Injured Serena pulls out, Sharapova moves on 

March 08, 2018: Serena Williams (USA) hits a backhand in her match against Zarina Diyas (KAZ) at the BNP Paribas Open played at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden in Indian Wells, California. ©Mal Taam/TennisClix/CSM

FROM ROLAND GARROS — It is to bad that Serena Williams withdrew; her arms and her shoulders really hurt a lot, which is why she had to way goodbye. She will see the doctors in Paris tomorrow. Will she will recover, quickly, and play Wimbledon? She loves Wimbledon — she has won it seven times — so she will push herself as much as she can. Hurt, or not.

Serena was supposed to play against Maria Sharapova. So the American/Russian didn’t have a chance to to attack Williams and test herself. Not this week, though, maybe in Wimbledon, or during the rest of the summer. They both hope so.

Sharapova will face Garbine Muguruza, who also advanced when Lesia Tsurenko retired after just two games. That is too bad, because there are a lot of fans who come out to watch the tennis and when there are just a few people playing, maybe the fans won’t want to come anymore. There are too many injuries, year after year.

On the women’s side, there were two other matches on Monday, and there were two blow outs: Simona Halep crushed Elise Mertens, and Angie Kerber whacked Caroline Garcia in straight sets.

Yesterday, on the bottom half, all four matches were contested, and there were no three-setters. However, there was a fun contest with Daria Kasatkina and Caro Wozniacki. There were some incredible rallies, and Kasatkina outlasted her 7-6, 6-3.

On Sunday and Monday, there was only one good match. Let’s hope on Tuesday, there will be some wonderful contests, maybe Sloane Stephens against Daria Kasatkina. That must go three sets, with two cage players. They will have a huge amount of long strokes. Whomever will worn her down, she will reach into the semis.

The Men

Juan Martin del Potro is so incredibly confidence now. He bested John Isner 6-4, 6-4, 6-4, crushing his forehand, his big serve and he moved fairly well. He also scampers to the net and puts it away.

Isner had a good nine days at RG. He knows that his gigantic serve and her massive forehand, and he hustles. But, for the past 10 years, he hasn’t been able to figure out how to be an effective returner. He can do it here and there, but this was on clay, which is slower, and softer, and he couldn’t break it against DelPo. Not once.

“If I would have lost today, I would have liked to maybe put up a better fight. So that’s a little disappointing,” Isner said. “Delpo certainly has one of the best forehands in the world, especially when he’s feeling it out there. And if he’s able to get in position and take a rip at that shot, it’s going to be very lethal. So it’s very good for tennis to have him playing well again and being healthy.”

Marin Ciclic needed five sets to push back Fabio Fognini. It was up-and-down for both of them, playing well, missing it, re-doing it, over-thinking. As Cilic said, it was “extremely tough mentally.” And how.

On Wednesday, two of the excellent top 5 veterans will clash. Years ago, from Cilic and DelPo, they struggled on clay. Still, sometimes, they make too many errors. But here at RG, they are going exactly what they can do. They are almost a tossup, both of them have won the US Open — on hard courts. On clay, even thought they can nail their forehands, they have to return deep.

“We played many times. We know each other,” Cilic said. “He won a lot of our matches in these last few years, and we had few tough ones. One of them was the Davis Cup match, that was the last one. That was a big match. [Argentina won the Davis Cup]. Juan Martin is having great season playing great tennis.
And then [we] are playing similar games but still different. I think in some ways I’m maybe a little bit quicker on the court, but he’s in some ways serving a little bit better, hitting off his forehand side bigger and more consistently. So just in those comparisons, it’s always a tough matchup between both of us.”

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