Lucie Safarova went away with a trophy
The Czech 28-year-old lost the women’s singles final against Serena Williams on day 14. But on day 15 she was back on centre court to contest the women’s doubles.
It, like her singles, final went to three sets. But this time she was on the winning side. She and Bethanie Mattek-Sands, who were seeded seventh saw off the 12th seeds Casey Dellacqua and Yaroslava Shvedova. It finished 6-2 in the decider. Mattek-Sands also had reasons to be cheerful. She is a double doubles champion. The American won the mixed doubles crown with partner Mike Bryan.
If you build, they will come
How many times have we used this phrase over the years? Plenty. It’s a key line from the 1989 Kevin Costner vehicle Field of Dreams. This was when Costner was ‘A’ list. Before his Dances With Wolves apogee. This was before the nadir of Waterworld. Field of Dreams is all about building a baseball pitch in the middle of nowhere. Here at the Roland Garros stadium, organisers put out chairs for spectators to watch the big screens showing the finals. All they need to do is purchase a day pass to the grounds and then the thrills and spills – and the shops – are there for their delectation.
We got the match of the tournament
When the draw for the men’s competition was made a couple of weeks back, everyone looked and said: “Behold the match of the tournament. It was the scheduled encounter of the top seed Novak Djokovic against the Spanish defending champion Rafael Nadal. They did meet in the quarter-final and it was something of an anti-climax with Djokovic winning in straight sets. The final served up the match we’d been waiting for.
In Stan Wawrinka’s opening service game there was a rally of 39 shots. Wawrinka lost the first set but won the next two. He came back from 3-0 down in the fourth set to level at 3-3.
He had two break points to go 4-3 up but Djokovic saved them and it was he who went 4-3 up. Then Djokovic had three break points to go 5-3 up. He couldn’t convert and so it was 4-4 after three hours. But then the Wawrinka back hand came into play.
One backhand winner down the line helped him to break Djokovic for a 5-4 lead. And another one down the line brought him the match. “He has probably the best one‑handed backhand on the tour. No question one of the best one‑handed backhands that I have seen in tennis,” reflected Djokovic. “It is very powerful and can create a lot of spin, a lot of rotation on the ball. He can hit it flat down the line and he can block the ball very well.”
The 28-year-old Serb added: “He has a short slice, long slice. He has a lot of variety from that part of his baseline game.” Analysis from a man who knows.
It’s good to show your emotions
During the men’s final, Stan Wawrinka hit the net with his racquet a couple of times after failing to make the most of some break points. Poor dear.
Trailing 2-3 in the third set, Novak Djokovic did a little cross court sliced forehand which offered the line to Wawrinka, the Swiss thrashed a forehand winner right along it to lead 30-0.
Djokovic opened up his arms as if to ask himself: ‘Why did you ask him to help himself?’ Wawrinka went on to win the Serb’s service to take a 4-2 lead on his way to winning the third set 6-3. Wawrinka took the fourth 6-4 to win his first Roland Garros title and his second grand slam tournament after the Australian Open in 2014. At the prizegiving ceremony, the organisers wheeled out Gustavo ‘Guga’ Kuerten to hand over the Coupe des Mousquetaires. They showed a film of the Brazilian during his Roland Garros triumphs and Guga, who won the title three times, was smiling as gleefully during the presentation ceremony as he did when he won the titles back in the late 1990s. Joyous end to a tournament
Generosity in defeat
Novak Djokovic was trying to become the eighth player in the history of the men’s game to win at the four grand slam venues of the Australian Open, the French Open, Wimbledon and the US Open. He’s been in two finals in Paris before losing on both occasions to Rafael Nadal. On day 15, he had a chance to join the pantheon already frequented by Nadal and Roger Federer. It didn’t happen and he was moved to tears by the minute long ovation of the centre court crowd. Djokovic said later that the appreciation of the fans would motivate him to come back and try to win the Coupe des Mousquetaires. At 28, he still has time. “He was the better player in the second set so he deserved to win that one,” said Djokovic of his conqueror Stan Wawrinka after the final. “He was the better play in the third and the fourth set. Maybe in the fourth set and 3‑0 up I had some chances to really switch the momentum to my side but I couldn't do much more than I did.” Noble Novak.