sharapova’s serve has fallen to pieces. Successive break points, including one effort that I swear bounces before it hits the net, hand Rodina two break points. The top seed does well to hold serve and looks fine once the ball is in play, but the serve is a worry. She had terrible shoulder problems last year and that could be playing on her mind.

Sharapova 1-3 Rodina
Rodina dumps a forehand into the net and it’s deuce, but Sharapova lets a backhand slide wide on game point and Rodina consolidates the break. If anything the wind is getting stronger out there.

Sharapova 1-2 Rodina
A love game gets Sharapova off the mark and she doesn’t look unduly concerned at the moment. Some fashion facts from Alastair Eykyn on BBCi – apparently Maria is wearing a dress inspired by the 1920s that, according to her website, “reflects her dynamic sense of style”. I’m starting to worry about Alastair.

1055: “I’m starting to notice that backhand of Rodina, she gets up behind it and really transfers her weight well.”
Sam Smith on BBCi

Sharapova 0-2 Rodina
At 15-30, Rodina decides to have a go at the net. Some would say brave, others foolhardy. Sharapova gets Rodina in her sights and batters her with a succession of brutal groundstrokes, forcing the error and getting to 15-40. All credit to Rodina though, she comes battling back to hold serve. Gritty stuff.

Sharapova 0-1 Rodina
Think I’ll steer clear of predictions for today. After Rodina returns from a lengthy ‘comfort break’, Sharapova clearly decides it’s time to practise her forecourt game and trots up to the net. It’s not her natural habitat at the best of times, especially on clay in a howling wind, and she’s soon 15-40 down. The first two break points go begging but Rodina grabs a third to keep the match alive.

First set:

Sharapova 6-1 Rodina
A screaming return winner gets Sharapova to set point and she duly converts to wrap up the set in 29 minutes, making my lazy prediction of a possible test for the top seed look particularly rash. I now predict she will win easily.

Sharapova 5-1 Rodina
We’re up to three double-faults from Sharapova now but from 15-30 she steps aside and hammers an off forehand deep into the opposite corner. Rodina cannot convert a break point, at which point Sharapova gets a time violation warning from the umpire. If looks could kill. Still, she takes it out on the ball and goes on to hold.

Sharapova 4-1 Rodina
OK, Sharapova is up and running now, sweeping to another break and skipping back to her chair, You’ve got to hand it to Maria, she is always completely focused right from the off no matter what the tournament or who the opponent.

Sharapova 3-1 Rodina
With the wind behind her, Sharapova gives us the first service hold of the match. I would say it silenced the crowd but they’re already silent. You never get the impression at Roland Garros that people have been camping out overnight to get into the place. Maybe they’re all out actually playing tennis and that’s why the French have got loads of good players.

Sharapova 2-1 Rodina
Sharapova gets Rodina on the run early on and earns another two break points at 15-40, but Rodina saves the first with a big serve and the second with a running forehand. However, Sharapova clubs a forehand winner to get to advantage and Rodina overhits a forehand – three breaks in three games.

Sharapova 1-1 Rodina
A quick rundown on Rodina – she’s 19, ranked at pretty much a career-high of 103 in the world, and… hang on, she’s just broken back. Could be a test for Sharapova today.

Sharapova 1-0 Rodina
It’s extremely windy on Philippe Chatrier Court at the moment and almost completely bereft of spectators. None of which bothers Sharapova in the slightest and she breaks immediately – nervous start from Rodina.

1009: “The weather ruined my annual French Open dream last night. Ever year I have a dream in which the trophy is handed over to someone but a thunderclap woke me up before I got to see who it was last night.”
Sam Smith on BBCi

WEDNESDAY 1007: Day three of the Rafael Nadal v Thomaz Bellucci clockwatch begins…. with Maria Sharapova against Evgenya Rodina. Rafa will be back after the women’s top seed begins her campaign.

TUESDAY 1910: Play is officially called off for the day, so Nadal and Bellucci will be back tomorrow for a third attempt to play their match. Keep an eye out on our schedule page to see tomorrow’s line-up, should be a busy one.

1848: And the heavens open again! The rain comes pouring down, the umbrellas go straight up, and the covers are across.

Nadal 1-1 Bellucci
It’s a battle of the forehands early on and that’s a dangerous game against Nadal, who finds one searing pass that the Brazilian cannot handle. Bellucci holds his nerve though and takes the game with a thumping backhand.

Nadal 1-0 Bellucci
A solid enough start from the champion, who does not look in any particular hurry despite the late start.

1838: “Bellucci does have a good serve and has leapt up the rankings – this has the potential to be fascinating.”
Mark Petchey on BBCi

1835: The players are out and knocking up , with Rafa sporting a vibrant green number that puts me in mind of the The Riddler from Batman. Bellucci is about to take on the closest thing to unbeatable in sport, I am about to try and eat a baked potato with bolognese while updating this clockwatch. Very different challenges but equally great.

1820: So where were we? Only 28 hours ago we got ready for Nadal v Bellucci, and finally we’re going to get it…

“So the facts and figures don’t stack up too well for Thomaz Bellucci here. While Rafael Nadal is the three-time defending champion, unbeaten at Roland Garros, and increasingly viewed by many as the greatest clay-courter of all time, Thomaz has a less glittering CV.

The man from Tiete, Brazil, has played just six ATP level matches in his career and won only one in 2008. Still, he came through three matches in qualifying, seeing off Martin Slanar, Ivo Klec and Tomas Zib no less.

And at 20 years old he has a year on Nadal, so maybe he’ll be able to tire the older man out. It’s a plan….”
BBC Sport’s Piers Newbery 28 hours ago

1817: Mauresmo wraps things up after seeing two match points go begging, to the delight of those hardy French souls who sat through the rain. And now they should get a bit of Nadal v Bellucci to warm them up.

1807: “When she gets going it’s absolutely terrific, and I’m sure a lot of players would swap their careers with Amelie Mauresmo’s.”
Sam Smith on BBCi

1805: Mauresmo looks to be cruising now at 4-1 up, but you never know with Amelie.

1755: “This weather is just stupid! it going to take the first week to complete just the first round unless this horrid weather improves, gotta feel sorry for the players that are geared up to play, only to be sent back to the lockerroom.”
From Will, Hampshire, via text on 81111 (In fairness, sent an hour ago when it was raining)

1750: Mauresmo breaks at the start of the decider but I wouldn’t bet on her to serve it out from here. Meanwhile, Nikolay Davydenko has raced to a straight-sets win over Thomas Johansson. The Russian could play Marat Safin next – tasty.

1745: “The inconsistency from both women has been disappointing – you feel it’s totally there for the taking for either one of them.”
Jonathan Overend on BBCi

1715: Play is under way again and apparently things are looking good for up to two hours of uninterrupted action.

1654: Would you believe it? The covers are coming off so we might get to see some action soon. Mauresmo and Savchuk will be hoping they can get back out there and finish their match off, not sure if we’ll get to see Nadal and Bellucci though.

1626: At least 30 of Tuesday’s 72 matches have now been postponed, including top seed Maria Sharapova’s encounter against Evgeniya Rodina. There will be more to come.

1550: After much sweeping away of water, the covers are about to come off. Then it starts to chuck it down again. You can forget about 1600 BST, I’m afraid.

1444: Apparently there will be no play before 1600 BST. This is no great surprise, bearing in mind it’s still raining. I am told that only 25 of 56 first-round matches were completed on Monday, stats fans.

1417: Well, we had a good run but the rain is back and the covers are firmly on. What had begun yesterday afternoon as a Rafael Nadal v Thomaz Bellucci clockwatch is now turning into a rainwatch.

The men’s champion will not be in action until Amelie Mauresmo and Olga Savchuk finish their match, with Mauresmo currently leading by a set without looking too convincing. Stay tuned for weather updates.

1240: Amelie Mauresmo and Olga Savchuk are waiting to come out while everyone looks nervously at the sky. In charge of operations and apparently taking the Alan Mills role is a, frankly, very attractive blonde lady. Well done France. More importantly, the players are now out on court. You can follow this one through our live scores, I’ll be back to cover Nadal v Bellucci… fingers crossed.

1225: Look sharp everyone! The covers are off, they’re sweeping the court and we might just get some action soon.

1112: And people moan about Wimbledon, eh? No change in Paris where the rain continues to fall.

1029: I should point out that Nadal and Bellucci are scheduled second on Philippe Chatrier Court after Amelie Mauresmo takes on Olga Savchuk. We’re going to get an official weather update at 1100 BST, but unofficially I can confirm that the covers are on and steadily filling with rain.

TUESDAY 1000: After an exciting couple of trips across London I am back to confirm that it is still raining in Paris, and the start of day three will be delayed until at least 1100 BST. Judging by the weather forecast, we may not get much play today.

MONDAY 1809: There we have it, play is officially suspended for the day. Come back bright and early tomorrow and we’ll have another go.

1801: “Thomaz, with “z”, is usual in Brazil (see 1530 entry) . Though the 1943 orthographic reform changed it to “Tomás”, many parents prefer the archaic name out of fancy. So we can find both, Thomaz or Tomás, or even Thomas. We had another good player of the same name, Thomaz Koch (Roland Garros quarterfinals, 1968).”
From andrefontenelle on 606

1743: Seventeen matches have been postponed for the day. The rain has actually eased off a little, but the covers are still on. Reminds me of Wimbledon last year. Grim.

1740: “Bleak scene at RG. Bellucci has only played six atp matches with one win! haha rafa is unbeaten in french open, im not gonna lie, it doesnt look good for the young brazillian!”
FromWill, Southampton, via text on 81111

1606: “Rain rain go away come again another day I wana c my Rafa play.”
From Sonia, London, via text on 81111

1532: The covers are coming across on Phillipe Chatrier Court – rest assured we’ll be back whenever the action starts.

1530: If there are any Brazilians out there, can you let us know if the use of ‘z’ in Thomaz is a regular thing, or does it suggest that Mr Bellucci has added it for a bit of glamour? By the way, it’s raining properly in Paris so there’s a bit of a delay.

1520: OK, so the facts and figures don’t stack up too well for Thomaz Bellucci here. While Rafael Nadal is the three-time defending champion, unbeaten at Roland Garros, and increasingly viewed by many as the greatest clay-courter of all time, Thomaz has a less glittering CV.

The man from Tiete, Brazil, has played just six ATP level matches in his career and won only one in 2008. Still, he came through three matches in qualifying, seeing off Martin Slanar, Ivo Klec and Tomas Zib no less.

And at 20 years old he has a year on Nadal, so maybe he’ll be able to tire the older man out. It’s a plan….

Story from BBC SPORT

Federer v Querrey as it happened

French Open: Sunday 25 May to Sunday 8 June

French Open

First-round result:


6-4 6-4 6-3

* denotes server

Third Set:

Federer 6-3 Querrey
Federer finishes things off with another break of serve when Querrey goes long with a backhand, and his day’s work is done in one hour 35 minutes. Federer will play Kristof Vliegen or Albert Montanes next. I reckon he’ll win too. Join us later for a bit of Rafael Nadal action.

1332: “Currently revising for finals on Iraqi Kurdistan and worrying about finding a job… How did you get your dream biscuit-eating tennis-watching job Piers?”
From anon, via text on 81111 (I know someone who knows someone, who fortunately didn’t know me)

Federer 5-3 Querrey
News just in that French hope and one-time wonderkid Richard Gasquet has pulled out with a knee injury. He’s not having the best of times, which is a shame, as anyone who saw his amazing Wimbledon win over Andy Roddick would agree. Back on Suzanne Lenglen and Federer holds from 30-30, taking the game with a second serve that leaps off the clay and forces the error.

Federer 4-3 Querrey
Entirely predictably, Federer breaks serve with an absolutely blistering forehand return and he’s one game from victory. Querrey’s fitness coach, Gil Reyes, looks unimpressed in the stands. He looks like he’s seen some stuff in his time, old Gil.

Federer 3-3 Querrey
Buoyed by a sugar-coated biscuit, I’m now ready for a five-set thriller. Not sure Federer feels the same though and he continues to move serenely towards the finish line.

Federer 2-3 Querrey
Querrey holds. Apologies for the lack of detail on this game but someone has just opened a packet of chocolate biscuits and they’re not going to hang around.

Federer 2-2 Querrey
Federer gets back on level terms and we’re back to the traditional early-set atmosphere that’s reminiscent of a library on a Bank holiday.

Federer 1-2 Querrey
A lingering shot over the top of the stands catches a glimpse of the top of the Eiffel Tower, and for a moment I think it’s the Blackpool Tower. It’s not though. Querrey holds.

Federer 1-1 Querrey
A few gasps from the crowd when Federer looks to have bunted a simple forehand long but it just catches the line, and he holds to love.

Federer 0-1 Querrey
A great forehand from Querrey is followed up with a woeful smash into the middle of the net, but he gets out of trouble when Federer comes up with one of his fairly regular mishit backhands.

Second Set:

Federer 6-4 Querrey
Squeaky bum time – as Sir Alex Ferguson would put it – for Federer at 0-30 but he digs deep to find some first serves and get back to 30-30. The Swiss then wins a lengthy baseline exchange and converts his first set point by hooking a forehand down the line. Nice.

Federer 5-4 Querrey
Big Sam keeps his spirits up with a big forehand winner and then produces another at set point down. A good hold.

Federer 5-3 Querrey
Querrey might hit the serve harder but Federer’s placement is superb. One delivery leaves the flat-footed American swiping at fresh air, which is embarrassing enough if you’re down the park. A sweeping cross-court forehand gives Federer the game.

Federer 4-3 Querrey
Querrey holds easily to keep himself alive in the set.

Federer 4-2 Querrey
Federer slides into to punch a backhand volley down the line but it squeaks wide. However, the Swiss finds a couple of big serves to take the game and he looks in total charge now. To fashion matters, and white appears to be the colour of choice among Parisian women this spring. Looks like a dentists’ convention. Pretty dentists, mind.

1251: “Yay! BREAK from 0-40. That’ll break Querrey’s resolve, maybe. Oh I’m mean….”
undsoweiter on 606

Federer 3-2 Querrey
There we go – a Federer moment. He reaches out wide to get to a Querrey forehand and sends it fizzing back past the onrushing American to drop smack on the line. A burst of applause follows and, I think, the first whoop of the day. A really fine game goes to deuce, at which point Federer fires a forehand return winner down the line and Querrey follows up with a double fault. A key break of serve.

Federer 2-2 Querrey
Another simple hold for Federer and the atmosphere on Suzanne Lenglen at the moment n’existe pas. Or something. Absolute silence for the most part.

1241: “Federer will be aware that one poor service game could get him into a bit of a dogfight here.”
Mark Petchey on BBCi

Federer 1-2 Querrey
Another nice backhand sends Federer scurrying fruitlessly behind the baseline and Querrey holds again.

Federer 1-1 Querrey
One flashing backhand winner down the line is a highlight for Querrey but Federer takes the game easily enough. There are considerably more people on Suzanne Lenglen court for this one than the emerging thriller between Robredo and Coria on Phillipe Chatrier. Who knows why?

Federer 0-1 Querrey
Querrey looks in trouble at 0-30 and does well to hold on.

First Set:

Federer 6-4 Querrey
After a few dodgy moments, Federer gets it right when it matters and holds serve comfortably to take the first set – it’s been very much a loosener for the Swiss and he’ll hope to step it up now.

Federer 5-4 Querrey
According to a well-known online encyclopedia, Querrey is “sometimes referred to as ‘The New Todd Martin’.” Hopefully this means he is tall and well-mannered, rather than destined for a career of near-misses and injuries. Either way, he comes through from 30-30 to hold and force Federer to serve out the set.

Federer 5-3 Querrey
Federer lets a lead slip but comes through from deuce with some decent serving. And Bolelli has finished off Baghdatis in three very easy sets, so no more from the grinning Cypriot in Paris this year.

Federer 4-3 Querrey
Scratchy stuff all round at the moment, although that’s probably not surprising bearing in mind it’s their first match and the weather isn’t exactly great. Querrey holds under little pressure from Federer. Marcos Baghdatis is on the verge of defeat to Simone Bolelli on Court Two – nice for the Italian but a shame to see Baggy struggling.

Federer 4-2 Querrey
Federer holds serve to consolidate the break and finally get a bit of daylight. Talk in the office turns to The Apprentice – Michael has got to go, apparently.

Federer 3-2 Querrey
Querrey fights back from 0-40 to deuce but two points later, Federer wins a lengthy rally with some vicious sliced backhand forcing the error. He’s back in front but it’s inconsistent stuff so far.

Federer 2-2 Querrey
Federer doesn’t make things easy for himself these days and a couple of errors hand Querrey a break point, but the Swiss takes charge with two fizzing forehands to see off the danger. Querrey then earns another with a fine forehand of his own and Federer promptly thumps one six feet long.

Federer 2-1 Querrey
Agassi’s former coach Gil Reyes is in the crowd – apparently he works on Querrey’s fitness training, which will be tested today if he plans to hang around a while. The American gets on the board with a solid hold.

Federer 2-0 Querrey
In no time at all Federer moves two games clear and it’s a very smooth start from the top seed.

Federer 1-0 Querrey
Querrey has a thumping great serve which helps me not one bit in the opening game as Federer gets to three break points at 0-40. The American saves the first with a service winner before Federer shanks a backhand on the second, but the Swiss converts the third with a big forehand into the corner.

1159: Good morning everyone, I trust you’re enjoying your Bank Holiday in traditional style by sitting in front of a screen while it buckets down outside. If you’re fortunate enough to live somewhere other than the south of England I suggest you get outside and light the barbecue now, while there’s still time.

You can surely leave this one in the safe hands of Roger Federer, the world number one, twice a runner-up in Paris and trying to win the title for the first time.

Sam Querrey is 20 years old, ranked 40 in the world, from Thousand Oaks, California, and stands a lofty 6ft 6in. Being American, he’s supposed to be rubbish on clay, but he reached the quarter-finals in Monte Carlo recently leading some to suggest he might trouble Federer. Some, but not me.

Story from BBC SPORT

Federer v Nadal as it happened

French Open Final result:

R NADAL (Spa) bt R FEDERER (Swi)

6-3 4-6 6-3 6-4


By Piers Newbery

Fourth set

“He’s so difficult to beat on this surface, he’s just brutal and bludgeons you.”
BBC Sport analyst John Lloyd

Federer 4-6 Nadal
No nerves, no doubt, no messing…. Nadal captures his third Roland Garros title with a superb game, bullying Federer on serve to get to 40-0 before the Swiss obliges by putting a forehand long. Nadal falls to the court and then gives it some Pat Cash by clambering through the stands to find his family. An incredible display from the 21-year-old and he’s now 21-0 at Roland Garros. Tasty.

Federer 4-5 Nadal
Some great stuff from both players and it would be good to see another set of this. Federer gets to game point with a stunning forehand before Nadal levels with one of his own. Federer holds with a big serve and Nadal must finish the job himself.

Federer 3-5 Nadal
Well, the second point sees an unusual exchange of volleys at the net and the crowd enjoys it but Federer really should put his chance away. He doesn’t and Nadal comes through to 15.

Federer 3-4 Nadal
It can hardly be called a comeback but Federer withstands serious pressure, taking the game with a magnificent cross-court backhand winner. It’s time for a change of shirt (Federer, not me), hopefully not for the presentation ceremony.

Federer 2-4 Nadal
Nadal holds serve to love, not the merest hint of a crack in his armour. If anything, he’s getting stronger.

Federer 2-3 Nadal
Well done Rog – he comes through what could have been a tricky game in style but it seems a long way back now. A relaxed looking Amelie Mauresmo watches from the stands, her diary free on French Open finals weekend as usual. OK, bit harsh but it’s been a long 15 days.

Federer 1-3 Nadal
No messing from Nadal – he eases through another service game and looks like he could go on for another three hours.

“The errors just keep creeping up from Federer but he’s got to keep going for his shots, he can’t go back to rallying with Nadal.”
Five Live analyst Pat Cash

Federer 1-2 Nadal
Desperate moments for Federer when Nadal gets to two break points by chasing down a drop shot. The Swiss saves the first but buries a routine forehand into the net on the second and that could be curtains.

Federer 1-1 Nadal
Federer battles his way to a break point and has his chances to attack in a lengthy rally but in the end it’s Nadal who takes the initiative, finding a forehand winner down the line.

Federer 1-0 Nadal
Aaah, the restorative powers of a cup of splosh – someone should get a kettle down to Federer for the next changeover. The world number one does his bit anyway, coming through a tough game that sees one incredible backhand winner from Nadal.

Third set

“It’s hard to see where the consistency is going to come from for Federer, he just hasn’t got the balance right.”
BBC Sport analyst John Lloyd

Federer 3-6 Nadal
Federer does his best but the relentless hitting from Nadal looks like it’s starting to wear down the world number one as it has everyone else. A classic scything forehand on the first set point is enough to put the Spaniard in front again.

Federer 3-5 Nadal
Nadal gets to set point but Federer holds firm, dominating the rally from the start before polishing off the game with an ace.

Federer 2-5 Nadal
There’s no sign of Federer breaking back and in fact his forehand has gone off the boil, hopefully only momentarily. Both men enjoy bananas at the changeover, lucky beggars. I’m expecting a tea/biscuit boost any moment.

Federer 2-4 Nadal
One of the balls finally gives out after a heavy pounding and after 15 days I know how it feels. The point is replayed, and Federer holds to 15.

Federer 1-4 Nadal
After a couple of ominous Federer winners Nadal takes control of the key point at 30-30, moving his man around and finally finishing him with a heavy forehand. The game moves to deuce and Nadal seals it with a cross-court backhand that sends Federer sprawling at the net.

Federer 1-3 Nadal
Federer gets a huge cheer when he serve-volleys on the second point and follows up with an ace. Nadal keeps him honest with a clubbing backhand winner off the return but the Swiss holds to 15.

Federer 0-3 Nadal
Nadal is powering through this set. Federer is making a few more approaches to the net with mixed results, although he does hammer one forehand winner from way behind the baseline, but Nadal holds comfortably.

Federer 0-2 Nadal
Nadal makes the first move in this set, moving to 0-30 with a big forehand and a backhand winner helped by a net-cord. He then rifles a forehand winner down the line to secure two break points and converts the first, catching Federer out of position at the net.

Federer 0-1 Nadal
A scrappy game goes Nadal’s way and we’re in the traditional early-set lull.

Second set

Federer 6-4 Nadal
A few nerves all around when Federer goes 0-15 down but he recovers with two first serves and a magnificent sweep to the net. Nadal sends a forehand long and we’re all square.

Some breaking tennis news: Bjorn Borg will not make his first grass-court appearance for 26 years at next week’s event in Liverpool – he’s been bitten on the right leg by a dog called The Wolf, a friend’s Alsatian, at a barbecue at his home outside Stockholm.

I’ve heard some excuses in my time but…

“I’m looking forward to this game because you just don’t know which Federer is going to turn up.”
BBC Sport analyst John Lloyd

Federer 5-4 Nadal
With the pressure momentarily off having held serve Federer lets go on a couple of backhands and it works a treat – he even starts blowing on his fingers in the style of Bjorn Borg. I used to do that, looked absolutely ridiculous.

Anyway, two set points come and go as Federer fails to make a return and Nadal saves a third with a backhand winner that draws a few gasps from the crowd. Federer narrowly misses the line with a backhand on his fourth set point and he must now serve for the set.

Federer 5-3 Nadal
Just when thoughts turn to a five-set epic, Federer makes three desperate forehand errors to slip to 15-40. All credit to the big Swiss cheese though, he starts unleashing on the forehand and gets back to deuce with one that clips the line.

Nadal gets to break point again and throws up a towering defensive lob that is incorrectly called out – it would have had Federer in all sorts of trouble but he wins the replayed point and goes on to hold.

Federer 4-3 Nadal
At last, Federer plays an absolutely stunning game, moving to 0-40 up with a couple of charges to the net. Nadal saves break point number 11 with a big backhand winner but Federer finally makes the breakthrough with a winning cross-court forehand. That’s the standard Federer has to play at throughout though – very tough.

Federer 3-3 Nadal
“Stitch that!” is what Federer must surely say in Swiss-German when he cracks a huge forehand winner on the second point, and a sharp volley helps him to a solid hold. A few more “Roger, Roger” chants do the rounds.

“I doubt the way he’s playing that Federer believes he can win this match. There’s been no change of tactics, he hasn’t hit one sliced backhand yet”
BBC Sport analyst John Lloyd

Federer 2-3 Nadal
OK, now we’re cooking – the best rally of the match sees both players hitting shots that would normally go for a winner before Federer chases down a drop shot and flicks over a forehand winner. From 30-30, two Federer errors let Nadal off the hook.

Federer 2-2 Nadal
Federer is forced back under a barrage of heavy hitting and sticks a forehand into the net to give Nadal break point. A lengthy rally ensues and Nadal goes long with a backhand before Fed finds an ace and a backhand winner. Hopefully that might give him a kick-start.

Federer 1-2 Nadal
A comfortable hold of serve for Nadal and Federer’s groundstrokes are starting to misfire a bit. No sign of stars of the week Don Johnson, Antonio Banderas or Ilie Nastase in the crowd yet. Guillermo Vilas is in, but then he’s there every day.

Federer 1-1 Nadal
The focus has been on Federer up until now and his bizarre inability to convert break points but Nadal is starting to fire. One searing cross-court backhand pass serves as a warning to Federer should he choose to approach the net but the Swiss holds on.

Federer 0-1 Nadal
The crowd seems a little stunned by what they saw in the first set, as does Federer. Meanwhile, Nadal powers through a love-service game.

First set

“I don’t think Nadal played a particularly good set there but Federer faded badly.”
BBC Sport analyst John Lloyd

Federer 3-6 Nadal
Federer hauls himself back to 30-30 when he finally makes a couple of first serves but Nadal gets to set point and promptly thumps away a forehand winner. Two break points converted by the champion in that set, none from 10 by Federer.

“It’s hard to explain but Federer just hasn’t played well enough on the big points.”
Five Live’s Jonathan Overend

Federer 3-5 Nadal
Two loose shots see Nadal slip 0-30 down and Federer then wins a baseline battle to get himself yet another three break points. We then get a Nadal service winner, a Federer forehand error and a Federer backhand error. If your break-point conversion rate is 0/10 you’re going to struggle to beat Nadal on clay. A champion’s effort from the Spaniard so far though.

“Federer’s getting dragged into some long rallies and that’s Nadal’s territory. He needs to try and shorten some of the points.”
BBC Sport analyst John Lloyd

Federer 3-4 Nadal
I think we could all see that coming – after a 14-minute epic in the previous game Nadal makes Federer pay by breaking to love, although the Swiss is at fault with some sloppy errors.

Federer 3-3 Nadal
Thnigs are hotting up now, this is a stunning game – Federer earns two more break points at 15-40 but an ace and another big first serve get Nadal out of trouble again. Federer is unbowed and attacks the net to earn another chance but this time plays a wild forehand. Sixth and seventh opportunites pass by before Nadal finally holds. Five break points go begging for Federer in that game alone.

Federer 3-2 Nadal
After missing a couple of break points in the previous game Federer does well to hold serve comfortably, despite hitting his backhands very short and serving at a dreadful 25%.

Federer 2-2 Nadal
Federer opens the game with one of his trademark shots, a wild forehand shank off the frame that endangers Raymond Domenech more than Nadal. The Swiss recovers with a thumping forehand return winner and a similarly effective backhand return. A patient rally follows finished by a Federer smash and it’s two break points.

Federer nets a backhand on the first and Nadal smacks a winning forehand on the next. The champion then steps up another gear, bossing things from the baseline and he gets out of trouble in style.

Federer 2-1 Nadal
Nadal misfires with a couple of returns but does play one beautiful drop shot before Federer holds to 30. Thierry Henry is in the crowd today – does this mean the striker is abandoning Arsenal for PSG, who play just a few minutes’ walk from Roland Garros? Probably not. Oddball France coach Raymond Domenech is also in the stands.

Federer 1-1 Nadal
A couple of heavy Nadal forehands let Federer know what he’s in for over the next couple of hours, although he probably had a fair idea. The Spaniard gives us the first fist pump of the day.

Federer 1-0 Nadal
Federer creates an open court for himself at 15-15 before burying a simple forehand into the net, but he claws his way back into the game to hold. Cue more chants of “Roger, Roger”.

“Why doesn’t someone just come along and kick Nadal’s water bottles over? It would have happened in my day, but I don’t think Federer’s bothered.”
Five Live analyst Pat Cash

1400 BST: A good cheer for Nadal and an even bigger one for Federer – the locals seem to be backing him and there’s even a chorus of “Roger, Roger” from the considerable Swiss contingent. Nadal goes through his usual laborious routine arranging water bottles while Federer waits at the net for the toss.

“Rafael Nadal is quite a strong favourite with the bookies for this match and against someone like Federer that shows you how great he is on clay.”
BBC Sport analyst John Lloyd

1355 BST: Right, no excuses today, we need – we demand – a great final. Decent matches have been thin on the ground over the last two weeks but these two can make up for all that today.

Federer is trying to complete his set of Grand Slam titles and become the third man after Don Budge and Rod Laver to hold all four at once. Nadal can become the first man since Bjorn Borg in 1980 to win three French Opens in a row.

History beckons wherever you look – and it’s a nice day in Paris too.

Story from BBC SPORT:

Nadal v Djokovic as it happened

French Open Semi-final result:


7-5 6-4 6-2

*denotes server


By Piers Newbery

Third set

Nadal 6-2 Djokovic
Nadal makes no mistake, serving out the match to 15 and progressing to his third final at Roland Garros. An awesome display from the champion.

Nadal 5-2 Djokovic
Djokovic comes through another exhausting game from 0-30 and tucks into a banana to celebrate.

Nadal 5-1 Djokovic
The crowd gets a spark of life when Djokovic wins the opening point with a sharp reflex volley. Even Rafa’s uncle Toni applauds, as he often does his nephew’s opponents. Seems a good sort. And his good mood is no surprise as Nadal powers through another game. He finishes the game with an unnecessarily violent smash, like a knockout blow.

Nadal 4-1 Djokovic
Djokovic gets on the board but it’s hard work.

Nadal 4-0 Djokovic
In the best sporting sense, Nadal has a nasty look about him at the moment – like Mike Tyson in his pomp. He’s tearing Djokovic to pieces.

“To be brutally honest this third set from Djokovic is someone feeling sorry for himself. If he’s going to compete with Nadal and Federer you can’t accept your fate after two sets.”
BBC Sport analyst John Lloyd

Nadal 3-0 Djokovic
Smiley Serb Jelena Jankovic is in the crowd, although she’s not looking too cheerful at the moment as her compatriot is getting a beating. Nadal gets to break point and finds a vicious angle on the cross-court backhand winner.

Nadal 2-0 Djokovic
A swift hold for the Spaniard and Djokovic must hold in his next service game. Much as I like the plucky Serb I’ll be glad not to have to type his name for a while, it’s giving me all sorts of bother. As you may have noticed.

Nadal 1-0 Djokovic
And that could be that. A tired-looking Djokovic plays three poor drop shots and Nadal takes advantage to break serve. Nadal doesn’t lose from here.

Second set

Nadal 6-4 Djokovic
More drama. Nadal skips to 40-0 and three break points only for Djokovic to battle back with four points of his own. Facing break point, Nadal comes up with only his second ace of the day. It’s enough to make you weep. The Mallorcan converts his fourth set point when Djokovic puts a forehand long.

Nadal 5-4 Djokovic
Djokovic keeps on attacking and stays alive in the set but he looks pretty exhausted as he slumps into his chair at the changeover.

Nadal 5-3 Djokovic
Nastase’s back! Unfortunately he’s no longer sitting next to Don Johnson, meaning I can’t use my ‘Crockett and Tubby’ joke. No matter, Nadal presses on with a solid hold and he looks utterly indestructable at the moment.

Nadal 4-3 Djokovic
The margins are tiny in this match but Nadal does just have the edge in the key moments. Brutal is one word for him and relentless is the other. He gets to break point and sprints for a short ball, curling a forehand around Djokoivic at the net. The Serbian sits at the changeover crossing himself to the amusement of the crowd – funny but not great psychology.

Nadal 3-3 Djokovic
Another straightforward hold for Nadal, with one drop shot catching out his opponent and prompting a burst of loud Serbian.

Nadal 2-3 Djokovic
Djokovic has to applaud a screaming backhand cross-court winner from Nadal in the second point, and the Serb comes up with a blistering forehand of his own as he holds to 30

Nadal 2-2 Djokovic
Nadal hits his first ace of the day in a love game.

Nadal 1-2 Djokovic
We’ve had a few candidates but Nadal makes a good case for shot of the championship, finding an incredible angle with a sliced backhand from well behind the baseline that sneaks past Djokovic at the net. Djokovic saves one break point in yet another see-saw game.

Nadal 1-1 Djokovic
Djokovic wins more friends when, at 0-40 up with three break points, he sees a stunning Nadal backhand whistle past him and clip the line, and calls out the umpire to show him just what a good shot it was by checking the mark. Smiles all around, except from Rafa, who gets on with saving two more break points and taking the game.

Nadal 0-1 Djokovic
A boost for Djokoivc as he kicks off the start of what will need to be a very long road if he is to win with a love-service game. The tennis has been so good we’ve barely had a shot of the crowd, so I’ve no idea if Don Johnson and Ilie Nastase are still in the building. Probably hit the town by now.

First set

“Exceptional and exhausting – clay-court tennis at its absolute best, and I don’t think Nadal is even winded.”
BBC Sport analyst John Lloyd

Nadal 7-5 Djokovic
Nadal wins the best set of the tournament, coming to the net to play a deft drop volley at 30-15 and converting his third set point with a forehand winner.

Nadal 6-5 Djokovic
The standard remains incredibly high and Nadal breaks again after a series of crunching exchanges, prompting a fist pump and a knee jerk form the Spaniard. And it’s only the first set.

Nadal 5-5 Djokovic
Now we’re cooking. This really feels like a Grand Slam for the first time all week. Djokovic wins an amazing second point and gives it some fist pump before Nadal battles back. But the Serbian levels things when Nadal nets a forehand on break point. Gripping stuff.

Nadal 5-4 Djokovic
A really fine effort from Djokovic sees the Serb recover from 15-40 and two set points down. Nadal queries one call but a swift look at the mark satisfies him – they have complete faith in the marks these clay-courters.

Nadal 5-3 Djokovic
You give him the big build-up and he goes and double-faults on break point. Is this the beginning of the end for Nadal. Has the pressure got to the Spaniard? Probably not.

“I think Djokovic is playing as well as he has all tournament and he’s getting thumped. I think Nadal thought Djokovic would be a threat and he is pumped today.”
BBC Sport analyst John Lloyd

Nadal 5-2 Djokovic
Brutal is a word that gets used a lot where Nadal is concerned and I think I’ve just used it again. He is clubbing forehand after forehand at Djokovic and the Serbian is broken to love – and he’s not playing badly. Fearsome stuff.

Nadal 4-2 Djokovic
Nadal edges a tight game to 30, with one searing off-forehand winner a particular highlight. Djokovic clearly has a large and vociferous support team in the crowd who are helpfully all wearing yellow – his lucky colour.

Nadal 3-2 Djokovic
It’s another high-quality game and this time it is Nadal who is bossing the rallies. The Spaniard gets to break point, manoeuvres an opening and cracks a forehand winner. Harsh on Djokovic who has made10 winners, but also 10 unforced errors.

Nadal 2-2 Djokovic
Djokovic is just fantastic at moving opponents around and then thumping a winner into the space he has created. He gets to 0-30 ahead but relentless Rafa pegs him back – we could be in for a very long and very good match.

“I’m exhausted just watching and they’ve only played three games.”
BBC Sport analyst John Lloyd

Nadal 1-2 Djokovic
Some great stuff as both men use the whole court to stretch each other to the limit. Djokovic wins a couple of lengthy exchanges that get the crowd going and he’s really winding up his forehand.

Nadal 1-1 Djokovic
It’s surprisingly gruelling stuff, back-to-back men’s matches, but I can’t complain as it seems like my hilarious colleague Ben Dirs has been doing cricket clockwatches since November. That’s a lot of Essex-based humour. Nadal – Spain’s very own Ryan Sidebottom – levels the score but a couple of Djokovic winners will have given him something to think about.

Nadal 0-1 Djokovic
It could be an interesting battle to see who takes longest to serve – Djokovic bounces the ball about 37 times, while Nadal can dawdle for Spain. The Serb kicks off proceedings and an early trademark drop shot leaves Nadal looking unusually flat-footed. Djokovic does well to come through a couple of deuces for a vital hold with some fizzing forehands.

1535 BST: It seems a bit harsh to interview the players on their way out to a Grand Slam semi-final so it’s no surprise we don’t learn much. Djokovic is “very excited” and Nadal hopes it will be “a good match”.

1525 BST: We’re halfway to the dream final after Roger Federer beat Nikolay Davydenko in what felt a strangely epic first semi-final, bearing in mind it was only three sets. Rafael Nadal is a strong favourite to join him in the final but Novak Djokovic should be a serious test – the 20-year-old Serb doesn’t seem to fear anyone.

Story from BBC SPORT:

Federer v Davydenko as it happened

French Open Semi-final result:


7-5 7-6 (7-5) 7-6 (9-7)

* denotes server


By Piers Newbery

Third set

Federer 7-6 (9-7) Davydenko
Federer gets to the changeover at 4-2 but is pegged back to 5-5, at which point he produces an outrageous second-serve ace. Davydenko battles on and saves the match point before earning a set point of his own, but Federer comes up with two great serves. On the second match point Davydenko puts a backhand long and Federer is through to the final again – but he’ll need to sharpen up considerably for Nadal or Djokovic.

Federer 6-6 Davydenko
A love service game for the world number one suggests an ominous flash of form. Anybody fancy Davydenko for the tie-break?

“When it really matters I sense Davydenko doesn’t really believe he can win this, and who can blame him?”
BBC Sport analyst Sam Smith

Federer 5-6 Davydenko
Well done big Davy Denko – after the horrors of his previous service game a complete collapse would have been understandable but he serves out well to force at least a tie-break.

Federer 5-5 Davydenko
Three aces and one double-fault take Federer to 40-15 and he bullies Davydenko in the final point to level the score.

Federer 4-5 Davydenko
Yep, definitely seen this match before. Davydenko serves for the set and is tight as a drum, throwing in errors and wild double-faults with abandon. Federer earns five break points, missing by an inch on the second, Davydenko gets two set points – cue two wild forehands. Finally, Federer gets break point number six and the Russian duly wallops a backhand into the net. Not the highest quality you’ve ever seen but pretty gripping stuff.

Federer 3-5 Davydenko
Some heartwarming shots of the ball boys and ball girls and thankfully none of them are smoking – unusual for a group of French teenagers in my experience. Federer is in trouble at 0-30 but finds a wonderful backhand down the line on his way to saving the game.

Federer 2-5 Davydenko
Oh dear. I rarely see anything on a Grand Slam court that equates to my efforts at the local park but Davydenko lets a volley go and turns around to see it drop three feet inside the baseline. Unlike me, he is able to save two break points with a succession of world-class forehands.

Federer 2-4 Davydenko
Federer stays in touch with a love-service game. The stadium is all but full now, but very quiet.

Federer 1-4 Davydenko
A couple of break points slip away for Federer and he is clearly frustrated, giving a loud yelp in one of the many languages he speaks. It looks like it’s heading for a fourth set but you wouldn’t count Federer out yet.

Federer 1-3 Davydenko
The scoreline may suggest the usual straightforward afternoon for Federer so far but he’s making heavy weather of it. Davydenko wins a brilliant second point after retrieving a smash and goes on to break to love. Odd.

Federer 1-2 Davydenko
The first love-service game of the match goes to Davydenko on an almost silent Court Philippe Chatrier.

Federer 1-1 Davydenko
It’s lucky Davydenko doesn’t have the same temperament as fellow Russian Marat Safin or we’d have seen some serious racket abuse by now. Three break points go begging and Federer wraps up the game with a forehand winner.

Federer 0-1 Davydenko
I would think the odds for Davydenko coming back from two sets down against Federer are marginally longer than those for Don Johnson and Ilie Nastase announcing that they’re seeing each other, but the Russian gets off to a decent start in set three. And he’s changed to a vivid orange shirt, maybe trying to blend in with the court.

Second set

Federer 7-6 (7-5) Davydenko
After a cagey start that sees the first five points go with serve, Davydenko cracks first and an error leaves him 4-2 down at the changeover. Federer moves smoothly to 6-3 and three set points, and takes the third of them with a service winner.

Federer 6-6 Davydenko
Yes, he can. A good effort from Davydenko, who holds serve to 15, but you feel he has to win the tie-break or it’s goodnight.

Federer 6-5 Davydenko
It’s a hard one to call at the moment – Davydenko gets to break point with a drive volley but fearless Fed saves it with a backhand cross-court winner that goes a little closer to the line than he might have planned. The big man hangs on and, as in the first set, Davydenko must hold serve to force a tie-break. Can he manage it this time?

Federer 5-5 Davydenko
Finally we get a real stroke of Federer genius as he sweeps a backhand down the line for a clean winner. At 30-30 the pressure is back on Davydenko and in a lengthy rally he cracks first to give Federer a break-back point. The Russian snatches at a backhand and it’s Federer’s game – a disaster for the man from Volgograd.

Federer 4-5 Davydenko
It came from out of nowhere…. Davydenko gets his first break point of the second set when Federer nets a forehand and the Russian converts with a backhand winner.

Federer 4-4 Davydenko
Federer lets out an anguished cry when he sticks a routine forehand into the net and Davydenko completes a love game. Justine Henin is having a sneaky look from a corner of the stands – she doesn’t look too impressed at the moment.

“This set feels like it’s trickling away to an inevitable Federer break of serve.”
BBC Sport analyst Sam Smith

Federer 4-3 Davydenko
One blockbusting winner from Davydenko fails to derails Federer, who holds easily.

Federer 3-3 Davydenko
Davydenko holds serve confidently and it’s all gone a bit flat for the moment, although that’s no bad thing as it means Federer isn’t running away with it.

Federer 3-2 Davydenko
Federer gets his groove on – in terms of his serve at least – and holds to 15. Hello – Ilie Nastase has just turned up with a cheeky grin on his face and he’s headed straight for Don Johnson. Look out ladies.

Federer 2-2 Davydenko
We’re treated to a bit of old-skool bish-bosh net chicanery to start the game – delightful! Federer brings us right up to date on the second point as he whacks a forehand return for a winner, and a killer drop shot follows. He’s not in top gear yet but Federer is looking better and better and Davydenko does well to level.

Federer 2-1 Davydenko
Davydenko has a sniff of a break as he goes 0-30 up but he cannot convert the half-chance, going for too much with a forehand over the high part of the net. Federer comes through to hold.

Federer 1-1 Davydenko
If this match runs to the usual script, Federer will reel off nine of the next 10 games to put the result beyond doubt and then have a slight wobble at the end of the third set. A cracking forehand into the corner helps Federer to break point but Davydenko clings on.

Federer 1-0 Davydenko
Great news! Don Johnson is in the crowd, and for my money that outdoes Antonio Banderas from the other day. I wore espadrilles to a school disco in 1987 because of Don Johnson, and I wasn’t alone. Federer would have been about five years old so he’s unlikely to be put off by the sight of Sonny Crockett in the stands. The Swiss star holds serve comfortably.

“Davydenko threw everything at Federer in the first set and he ended up losing it – very demoralising for the Russian.”
Five Live’s Jonathan Overend

First set

“I’m going to call the gendarmes because that’s daylight robbery by Federer.”
BBC Sport analyst David Mercer

Federer 7-5 Davydenko
A net-cord drags a Davydenko backhand into the tramlines and he’s 15-30 down. The Russian then puts a backhand long and the Fed has two set points, having done very little to earn them. Davydenko obliges with another error and somehow Federer has won the set.

Federer 6-5 Davydenko
A sloppy Federer backhand takes the score to 30-30 and what feels like a key moment, at which point the world number one thumps an ace down the middle and goes on to hold.

Federer 5-5 Davydenko
Davydenko does well to get back on level terms as Federer looks threatening at 30-30.

Federer 5-4 Davydenko
Wallop. I’ve barely finished updating the previous game when Federer holds serve and suddenly it’s Davydenko under pressure.

Federer 4-4 Davydenko
I think I’ve seen this match before. Davydenko misses 10 of 11 break points and Federer immediately hits back by getting to 0-40 and converting his first of the match. Davydenko’s brother looks suitably miserable in the stands.

Federer 3-4 Davydenko
Things are looking serious for Federer at 0-40 but he serves his way out of trouble as though we were in the halcyon days of Pete Sampras. Davydenko misses another chance and he may live to regret these wasted opportunities. He’s made one of 11 break points – ouch.

Federer 2-4 Davydenko
It’s probably half full on Court Philippe Chatrier now. Davydenko’s wife Irina is in the stands – she doesn’t look like Jeremy Clarkson thankfully. Anyway, on court the Russian shows the first sign of a few nerves with two unforced errors taking him 15-30 down, but he responds with an ace and goes on to hold.

Federer 2-3 Davydenko
Davydenko is in top form now, winning a lengthy first rally with a deft backhand slice and following up with a return winner. It seems to wake Federer up and he hits back with a forehand winner and an ace, but he needs two deuces to hold serve.

Federer 1-3 Davydenko
The crowd are now streaming onto Court Philippe Chatrier, which is nice for them. Davydenko’s new coach, who looks a bit like Jeremy Clarkson at first glance, looks on as his man recovers from 0-30 to hold serve.

Federer 1-2 Davydenko
A beautiful Davydenko forehand down the line earns him another break point and he goes close to converting when Federer shanks a forehand just inside the line. Another chance comes but Federer holds off the Russian with a big forehand and a similar backhand. Hardly convincing stuff from the top seed so far though.

Federer 0-2 Davydenko
A very solid hold to 15 from Davydenko and Federer continues to struggle with his rhythm from the baseline. It would be nice to say you could cut the atmossphere with a knife, but you’d have to find it first.

Federer 0-1 Davydenko
Davydenko wins the toss and elects to receive, and it works. A rusty Federer makes numerous errors but Davydenko fails to convert four break points, before the Swiss puts another forehand wide on the fifth. Surprising, but not an unusual start for the world number one.

1205 BST: Federer and Davydenko enter the now traditionally empty arena, although those already in their seats manage a decent cheer for the world number one. You get the feeling Davydenko might get lynched if he pulls off a huge upset today.

1155 BST: We’re all set for the men’s semi-finals and let’s hope they’re better than yesterday’s women’s matches, which were a bit of a let-down. On the face of it today’s two matches should also be pretty one-sided, particularly the first.

Federer is… well, he’s just Federer. He wins a lot and he’s very, very good but prone to the odd lapse in concentration. Davydenko takes low-key to new levels but is a superb player and his movement and consistency from the baseline should make him a real contender today. However, he has a 0-8 record against the Fed so don’t put your house on an upset.

Story from BBC SPORT:

Sharapova v Ivanovic as it happened

French Open Semi-final result:


6-2 6-1


By Piers Newbery

Second set:

Sharapova 1-6 Ivanovic
That’s the way to reach your first Grand Slam final – a love-service game polished off with an ace down the middle. It was certainly a case of form overcoming experience today and Ivanovic will be a match for either Henin or Jankovic in Saturday’s final.

Sharapova 1-5 Ivanovic
The opening point sums up Sharapova’s day as she dumps an attempted drop volley into the net with Ivanovic stranded way behind the baseline. But if there’s one player out there who will not give up on a seemingly lost cause it’s Sharapova and she battles back to avoid the dreaded bagel (love-set). Meanwhile, we get several shots of some bearded types who are presumably big in France.

Sharapova 0-5 Ivanovic
At 30-30, Ivanovic forces Sharapova back with a succession of heavy groundstrokes, approaches the net and thumps away a forehand winner. She enjoys it so much that she repeats the trick on the next point and it’s nearly done and dusted now.

Sharapova 0-4 Ivanovic
Sharapova tries to keep her hopes alive in a hard-fought game but after being taken to three deuces, a double-fault and a forehand error give up another break. At one point an American voice from the crowd shouts out, “Just keep the ball on the court!” Sharapova immediately puts a backhand four feet long.

Sharapova 0-3 Ivanovic
Bearing in mind the current geo-political situation and the wranglings at the G8 I will steer clear of sentences using the words ‘Russian, missiles and targeting’ and simply say that Sharapova’s usually rock-solid groundstrokes are out of synch today. She’s struggling to keep the ball in play and Ivanovic holds with ease.

Sharapova 0-2 Ivanovic
This is really good stuff now from Ivanovic who is winning the battle from the baseline comprehensively. At one point Sharapova tries to change things with a sortie to the net, only to see the ball walloped straight past her. Another break follows and the Serb is on course for the final.

Sharapova 0-1 Ivanovic
No sign of nerves from Ivanovic as she holds serve to love and Maria’s dad Yuri Sharapova looks distinctly unhappy in the stands. Ilie Nastase, meanwhile, looks quite happy chatting away to two pretty ladies. The old devil.

First set:

“It’s confident stuff from Ivanovic and at the moment she looks on the way to her first Grand Slam final.”
Five Live’s Jonathan Overend

Sharapova 2-6 Ivanovic
It’s a false dawn for Sharapova as Ivanovic breaks yet again – this time to 15 – and sprints back to the chair.

Sharapova 2-5 Ivanovic
It’s all going smoothly for Ivanovic until she double-faults at 30-30 and then blazes a forehand into the tramlines. It can only be nerves after such an accomplished start and Sharapova certainly looks buoyed by the break.

Sharapova 1-5 Ivanovic
Things are warming up a bit now – both women hit the ball hard and flat from the back of the court and we should be in for some great rallies. Ivanovic has the upper hand at the moment and gets to break point with a rasping forehand before Sharapova double-faults.

Sharapova 1-4 Ivanovic
Ivanovic does well to come through a tight service game, firing down two service winners from 30-30 and giving it some “C’mon!” Away from the match there’s been a disappointing lack of shots of random stars in the crowd so far but will keep you informed if Antonio Banderas turns up again. I would have thought Banderas would have been up for a bit of Sharapova v Ivanovic.

Sharapova 1-3 Ivanovic
You can be certain that Sharapova will battle all the way whenever she steps on court and she gets off the mark with two blistering backhands down the line. Still not exactly fluent stuff from the Russian but Ivanovic has been warned.

Sharapova 0-3 Ivanovic
So despite what you might just have read, Ivanovic is a break up after a comfortable hold and looks in control. Sharapova may not be moving “like a cow on ice” as she said the other day but she’s all arms and legs at the moment.

Sharapova 0-2 Ivanovic
Sharapova has a chance to level but double-faults at 40-30 and two points later Ivanovic takes advantage with a superb running forehand down the line, followed by a Henmanesque fist pump.

Sharapova 0-1 Ivanovic
Ivanovic opens with a thumping ace and gets Sharapova on the move early on – not the Russian’s favourite style of play and it’s a straightforward hold for the Serb.

1302 BST: The players enter the Philippe Chatrier Court, which is barely a third full – not bad going bearing in mind it’s lunchtime in Paris.

1300 BST: So here we go for the first of the women’s semis in Paris and it’s a hard one to call. Sharapova is the second seed and has won two Grand Slam titles but is far from comfortable on clay and has a dodgy shoulder. Ivanovic is playing in her first Grand Slam semi but is a woman in form, having won the recent German Open.