Making History At The French Open

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Roger Federer is one of several tennis players making history at this year's French Open. (AP)
Roger Federer is one of several tennis players making history at this year's French Open. (AP)

Records have already fallen at this year's French Open, and others may soon fall. Christopher Clarey is in Paris covering the tournament for The New York Times and he joined Bill Littlefield on Only A Game.

Roger Federer has already set a record at Roland Garros. By winning his match against Adrian Ungur on Tuesday, Federer passed Jimmy Connors in number of Grand Slam matches won.

"It's important, and he said it was important," Clarey told Bill Littlefield. "In his catalog of records, which is increasing all the time, I don't think it's that high. That's partly because what matters in the end are the titles you win, and he has that record already."

John Isner, who's known for marathon matches, set a record in the second round of this year's French Open by playing in the longest game in tournament history, and the match, which required 76 games to decide, also set a record.

"John Isner needs to learn how to break serve," Clarey said. "As soon as he gets his return game going, watch out.  He needs to play short points, and he couldn't do that. He's now played marathon matches at every one of the Slams. I think he'd take Roger's Grand Slam record instead of that."

If Rafael Nadal wins the tournament, he'll surpass Bjorn Borg's record of six French Open singles titles. "I think he (Nadal) has a good chance, but (Novak) Djokovic is in excellent form," Clarey said.

American Sloane Stephens is into the fourth round after having beaten all three of her opponents in straight sets, and some are wondering whether she's a star in the making. With both of the Williams sisters out of the tournament, Stephens has been the lone American woman impressing in Paris.

"Sloane's got loads of personality," Clarey said. "I think if she can get some big results in Slams.  I think she could really become a star. She's in a tough era. She's not too tall. She has good speed, excellent hands, but I think she'll be playing against players with more leverage.  It's great to see an American 19-year-old doing so well. She'll get to fly home first class, and that was her goal."

This segment aired on June 2, 2012.


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