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Roland Garros Day 9: Links Roundup with Wawrinka, Li, Youzhny, Djokovic and more

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

Shot of the Day: Fans who couldn’t make it out to Roland Garros still got their taste of tennis in front of the Hôtel de Ville in the center of Paris, where participants could try out the red clay or catch the action on the big screen.

Mikhail Youzhny loses it: Many tennis fans were likely experiencing a bout of déjà vu when Russian Mikhail Youzhny absolutely obliterated his racket after falling down a set and 3-0 to Tommy Haas in their fourth round match. This was not the first time the fiery Russian has exhibited such anger on the court, as Nick Zaccardi of Sports Illustrated points out. In 2008, in a match against Spaniard Nicolas Almagro, Youzhny banged his racket against his head several times and in the process drew blood. Both videos can be seen in Zaccardi’s article.

Week one French Open takeaways: The first half of the French Open has come and gone but not without an abundance of drama and questions. Jonathan Overend of the BBC discusses some of the biggest storylines surrounding Roland Garros including Rafa’s form, the restoration of single-handed backhands, Laura Robson’s struggles and more.

Li Na’s press conference raises questions: Sports Illustrated reports that after her second round exit to Bethanie Mattek-Sands, Li Na has been heavily criticized for comments she made to the Chinese media. Asked if she had an explanation for her loss Li replied, “Do I need to explain?” She carried on saying, “It’s strange. I lost a game and that’s it. Do I need to get on my knees and kowtow to them? Apologize to them.” Chinese Journalists Zhang Rongfeng believes this response is indicative of Li Na’s lack of professionalism.

Dominic Inglot grateful for professional career: Dominic Inglot, as Simon Briggs of The Telegraph points out, was the final player hailing from the United Kingdom to be playing in the 2013 French Open. Inglot, along with college teammate and current doubles partner, Treat Huey, crashed out to Michael Llodra and Nicolas Mahut in the third round of the doubles competition. In his conversation with Briggs, Inglot talks about how he made it into professional tennis and how lucky he is to be able to make a living on tour.

“I get to play tennis for a living—that is the ultimate dream. When I was a little kid I remember cutting the cake on my birthday and blowing the candles out and saying every single time, ‘I want to be a professional tennis player.’”

Road to Roland Garros- Bethanie Mattek-Sands: In this edition of Road to Roland Garros, Bethanie Mattek-Sands reveals her inspiration in tennis, talks about her perpetual lateness, and how her diet is her biggest sacrifice.

Novak Djokovic playing for Jelena Gencic: Novak Djokovic advanced to the quarterfinals of the French Open after a four set win over German Philipp Kohlschreiber. Djokovic, as Reem Abulleil of Sport360 reports, is hoping to claim his first Roland Garros title in memory of his childhood coach, Jelena Gencic, who passed away Saturday.

“She’s one of the most incredible people I ever knew. So it’s quite emotional. I feel even more responsible now to go all the way in this tournament. Now I feel in her honor that I need to go all the way,”

27 pictures of Rafael Nadal on his 27th birthday: In his first three matches, Rafael Nadal looked like a shadow of himself and was consequentially tested by Daniel Brands, Martin Klizan, and Fabio Fognini, three players Nadal probably expected to dispose of quicker than he did. In his fourth round match with Kei Nishikori, Nadal quickly erased the memories of his lackluster play in the opening three rounds.  Nadal’s 27th birthday was today and he definitely made sure he had enough time to celebrate crushing Nishikori 6-4 6-1 6-3. DNA India takes a look back at Nadal’s career in 27 pictures.

Victoria Azarenka prepares for Maria Kirilenko: 2013 Australian Open champion Victoria Azarenka is set to square off against longtime doubles partner, Maria Kirilenko, after beating Francesca Schiavone in a match that she said was her “most composed and most consistent match thus far.” As Chris Wright of Yahoo Sports points out, “Azarenka is 3-2 against Kirilenko but has not lost to the Russian since 2007.” Azrenka said in regards to Kirilenko “She’s definitely improved a lot over the last couple years since she’s a very motivated player (and a) good friend of mine.”

Stanislas Wawrinka topples Richard Gasquet: Coming back from two sets to love down, Stanislas Wawrinka defeated French hopeful Richard Gasquet in a five set match that featured some of the most jaw-dropping infusions of pace, exquisite shot making, and masterful racket work of the entire tournament. The ATP called the match a “vintage display of shotmaking with 149 winners struck during the match.” Wawrinka’s play was so exemplary that the Swiss went as far as to say, “I played the best level I ever played at.” One of the comments on the ATP article even offered a new nickname for Stan—“WOWrinka.”

Stosur powers past Falconi into the third round of Roland Garros

Sam Stosur (REUTERS/Regis Duvignau)

By Melinda Samson, Special for Tennis Grandstand

Number six seed Sam Stosur powered past Irina Falconi in straight sets to set up a third round match against Nadia Petrova.

Stosur broke Falconi’s first and second service games to comfortably win the first set 6-1 in 25 minutes. During the second set, both players held serve until Stosur broke in the fifth game, a break that she held to win the set 6-4 in 38 minutes. Although she double faulted on the first match point, and Falconi was able to get a few break point opportunities during the match, Stosur looked powerful and in control.

Update on Aussie action from Round 1: Tomic and Gajdosova through to 2nd Round

It was perfect weather for tennis on the opening Sunday of Roland Garros as Stosur kicked off the first match on Court Philippe Chatrier, serving up a strong performance to beat British No.1 Elena Baltacha 6-4, 6-0.

After taking only an hour to complete the match, Stosur left the court smiling and looking relaxed.

Stosur and her supporters will be hoping the stunning weather continues, which it has so far.

“If it’s not sunny, it plays dead. If it’s sunny, it’s great for Sam,” commented Stosur’s coach David Taylor.

Casey Dellacqua won the first set against 21st seed Italian Sara Errani before losing in three sets. Likewise Anastasia Rodinova lost to French player Mathilde Johannson in a tough three set match.

Despite his will to win and the support of the crowd, Lleyton Hewitt lost in four sets to Slovenian qualifier Blaz Kavcic. Hewitt plays next on grass as a wildcard recipient at Queens.

Matthew Ebden lost his first ever match at Roland Garros in four sets, to German 24th seed Philipp Kohlschreiber.

After the match Ebden took a positive approach on his Facebook page:

“Played a good match today and improved lots of things but couldnt quite get there Phillip served and played very well. Quite disappointed of course but excited with all the improvements I have to make.”

Bernard Tomic had more success, achieving his first ever win at Roland Garros by defeating Austrian qualifier Andreas Haider-Maurer in three sets. Tomic plays Santiago Giraldo in the 2nd round.

Although wild card recipient Ashleigh Barty was beaten by Wimbldeon champion Petra Kvitova in straight sets in less than an hour, the sixteen year old gained a lot from the experience, tweeting:

“Tough day yesterday. Was a great experience to play Petra on such a big occasion! I’ve learnt a lot and can’t wait to play again next here (hopefully :)

Jarmila Gajdosova progressed through the draw after Slovakian Magdalena Rybarikova retired in the second set due to a spine injury. Gajdosova plays number nine seed Caroline Wozniaki in the 3rd round.

Follow Tennis Grandstand for updates on all the Australian players’ progress throughout the main draw of the French Open.

Melinda Samson is attending Roland Garros and will be writing updates on Australian players through their trek of the tennis world’s second slam. She also manages the website Grand Slam Gal and is attempting to do the fan version of a tennis grand slam in 2012. Follow her on Twitter for further live updates @GrandSlamGal.

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