Any minute now, the French Open is going to
wake up. The first two rounds have been predictable and sleepy, with the
biggest headlines coming from Roger Federer actually raising a sweat in the
first round, and Russia’s Marat Safin being fined $US10,000 ($A13,160) for not
turning up at a press conference after losing.

For the record, Safin’s career prize money
is $US12,329,753. That makes the
fine roughly 0.08% of his total earnings, not including multi-million
dollar sponsorships. The fine would probably be regarded a welcome expense for
the Russian, if it saved him 15 minutes of explaining to the sombre world media
that he ain’t what he used to be on-court.

Meanwhile and more
importantly, Alicia Molik is quietly progressing, which is fantastic news for
success-starved Australian tennis. Having finally emerged from a long-term
inner ear complaint to restart her promising career, Molik is into the third
round, where she will get a reality check by running into fourth seed and
former world number one, Maria Sharapova.

Sure, Molik was only two points way from
defeat in the second round, against a qualifier ranked 177 in the world,
but she’s on the comeback trail and can’t be expected to step straight back
into her previous top-ten form. Then again, Sharapova can run hot and cold so
stay tuned.

More than most, this French Open is all
about the second week. Early round upsets in Grand Slams can be fun at the time
for fans, media and the surprise winner, but they usually lead to dud quarter
or semi-finals. This is one time we don’t want that to happen, especially in
anticipation of the expected Rafael Nadal-Roger Federer final.

By winning his first round match, Nadal
bettered Guillermo Vilas’s all-time record clay court streak, and Federer looked
sharp in progressing to the third round. Roll on next week.