- Top Half
Today there were two big upsets at the French Open but let me get back to the top half first where Djokovic and Thiem advanced as I hoped for. Djokovic defeated Bedene 6-2, 6-3, 6-3 while Thiem defeated Zverev 6-7(4), 6-3, 6-3, 6-3.
The seeds Bautista Agut, Ferrer, Berdych, and Goffin also survived while Tsonga withdrew in the first set against Gulbis. Djokovic improved from his match on Lenglen against Darcis which you would have expected.
I didn’t get the feeling that he enjoyed playing on Lenglen and although he wasn’t at his best against Bedene either it was definitely a better performance and Bedene played well. I would have liked to see Djokovic score at least one bakery product but got the break at 5-3 in the third to get off the court before it was dark.
There were more rain delays on Saturday which meant that Djokovic was in a race against time to finish his match. I’ve read accusations of gamesmanship but it’s perfectly understandable that Djokovic did not want to come back the next day.
The more important thing was that the crowd seems to have finally warmed up to Djokovic after what happened last year in the final. During the concluding ceremony, the crowd gave Djokovic a long standing ovation which had him in tears.
That is what I mean when I talk about ‘having done his dues’. There must have been a tremendous amount of anger and frustration after all the years of being cursed at the French but Djokovic didn’t show it.
To the contrary, he was very gracious in defeat and didn’t attract any attention to himself until the crowd almost pulled the emotion out of him. The whole thing was very touching and emotional because Stan was also very gracious in victory.
Against Bedene, the crowd started chanting Djokovic’s name at the end from what I read. Somehow it escaped my ears. So that is good to know and will only help him to finally win that elusive French Open this year.
He is now in a good position and still the favorite to win the title but, of course, there is still a long way to go. Bautista Agut is dangerous as we saw last year at the US Open when he gave Djokovic a very tough four-set match.
He can hit big with those flat ground strokes and as a Spaniard, he is very at home on clay. Looking forward to that match tomorrow.
Then two old foes in Berdych and Ferrer will face off in a matchup which Ferrer leads 8-6. Thiem continued his good form and will face Granollers who got a walkover over Nadal. Finally, Goffin will play Gulbis after defeating Almagro in five sets.
Goffin has been solid of late and I expect a quarterfinal between him and Thiem which would be a good match.
- Bottom Half
Now to today’s action where Raonic lost in straight set to Ramos-Vinolas and Nishikori lost in four sets to Gasquet. The lost generation disappoints again. Dimitrov is also part of that generation but he is hardly worth mentioning nowadays.
The real deals Stan and Murray at least won with respective victories over Troicki and Isner. To get back to the physical tiredness of Stan after winning Geneva I don’t think that should be a problem anymore since he didn’t play much during the rest of the clay court season.
He should still be quite fresh. He dropped another set against Troicki and now plays Ramos-Vinolas. Stan should have too much firepower for Ramos-Vinolas while Murray usually beats Gasquet.
So I think we are now looking at a Stan vs Murray semi-final in the bottom half which should be a great match if Stan is at his best.