History at the French Open

The 2017 French Open tennis Grand Slam tournament will go down in history.   But, the results on the women’s and men’s sides were totally and completely different.  They could not have been more different.  On the men’s side Rafa Nadal won the French Open for the 10th time!  Yes, this is a remarkable record, probably never to be repeated and seals his reputation as the greatest clay court player in history.   He demolished Stan Wawrinka in three sets, which surprised everyone who saw Stan’s defeat of Andy Murray, who was ranked no 1 in the world.  But, it does represent a continuation of the situation as before.  It’s true that Federer wasn’t there and Djokovic was knocked out earlier, but it was a great run for Nadal, who lost no sets in the whole tournament (7 matches).

But on the women’s side things were the opposite.  Not only weren’t some of the top players there, such as Serena Williams (who is pregnant) and Maria Sharapova, but the top players who were there were all knocked out early on.  An unseeded Latvian named Yelena Ostopenko (no. 49 in the world) took the tournament by storm, the first unseeded player to win at Roland Garros in 35 years.  Never having won any tournament before, she knocked off 4 seeded players to get into the final and there managed to come back from a set and 3-0 down against Simona Halep to win.  It was a great match to watch.  By comparison, although Nadal played his usual masterful self, the men’s final was tame by comparison.

But, the similarity in both finals was that the more aggressive player with the better forehand won.  Ostopenko hit the ball harder and faster than even Andy Murray, and although she had many unforced errors her number of winners was an astounding 55, compared to 10 for Halep.  So on both sides it was a historic tournament this year at the Paris Open, but for very different reasons.