It was a mixed bag here today at Roland Garros, as some seeds got through, some were pushed to the brink and yet others upset. Rafael Nadal beat Lleyton Hewitt in straight sets, Novak Djokovic took care of Victor Hanescu in 4, while Sam Stosur and Jelena Jankovic both came through in straight sets to head category 1. Serena Williams dropped a set to Pavlyuchenkova before coming through & Fernando Verdasco was also stretched to a decider by Philip Kohlschreiber as they headed category 2. Andy Roddick & David Ferrer though fell clearly into category 3 as they exited the tournament to unfancied opponents remarkably both in straight sets. Finally, the marquee match-up of the day, undoubtedly the third round encounter between Justine Henin & Maria Sharapova, will be decided on the morrow as bad light cut this epic encounter sadly short at a set apiece 6-2, 3-6.
The French Open organisers clearly like to save the best for the last and thanks to Rafa's penchant for prolonged torture of his opponents before burying them were further delayed in coming onto court. But when they finally did, it was worth it. Justine Henin was the favourite coming into the game given her past success on this surface and Maria's lack thereof. When in 10 minutes the little Belgian had gone up 3-0 with two breaks of serve it looked like this would be a quick and clean execution. Not to be. Realising that she had no chance of just trying to hang in there with Henin, Sharapova showed great thought & determination in being willing to change the gameplan. To prevent Henin from taking control of the rallies Sharapova had to keep Henin pinned beyond the baseline. On her own serve she had to get plenty of first serves in to setup the point. For the next hour she set about doing just those things. Playing like she was possessed, Sharapova began to hit with power, depth, accuracyÂ and consistency. She stepped up on the return and started going after the Henin serve, especially the second serve. So prolonged was this execution that after going up 3-0, Henin had the measly solitary easy service game till the end of the second set. Henin though is not a 4 time French winner for nothing. Pushed as she was, she still dug deep, hung on and held serve the next 3 games to take the first set 6-2.