Hi, folks! It’s been a couple of days since I posted, but I am back with a vengeance for the conclusion of this very exciting and absorbing French Open. There have been some interesting stories in this French Open, among others the rise of Gulbis and the return to form of big four-member Andy Murray. Of course, the rise of Gulbis have not exactly been something Fedfans appreciated, but at least they can take heart from the fact that Roger lost to someone who won his next match. And it wasn’t even close. Gulbis made short work of Berdych routining him 6-3, 6-2, 6-4. With this win, Gulbis had his best result in a grand slam yet, bettering his previous best by one round which was at the French Open in 2008. After showing a lot of promise early on, Gulbis has disappointed. He always possessed the talent but lacked the dedication to fulfill that talent.
It has only been in recent times that he has become more dedicated and more consistent as a result. In a sense, Gulbis’ success makes me feel better about his win over Roger, because as I said in my last post Roger should by all accounts have won that match and I was regretting it somewhat. If Roger won the second set, which clearly he should have, then he may have beaten Gulbis in straight sets. Or at most in four sets. So it shows me that Roger is on a good level and had it not been for the lack of matches due to the birth of his children, he could easily be the one facing Djokovic in the semis now. But in a sense I am happy it did not work out that way. If Roger was in the semis he could have made life very difficult for Djokovic again, which wouldn’t have been good for Djokovic before he faced Nadal in the final.
Roger already saved Nadal once. I didn’t want to see it happen again. Not that Gulbis will be a walk over, but it is his first slam semi and I think Djokovic should win the match relatively comfortably. I can see the match going to four sets at most with Djokovic on the winning side. If it was Roger he could have pushed Djokovic to five sets, which would have tired him out before a final with Nadal. I think everything happens for a reason and works out the way it should. I am now totally fine with Roger’s loss against Gulbis. He lacked matches and struggled from the start of the tournament. With the relatively early loss, he didn’t spend a lot of energy and he can now go straight to grass and start getting ready for the big onslaught at an eighth Wimbledon title. I get excited just thinking about it.
Coming of age
It would be the coolest thing ever if Roger wins his 18th slam at Wimbledon, and in the process become the record holder for titles at the most prestigious tournament in the world. It would pretty much etch his name in the history books as the undisputed GOAT. Somehow it just seems right and meant to be. But first it seems meant to be that Nadal’s reign at the French Open will be ended by Djokovic this year. If Nadal fails to win the French Open this year and Roger wins Wimbledon, then the GOAT debate is effectively closed in my opinion. But there is a long way to go for that to happen. Let me get back to the French Open fourth rounds first which I left out in my last post because I wanted the whole post to be about Roger. Nadal’s cakewalk draw continued when he faced the worst player left in the draw in Lajovic.
I watched some of that match and Lajovic was atrocious. Nadal won easily 6-1, 6-2, 6-1 but wasn’t overly impressive. Djokovic’s 6-1, 6-4, 6-1 victory over the home favorite and 13th seed Tsonga was much more impressive. Murray played Verdasco who had been having a decent tournament. Verdasco had more than enough talent to beat Murray but the mental midget that he is he lost in straight sets, 4-6, 5-7, (3)6-7. Now onto the quarter finals where Nadal played Ferrer and won 4-6, 6-4, 6-0, 6-1. Again Nadal was showing some signs of vulnerability as he dropped the first set to Ferrer. I started watching just as Nadal won the second set, after which I quickly switched over to the Murray/Monfils match when I saw the Ferrer’s demise was inevitable. Ferrer even admitted afterwards that he threw in the towel after losing the second set.
Pathetic really. Why he would go and admit that baffles me. Now everyone knows he is a quitter. I mean who quits after a set all, but to go and admit it is even worse. So I switched to Murray’s match and what I saw was that Monfils was coming back into the match after losing the first two sets. He ended up winning the next two sets and Murray looked frustrated and in danger of letting the match slip through his fingers. As the fifth set began the light was fading badly and Murray was frustrated that play was not stopped to come back the next day. I thought it would count against him as the momentum was on Monfils’ side, but Murray bageled Monfils in the final set winning 6-4, 6-1, 4-6, 1-6, 6-0. Only Monfils would go and lose the final set 6-0 after having the momentum and the crowd on his side, which is why he is not slam winning material.
The last quarter final which I have not mentioned was the one between Djokovic and Raonic, and it was another clinical performance from Djokovic who won 7-5, 7-6(5), 6-4. He is really looking extremely impressive. He will now face Gulbis who he holds a 4-1 lead against in the head-to-head. I’m convinced this is where the road ends for Gulbis. He has done very well to get this far and he has no doubt made progress, but I don’t think there is any chance he can upset Djokovic. The same goes for Murray against Nadal. Murray has convinced everyone that he is back to his best, but I don’t see any way in which he can defeat Nadal. Murray is not a top tier clay court player. He is very competent on the surface when he is playing well, but compared to the rest of the big four he is well behind on clay.
The 2014 French Open winner was always meant to be between Djokovic and Nadal, and as you may have guessed I am still firmly believing that Djokovic will win it this year. But, of course, nothing is set in stone and both Djokovic and Nadal still has to win their respective semi-finals. I think both matches will definitely be worth watching and I will certainly try to. Both Djokovic and Nadal have dropped one set during the tournament now and they are both looking very good. Judging by the score lines they are looking equally good for the title, but one must remember Djokovic had a tougher draw and I have seen some subtle signs of vulnerability from Nadal. Let’s see if Nadal shows any more signs of vulnerability in the semis, and if Djokovic can continue his very impressive form.