Quarterfinals are Set as the French Open Moves Into Its Business End

I’m done with exams in time to blog about the business end of the 2017 French Open which promises to be an exciting few days. For once, Murray and Wawrinka have come to play which adds to the intrigue.

Lendl joined Murray in Paris which must have had a positive effect because he has been playing more like a world number one for once. He defeated Del Potro in straight sets and today he defeated the promising youngster Khachanov 6-3, 6-4, 6-4.

He plays Nishikori next who defeated Verdasco 0-6, 6-4, 6-4, 6-0 today. Quite a scoreline. It was a good comeback from Nishikori who will be a real test for Murray. But given the way Murray has been playing, he is probably the favorite.

That could give us a rematch of last year’s semi-final between Stan and Murray because Stan is the favorite over Cilic too. But let’s see what happens in the top half quarterfinals first which will be played on Wednesday.

  • Bottom Half

The bottom half is where the likely 2017 French Open winner will come from because you have Nadal, Djokovic, and Thiem there. Nadal is still the favorite for the title as he has been all clay court season long probably.

But fortunately, Djokovic has done well enough for it not to be a foregone conclusion. He has blown some much-needed life into an otherwise very predictable and boring clay court season by gradually improving with every event he played despite having very little room to work with.

Then he also gained the services of tennis legend Andre Agassi after contacting him after he lost in Monte Carlo to thank him for his support in the media. Agassi came to Paris to work with Djokovic in the first week and had to leave after Djokovic’s third match due to a family trip that had been arranged beforehand.

But I think just the fact that the two got together already means an enormous amount to Djokovic. The problem for Djokovic has been mostly mental as it usually is with a confidence crises and Agassi’s presence and support will do a lot for Djokovic’s mental stability and confidence.

Djokovic plays Thiem tomorrow who he destroyed 6-1, 6-0 in Rome but on that occasion, Thiem had beaten Nadal in the previous round which would have taken a lot out of him while Djokovic was at his devastating best. This time Thiem will be better prepared while Djokovic will not want to peak again.

It is only the quarterfinal stage and Djokovic needs to leave some of his best form for Nadal especially. Fortunately for Djokovic, Thiem is a good matchup for him. More so than Goffin would have been.

He does not have to play at his peak level to still beat Thiem relatively comfortable. He beat Vinolas 7-6(5), 6-1, 6-3 who won the most clay court matches this season so he is in good form. He had that match against Schwartzman that went to five sets but played himself into form in the last couple of sets winning 5-7, 6-3, 3-6, 6-1, 6-1.

That was his big test which he passed with flying colors in the end. The court time would have done him good too. But Thiem will be another test. He has probably been the second best clay courter this season behind Nadal and hasn’t dropped a set in Paris this year.

There is a wind of 25 km/h predicted for tomorrow and although Djokovic is not a great wind player I don’t think Thiem is either with his big swings. Djokovic needs to return well and play close to the baseline and Thiem will struggle with his big swings.

But that may be harder in windy conditions. Djokovic and Thiem will play on Lenglen like they did last year in the semi-finals when Djokovic won 6-2, 6-1, 6-4 but that was a masterclass from Djokovic and Thiem is more experienced now. I can see it going to four sets but Djokovic needs to put in a confident performance before facing Nadal too so I don’t think going to five sets will be helpful.

Preferably Djokovic needs to get it done in straight sets but I suppose going to four sets is ok too. All I know is he needs to be at peak level against Nadal and can’t be horsing around in a five setter against someone who he has historically owned. I hope the wind does not get in the way.

As for Nadal, he plays Busta who made his first slam quarterfinal after defeating Raonic 8-6 in the fifth set. Nadal has been untouchable so far and he is yet to show any signs at all of weakness. Busta has close to 0% chance of defeating Nadal but maybe he can at least make a set or two competitive.

 

Posted in French Open, Grand Slams.

6 Comments

  1. Cilic Is Playing Better And Better .I Wont be suprised To see Him In the finals.Nadal Is Playing Just a Week after French and It is Not good for him For the rest of the season

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  2. Good thoughts Ru-an. Here are mine.
    1) Very straight forward tournament so far for me. The only surprise may be Zverev but he got a tough first round opponent in Verdasco. The players that I considered contenders are all here.
    2) I believe in order for Thiem to win this tournament he needs to beat Djokovic in straight sets. Anything more than that i don’t believe he’ll have the energy to beat Nadal. Novak on the other hand just needs to show an improved level from his last match. ( He played great last match but it’s time to raise his game another level. Keep improving with each match) If Novak shows this improvement then I believe he has a decent shot at Nadal.
    3) On the other side of the draw I like Wawrinka over Cilic. Personally I feel that Wawrinka has the only shot to beat anyone on the other side. Then I’ll pick Murray over Nishikori. Nishikori I believe had to play back to back days and he always has injury concerns.
    4) Here are my quarterfinal picks. Nadal in 3(Will Nadal lose more than 6 games?). Novak in 4(Better match than last time but Novak raises his game and wins). Andy in 5 (Personally I don’t mind who wins. I’ll give Murray the win because of Lendl’s presence). Wawrinka in 3(Windy conditions will hamper Cilic) .

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    Ru-an Reply:

    Exactly, Styrre. Novak just needs to keep improving. Nadal plays every match at his peak because he is full of confidence. Djokovic is not in that position but he can still pace himself so that he can play one match at his peak like he did in Rome. If he plays at that level against Nadal surely he has a shot.

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  3. The inexplicable performance of the big 4 continues with a bizarre behavior from Djokovic today. The script for 10th title of Nadal must be executed and all player must obey the orders from above. The cake walk for Nadal till semifinal on slam is so similar to the draw he was gifted for his first US Open years ago. Now even the easy players he is set to play get injured to make it more probable he makes the final….In the tennis world where endorsement contracts bring 90% of cash for top players and tournament organizers are tied in suspicious relationships with sponsors tennis players look often more like actors than athletes….

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  4. Well at least the 1st set was fun. At this rate Ruan I’m starting to believe you’re the jinx cos as soon as you swapped Federer’s bandwagon for Djokovic’s the tables turned. A legend’s decline is never easy on the eyes.

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    Ru-an Reply:

    Lol you sound butthurt. When I switched to Djokovic he won the personal slam. If you are looking to take your frustration out on someone because your tennis fantasies did not materialize this is not the blog. Believe me, there are many who can testify to that 😉

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