Roger started off his week in Paris by soundly defeating lefty Adrian Mannarino 62 63 in under an hour. It was a routine performance from the Fedster, but I always say that a win over a left-handed player is a good win for Roger, as they can more easily access Roger's backhand. The win was also good preparation for Richard Gasquet in the 3rd round, who already holds a victory over Roger in 2011, from Rome earlier this year. I believe Roger will win in straight sets as he did last year against Gasquet, but it will not be easy, as Richard will be motivated to play well at home.
The popular topic in Paris this week is the changing of the courts. They have slowed them down from last year, in which they were imperiously fast. Changing to a slower court obviously helps the counterpunchers such as Murray, Djokovic, and Monfils, but Roger has said that he likes the way the courts are playing because they help him get more cut on his slice, which is a great advantage for him. All in all, it seems as if Roger is really motivated to win here in Paris, and fully understands how important a strong finish to 2011 could be in starting off 2012 with a bang. A win in Paris would do wonders to his confidence heading into London, with it being the one title that has always eluded him.
Djokovic and Murray got through easily, and Novak received his $1.8 million bonus for appearing. However, Nole must be extremely careful because the last thing he wants is more problems with his shoulder that could damage his chances of winning his 2nd Masters Cup/World Tour Finals/whatever you want to call it these days. Murray looked fine and just verified my suspicions that he withdrew from Basel because he didn't feel like playing after having a busy Asian swing.
Looking forward to the rest of the week, and hopefully seeing Federer lift the trophy on Sunday!