Updated: May 28, 2010, 3:28 PM ET

Star-studded day at Roland Garros

Garber By Greg Garber

PARIS -- The best day in tennis, invariably, is Big Monday at Wimbledon. After the traditional middle Sunday off, the All England Club presents all 16 of the fourth-round matches, men and women.

After two days of rain backed up the schedule -- we will refrain from a commentary about the binding qualities of the local fromage -- there was a reward for patience and perseverance: Fabulous French Friday at Roland Garros.

There were 10 Grand Slam singles champions in action and eight former No. 1s. The five top-ranked men and six of seven on the women's side played second- and third-round matches.

"Wow," analyst Mary Carillo said several hours before the matches began. "That's not too shabby. That changes my whole attitude going in."

The schedule was so loaded that Maria Sharapova, a three-time major champion, was pushed out onto Court 2; two-time No. 1 Lleyton Hewitt was relegated to the remote outpost of Court 7.

By and large, the stars behaved like stars. Serena Williams, playing as though her hair was on fire, waxed Julia Goerges, a pleasant 21-year-old from Bad Oldesloe, Germany, in 55 minutes. She won nine consecutive games at one point and made a total of four unforced errors.

It was such a compelling contest that only one question in her news conference was match-specific. At one point, she was asked what the key to a good manicure was.

"Proper cuticles," Serena said, without hesitation. "Not cutting them, but just pushing them back."

The next question, however, was about tennis.

"No," Serena said, "I'm not answering questions about tennis today."

Four-time French champion Rafael Nadal checked in next, dropping only seven games to Horacio Zeballos. Roger Federer and Venus Williams won their matches easily.

Justine Henin and Maria Sharapova (despite the slight) both won their matches to set up a tasty third-round encounter.

No. 4 seed Andy Murray played another up-and-down match. After using nine of the maximum 10 sets in the first two rounds, Murray went four against Marcos Baghdatis. The curious thing? The Scotsman got bageled in the third set before closing it out, 6-2, 6-3, 0-6, 6-2.

Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, the last Frenchman in the draw, lost the first set in a tiebreaker to Thiemo De Bakker but rallied to win 6-7 (6), 7-6 (4), 6-3, 6-4. Andy Novak Djokovic tagged Kei Nishikori 6-1, 6-4, 6-4.

There was one upset worth noting. Dinara Safina, a finalist here a year ago, was gone after first round, and now No. 12 seed Fernando Gonzalez, a semifinalist in 2009, is gone after second.

He lost to Alexandr Dolgopolov, a 21-year-old from Ukraine making his Grand Slam singles debut. It was Dolgopolov's first-ever win over a top-20 player and represented the first time he has won back-to-back matches at the ATP level.

3 Things I KNOW I think

1. Spain reigns on clay: This, as they say on television, just in. There are five Spaniards left in the bottom half of the draw after three rounds, and all of them are seeded: No. 2 Rafael Nadal, No. 7 Fernando Verdasco, No. 9 David Ferrer, No. 16 Juan Carlos Ferrero and No. 19 Nicolas Almagro. Every one of them is favored to advance to the fourth round.

2. Don't discount Sam Stosur: All eyes in her quarter of the draw are on Saturday's Henin-Sharapova match, but the powerful Australian could await in the fourth round if she takes care of business against Anastasia Pivovarova. Stosur could also ruin the highly anticipated Henin-Serena Williams quarterfinal match.

3. These guys are human: Admittedly it was only half past 11 in the morning, but Novak Djokovic actually missed an overhead in his match with Kei Nishikori in the Court 1 Bullring. I saw it with my own eyes. Djokovic was in position to slam, elevated and -- whiffed. He probably lost the ball in the sun, but it was a nice moment for someone who done that a few times at the summer club. Likewise, Roger Federer had a relatively easy backhand drop shot lined up against Julian Reister -- and misjudged it so badly it didn't even reach the net.


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