Jon Wertheim - French Open midterm grades
PARIS -- The Serena Williams-Kim Clijsters final is still on track; Vera Zvonareva did what no one other player besides Serena had done in more than a year: beat Venus Williams in a major; the men's draw is typically wide open; Andre Agassi is in a groove; the other American men have plenty of time to watch the Stanley Cup and NBA finals; there was nearly a scalpers brawl outside the grounds.
Yes, sports fans, it was a wacky first week at Roland Garros. Herewith, our midterm grades. (A passing mark qualifies you for a basketball scholarship to St. Bonaventure.)
Serena Williams: Top seed has yet to drop a set in first four matches, setting up a likely final with ...
Kim Clijsters: No. 2-seeded Belgian had a fluky opening 20 minutes against Maggie Maleeva Sunday, losing the first set 6-0, but otherwise hasn't dropped more than two games in a set.
Juan Carlos Ferrero: The Mosquito was probably a slight favorite when the tournament commenced, and he has done nothing to change that perception.
Gustavo Kuerten: The resurgence of Uncle Gus. Entered the tournament as an also-ran but quickly has become a serious contender.
Vera Zvonareva: The future is now.
French fans: They come early, they stay late, they know their tennis, they have great cheers -- and they leave their damn cell phones off.
Ashley Harkleroad: Continued her fine spring play before running out of gas against Magui Serna.
Albert Costa: Some grim math for the defending champ: Playing five-setters in his first three matches at almost age 28 = rough second week.
Parity: Yes, the men's draw is wide open. But by the third round, there were more seeded men (22) than seeded women (19) left in the draw.
Venus Williams: In fairness, her strained abdominal muscle clearly was giving her problems. But her forehand broke down yet again as she was dealt her earliest Grand Slam defeat in two years. More important, her aura of invincibility has gone by way of the braids.
Lleyton Hewitt: We don't expect him to win big on clay. But neither do we expect him to lose six straight games in a fifth set, as he did Saturday against Spain's Tommy Robredo.
American men: Once again, the only Yank to make it to the middle weekend is Agassi. (On the plus side: Their results may be lagging, but James Blake has a spread in the current GQ and Men's Journal runs a nice feature on Andy Roddick.)
American women: With Venus and Jennifer Capriati losing on Sunday, Lindsay Davenport forced to retire because of injury, and Monica Seles' longstanding woes, only Serena and Chanda Rubin are left to hold down the fort in Week 2.
Daniela Hantuchova: Call it what you will, the fact remains that until she improves her physique she will continue her rapid descent.
Wild cards: Not a one wins a match.
Roger Federer: One of the most talented guys around hasn't won a solitary set at Roland Garros since 2001. Calling Jim Loehr. Calling Jim Loehr. Do you read me? Roger.