French Open 2015 Semi-Finals Preview

Hello, everyone. Thank you for your comments on my last post and for taking part in the discussion. I’m sorry if I haven’t replied to everyone. There were just too many comments. I kind of want to continue talking about yesterday’s historic match because it was so delightful, but it’s time to focus on tomorrow’s semi-finals. I will just say one more thing about yesterday’s Djokodal match, which is that the Djoker’s genius half-volley winner at 5-3 and deuce in the second set was a massive moment in the match.

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He had no room for error whatsoever there. He had to hit the perfect shot and nothing less, which he did. If he messed it up and Nadal broke serve on the next point, Nadal could now be the one playing against Murray in the semi-finals. That unreal shot from the Djoker effectively shut Nadal out of the match. Mentally it was a huge shot to pull off, and it was not the first time we saw an unreal shot from the Djoker on a huge point, like the return he made against Roger at the US Open to steal the match.

Now without any further ado let’s look at tomorrow’s two big semi-finals.

  • Djokovic vs Murray

Let’s look at this objectively. The Djoker just smashed the nine-time French Open winner in straight sets while Murray needed four sets to get by someone who has never won the French Open. If this doesn’t say the Djoker is the favorite then I don’t know what does. Then the Djoker also leads Murray 5-2 in slams and 18-8 in the overall head-to-head. So yeah he is clearly the favorite. That doesn’t guarantee a win of course, or else there would be no need to play the match.

It just means that going by past results the Djoker is more likely to win. But tomorrow is not the past and on a given day anything can happen. Murray has beaten the Djoker in two slam finals already, and with his new-found clay game he is not to be underestimated. I just think the Djoker will be supremely confident after the way he disposed of Nadal. That was a nerve-wrecking match for him, knowing that it was a now-or-never type situation. The way he came through it showed immense confidence and self-belief.

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Now, I don’t like making predictions because it seems pointless to me. No one knows the future unless you have supernatural abilities, and I don’t. I just think that if you look at the objective facts then the Djoker is the favorite, but like I said the so-called objective facts doesn’t necessarily mean a damn thing on any given day. So for me the Djoker is the favorite but of course he could lose. Murray has been very consistent this year but the Djoker even more so. He is currently on a 28-match winning streak.

It is getting up to 2011-level again. Winning breeds confidence and confidence breeds winning. I like how muted his celebration was after beating Nadal too as if he knew the job was only halfway done. Beating Nadal is not enough for him. He wants to complete the career slam and he wants to complete it this year. If he does not he can always come back next year, but he’d want to get it behind him. He is also a more balanced player now with his improved serve, net game, and forehand.

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He definitely has a better forehand than Murray, especially for clay. It has more topspin and kicks higher off the court. He has a terrific drop shot. He played some great volleys against Nadal. He can do anything these days. Djokoray have very similar games, but I would say the Djoker also has a better second serve, and a slightly better backhand and returns. But maybe the biggest difference is in the mental department where the Djoker is extremely solid and confident.

It should be a cracker and I can’t wait!

  • Wawrinka vs Tsonga

If the Djoker and Murray are the great defensive players then these two are the great offensive players. They are both very powerful and talented players who can volley very competently too. It’s certainly going to be a good old slugfest. Another very exciting prospect. After Stan defeated Roger in straight sets he will be supremely confident. And I have already talked about his indifference toward the French crowd. They won’t bother him in the least after the Davis Cup in Lille.

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I have already said I consider him the favorite so I won’t harp on it. I just think he is locked into that zone that saw him win the Australian Open last year. On that occasion, he defeated the Djoker 9-7 in the fifth set, and if they both make the final we can have something similar. When Stan is in this mood he just smashes through everyone. To beat the Djoker in Melbourne is basically like beating Nadal at the French. Stan is the only guy who did it in the last five years, and the score was awfully close.

That tells you what a devastating ball striker he is. In the final he just went ahead and smashed Nadal off the court in four sets. And just as a side note, that loss together with yesterday’s loss by Nadal was two of the most pivotal losses in the GOAT debate. Anyway, if Stan continues in his current mode I don’t see much hope for Tsonga. Tsonga has some massive power himself, but Stan has a better backhand which can do loads of damage. I must say I am a huge fan of this Stan as well.

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I love his raw power and also his personality. I already said that if he defeats the Djoker in the final it’s not really gonna bother me. But yeah I’d like to see the Djoker finally get the career slam. But we are not there yet, and like the Djoker, Stan can lose. Nothing is guaranteed. If I am forced to make a prediction I would say the Djoker and Stan both win in four sets. But we could have a Murray/Tsonga final for that matter. But hopefully, we get a Djoker/Stan final because I think that would be just superb.

Either way this should be another cracker!

Who wins the Djokoray semi?

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Who wins the Stanga semi?

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The is in your court.

Posted in French Open, Grand Slams.

28 Comments

  1. Hey Ru-an, very reasonable preview. I feel if Murray wants to get it done, he has to win the first 2 sets (which, of course, is impossible) otherwise it is Djoker in straights or 4. As for Stanga (another original, Ru-an!) Stan should win it. Stan can match him in power and he will expose Tsonga’s weaker bh wing. Only way I see Tsonga winning is if he gets into one of his rare but unstoppable inspired zones. This thrilling FO deserves a fitting finale – Stan/Djoker or Djokeray! Everything points to Djoker winning it. But what if he doesn’t?!! I can’t imagine what the press will be like then!! Ru-an, you said that you are waiting for my comments about Djoker’s win. You must have been sleeping; or too “intoxicated” with celebrating the slaying of the monster!! I was live chatting on your blog wanting Djoker to win and already sent some comments. But since you asked, I am relieved as I totally expected Djoker to win as I commented before the tourney even started that Djoker will beat Nadal. I wish I had the testosterone that you guys seem to have in abundance atm to channel the Nadal hate! :)) I’m sure it is a very enjoyable experience ;-) I am actually more in awe of Djoker than I am in enjoyment of Nadal’s loss. I like to talk more about Djoker’s greatness than Nadal’s unattractiveness. I don’t hate Nadal as passionately as most Fedfans. But, don’t get me wrong, I LOVE the humor and the satisfaction all you Nadal haters are getting from it. I like spice as I said before. It is more interesting to have a bit of trash thrown in now and then. I told you before, Ru-an, in the early days, I found your blog a little boring coz it was too serious, too straight-forward. There’s a time and place for everything. Now is the time to let out all the pent up frustrations :-) Back to Djoker. Doesn’t he now have the best drop shot on tour?!! It used to be he only drop shots stupidly and only on one side (maybe bh side? can’t remember). Now he uses it so intelligently and so effectively. I think Becker has a lot to do with making Djoker a more complete player. Even his much improved first AND second serve I suspect has a lot to do with Becker. What’s most admirable about Djoker is, as I said before already, he is a “wholesome” player. He does not neglect any area. He gets a great team whom he listens to and works very closely with and whom he ALWAYS attributes his wins to, he looks into his diet, his mental struggles, his love life. And he is not content but keeps improving. The ATP has a blueprint, a role model how to be a great player, ie do not leave any area unturned! If you look at ATP players, there are always loose ends in at least one area of their lives; eg Roger, the mental part – what is he doing about it? Or Nadal, the coach situation, is he gonna change it? I think if people actually look deeper into how Djoker evolved into such a great player, they can certainly learn a few things and can become better than what they are now. OK I’ll end with this. Nadal looks sick. I don’t mean injured sick. I mean he doesn’t look healthy; the colour of his face, the blotches, his thinning hair; just a general look of an unhealthy person. Not sure what this means….

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    Ru-an Reply:

    Nice to see you comment Ronster. As usual you make a lot of good points and I’m not sure I’ll get to respond to them all. Aside from your loyal following I love how knowledgeable you are about tennis. And I am sorry you are not a fan of the Djoker but glad you can at least respect him. If the Djoker is the model ATP player then you are the model blog follower! :-) I can totally see how my blog could have been boring in the past. It was very serious.

    And yes, my Nadal hate is very strong. I don’t know about the others but for me I think it comes from having been a very competitive tennis player myself. Whenever I see him on a tennis court I just want to see him being utterly destroyed. It’s just something he brings out of me with the way he behaves. I can’t stand his gamesmanship and the games he plays, and as an ex-tennis player I am more aware of them. Seeing him lose is the most pleasing sight in tennis for me. Nothing else comes close. So yeah, yesterday was probably the best day I’ve experienced as a tennis fan.

    The Djoker is very complete like you said. He has the unique combination of talent and mental strength that Fedal does not have. Roger has a mental flaw while Nadal has limited talent. The Djoker has no such flaw. He may be even more complete than Roger, and who knows what he can achieve. Certainly a calendar slam would set him apart, but first we must see if he can win the French. And then there is still a long way to go.

    As for Nadal looking sick that is interesting. I didn’t notice it, but I believe you. Maybe like someone on my last post said his body can’t stand any more dope? Who knows.

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    Ru-an Reply:

    Oh and just to add to my comment. Falseness is my #1 pet peeve. I want to see all falseness mercilessly destroyed, and Nadal epitomizes falseness to me. So it is immensely satisfying when he loses.

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  2. Ru-an, I know everyone is leaning towards Djoker as the victor in the semi final against Murray. But I still see some hope for Murray. Djokovic’s mental fortitude has been remarkable over the recent past. But one can still see some cracks; for example, the demon of Dull crept into his head during the QF which allowed Dull to come back from a 0-4 deficit to almost level the set. Fortunately, Novak was able to seal the cracks immediately. Dull was not able to take advantage of Djoker’s momentary lapses as his current level of tennis is not good enough to accomplish that. Whatever he was able to achieve in order to hurt Novak in the first set was purely because of his mental strength and the aura associated with him in French open. On the other hand, Murray has reached the prime of his clay court career. What if those momentary lapses resurface again and Murray is able to take advantage of it? Of course, luck plays an important part in all these. I consider that luck played a big part in that remarkable half volley made by Djoker at 6-5, 40-40 in the first set of his QF against Rafa. It was an instinctive shot, not like those perfectly executed regular ones. It is at per with Djoker’s close eyed return to Fed’s serve in 2011 US open semi final or the one clipping the net during the third set tie-breaker of Fed’s opening match at last year’s Shanghai open against Leonardo Mayer. Ultimately, it is all destiny: if Djoker is destined to break the curse of the French open which has notoriously eluded him in the last 4 years, he will emerge as the Champion. Otherwise it is already earmarked for somebody else.

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    Ru-an Reply:

    Well, I don’t know about destiny and all that Jiten. You may as well determine your own destiny with free will. As for the choking against Nadal that was totally expected from the Djoker. But unlike Roger, he didn’t let the choking get the better of him and won regardless. I don’t see for what reason he would choke for the remainder of RG. Like I said the choking against Nadal was fully understandable given their history. Why would he choke against Murray or Stan? If he loses it will be because they played better, which I don’t expect to be the case. I don’t care how much Nadal has declined. He was by far the biggest test for the Djoker because he played against the demons of the past too.

    You say the half-volley was luck and that the Djoker made a return with his eyes closed at the USO. I can assure you his eyes were wide open when he made the return, and that the half-volley wasn’t luck. It just depends on where you are coming from. People see things the way they want to see them, through the screen of their own bias and preferences, and that has nothing to do with reality. What I can tell you is that you don’t make a shot like that if you are a choker. That much is sure. Luck is the shots he hit in the third set that clipped the net. That is pure luck. But a half-volley off the shoelaces on a massive point like that? Nah. That takes tremendous skill. He hits these kinds of shots with a regularity too which can’t be mere coincidence or luck.

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    Jiten Reply:

    Ru-an, I guess I should have got the facts correct before commenting on the close eyed shot ~x( . I got the US open semi final year wrong which should have been 2010, not 2011 and the shot was not a return of Fed’s serve. It was a forehand down the line when Djoker was down 15-40 on his serve at matchpoint. I completely agree that Djoker makes ridiculously difficult shots quite regularly. However, I am not yet convinced that Djoker makes these shoelace pickup kind of half volleys regularly; he is still not very comfortable at the net. We have seen him missing sitter volleys many a times. But that does not take away anything form as a great player he is. I still consider him to be one of the greats and better than Rafa as a complete tennis player.

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    Ru-an Reply:

    No worries Jiten. That shot at the 2010 USO actually just proves my point more. I had forgotten about it. So he routinely makes those kinds of shots under pressure which is a special ability. The higher the pressure the more ridiculous shots he makes it seems. I understand what you say about him not being comfortable at the net and not making those kinds of shots regularly, but that could make it even more impressive depending on how you look at it. His net game has improved. I don’t think about that there is any doubt.

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    Ben chia Reply:

    Hi jiten, I think it’s an Apple to Apple comparison to put doko-vs-Nadull against doko-vs-murray. Against Nadull, doko had to fight the anxiety of Finally beating someone who bested him numerous times and damn near unbeatable in almost a decade at FO. How does facing against Murray (whom he recently beat up) even comes close to that? So I’m expecting a straight set win by doko tmr.
    I missed wawa vs tsonga match. Didn’t know it was going to be such a good one. Pity.

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    Ru-an Reply:

    It wasn’t that amazing BC. I slept during a part of the match i-) Nice to see Stan win anyway, and in 4 sets like I predicted :-P

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  3. Hey Ru-an and guys, what’s up?? First let me say this. I wanted to say since a few days, I really really like this new blog Ru-an. Not that the previous one was not good, but this one is very “sereen”. I don’t know how to say it in English. Very easy, ordened and good to look at. I know I am saying it the wrong way Ru-an, but it is a compliment. Hope you know what I mean when I say: “the new blog is very netjes, overzichtelijk, mooi, rustig en rustgevend”. You know a few Dutch words, so I do hope you know what I mean, but trust me, it is a compliment :-)

    Second of all…. Ru-an, are you kidding me?? Almost every day a new post and so many comments?? Where do you get the time from?? Man, it takes me so much time now to read all the posts and comments. I am loving it, even with my crappy internet :))
    Keep it up Ru-an and all you guys. Love reading all the comments !!

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    Haha, I understand your Dutch Katyani! Thank you! ;-) As for the many posts I am not working at the moment so that clearly helps. I will begin studying again soon, but I should still have enough time to blog regularly!

    [Reply]

    Katyani Reply:

    I really mean it Ru-an. Your previous blog was good. But you took a chance on a “new” blog and look how it paid off. I don’t think anyone has said it was a bad move. Yes, it took some time to get use to it, but look at all the compliments you are getting !!! Change is good. And me…. I am loving the orange haha :-)
    Hope you will do well with your study. What kind of a study??

    Me, I passed my first course (yippee for me :-) ) and now I am doing my second course. Having less time to watch matches or comment and DAMN my bad internet connection, it is killing me X-(

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    Thanks! Not everyone likes change Katyani but it is a fact of life and it’s good. I also think my blog has improved in leaps and bounds. Both the appearance and the content, so thanks. I’m sure you like the orange but it the colors will change as before so enjoy while it lasts. I’m gonna finish my Bcomm degree. Congrats on passing your first course ;-)

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  4. Now the serious part… what is it with human nature?? For soooo long I wanted to see Rafa being beaten at RG… and when it happened I kind of felt sorry for Rafa. Imagine that. Not TOO sorry, but a bit. I only saw the last 10 minutes and Rafa just gave up…. I wanted to enjoy that moment, especially after all he had put us through with Roger, but somehow…. he looked beaten. Ofcourse I know he will come back stronger.

    Also, again. TAKE A BOW Stan the Man and Novak for playing great tennis. They both played so dominant that Roger and Rafa were NOT allowed to play better. They both made Roger and Rafa look “average”. Which I didn’t mind for Rafa, but did mind for Roger. But Stan completely deserved the win.
    Both take a bow for that. I see them making the final. But Andy might also have a say in this.

    And please don’t burn or trash or hate me for this, I am just telling it how I feel about it…. but I cannot feel the Novak love the way you all do. Sorry, I can’t. I just can’t. Yes, as a tennisplayer he totally DESERVES to win RG. He is not the best player in the world, but my God, the whole universe !!! Still, there is where it ends for me…. Don’t burn me for this, it is only my opinion. Which, let me make this clear, has got less to do with Roger, but all with Novak the person. I am not his fan and although I have tried, I cannot be his fan.

    I don’t want Andy to win RG, because then England and the stupid Sky Sports will all drule over him, calling him the best of all time.
    I don’t want Jo Willy to win, because then France will be abnoxious, especially that Jean something guy of the France tennis federation.
    So go Stan the Man… and make your own future. It looks like you are in your AO 2014 mood.

    Also take a bow Timea (you played great) and Safarova. But I am rooting for Serena :-)

    By the way… a question…. what would have happened to the big four in the last 2 years if Delpo was at his absolute best???

    [Reply]

  5. Hi Ru-an, great preview as always! I like Novak a lot, but as a Brit it would be amazing if Murray pulled off the miracle win here today.

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    Thank you, Krish! Totally understand why you root for Murray!

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    Krish Reply:

    Cheers, Ru-an. I see the match has been postponed till tomorrow. Really proud of the way Murray fought in the 3rd set, Novak was just outplaying him for most of the match, but he finds a way to get back in the contest just when it looked like a straights sets beating. Two unbelievable shots at 5-5 by Murray, which rattled Djokovic and helped get the crowd on his side!

    Looking forward to the conclusion tomorrow, this is absolutely brutal tennis.

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    Yes amazing fightback by Murray Krish and like you said absolutely brutal baseline rallies. Just loving it!

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  6. Will Stan convert into Giant Slayer? He already denied Roger from MC (one of very few titles that eluded him) and Nadal from 2nd career slam. The way he’s playing, he can give serious trouble to Djoker ( I reckon he will beat Murray in 4) and deny him the career slam? Crazy!

    [Reply]

  7. Hi Ru-an have just watched a video of Bo Dach about Nadal….funny….sorry any
    Nadal fans this guy is just a funny man!

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    No, Elizabeth, I have not. Do you have a link?

    [Reply]

    Gargantouas Reply:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hqnnhT-qj48

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    Gargantouas Reply:

    I think Ben Chia posted it before.

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    Nope, I posted it. Old news.

    [Reply]

    Ben Chia Reply:

    Yep. Credit to Ru-an for that gem of a find. Watched it 4 times already and still cracks me up. Here’s the link for those who are interested. Enjoy! http://youtu.be/hqnnhT-qj48

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    Only 4? I’ve watched 10 times already probably :))

    [Reply]

    Ben Chia Reply:

    Gems like these needs to be enjoyed slowly. Each subsequent time I challenge myself not to laugh when I watch it. No success yet. “Best forehand in history… Only 3 forehand winners! GOAT?” LOL. The Truth hurts, no?

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    It’s just perfect. And I was a member at Mens Tennis Forums too so that probably makes it a lot funnier. “The Spartan warrior serves double fault on match point” =))

    [Reply]

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