Roland Garros Day 12: Links Roundup with Sharapova, Kuerten, Djokovic and Mixed Doubles Champs

Roland Garros Roundup takes you through the Slam’s hot stories of the day, both on and off the court.

Maria Sharapova roars her way to the Roland Garros final as defending champion.

Shot of the Day: After a relatively easy first set, Maria Sharapova faced an uphill battle for the rest of her match against Victoria Azarenka. The Russian dropped the second set and blew three match points up 5-2 in the third, before winning on an ace, 6-1, 2-6, 6-4.

Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal ready to lock horns: Doug Robson of USA Today reminds us that, “At the start of the French Open, Novak Djokovic asked reporters not to mention his draw.” Now, as most expected, Djokovic will be squaring off for the 35th time against none other than the King of Clay—Rafael Nadal—a situation he cannot avoid anymore. Nadal has talked about his preference for hotter conditions stating, “For us it’s better to play with sun because the ball spins more.” Djokovic knows this is the biggest test either will face during the tournament and said as much to reporters.

“This is it. This is the biggest matchup of our Roland Garros 2013 campaign for both me and him.”

Frantisek Cermak and Lucie Hradecka- Five years to the French: The Czech Republic team of Frantisek Cermak and Lucie Hradeck defeated Canadian Daniel Nestor and Frenchwoman Kristina Mladenovic 1-6 6-4 10-6 in the mixed doubles final. As the Associated Press tells us, “Five years after teaming up, Frantisek Cermak and Lucie Hradecka won their first doubles title together at the French Open.”

French Open Quotes: Sports Illustrated has compiled the most gripping and entertaining quotes from this year’s French Open. This is part II of SI’s list with quotes from Serena Williams, Maria Sharapova, Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, Novak Djokovic, Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal, Bethanie Mattek-Sands, Jamie Hampton, Sloane Stephens, and Tommy Haas.

Yannick Noah reflects on French Open title 30 years later: 2013 marks the 30 year anniversary of Frenchman Yannick Noah’s Roland Garros title. In his interview with EuroSport, Noah talks about how winning the French Open changed his life, the sacrifices involved with becoming a successful tennis player, and the thrill of winning a major in his home country

“My victory was so perfect … Millions of people cried in front of their TV because they were so happy.  It was a memory I got to share with so many people.”

Noah also talks about Jo-Wilfried Tsonga’s pursuit for a French Open title and has given Tsonga tons of praise in his quest to bring back Roland Garros glory to France.

“I’m really impressed by the way he is dealing with this tournament. He is playing well. He is focused and healthy. Most of all, I think he is mentally strong. I was really impressed by his reaction after beating Federer on center court.”

Serena Williams to carry dominant form into championship match against Maria Sharapova: Maria Sharapova hasn’t beaten Serena Williams since 2005 and its pretty safe to say that if Serena is able to maintain the level of play that propelled her to a 6-0 6-1 47 minute victory over Italian Sara Errani, Sharapova’s wait will have to continue. Piers Newbery of the BBC gently described Errani’s situation by describing her as being “overwhelmed.” Errani described it more tellingly saying, “She played unbelievable, that’s it. When she plays like this for me it’s difficult to play. She’s very strong, so there’s nothing I can do.” I think this sentiment expressed by Errani has been articulated over and over by Serena’s opposition during her current 30-match win-streak dating back to Miami in March.

Road to Roland Garros with Gustavo Kuerten: Three time French Open champion Gustavo Kuerton took a ride through Paris in this edition of Road to Roland Garros. Guga talked about why he chose to play tennis, what current player he would like to play, his connection with the French public, and who he thinks will win the tournament on the men’s side.

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