Gisela Dulko playing for more than herself
When Gisela Dulko outplayed Samantha Stosur 6-4, 1-6, 6-3 on Friday to reach the French Open fourth round, she wasn't thinking only about upsetting last year's finalist.
News from back home in Argentina was even more exciting. On Thursday, Dulko became an aunt. Her brother and coach, Alejandro, became the father of twins: daughter Myla and son Teo.
Dulko quickly tweeted on her new status: "I became an ant of two beautiful twins just now." (In a second tweet, she corrected her spelling of "aunt.")
Dulko, who had mixed feelings about not being home for their birth, held up a handmade sign on the court after her victory: "Para Myla and Teo, Valio La Pena." Translation: "For Myla and Teo. It was worth it."
"The fact that I couldn't be with [them] in Buenos Aires yesterday, this was something very important, emotional for me," Dulko said. "But as I wrote on the towel, it was worth it. I think it's one of the most important matches for me, emotionally speaking."
Wide-open French Open
Here's a factoid that's guaranteed to be an eye-opener:
Never before in the Open era of tennis (since 1968) has the round of 16 gone off at any Grand Slam without one of the top two women's seeds still in contention. At the French Open, it has never happened, until now.
Top seed Caroline Wozniacki went down to Daniela Hantuchova 6-1, 6-3 on Friday. Second seed Kim Clijsters fell to Arantxa Rus 3-6, 7-5, 6-1 on Thursday.
Adding to the shock, Stosur also exited Friday.
Three former players-turned-TV analysts weighed in on the destruction at the top of the women's competition.
Mary Joe Fernandez, who works for ESPN, said, "It's amazing at all the possibilities left. You can read into this many ways, but it goes with the trend of how open this French Open was at the start. I said at least 10 players could win this French Open. We're seeing a lot of depth, and a lot of belief, and there isn't that dominant player. It sends a message to the field, 'I can win this.'"
Brad Gilbert, also an ESPN commentator, said, "I always say upsets are contagious. I said before the tournament that 15 or 20 women could win this tournament, and you'd be hard-pressed to say more than three or four guys can win here. It's just a matter of who is going to take the opportunity, like we saw [Francesca] Schiavone step up to do last year. I think it's great. It's exciting."
Lindsay Davenport, who works for the Tennis Channel, said, "This is the best chance Maria [Sharapova] is going to get if she's going to try to win a [Grand] Slam, because she's a legitimate favorite now. [Victoria] Azarenka, huge opportunity for her if she can hold it together mentally. A Grand Slam title is out there; it's who wants it."
Time to learn Serbian?
Jelena Jankovic might not have a 41-0 overall winning streak going like countryman Novak Djokovic does. But the 10th-ranked Jankovic's ability to stay afloat in the top 10 every week since Feb. 26, 2007, is hardly a shabby statistic.
"I don't really think about that I'm in the top 10; I don't really follow the statistics," Jankovic said after beating Bethanie Mattek-Sands 6-2, 6-2. "I just try to think about my game, always work hard and try to keep improving overall as a player. If you do good things, rankings come on their own."
If rankings aren't grabbing her attention, Serbian success is. Jankovic interrupted a Serbian TV interview she was doing to ask two English-speaking journalists who were observing whether they understood what was being said. When they shook their heads no, she offered advice.
"You should learn Serbian, you know, it's the universal language of tennis because the Serbians are taking over tennis," she said, smiling.
Hvala Na Savetu, Jelena. That's Serbian for: Thanks for the suggestion, Jelena.