Marseilles Open - Quarterfinal Review

2010 Marseilles Open
By Matthew Zemek, February 20th, 2010

At the Open 13 tennis tournament - which has now completed the quarterfinal round - it’s fair to say that home cooking has been the order of the week. This ATP 250 event held in Marseilles has witnessed three French competitors advance to the final four.

Saturday’s semifinals will have a richly Gallic flavor, and that’s because Friday’s quarterfinals, with one exception, were won by native sons.

The match that had the locals buzzing at the Palais des Sports was unseeded journeyman Michael Llodra’s straight-set dismissal of No. 1 seed Robin Soderling. One day after Soderling gutted out a tough three-set win, the Swede lost a little magic in a somewhat weary quarterfinal performance. Llodra took advantage of a less-than-formidable Soderling on his way to a 7-6 (2), 6-4 win.

Winner Poker

Llodra evenly divides his time between singles and doubles, which is a polite and somewhat coded way of saying that he rarely if ever goes deep enough in a singles draw to warrant backing out of a doubles tournament. The best singles players don’t enter doubles so that they can manage their bodies and pace themselves over the course of a long tennis season. For Llodra and other veterans who need to pick up fatter paychecks on the ATP Tour, the financial incentives attached to playing doubles are too great to ignore.

With this background in mind, it’s that much more incredible that Llodra could summon up an added dimension of quality against Soderling. Sure, the 29-year-old was helped along by his home crowd, but Llodra still needed to deliver the goods at crunch time. He most certainly did.

In the second quarterfinal, Germany’s Mischa Zverev won the right to face Llodra in Saturday’s semifinals. Zverev climbed past French underdog Guillaume Rufin, dumping the wild card in a contentious and dramatic 7-5, 6-7 (4), 6-3 thriller. Zverev reached the quarterfinals of last year’s Rome ATP 1000 series event before falling to Roger Federer. It’s clear that Zverev can hit a big ball and move opponents around the court when he’s on his game; one doesn’t have to be a rocket scientist to realize that the 22-year-old is putting together a great tournament this week.

Earn Virgin Atlantic Flying Club Miles...

The enormously successful showing in Marseilles says something important about Zverev: He used the 2009 tennis season as a time to work even harder, instead of viewing his steady improvement as an end in itself. Instead of regressing as all too many players do in the aftermath of a big win, Zverev used his 2009 experiences to become a better tennis player this year. This radically revamped version of Zverev will likely win a few matches this season, to say the very least.

In the bottom half of the men’s draw, France had cause to celebrate on two separate occasions. In one bottom-half quarterfinal, No. 8 seed Julien Benneteau defeated No. 3 Gael Monfils, 6-3, 7-5. In the other quarterfinal from this part of the men’s field, France’s Jo-Wilfried Tsonga cruised into the semis by topping lucky loser Ilia Marchenko, 6-3, 6-4.

Get $1000 Bonus on Ladbrokes Poker

Saturday’s semifinals are set, then: Michael Llodra versus Mischa Zverev in one showdown, while Julien Benneteau will take on Mr. Tsonga. The Open 13 seems to be one big French procession to the victory stand.


No Comments »

No comments yet.

RSS feed for comments on this post.

Leave a comment

You must be logged in to post a comment.