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Roland Garros: 5 things we learned on Day 14 - Barty parties as Djokovic droops
Ashleigh Barty claims her first Grand Slam title while Novak Djokovic slumps in the fifth set against Dominic Thiem.
Ladies in waiting Part I
Oh those boys. Dominic Thiem and Novak Djokovic came back on Day 14 to finish their semi-final which had started on Day 13 in the afternoon. They got underway just after 1200 in Paris with Thiem leading 3-1 in the third set. Schedulers felt this was enough time to let the lads do their testosterone thing and then there’d be enough time to clear up the pheromones and get the women’s final underway at 1500. Think again. The boys went for five set gristle. Throw in a chunky 68 minute delay for rain and Ashleigh Barty and Marketa Vondrousova weren’t on until 1630.
Ladies in waiting Part II
The hanging around unleashed the Barty express. The 23-year-old Australian raced into a 4-0 lead in the first set. Vondrousova stopped the rot by taking Barty’s serve to trail 1-4. But the 19-year-old Czech promptly coughed up her own serve to give Barty the chance to serve for the set at 5-1. Given that Barty had been in the same position on Day 13 in the semi-final against Amanda Anisimova, there was some doubt flying around. But not in the final. She wrapped it up 6-1 and she never looked back once she had broken in the second set.
Wham! Bam! No Nole Slam!
Novak - Nole to his chums - Djokovic came into the French Open seeking a fourth consecutive Grand Slam title. He reached the semi-final without dropping a set. But it all came apart against Dominic Thiem. In a see-saw match, Djokovic finally levelled at two sets all before his dream went walkabout. When serving to come back to 4-4, he was looking good at 30-0 up but then lost four points on the trot to give Thiem the chance to serve for a place in the final at 5-3. The Austrian surged to 40-15 but blew the match points and the game. “On the two match points I was too passive,” said Thiem. “I didn't hit the ball well because the wind was pretty strong in this game.” Djokovic recovered to 5-5 before Thiem eventually claimed the set 7-5 and the match. Maybe next year, Nole.
Rod Laver – nicknamed the Rockhampton Rocket – in his playing days will present the Coupe des Mousquetaires to the men’s singles champion on Day 15. Had Novak Djokovic won the title, there would have been a pleasing symmetry to the moment. Djokovic would have been the first man since Laver to hold all four Grand Slam titles. Djokovic has pulled this feat off before but there was talk that this year he might be able to win all four Grand Slam tournaments in the same calendar year. Laver did it twice in 1962 and 1969. The review asked Laver if he felt pressure going into the final at the US Open in 1969. The great man replied: “You know, I didn't feel the pressure. I really didn't. If there was more pressure, I felt like I played my best tennis was when the pressure was on.” A star.
Deutschland uber alles
Andreas Mies and Kevin Krawietz had to overcome a rather partisan crowd to claim the men’s doubles title. The Germans were up against the local heroes Jeremy Chardy and Fabrice Martin who entered Court Philippe Chatrier for the men’s doubles final to the chants of: “Allez les bleus.” The daily review has to admit the French duo didn’t look that tasty in the warm-up. And that evaluation was confirmed soon after. Mies and Krawietz sped into a 4-0 lead in the first set and wrapped it up 6-2. The second was a bit closer but they took it 7-6 to become the first German pair since tennis became a professional sport in 1968 to win the men’s doubles title. No Marseillaise after match point.