All credit to ESPN for calling itself out. From their 5 things we learned today feature:
1. Dinara Safina is playing like the favorite: Through two rounds she has lost a total of exactly … uh, two games -- in less than two hours. The No. 1-ranked Russian rolled qualifier Vitalia Diatchenko 6-1, 6-1. Since she ascended to the top spot, Safina has won 16 of her 17 matches on clay. She got to the final here a year ago and made the Australian Open final earlier this year. This, clearly, represents her best chance to join brother Marat as a Grand Slam champion.
Safina's coach, Zeljko Krajan -- naturally -- was again disappointed in her play.
"If one day he's going to be happy, I think I'll finish my career," she said. "He's never happy. Even today, he's not happy."
2. And Ana Ivanovic is starting to play like the defending champion: There have been some dicey moments this year -- like losing in the third round of the Australian Open and her second matches in Miami and Rome -- but her form seems to be returning.
Ivanovic torched Tamarine Tanasugarn 6-1, 6-2 and she said she thinks she can repeat at Roland Garros.
"I do," she said, "and I worked very hard for it and know I have a game."
3. ESPN.com's "experts" asleep at the wheel: The four women tabbed by six ESPN.com writers as sleepers -- Amelie Mauresmo (2), Patty Schnyder (2), Sabine Lisicki and Kaia Kanepi -- all lost in the first round. Sleepers, did we say sleepers? We meant to place them in the early-exit category.
"If Gulbis loses, I'm completely inept with my pre-tournament picks," said tennis writer Bonnie Ford, eyeing the scoreboard with disgust early in the day.
Ten minutes later, Ernests Gulbis -- Ford's male sleeper -- fell to Nicolas Almagro in four sets. What's the French word for inept?
"Incapable," said Ford, who speaks fluent French, explaining that the word is the same in both English and French.
4. Andy Roddick is the last American man standing: As a corollary to No. 3 -- and a public service, no doubt -- we are compelled to further mention that no fewer than four ESPN.com experts (who shall remain nameless) chose Roddick as their candidate for an early exit. With the loss by California native Robert Kendrick to Gilles Simon in the second round, 5-7, 0-6, 1-6, Roddick is the LAMS.
Did we mention that Simon and fellow Frenchman Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, who now appear to be in terrific form, were the other two early-exit choices?
Tapping Momo as a sleeper and Gilly and Jo as early exits weren't bad calls. But Sabine? Everyone knew she was pretty injured coming into RG. Kaia Kanepi? Uh...yeah...I don't know what that was about.
But really, say it with me...ERNIE???
I guess I don't really understand how Bonnie Ford can be SO SHOCKED that Ernie lost. My only guess is that while the rest of us are waking up in the middle of the night to watch Ernie lose ever so beautifully (though let's face it, he hasn't been losing beautifully lately) Bonnie's doing the smart and rational thing and sleeping.
Pfft. Weak humans.