Early days are mostly insignificant in Grand Slams with seeds holding up. There aren't much significant upsets (of the big four) in this Golden Era of tennis. Nadal in Wimbledon 2012 was an aberration but the credit mostly went to Rafa's bad knees than Lukas Rosol. Let's have a quick look at the results of Day 4.
The top seed, who also happens to be the favorite, and who is out to prove a point this year at RG - Serena Williams made a quick work of Caroline Garcia 6-1, 6-2 to advance into round three of the open. Serena lost only 1 game in the opening round and wants to end the drought of a decade to grab her second french crown. She'll be tough to be denied this time. Venus Williams, on the contrary, got out in the first round battling her prolonged illnesses and fitness concerns. The rest of the top seeded women players advanced to the next round. Azarenka, Radwanska, Kerber, Sara Errani had easy wins over their unseeded opponents. Only Petra Kvitova was pushed to three sets by Aravane Rezai but prevailed 6-2 in the third.
Roger Federer overawed Somdev Devvarman with too much power and variety moving on to greater challenges without breaking much sweat. Tsonga showed an improved backhand under his coach Roger Rasheed to triumph over Jarko Nieminen in straight sets. Nieminen had his moments but Tsonga came out on top in crucial exchanges. Ferrer, Almagro, Tipsarevic advanced in straights with Raonic and Simon taking four sets. However, two of the most interesting clashes of the day for me were - Benoit Paire vs Marcos Baghdatis and an even better Gale Monfils vs Ernests Gulbis.
Benoit Paire; the young and talented Frenchman is riding on high hopes both from the ever expecting French crowd and the experts as well. He has the potential, they say, particularly on clay. He did well against a tricky opponent in Marcos Baghdatis. The second round tie-breaker was the turning point and had Baghdatis won it, the story would have been different. But Paire came to the tie-breaker with great composure and aggression to turn the tables. He did enough in the next two sets to sail through. He'll be the one to watch for but just to know and not overburden him with expectations, he's in the defending champ's quarter of the draw. Good luck with that!
And now about the Match of the Day:
Both players unseeded but playing at the Philippe Chartrier whereas Roger Federer got only Suzzane Lenglen...Imagine! Ernests Gulbis - the rich, spoiled, arrogant, big mouth but mightily talented player with every shot in the book against Gael Monfils - the showman, who suddenly comes alive at this time of the year, but returning from a prolonged injury. Nobody was a big favorite over the other before the match and was expected to be close. It was so. The first set went to the tiebreaker with Gulbis prvailing. Monfils came back to win the second. Gulbis, like he generally has, had his ups and downs. He went from looking extremely impressive to pathetically lost, from ruling the proceedings to gifting away the points. He lost the second set with three back to back unforced errors while serving and he came back from 3-5 in the third denying Monfils six set points, only to lose in the breaker. Monfils was more consistent. He didn't play a bad set and was rewarded for the same. That, not without weathering the Earnests Gulbis show in patches. But he stays alive and looks to go far from here.