French Open Day 8: Federer and Monfils Locked Up at a Set All

  • Play Delayed Due to Rain

Today play in Paris was delayed due to rain which meant that Roger didn’t get to finish his match with Monfils on court Chatrier. They were locked up at a set all after Roger won the first set 6-3 and Monfils came back to win the second 6-4 when play was suspended due to bad light. As if it’s not bad enough that the French Open doesn’t have a roof for center court, they don’t even have lights. The French Open definitely seems to be lagging behind the other slams is many ways. First it was the WTA match with some unreal choking in the second set that kept play waiting.

First it was the WTA match with some unreal choking in the second set that kept play waiting.

  • Tsonga’s Revival

Then it was Tsonga who choked against Berdych while serving for the match at 6-3, 6-2, and 5-4. He ended up losing the third set 7-5 in the tie-break and went a break down in the fourth as well. But to his credit he came back and won the fourth set 6-3. In the end, you can’t blame Tsonga for the slip-up in the third set because he still beat a top 10 player who’s on a good run in four sets. But hardly surprising given his history in Paris and how much he loves to play there. All of a sudden he is in the mix now as well.

He now plays Nishikori who hammered Gabashvili 6-3, 6-4, 6-2 as expected. With the Paris crowd behind him I’d give him a very decent chance there too.

  • Stanimal is Back

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The man!

In the match I didn’t mention yet Stan smashed Simon 6-1, 6-4, 6-2 which was great to see. The French crowd did their usual circus act to try and unnerve Stan, but he shut them out with a quick victory. Stan seems to be back in Stanimal mode which is always exciting to see. I hope to see a quarterfinal between him and Roger. They have never played in a slam since the arrival of Stan 2.0 other than Wimbledon last year which is Stan’s worst surface. I’d like to see them play on a slower surface, but Roger has loads of work left to do before that becomes a reality.

  • Federer Misses Opportunity

Roger got exactly the start he was looking for in this match as he broke Monfils in the second game and raced to a 3-0 lead. Then it was just a matter of holding serve to bag the first set. In the second set, they reversed roles as Monfils broke in the second game and raced to a 3-0 lead. He also got the crowd involved, who up until that time I wasn’t even sure who they supported. Monfils held on until 5-3 when he would serve for the set, but then choked horribly on a volley to go down 0-15.

That choke set the tone for the game as Roger broke to 15 with some great attacking play of his own. It was exactly what he wanted because he didn’t want Monfils and the crowd in the match. But after they changed sides Roger let a big chance slip on his own serve as he played a poor game and allowed Monfils to square things up at a set all before play was suspended. It’s hard to say how the break will affect either player. If you are a Fedfan you might say it will halt Monfils’ momentum.

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If you are a Monfils fan you will say it is to his advantage because he gets more rest after all the tennis he’s played and comes back refreshed. But whatever way you choose to look at it there is no doubt that Roger let an opportunity slip in the second set after doing the hard work to break back. Now he has a serious match on his hands. The match will likely go to five sets now. And that is not exactly what Roger wants before a quarterfinal with Stanimal on Tuesday. So if he wins he plays three days in a row.

The rain and lack of roof/lights didn’t help. Where his schedule seemed friendly with two days off before the semis it all of a sudden makes it hard to even get to the semis. But he has to make the best of that now and try to get the momentum back first thing tomorrow. It is now effectively a best of three set match, and it’s now even more important he wins the first set. Best case scenario he wants to be out of there after two sets to shut out the crowd. If it goes to five sets it gets more complicated.

  • The Rest of Tomorrow’s Action

Tomorrow is also when the top half play their fourth round matches and probably the most competitive match there will be Cilic against Ferrer. I expect Nadal and Djoker to win in straight sets, but some people seem to think Sock can make the match with Nadal competitive. We will see. The only way I see that happening is if Nadal drops below the level he displayed so far. Finally, Murray will be up against another Frenchman Chardy. Probably Chardy can win a set there at best.

  • Highlights

The is in your court.

French Open Day 7: Big Three All Comfortably Into Fourth Round

  • Top Half

Howdy, folks  <):) Today Murray, Nadal, and the Djoker were all in action again and they all had comfortable straight set wins. Murray was quite impressive in his 6-4, 6-2, 6-3 drubbing of Kyrgios. The Djoker was equally impressive in a 6-4, 6-4, 6-4 victory over a promising new youngster Kokkinakis. As for Nadal, he got the weakest opponent of the three as usual and won 6-1, 6-3, 6-2. The other match that involved youngsters was Coric against Sock and Sock won that one surprisingly easily, 6-2, 6-1, 6-4.

I watched some of Murray’s match and although Kyrgios is a big time player, it struck me that he is still too wild and needs to mature. He was making some ridiculous shots and then missing some sitters. But yeah, Murray doesn’t make it easy the way he chases down everything. It was the first time I saw much of Kokkinakis and he has a pretty big game that has potential. Kuznetsov was hopeless and Sock kept impressing. He has the big serve and forehand but won’t bother Nadal.

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In the rest of the matches, Gasquet had a four-set win over Anderson, Cilic a straight-set win over Mayer, Ferrer a five-set win over Bolelli, and Chardy a straight-set win over Goffin. I like that Cilic seems to be playing well again. He plays Ferrer now though who is always a tough nut to crack. The winner there will probably play Murray who plays Chardy next. I kind of hope it is Cilic. I want to see Cilic start hitting people off the court again. Just to prove it wasn’t juts a one-time thing in New York.

In the top quarter, the Djoker plays Gasquet and I’d be surprised if he drops a set. Same for Nadal who plays Sock. It will be interesting to see what their respective form is like before the big quarterfinal anyway. I would have preferred Coric played Nadal because he already beat Nadal once, and Sock’s backhand and athleticism are not good enough to trouble Nadal. But let Nadal run over Sock and his mediocre backhand. It’s not exactly going to be great preparation for the greatest backhand in the sport in the next round.

  • Bottom Half

Tomorrow things start getting interesting in the bottom half. The big one is Roger against Monfils on Chatrier. One of the big problems for Roger in that match, other than the French crowd and Monfils’ ability to create effortless power, is Monfils’ athleticism and defensive abilities. Roger doesn’t like when the ball keeps coming back. Hence his poor head-to-head with Nadal. He likes short points and domination. I think patience and mental composure will be key. He has to be ready for a war basically.

It’s still hard to know what physical condition Monfils will be in, but like I said he will feed off the energy of the crowd so it probably won’t be a problem at all for him. He loves to entertain and more so in Paris than anywhere else. To win Roger just has to keep his recent form up and do the usual things well. But the main thing will be to not fall apart mentally and get impatient. That is something he has struggled with his whole career so tomorrow will be another good test of whether he can keep it together.

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What Federer is up against tomorrow

Then Stan plays Simon and like I said I hope to see another good performance from him. He will be in a similar situation with the crowd as Roger, but I guess the fact that he plays on Lenglen will make things slightly easier. They are 2-2 in the head-to-head and in 2012 they played a five-set thriller at the French which Stan won after trailing 1-2 in sets. So that could turn into another thriller. Simon is also a good retriever and same as Roger Stan can become impatient once the French crowd starts rallying behind Simon.

Then Berdych plays yet another French player in Tsonga on Chatrier. Tsonga is another guy who loves to entertain and feeds off the energy of the Parisian crowd. So although Berdych is probably the slight favorite I can see him losing this. The winner of that match will face Nishikori who plays Gabashvili, and that is the only match tomorrow where the outcome is hardly in doubt. I’m kind of liking Nishikori’s chances to make semis because he is the freshest of the bunch, but we will see.

Highlights:

Enough security for Federer you think?

The is in your court.

French Open Day 6: Federer and Wawrinka Score Routine Wins

How is everyone doing? Today was a pretty interesting day in Paris with some good matches. Like I said in my last post, I would be focusing mostly on Roger, Monfils, and Stan. Roger and Stan both won their matches 6-4, 6-3, 6-2 while Monfils had another five set marathon with Cuevas, finally winning 4-6, 7-6(1), 3-6, 6-4, 6-3. The seeds Berdych, Tsonga, and Simon also progressed to the next round. Finally, Gabashvili defeated Rosol while Nishikori already had a walk over after the withdrawal from Becker.

  • Federer vs Dzumhur

It was the first time I caught a glimpse of Dzumhur and my impression in the warm-up was that he was small and doesn’t have the weapons to bother Roger. In fact, I went to the gym after the second break in the second set because there was nothing left to see. Dzumhur hit a few decent shots at the start, but it didn’t take long for Roger to take advantage of his lack of firepower and break him in the third game. In the second set, Roger broke right away in the opening game and again in the fifth game, at which point I left the match.

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Roger got broken back when he served for the second set at 5-3 but made up for it by breaking Dzumhur in the next game with a scintillating backhand pass. In the third set, it was more of the same as Roger broke in the fourth game and again at 5-2 when Dzumhur was serving to stay in the match. The match stats were good and Roger was a staggering 6/8 on break points. Ok just kidding. It’s not all that hard to break when your opponent is 5’9” with very few weapons to speak of.

Either way it was another good performance from Roger and he has expended very little energy so far.

  • Federer vs Monfils

Monfils on the other, who is his next opponent, has done his best to tire himself out with two five setters and a four setter. Today Monfils was a break down in the fourth set and probably the only reason he is even in the fourth round is the crazy French crowd. I felt sorry for Cuevas who is a down-to-earth guy and was basically abused by the rampant French crowd. But hey, I guess they are really desperate since their last male slam winner was in 1983 while at the same time producing loads of top 100 players.

Whatever the case may be, Roger now plays the guy Fedfans hoped would lose today. And even though the French like Roger I’m sure they will try to inject Monfils with adrenaline one last time. Monfils is a showman and feeds off the energy from the crowd. He has also won his last two meetings with Roger. Yes, he has already expended a lot of energy, but he is one of the best athletes in tennis and Paris is the last place you want to play him. Given Monfils’ court time so far, I would usually have said Roger in four.

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But now I’m not so sure anymore. Monfils is without a shadow of a doubt one of the most talented players in the sport and contrary to Dzumhur, has the weapons to seriously hurt Roger. I expect Roger to win, but it may be harder than I initially thought. Roger’s draw is probably gonna be a lot harder than people initially thought as well. Stan won today and he looked damn comfortable out there against Johnson. He now plays Simon who needed five sets to get past Mahut.

Bar something unpredictable again from Stan, I expect him to get through Simon. And I doubt he would tank against Roger this time. Then there is Berdych and Nishikori as well. I think if Roger plays Monfils/Stan/Nishikori before the final that would be a decent test. But whoever he plays he needs to take advantage of this draw because it won’t get much easier. I’m looking forward to Roger playing Monfils anyway, even if it’s only to see the crowd’s reaction.

  • Tomorrow’s Matches

So tomorrow is the top half’s turn again where there is a bunch of interesting matchups going on. And this time it’s the Djoker’s turn to get Chatrier while Nadal and Murray have to settle for Lenglen. The Djoker will play rising star Kokkinakis which should be a good gauge of his form. Nadal plays Kuznetsov who I don’t know much about while the Murray vs Kyrgios match is one to look forward too. Finally, in the battle of the youngsters Sock and Coric will face off in another interesting match to decide who will face Nadal in the fourth round.

  • Highlights

  • Federer Presser

The is in your court.