By Chad Hoyle
After a week’s worth of action on the red clay at Roland Garros, the Men’s Singles have reached a quarterfinal field featuring a major Cinderella story from Spain that does NOT involve Rafael Nadal, but still makes Grand Slam history.
Nadal seems like the obvious choice given his return from his chronic knee issues, but most would consider him a disappointment if he leaves without the title. The real story is Spain’s Tommy Robredo, 31 years old and seeded 32nd in the tournament, who now finds himself in his first French Open quarterfinal since 2009, and though reaching it 4 times prior over his 14 year career, has never advanced to the semis.
However, if momentum is a factor, Robredo has it in spades- exhibited in some of the most exciting and inspiring tennis the clay has seen.
After defeating Zopp in straight sets in round 1, Robredo saw himself fall 2 sets to none against Igor Sijsling, and proceeded to dominate the Dutchman in the next 3 sets 6-3, 6-1, 6-1. Facing France’s Gael Monfils in the 3 round, Robredo dropped a tiebreak in set 2 and faced a 2 set deficit. In a near repeat of the previous match, with the exception of a momentum changing tiebreak in Robredo’s favor in the 4th set, Monfils went down in 3 straight- 6-2, 7-6, 6-2.
In the fourth round, Robredo was against fellow countryman Nicolas Almagro, who came into the tournament as an 11 seed. After a long first set that Robredo lost in a tiebreak 7-5, it seemed that the superior level of play had caught up with him, affirmed by a loss in the second set 6-3. However, Robredo faced the challenge head on and took each of the remaining sets 6-4. The win made it not only his 4th straight match won in 3 straight sets, but also 3 consecutive matches in which he had come back from 2 down to win it in straight sets- a first in the 122 year history of the tournament.
Robredo will face his toughest match up of the tournament against another Spaniard next in David Ferrer, a 4 seed and considered a favorite by many. However, should Robredo once again defy the odds, he’ll likely end up staring down Swiss legend Roger Federer where his streak would almost certainly meet its end.
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