By Jane Voigt
Love means nothing to a tennis player, or so the saying goes. At Roland Garros today, having a two set lead didn’t seem to mean much either.
John Isner was in a two-set hole against his American buddy, Ryan Harrison. It didn’t seem to bother Isner, the No. 19 seed. He’s been in so many five-set matches, some, like the 3-day affair in Wimbledon he won 70-68 in the fifth, have given him quite a reputation. Yet that prestige has been marred recently. He has lost six consecutively and four of those played out over the Majors in 2012.
Today, he stopped his slide by defeating Harrison to the tune of 57 67(7) 63 61 86. The six-ten American had revived his good character.
“This one helps,” Isner told the press. “I really do think it will help me going forward because [I] certainly will be probably in some more five set matches.”
Countryman Sam Querrey was up two sets on the French fan favorite, Gilles Simon, but couldn’t close the door. The No. 15 seed Simon, who also has quite a litany of 5-set extravaganzas, remained steady through the dreary moments to raise his level of play and earn his berth in the fourth round, 26 63 26 76(2) 62.
Another Frenchman, Gael Monfils, who had fought so valiantly to eject No. 5 seed Tomas Berdych in the first round and then defeat Ernests Gulbis in one of the better displays of gamesmanship and athleticism, came up short against 31-year-old Tommy Robredo. The Spaniard saved four match points in the fourth set to the dismay of Monfils and the French fans packed inside Court Suzanne Lenglen. The fifth was all Robredo’s — 26 67(5) 62 76(3) 62 — as ‘La Monfs’ ran out of petrol. It was his 15th match in 19 days.
The loss by Monfils means there is one less Frenchman in the draw to bridge the gap between 1983, when Yannick Noah was the last Frenchman to win his country’s slam, and the 21st Century. Left to do their country proud are: Jo-Wilfred Tsonga, Gilles Simon, Benoit Paire, and Richard Gasquet.
Roberdo is making his eleventh appearance at Roland Garros. He did not play in 2011 and 2012 due to injuries. He is 17-11 for 2013. Robredo’s best results in Paris have been 4 quarterfinals, the last in 2009.
Meanwhile Roger Federer has not dropped a set and rolled into the fourth round when he clipped off the last eight points of his match today against another Frenchman, Julien Benneteau. Federer next meets Gilles Simon, but of course!