Federer, Monfils Suspended; Nadal, Djokovic One Win Away; Monday French Open Picks And Pans
by Sean Randall | May 31st, 2015, 4:56 pm
  • 222 Comments

The rains finally hit the French Open Sunday. But luckily we got three of the four men’s fourth round matches completed. Unfortunately, the main event didn’t get in.

Kei Nishikori opened by rolling through Teymuraz Gabishvili in straight sets. No surprise there as Kei’s just been way too tough against the guys he should beat, and he goes into his quarter super fresh, without dropping a set.

Dropping a set is just what JW Tsonga did. But I thought he’d drop two more. He didn’t though as Tsonga simply overpowered Tomas Berdych in a bit of a surprise, to me, 6-3, 6-2, 6-7(5), 6-3. Tsonga missed so much time this year so it’s great to see him back in full flight. And right now he’s running hot and when gets into gear anything is possible (remember Canada last summer?).

“I’m feeling good,” said Tsonga. “I’m playing good tennis. I’m solid. When I play my best tennis, I know I’m able to beat many guys. So even if the last couple of months was tough, I always believed in myself. I continue to work hard and try to be really consistent in my head.”

Tsonga’s countryman Gilles Simon had nothing left for Stan Wawrinka who punished the Frenchman 6-1, 6-4, 6-2.

In the finale, Roger Federer breezed to an opening set win over Gael Monfils. But Monfils shook off the early weariness, got charged up for the second and right now they stand a set apiece at 6-3, 4-6 when the match was stopped in the fading light. So in tomorrow’s best-of-3, I still like Fed. Though I would have liked him more had they finished tonight in Paris.

As for the other matches Monday:

Rafael Nadal v Jack Sock
I like the spunk of this young American Jack Sock. But I don’t like him enough to upset Rafa. That said, it doesn’t mean it cannot happen. It’s been that kind of season for Nadal.

Rafa, though, has looked more and more like the Rafa we know, pulverizing the opposition through three rounds, and that includes a good win over Nicolas Almagro.

Sock has done the same, putting the hammer down on Borna Coric in the last round to reach his first or what should be many Grand Slam fourth rounds. Sock brings a lot of Rafa-like spin and firepower to his game. And he’s got some attitude. And he’ll need all his abilities to pull the shocker and do what’s only been done once before, beat Rafa in a best-of-5 on clay.

“He’s a great player,” Nadal said Saturday about the American. “He’s playing fantastic, winning very tough matches against very difficult opponents like (Grigor) Dimitrov, Pablo Carreno Busta, and today against (Borna) Coric. He has an amazing forehand, very good serve, and then he’s a player that can play very aggressive and is dangerous. I know I have to be very solid. I know I have to play aggressive and try to not let him hit the forehand in positions, because I am going to be in big trouble.”

If Nadal finds his depth and hits his spots he should advance. Sock should will make it interesting.
The Pick: Nadal in 4

Novak Djokovic v Richard Gasquet
Djokovic leads this series 10-1 winning the last eight. And I see no reason that streak ends today. Gasquet is a talented player, a great ball striker but just doesn’t seem to have the goods to win big matches like these.

Djokovic has more business to do here (Rafa?) and won’t let down to a guy like Gasquet who he’s dominated.
The Pick: Djokovic in 3

Andy Murray v Jeremy Chardy
The red-hot Andy Murray will finally get a test Monday against Jeremy Chardy. Murray has won 13 straight on his most uncomfortable surface and he’s been playing so good. Is he for real? Can he win the French? I’m not buying it, but I’ll buy he’ll beat Chardy.

The 28-year-old Frenchman has steamrolled through John Isner and then David Goffin. He’s got a lot of firepower, has some wins – beat Roger Federer in Rome last year – and he’ll have the crowd.

“I played all of my matches on Court No. 1, and the atmosphere was amazing,” Chardy said Saturday. “They pushed me and they helped me during the whole match, so for sure it will help me against Andy.

“I feel really well. Today I played one of my best matches. So if I continue to play like this, I really think I have a chance against Andy.”

But Murray has the game and he has the head-to-head having taken six of their seven meetings.
The Pick: Murray in 4

Marin Cilic v David Ferrer
Can anyone stop Marin Cilic? The guy has quietly won 10 straight Grand SLam matches, the last six in straight sets! But that run and the great draw he’s hade ends today against David Ferrer who’s beaten the big Croat in three of four.

“The mental approach to 2015 was to keep rising and to get closer to the top,” Cilic said. “I have a bit [of a] handicap as [I] started the season basically in April, but, still, that goal stays, and I feel that if I’m going to be doing the things right and if I’m going to be playing well, it won’t be too far.”

The US Open champ has played well on the clay, his worst surface, and it’s nice to see him healthy and in form. He’ll be pleased getting this far, and losing to Ferrer on clay is nothing to be ashamed of.

Cilic’s confidence keeps it close.
The Pick: Ferrer in 5

With NBC off the air, ESPN returns with coverage at 5am ET with Tennis Channel finishing the day from 10am. And with Federer added to the schedule, you have by my math the Big 4 all playing Monday!

MONDAY FRENCH OPEN SCHEDULE
Philippe-Chatrier Court 11:00 AM Start
Lucie Safarova (CZE)[13] vs. Maria Sharapova (RUS)[2]
12:30 Gael Monfils (FRA)[13] vs. Roger Federer (SUI)[2] To Finish 3-6 6-4 3
Serena Williams (USA)[1] vs. Sloane Stephens (USA)
Novak Djokovic (SRB)[1] vs. Richard Gasquet (FRA)[20]

Suzanne-Lenglen Court 11:00 AM Start
Flavia Pennetta (ITA)[28] vs. Garbine Muguruza (ESP)[21]
Andy Murray (GBR)[3] vs. Jeremy Chardy (FRA)
Jack Sock (USA) vs. Rafael Nadal (ESP)[6]
Petra Kvitova (CZE)[4] vs. Timea Bacsinszky (SUI)[23]


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222 Comments for Federer, Monfils Suspended; Nadal, Djokovic One Win Away; Monday French Open Picks And Pans

Nikola Says:

Nadal in 3
Novak in 3
Murray in 3
Ferrer in 5


judee Says:

good luck rafa I hope it’s not your last win


django Says:

Roland Garros @rolandgarros ·
Is Monfils Fed’s RG good luck charm? Every time the pair has played here Federer has gone on to reach the final.


chris ford1 Says:

That’s OK, judee, there will be many wins for Rafa in the next several years. He may lose against Novak, but this 4th round match will not be the last win of his career.


Damien Mills Says:

Monfils v Fed reduced to a best-of-3-set coin toss. Not good for Fed, methinks


Gordon Says:

Damien,

I think the break will help Fed. He usually is more in form at the beginning of a match and as we saw today Monfils is not. Plus Monfils had momentum that was completely nullified by the overnight break. Tomorrow will be like a best of 3 setter and expect Fed to come out racquets blazing.

An interesting byproduct of this match being played over two days sees the Sock-Nadal match moved off the big court, which Sock will probably benefit from.

For those of you who have not seen Sock play, he has a crazy ass forehand spin that generates an rpm closer to Nadal’s than any player on the tour. Will it affect Nadal? Probably not, but I expect Sock to be the US #1 by year’s end. This will showcase his talent, and it is obvious by the Nadal quotes that the Spaniard is aware of it.


Tennis Vagabond Says:

Gordon, I agree. Many posters here have commented on Fed’s concentration lapses increasing over the last 5-6 years, and I agree. A best of 3, with Grand Slam stakes, should suit him well.


Tennis Vagabond Says:

I would ask those here who are really knowledgable about technique for their insights into why Gael, who is, relatively, less successful on tour, does so well against Fed?


jalep Says:

Exactly right about Sock @Gordon. Also as I thought, Rafa v Sock will on Lenglen. Still, Rafa will be ready. I doubt Sock gets a set but it will be a great experience for Jack. Happy to have an atp player from US that I can honestly get behind. Especially like PospiSock as a doubles team.

What is left out from the order of play listed here is the matches moved to Court 1:
Not before 12:50pm
Cilic v Ferrer
Errani v Goerges.
wta #99 Andreea. Mitu.(ROU) v #88 Alison Van Uytvanck (BEL) age, just turned 20.

Murray being moved to Lenglen shouldn’t bother him. Just think he gets the job done in 3.

Also think Cilic v Ferrer might be a surprise. 4 or 5 sets

Expect Maria and Serena to win. And best of luck to Petra!

About the rest…just waiting to see after I get home from work. It’s all good.


skeezer Says:

TV,
Think Sean mentioned that, Gael makes Fed hit too many balls when he is on, Fed loses patience or stamina ( in the rally ). Monfils also plays a very good cat and mouse type strategy. I agree Feds chances inreased with the delay, the court (weather system will have passed) should be more lively and have more speed. But……Monfils is playing @ home. We’ll see…


TL Says:

The break obviously changes the dynamics of a best of five match which is essentially a best of three match now. Monfils had the momentum but he also had two five setters on the trot. Mixed feelings for him, I guess. Fed’s serve was not very good especially in the second set. I guess he doesn’t mind the break either.

I agree that Langlen is better for Sock and he has a very slim chance if he can bring that power game of his and Raf has one of his off days. However, it is very tough to sustain that kind of game over a long period. Therefore, a shock from Sock is highly unlikely. I don’t know the current average rpm of Rafa’s topspin fh but I recently saw a Djoko fh rpm count at over 4200 which is quite crazy except in Rafa’s case. I don’t know much about Sock’s rpm numbers but I doubt his numbers are similar. If they indeed are, one wonders if it is due to any recent changes in string technology because I can’t recall Djoko having such rpm on his fh. Of course, he hits a lot of his fh with more spin now but I never thought he’d be reaching Rafa territory in that department.


Daniel Says:

If Monfils beat Fed we will have a first time Roland Garros finalist as neither Kei, Tsonga or Wawrinka reached Roland Garros final before. Only Fed from that side of the draw.

All 3 of them reached Slam finals and of course, Wawrinka won his only one. This is very interesting indeed.

But I also agree with Gordon, Fed will start better and Monfils may feel even more mental and physical. Tomorrow will be a cool day, no rain but cool temperatures, no sun to help Nadal.

Sock play similar to Soderling, big serve big forehand and if Nadal keeps crumbling under pressure, Sock may win a set (agree with Sean on this one), but very hard to see him winning now. Possible ( a few year back it would be unthinkable), but tomorrow, on Lenglen, possible. Hope not, I want Djoko x Nadal on Wednesday:-)


Michael Says:

The Roger-Monfils encounter is poised for an interesting finish. Pity that the match couldn’t be completed yesterday. At set a piece both appears to be in the race. However in a 3 set shoot out today, Mongols might enjoy a slight edge.

I agree with most of Sean picks except for Cilic who I think might edge out Ferrer.


Damien Mills Says:

Gordon
Yep, good points, but I can’t help feeling the game has changed from a physical one to a mental one – both know Gael’s had the wood on him the last 2 encounters in clay, and this can only be good for Gael’s belief. The crowd, too, will be super-hyped, and I think this lifts Gael more than it does Fed. Regardless, it’s going to be a cracker – best ticket to get, apart from Rafa/Novak


Tennis Vagabond Says:

Skeeze, that’s interesting because I never think of Monfils as a super-defense long rally player like Rafa, Novak or Murray. But I guess there’s something to that: the difference being the latter three hit real tennis shots whereas Monfils seems to hit whatever he pulls out of his quiver, but now that I think it over, he certainly does have the speed to just somehow keep the ball in play, even if his shots can sometimes seem like desperation ones.


TL Says:

I can’t provide any technical insight but the simple explanation – and not only for Monfils – is that Fed just can’t rally anymore with the best baseliners. During his best years, Fed was able to engage in long rallies with the very best of them and he could hope to win a fair number of those long points. The heavily-compromised game he plays now is least suited to clay especially on a court like Chatrier. It goes without saying that Monfils is a serious talent who never realized his true potential. A gifted and powerful athlete like him can cause serious damage when he is focused and not goofing around. He has got everything needed to win RG. Only if he knew how to use those tools! OTOH, Fed has many more off days now than he used to have. His focus during even a three set match is quite inconsistent. I have always thought that clay, especially of the kind we have at Chatrier, is for younger men with great upper body muscle power/strength and/or endurance. Sometimes, one feels all you need is an ability to whack away at the ball for very long periods and run and run and run. If the court/balls are not responsive enough, Fed becomes helpless as his game is much more complex. His relative lack of power makes his shots sitting ducks in such situations especially in heavy/wet/overcast conditions. He can’t grind and he can’t overpower. The results over the past few years are therefore hardly surprising.


skeezer Says:

TL,
Thats a good analogy and summation. Couldn’t have said it better.
TV,
Re; Monfils
Especially on Clay.


mat4 Says:

Monfils, on a slow court, can defend better than anybody, when he’s motivated to do so. Just ask Novak, who lost the gold medal in Beijing because of his QF against Gael. Novak just couldn’t make a winner. The consequences of the very difficult match were in the semi: he was very stiff and needed a set to wake up. It was too late.

Gael’s problem is that he doesn’t have the strategic sense Simon has, e.g. He doesn’t know what to do after defending. But lately, under the influence of Simon and Grosjean, he started to be much more aggressive.

The very slow combo Chatrier/Babolat (balls) suits him very well, since he has a lot of power and can hit devastating shots.


jane Says:

gasquet has claimed he wants him match with novak to be “more than 3 sets” and that he, reeshard, is better and fitter than when they played here in 2011.

also, chardonay has laid down some fighting words for andy saying he is “pissed” about rome.

“Jeremy Chardy, who faces Murray in the fourth round, has questioned the British player’s decision to withdraw from the Rome Masters due to fatigue after beating Chardy 6-3, 6-3 two weeks ago.

‘I was a little bit pissed,’ the world no. 45 said of Murray’s decision. ‘I mean, when you are starting a tournament and he beat me first round, and he’s so confident and he want to be one of the best player, win a Grand Slam. If you want to win a Grand Slam, everybody is tired, for me. So I was a little bit pissed when I see he retired because of tiredness.’”


jane Says:

*his match not *him


jane Says:

i don’t think it’s going to help chardy much to be saying this sort of thing but i just saw the quote in an article. it’s likely he was asked about it in an interview.


Gordon Says:

Federer has got to be looking at the draw and realizing if he can win 2 sets against Monfils he is in pretty good shape to reach the final, if his concentration does not go on a walkabout. Wawrinka is not at the top of his game and Federer should have an easy time with him. The last stop before a final berth will be the winner of Nishikori and a pretty rejuvenated Tsonga. That should be an awesome match but I can’t see the winner defeating Fed on a hot day on dry clay.

The biggest obstacle is Monfils, who has a superb chance of spoiling Fed’s goal, if he can keep his head straight. But we all know that has always been his main problem.

Monday is going to rock.


jalep Says:

jane…

Interesting fighting words from Gasquet and Chardy.
Well, Andy and Nole better get ready!


jane Says:

yeah jalep, the frenchies are fired up.


danica Says:

Jane,
Gasquet apparently said that he is bored when watching Nole and Andy, their game is not interesting. Fair enough. Hope that boring kind of game will dispatch him on Monday in three sets ;).

BTW, I don’t like Novak’s schedule. There’s a chance that their match could be interrupted and continued on Tuesday which gives Nole no rest for the clash with Rafa (provided, both get there). Very disappointed that RG is still not using lights for night matches.


Dan Martin Says:

I’ve got my picks up at http://tennisabides.com for the men’s and women’s events. Tomorrow is one of those great days for tennis fans.


Michael Says:

I think Nishikori is the dark horse to win this edition of Rolland Garros. I was just impressed with the way he played against Gabshivelli. He seems pretty powerful on both the flanks and was outplaying his opponent from the word go. Similarly, Tsonga too looked imposing against Berdych, but the only hitch is that he is not consistent and can be erratic at times. So, there is skepticism as to whether he can go all the way to win a Grand Slam. There is another player to watch out for and that is Cilic who looked in tremendous form with the way he dispatched Mayer, a very good player, in straight sets. We all know the way Cilic stumped all his critics by winning the US Open against all odds beating Berdych, Roger and Nishikori and so there is a distinct possibility that he might emulate those high standards at Rolland Garros too.

Although Novak and Rafa are the likely favourites to win the tournament, yet you cannot get away from the feeling that this edition of the tournament is wide open pregnant with various possibilities and might gift a new Champion.


Eric Says:

Chardy is not wrong about Andy. He should have withdrawn before the tournament started.

Fed should beat Monfils; this isn’t the Davis Cup.

What I don’t understand (and this goes for suspended matches last week too) is why resuming delayed matches is not the first thing on the agenda the next day! Fed and Monfils don’t get to resume until after the Sharapova-Safarova match. I suppose an hour or two one way or the other doesn’t really matter much for recovery time, but it seems obvious that you should get the backlogged tennis out of the way first.


KatH Says:

Also on Chardy v Murray, Serena’s ex coach (Patrick M.?) warns Andy that Chardy can reach new levels when playing to his home audience and he gives the Davis Cup as an example.

Fingers crossed. Hope Andy wins and also would like to see Gael win – when he’s really switched on he’s nothing short of miraculous.


Giles Says:

Expect a boo-ing crowd for Murphy, they have done it before when he played against Gilles Simon some years ago.


Margot Says:

Gooooo Andy! Expect Chardy’s remarks will have annoyed him.
Good!


Margot Says:

https://mobile.twitter.com/rolandgarros/status/605290452774973440/video/1

Looks like Chardy on the practise court next to Andy. Suspect press has blown whole thing up as usual.


mat4 Says:

Gasquet, in fact, said:

“He plays incredibly well, it’s clear. I will have to be strong, very strong. (…) I am more experienced, soon I’ll be 29, it would be stupid to get tense in my 12th Roland-Garros. (…) I would have signed to be here, to play against him. I need to play a great match, I don’t want to play three little sets.”

“J’aurais signé pour me retrouver là à le jouer. Il va falloir faire un grand match, je n’ai pas envie de faire 3 petits sets.”

In French, it sounds quite normal, and I don’t see what he has said that was not appropriate for the occasion.


KatH Says:

Margot – What were the press implying/saying? Am not on Twitter so couldn’t access properly….


sienna Says:

hoping for upset by Chardy.


Markus Says:

As Margot said, press (and posters here) has blown Chardy’s comment out of proportion. Once you commit to enter a tournament you should play to the end and backing out using fatigue as an excuse is not very professional. Even Andy knows that and I think he is a level headed guy and will not take it against Chardy or be affected by it.


Eric Says:

Sharapova out.


Markus Says:

Dimitrov’s loser aura is starting to rub off on Sharapova.


Markus Says:

I have an uneasy feeling about Murray and Federer today.


Daniel Says:

Yeah, Fed already starts with a break. Faster conditions today and sun.

Good for Nadal as well.


jatin Says:

Amazing start by fed. Leads 2-0
Hope he can keep it up


Eric Says:

Did I see that Monf was up 40-0 in that first game? Or did I just mix up the columns? Only checking scores intermittently, was shocked to see Fed got the break.


mat4 Says:

Ferrer is easily dominating against Cilic. I think that David’s chances are underrated here. He leads against Murray 4-0 on clay, and, let’s face it, the conditions in Madrid are quite different than in Paris. I wouldn’t be surprised if he makes the semi.


Daniel Says:

Murray serving for first set as well and Ferrer already won 6-2 over Cilic first set.


Daniel Says:

Monfils was 40-0 Eric


Eric Says:

Thanks, Daniel. Cool break by Roger, then!


Daniel Says:

Monfils going crazy trying to shorten points, just what Fed wnats. Triple Break Point.


Daniel Says:

Saved all three BP’s withnsome nice serving


Daniel Says:

Nice hold from Monfils. It look like henwas going awol but than 5 first serves in and he reverted the score. Fed still 1 break up.


jatin Says:

Great diving volley by fed.
Leads 4-2


Tennis Vagabond Says:

Daniel, I’m not seeing that at all. Monfils is playing amazing defense, Fed is the one flattening out shots, hitting frozen ropes- and Monfils retrieving them. I see Skeeze’s point. Fed is playing very aggressively and he’s making those shots, especially on BH, but Monfils keeps getting them back.


jatin Says:

First serves needed.


jatin Says:

Pufff.. Nice hold
5-3


Eric Says:

They are playing really quickly. Nine games already? I feel like the inevitable Rafa-Djokovic match will get through two, maybe three games in this space of time.


jatin Says:

Hope fed can serve it out. Comon rog


Daniel Says:

Fed closes third set. Can Monfils win another 5 set match inna row?!


jatin Says:

Finally, 3rd set in the bag. :)


mat4 Says:

I am a bit disappointed by Gael’s game. He lost his serve the way he only knows. He had chances after that, but Fed served well, and Gael lacked determination, intent. I am not sure what he tries to achieve on the court, what his gameplan is.

But the match is far from over. At least, I hope so.


Tennis Vagabond Says:

Fed is playing the kind of match his fans just LOVE watching. (I know non-Fed fans hate these cliches, so stop reading now!): floating over the court, perfect balance, the effortless, clean whip groundstrokes, laser trajectories with great accuracy, and magic net play.
Monfils is providing a great canvas for him to paint on, playing superb defense, putting the ball in difficult places forcing Fed to go for the angles.
Monfils is still very dangerous and could certainly win this, but as an exhibition, its a beautiful thing!


Daniel Says:

What a DTL slice by Fed full of venom, break to open 4th set.


jatin Says:

Fed so calm and cool. How does he do that ??
Leads 1-0 with a break


mat4 Says:

Unbelievable. I got too much used to a quality shot selection by Djokovic, Ferrer, Nadal, Murray… to understand what Gael is doing. It’s over now.


Tennis Vagabond Says:

Mat4, does Gael ever have a game plan? As world-class as his athletics is, it always seems a shame that he doesn’t play with that ‘intent’ as you say (or at least proper footwork and stroke preparation!)


Daniel Says:

TV, absilutely, some shots are vintage Fed.
Agree with mat4 also, Minfils seems doesn’t have purpose, maybe he got tired and felt it a bit bevause he is not using the crown or pumping himself up. This set could fast if he has another lapse.


jatin Says:

Tennis vagabond
Perfectly said :)


sienna Says:

monfils is ripe for the kill…. Do it fed. get double break


mat4 Says:

TV:

Yes, he has that “intent” from time to time. Don’t ask when, I can’t remember…

But here, he looks just like he isn’t prepared, not physically, nor mentally, to sustain the efforts and the tension in a GS match. He just doesn’t work enough.


jatin Says:

Did you see that drop shot from fed ?
What was that.. Wow


mat4 Says:

At least, Jeremy is fighting like a lion. That first game in the second set, now a break up… I am very happy he shows courage and fights valiantly.


jatin Says:

Medical timeout ??


Daniel Says:

Wow Federer!! Triple break point. If he get the break here match is over


Daniel Says:

Maybe Minfuls got a cold or flu. This changes in weather could be tricky


jatin Says:

Vintage fed showing up. Monfiles has no answer.


van orten Says:

well fed is old and only because monfils is tired he is getting schooled right now ;-)

nice Performance by the Maestro so far…


sienna Says:

double break…. there goes lamonf.

taa-ta-ta-tat-dataaaaa


Daniel Says:

Flawless game, 5-1


sienna Says:

not even trying anymore …loser


Eric Says:

Guess Roger didn’t want to lose. I go away for twenty minutes and this is what happens??


Damien Mills Says:

@Gordon, et al:
Well called on Monfils v Fed. Am very happy to be proven wrong, though


Daniel Says:

MP Saved by Monfils. Another one now after DF.


Tennis Vagabond Says:

Third set, Monfils gave everything he had with no reward. Fourth set, he had given up. Total mental/ spiritual breakdown.

Allez Federer!


Tennis Vagabond Says:

Ferrer has made me eat my words today, but I am stubborn. I still believe he has zero chance at the title.


Daniel Says:

And Fed get it done in fourth, set a swiss clash with Wawrinka who on a slow clay has always a chance versus Fed. it could be a dog fight. At leats one of the matches I want to see is set.

Now onto Djoko and than Nadal;-)


Markus Says:

I’m half at ease now.


Daniel Says:

Me too TV. Ferrer has zero chance to the title. Of the quarter finalist as of now and assuming Djoko, Nadal and Murray also comes through he has the least chance in my eye. Even Tsonga with home adavantage and power game has more shot at it.


Markus Says:

Thumbs up to the improved security. A guard stood shoulder to shoulder with Federer after the match.


Markus Says:

Only Nadal and Djokovic have above zero chance for the title.


skeezer Says:

Monfils outfoxed and outplayed by the Great one. You’re the very best Fed!

“Humble Rafa says:
French Choker #123, aka, La Monf, will beat the Arrogant One so bad, I can feel it now.”

Thought the comedy was bad, but the predicting is worse.

“You have Roger on the ropes!!!
Who had who on the ropes?

Well done Meastro!


Gordon Says:

Monfils continues to perplex the tennis world. Yes Federer did all that was needed, which in this case was just don’t have an off day.

Honestly? He may hit the practice courts to get some exercise.

You can talk all you want about physical stamina and the arsenal of weapons each player brings to a match, but you can never underestimate the ability to compartmentalize each point. There are few players who do it perfectly – Nadal, Djokovic, Federer and lately Murray. And there are those – Monfils and Gulbis leading the way – who lack the ability to get over occasional bouts of bad play.

Anyway – Well done Roger. Two more wins and you’ll get to face one of the other big 4 for a chance to make history.


Felipe Says:

Lets see if the frech crowd can get under Nishikories skin…the guys who most trouble Kei are powerfull strikers (berdych / Isner) and Tsonga is that kind of player…but depends with Tsonga shows up..because Nishikori will bring his usual amazing combo of shot making / speed and consistency.
If the conditions are heavy, the Wawrinka Federer match can be a great one…but Stan must serve well and keep his agression..and most importantly, believe that he indeed has the game to beat Federer.
Today Djoker should straight sets Gasquet…and Nadal should also prevail…but also will depend the level that Nadal brings, since Sock is not pushover


Markus Says:

Monfils cannot focus long enough to win whole tournaments. That makes the slams doubly difficult for him. What a waste of talent. He joins Berdych in that department, talented enough to win a major but it’s never going to happen.


Ben Pronin Says:

Monfils, to me, is the only player who I will legitimately say is a crazy underachiever. I don’t like to go into the whole “he’s so talented” thing but Monfils can do it all like few can. He moves well, he’s extremely fast, he can defend with the best of them, but he also has a raw power that he can use to be as aggressive as Fernando Gonzalez. Berdych and Gasquet don’t move well. Ferrer is limited by his size and shot variety. But Monfils? He can do everything and he can do everything well.

Oh well.

I thought Ferrer was a slight favorite over Cilic but wow what a result. Chardy troubling Murray is kinda hilarious. I don’t think highly of Chardy at all. He has an okay serve and can rip his forehand but he has no backhand whatsoever. Although he does have good touch at net but jeez Murray should destroy this guy.


KatH Says:

@ Markus

Curious – U’re half at ease – who needs to win to put you fully at ease?


Gordon Says:

Felipe – you are dead on.

Tsonga is looking scary and when he is like that he tends to go on a tear. I think his match against Nishikori has the potential to be epic.

Will Sock take a set? If he does he should be pleased with his progress. He is improving and his game will spell trouble for years to come for many. Probably not today though, if Nadal is anywhere near his best.


Markus Says:

@KatH: I won’t say but he’s the third guy with above zero chance to win. I left his name out because his above zero chance is only in decimal points. He’s the one who makes me happy when he wins regardless of who he beats.


Tennis Vagabond Says:

Gordon, spot on re mental compartmentalization. Rafa and Fed are head and shoulders above the field in that regard. Credit to Novak: he has LEARNED this trait, I don’t think it has ever been natural to him, and so he can fall out of his mental training. Rafa and Fed seem to have it naturally – or at least for Fed it was learned and mastered very early in his career.


KatH Says:

Okay doke Markus – I might be able to guess but will respect your privacy……


Ben Pronin Says:

Why does Serena always do this? I want to watch Djokovic play but instead Serena’s gonna toil around for like 3 hours. Does anyone actually think she’s going to lose this match?


Eric Says:

I do, Ben!


jane Says:

margot, indeed, it’s likely the press; those were quotes from a tweeted link so no context provided. mat4, thanks for giving gasquet’s full quote too.

am surprised by ferru’s domination of cilic. i thought he’d do better on clay by not win that easily.

not surprised fed beat la monf. even in the second set yesterday la monf was making silly choices; like when he served for the second set, he kept coming to net and getting passed or backing way up behind the baseline. just no clear sense of court positioning. he’s definitely not one to think out there, which could be why his success in juniors never translated up. also it sounds like fed was a man on a mission today.


elina Says:

Commiserations to Cilic fans.

Ferru spanked him in straights 2, 2 and 4.


jane Says:

i guess fed/stan are on lenglen tomorrow.


mat4 Says:

Murray will serve for the match. Chardy fought well, but he was tiring from the third set, and Murray made him work hard. Anyway, I am very happy how Jérémy played.

I am also a bit disappointed Gael couldn’t watch that match… and learn…


RZ Says:

Turned on my computer in time to see that Murray just won. Yay! I had thought that Chardy would be a tough customer as he can go on upset streaks here and there. Glad Murray made it through.


mat4 Says:

@jane:

I guess that Ferrer gets underrated most of the time. I was certain he would beat Cilic in three. Had they play on the Chatrier, he would have won even in two (don’t ask how…). I also think the will win his QF.


Colin Says:

Andy wins in four sets, just as Sean predicted. Well done Mr Randall!


jane Says:

mat4, yes it’s true that ferru often is underrated. i agree. if you are a chardonay / chardy fan, i think i saw he is still alive in doubles? also so is fognini / bollelli.


Markus Says:

I’m fully at ease now, should last about 24 hours. Good day at the French today.


jane Says:

oops, no sorry mat4. the bryan bros beat chardy and kubot yesterday. remember kubot? he can play some lovely tennis. haven’t seen him in a while.


mat4 Says:

@jane:

Oh, no. It’s just a bit of patriotism.

Then, when I watch the match on the Lenglen, it is clear why Bernardes can’t umpire Rafa’s matches. He needs four minutes between two serves… I can have a cup of coffee and not miss anything.


Daniel Says:

Nadal playing much better this match, more depth in his shots. Sock seems a bit tense still


mat4 Says:

Sock is very tense. Let’s hope he will relax soon, because he has the weapons to bit Rafa on the Lenglen.


Daniel Says:

Sh&$@t. Can not believe Fed and Wawa are on Lenglen tomorrow. I want to change my ticket LOL
Though both matches would be on Chatrier. Now I wish Berdych had beat Tsonga.
Although watvhing Kei versus Tsonga would be great but I want to see The Fed.


Daniel Says:

He is too far back to return Nadal’s second serve. Nadal DF, 0-30.


Daniel Says:

Sock gets 1 break back. See if he will relax now. He needs to hold serve because he already lost it twice. Another double fault


Eric Says:

guess you were right, Ben…


Daniel Says:

Nice hold by Sock with a drop shot. 3-2 Nadal.
Sock got closer to baseline and hitting more deep balls. Both trying to push the other back with their spin


Markus Says:

Just for that, Tsonga should lose so the organizers will stop usurping the courts that rightfully to the higher seeded players. Put the right players are on the court that Daniel paid and took the trip for.


RZ Says:

@Daniel – since you can’t watch Fed’s match live, try to watch his warm-up/practice (this is assuming that the F.O. puts out a practice schedule ahead of time). Enjoy!


RZ Says:

@Jane – re: the Chardy quote from yesterday, as one of my friends says, if you want to win play better.


jane Says:

mat4, ha ha. cup of coffee.

daniel, oh no! that’s a shame. maybe you can sneak over?

margot, if you’re reading, someone just tweeted this stat which i thought you’d appreciate in particular since you have always been amelie’s advocate:

“Andy Murray was 56-16 after a year under Ivan Lendl. He’s 68-15 under Amelie Mauresmo.”


Daniel Says:

Thanks RZ, I will. Have to be going up and down to check the screening outside, because the matches could happen at the same time. C’est la vie!


Colin Says:

Did you notice Andy was clean-shaven today? I wonder whose idea – or suggestion – that was.


Daniel Says:

First set Nadal with a ball on Sock’s feet. Nadal is playing his best match by far this tourney, unleashing a few FH. Think he will win in straights, Sock may even gets closer in another set but in the end Nadal will prevail, conditions are just as he likes.

But on Wednesday is expected 40% chance of rain and cloudy, so this could favor Djoko, Will see…


mat4 Says:

First set Nadal. Sock had his chances, but he managed to waste them all. He doesn’t know how to play against Nadal, and often makes the wrong shot.

let’s hope he will play better in the second.


mat4 Says:

Alas… He’s playing worse…


jane Says:

sock is too young and inexperienced. i knew this would be a straight set beatdown. rafa’s had a smooth ride to the quarters.


mat4 Says:

@jane:

The match is not over, although I’ll change stream. Sock is not too young: 4K is younger, but shows much more poise in tense moments. And Nadal doesn’t look very impressive on the Lenglen. Unfortunately, he will play on a much slower court all his difficult matches.


Tennis Vagabond Says:

WOW! Did you guys hear that stat about American men at Slams? There has not been an American QF at RG since Agassi in 2003!

There has not been an American QF at ANY Slam since Roddick/Isner in ’08!


mat4 Says:

I guess Serena should play with the men to improve those stats.


Felipe Says:

Today Sock sucks!


Markus Says:

I don’t think Sock thought he would get this far so now he is totally unprepared and does not know what to do.


jane Says:

you’re right mat4. it’s not age. he’s nevr played rafa before, and so far almost all of his success has come in doubles. he’s never even reached deep stages of a masters i don’t think?


jane Says:

btw, i’ve said it here before and i’ll say it again: if rafa wins the french again, i would give him a very very good chance of winning wimbledon. he expended very little energy so far this season. now he’s unleashing it.


Eric Says:

There’s no shame in losing badly to Rafa at Roland Garros.


Felipe Says:

But let no get ahead of ourselfs…there is a 90% chance that Nadal might have to beat Djokovic in order to get to semi finals….this will be a new scenario for both, since this clash its almost always played during weekends (specially sundays)…this wednesday both will be with huge presion, will have to ve 100% focused and will have to put everithing (phisically and mentally) in order to prevail….only to reach semi finals when Ferrer or Murray (specially Murray) can take advantage.
The blockbuster quarterfinal can be a confidence boost, but also can drain the winner for the next match


Margot Says:

Well done Andy, not playing that well, his 4hand was right off, but played a really smart match.
BTW I think Andy has at last learned to “compartmentalise!” Rather late in his career true, but better late than never, as they say.
Wow! Was surprised Ferrer beat Cilic so easily. Haven’t seen Cilic play but he was really being blagged up.
@jane
Gr8 stat ta! Amelie rocks!


Markus Says:

We all know what happens to these greatly anticipated matches, don’t we?


skeezer Says:

Looks like its Nadal vs Nole for the qtrs.


mat4 Says:

Nadal has a big advantage in the QF. He is the favourite on the PC against anybody.


Felipe Says:

But in Djokovic-Nadal case, they deliver (most of the time).

Djokovic destroying Gasquet


jane Says:

did nadal get broken because he got a time warning?

meanwhile i notice bernardes is umping novak vs gasquet


RZ Says:

I had thought that Sock would be able to steal one set from Rafa before losing in 4. Hadn’t been looking good but he’s hanging in there.


Felipe Says:

Well….Nadal for at least another 40 minutes on court

Djokovic cruising


the_mind_reels Says:

Looks like Jack really — duh duh duh — *sock*ed it to Nadal in that final game of the third set. Not watching, but it seems like Sock is finally finding some rhythm in his service games and making some inroads into Nadal’s service games.

He’s also 4/4 on BP opportunities, which is crucial if he’s going to stand a chance of making this interesting.


Daniel Says:

Went out to lunch checked acores and see that Sock won third set breaking Nadal, what happened? Did Nadal felt the pressure again in clunch times?


sienna Says:

Who is this guy Sok taking sets from Rafael?


Margot Says:

OMG Sock just took a set off Rafa. According to the history of the universe, this is very rare……


RZ Says:

And here I thought I had jinxed Sock with my stealing a set prediction.


RZ Says:

@Margot, Colin and other Team GB fans – Katie Swan is into the 3rd round of the girls’ tournament. Andy is not alone!


SG1 Says:

I was very curious as to why Gael was so accommodating as to delay the balance of the match to the next day when he’d just come off winning a set. And particularly in the way he had won the set.

If I was Gael, I would have waited to see what Roger wanted to do and then took the opposite opinion. Roger may have been ready to relinquish another set or at least a break the way he lost the 2nd set.

Monfils just doesn’t have the killer instinct to be a top 5 player. The skill set is all there but he squanders away opportunities so often that it borders on being silly. I’d say that when he’s 40 that he’ll look back on his career and kick himself but I don’t think he will. Another brilliantly talented French player that’s “sans cerveau”.


chris ford1 Says:

Margot Says:
OMG Sock just took a set off Rafa. According to the history of the universe, this is very rare,

=================
If you leave the name “Novak Djokovic” out.

Or Fed in the early years in Nadal’s career before he established dominance over Federer.
Though I have never seen Nadal trashed in a big match like he was by Delpo a few times, when Juan Martin was firing on all cylinders.


jane Says:

sg1, monfils has played some tight matches in the dark at the french before, like last year which went to a fifth set versus andy. maybe he had that in mind and thought he’d do better by waiting?


Ben Pronin Says:

Maybe Monfils didn’t feel like playing in the dark, either? I think there are a lot of other things that indicate Monfils doesn’t have the killer instinct he needs than agreeing to postpone a match due to darkness.


Tennis Vagabond Says:

From my brief look at the Rafa match, he appears to be getting his groundstrokes deep, but not really troubling Sock with his serve. Has that been the case? If so, that returnable serve will be a big problem against Novak.


Ben Pronin Says:

Gasquet smacking the ball like it hurt his mother.


steve-o Says:

@sg1: Well, unless Monfils can see in the dark, it wouldn’t have done him much good to continue, momentum or not. After all, he was serving first and might have been broken had he tried to serve in the dark. Assuming the ump and line judges could actually see the ball. They do have to be able to do this to keep score, yes?

After the fact you can say that agreeing to stop the match was the wrong decision, and if he’d broken himself at the beginning of the third after deciding to serve in the dark, you’d have said that was the wrong decision too.

Federer played betterer, that’s all there is to it. Monfils had a chance to get the lead in the third set, being 40-0 up on his own serve, but made some stupid, goofy shots and allowed Federer to break in the first game, and that’s all she wrote. If you want to single out one moment that showcased his lack of killer instinct, that’s the one I would pick, not the eminently rational decision not to continue playing in darkness.

Federer, of course, wasn’t screwing around, focused on getting the early break in sets 3 and 4, took all his chances, served well, and played clinically to get the victory. He played to win, not to show off. That’s the difference in mentality.


jane Says:

lol ben. yes, gasquet has played better than the scoreline indicates.


skeezer Says:

jane,
Did you get an answer on this?
“did nadal get broken because he got a time warning?”


Daniel Says:

Unless Nadal unleashes his FH DTL like last year final 2 sets versus Novak and he is hiding that shot for tomorrow, because he hasn’t use it consistently all this clay season, I think Novak will prevail, and it will be easier than some thought. History will be made in RG once again in 2 days, and I will be there to witness:-)


sienna Says:

Lol djokovic.
throwing all his french lingo on court.

avec une belle …. slice.

he is such a great character. funny guy from the heart. nice seeing him play so well.

he will lose next match. or do the djoker fanatics really think he can take out Nadal?


Ben Pronin Says:

Wow it’s actually happening. This French Open is really chugging right along.


Giles Says:

Jane. June 1st 11.09 am. Still trying hard to jinx Rafa?


skeezer Says:

Yeah now the tourney looks great. All the Qtr final matches are looking very competitive, for once at the FO.


Ben Pronin Says:

Serious question for Nadal fans, how are you guys feeling right now? As a Djokovic fan, I’m nervous as hell. No matter his form, we’re talking beating Rafa at the freaking French Open. He’s the favorite no matter what, even if it’s slight. So are Nadal fans confident but nervous? What’s the feeling?


steve-o Says:

Federer said it most succinctly: the man who has won this title 9 of 10 straight years must be considered the overwhelming favorite.

I don’t care about his record on other clay tournaments this year, or other nonsense like that. Only one man has ever beaten him here, and this is the quarters, not the early rounds.


jane Says:

some great stats:

Most Roland Garros QFs:

#Federer 11
#Nadal 10
#Djokovic 9
Agassi 9
Vilas 9
Connors 8
Borg 7
Lendl 7
Wilander 7
#Ferrer 6

———–

Major Quarter-finals reached:

1. #Federer 44
2. Connors 41
3. Emerson 37
4. Agassi 36
5. Lendl 34
6. #Djokovic 32
7. Rosewall 30
8. Sampras/#Nadal 29

(# = active)


Rick Says:

Rafa is a goner! He has an easy draw early in this tournament. And was struggling against Sock, an unseeded player. With the way he plays these days. Wouldn’t surprise me that he gets thump by Nole!


Rick Says:

Many guys had to deal with the seeded players. And prevailing easily. And Rafa was struggling against Sock. Definitely not what he used to be. Nole will wins three!


chris ford1 Says:

Gonna be something. Yes, one QF is the Humongous Clash of the Titans, but Andy-Ferru and surging Tsonga vs. Nishikori ought to be excellent matches. Possibly Stan and Fed, if Stan can get it out of his head once again that his role is to be the subservient Swiss to the Swiss Maestro.

For Nole-Rafa, weather is looking to be fair and cloudy, not the extremes favoring either player best. Nadal and Djokovic both looked good today, though Rafa’s serve is looking vulnerable. Rafa and Uncle Toni usually have some surprise in the bag they save for “Djokovic time”. We will see if that is true in the QF.
I want Nole to win. He is the underdog, yes. Perhaps not against Rafa anywhere else, but he has to be underdog here at RG until he takes a few from Rafa at the French Open.
And for consistent excellence, Djokovic has made it to the QFs in every Slam for 6 years. That is 3rd behind Jimmy Connor’s 27 and Fed’s 36. And 17 of the last 18 Slams he made it to the semis. So Nole may be the underdog, but he almost always excels in events and goes deep.


Rick Says:

And coming into French without a tournament won, now that Rafa was struggling against an.unseeded player on the fourth round in the second week! With the way that he played, he hasn’t brought much to Roland Garros this year. Expect Nole to win easily!


Okiegal Says:

@Skeezer and Jane…..I don’t believe it was because of the warning….They had a back and forth rally going and Rafa eventually hit into the net. That’s the way I saw it. Another Rafa fan might have seen it differently.


Tom Says:

Sienna, Rafa is going down hard. He’s going to get crushed. It’s obvious as you saw them play today. Taking over 3 hours with an unseeded player? Oh boy, really nervous… phew. YOU have to be nervous Sienna along with the rest of the Rafanatics. Got to love the cocky Nadal fans. Will disappear the rest of the year after Rafa loses because he has no shot in anything else the rest of the year.


RZ Says:

A lot of the match between Djoker and Rafa will come down to which one holds his nerves better. Both of them have a lot on the line, but also a lot of gain. I’m looking forward to it!


RZ Says:

@Jane – thanks for all the stats today. You have become the Greg Sharko of Tennis-X. :-)


Okiegal Says:

^^^^ To add, a non Rafa fan might have seen it differently too.


jane Says:

oh sorry skeezer – just saw your question now because okie answered. i don’t know but the commentators i was listening to in the background said the time violation warning rattled him. i don’t know because i was mainly watching novak on my computer with t.v. in the background. i have seen just one set of novak’s matches on television. : / all the rest i’ve had to stream. anyhow, the commentators on the television also said rafa has added another towel, so there is one on either side of him. again, i don’t know if this is true; it’s just what they said. maybe okie knows.

—————

rz – nerve but also serve. i am not looking forward to it. ha ha.


jane Says:

rz, you’re welcome. i like stats. i know they are not the whole story, but they are objective facts and so they stand on their own. sure, we can interpret them how we want, but there are what they are too.


Rick Says:

Nole is confidence, coming in with titles in Rome and Monte Carlo. And beat Rafa at Monte Carlo. So he gets the upper hands. He is the favorite this year. But I hope that Murray will spoils his party. Well, Murray has a good chance. Since they are not playing in Australia. He won his first Slam beating Nole at the US Open and first Wimbledon beating Nole. This could be his first French!


Rick Says:

Most likely to win the French this year is Murray or Nole. Or maybe Kei will gets into the final. It is easy to be someone like the Fedtards. But things are definitely not going well for Rafa this year!


jane Says:

rick didn’t you used to cheer for rafa?


Tom Says:

Rick, if No1e beats Rafa, Muarray and Feds will be in for an epic beat-down once he confidence soars. Be a little more realistic, especially after how many matches that Andy has lost to him AND this isn’t his better surface? Please…


Markus Says:

For me, the only QF match that matters is the Nadal/Djokovic pairing. It will be more important and more talked about than the finals, unless the finals features one of these two against Federer and the latter wins.


jane Says:

all the matches matter.
no one knows who will win them or what will happen.
reality check people. :)


Rick Says:

Yes, Jane! But he isn’t going to this win. Playing like this!


Markus Says:

Jane, notice the “For me” in the begining of my post? Those other matches don’t matter to me. I don’t need a reality check for feeling that way.


steve-o Says:

if No1e beats Rafa, Muarray and Feds will be in for an epic beat-down once he confidence soars. Be a little more realistic

Sheez, do people really think it’s so easy to beat Nadal (in his best Grand Slam), Murray, and Federer all in a row? Especially in a Grand Slam? Beating two of them in the same Grand Slam is tough enough. But beating all three is a whole other order of magnitude.

I wonder who’s the one being unrealistic, here.


jane Says:

markus, yes, i did notice the “for me.” did you notice my smilie? :) i was trying to be a little tongue-in-cheek since the posts were getting rather dramatic.

but seriously, if you’re cheering for andy, wouldn’t his match matter to you?


Rick Says:

Nole did get beaten in the other 2 Slams. While Australian is Nole’s favorite! As gor Fed, he would loses if he has to play 5 setters in a Slam. Fortunately, when he played against Sean’s favorite yesterday, when he dropped a set then it was suspended. And Fed was coming back well rested today. If he has to finished it yesterday. It could very well another story, if play was dragged on!


jane Says:

steve-o, fully agree. as you say, it’s a hard enough task and rare enough occurrence that a player beats two of the big 4 to win a slam let alone three of them. i don’t believe it’s ever happened since these 4 have been playing, has it?


Ahsan Says:

Very interesting stats Jane……. The most interesting stat for me is Rafa getting to the qf lesser than many but once he gets there he wins the span half of the time….. That goes to show how tough he is in later part of a grand slam and how well he had played against the top players in his career


chris ford1 Says:

Murray has always had the talent to be a winning clay player, just not the results. Does well in most matches, and until his 1st clay title in a Masters or above…usually went down badly in the final stages.
But like from the time Andy started in the pros, he has had to cope with 3 guys better than he. It doesn’t diminish Andy that he loses more than he wins to 3 of the best that have ever played the game.
And before he faces the Rafa-Djoker survivor, David Ferrer will not be a walkover for Andy.

Djokovic – As the stats indicate, some of which Jane detailed, while people were fixated on “Slam Counting” and Fedal…since 2007,over a sustained time, Nole did very well everywhere. He is now in the Top 10 in most Open Era achievements, with no where to go but up.


Ahsan Says:

*Slam


Rick Says:

Nole going to hand Rafa a nasty gift on court for his birthday. Sadly, so that Rafa could leaves work early, to go celebrate his birthday in a real life party.


KatH Says:

Nadal’s Warning – I saw what was called his second warning when he was told he could only serve once (as a result of it being a second warning) – So he only had one serve for that particular point – He got that serve in – so on the surface at least it didn’t affect his immediate play – maybe it festered within him and affected subsequent play — who can say?


Markus Says:

jANE: I did not notice the :) because it was missing a nose, this one, – . And I also chose to be grumpy after watching Kvitova lose. I could not understand why this girl loses a lot to players who she is so much better than.

About Andy, the more I disregard his matches, the more he wins. So, I will continue to not put too much weight and attention to his matches.


jane Says:

the second time violation was called on break point (rafa was down 30-40), which was when nadal was broken.


jane Says:

markus, i know re: petra. she’s a little like satin that way: mercurial.


jane Says:

^ saFin… darn autocorrect.


Tennis Vagabond Says:

Turning into a great Slam. Every QF is interesting.

I’ll pick Tsonga and Fed tomorrow. I think Tsonga beating Berdych was a big warning bell. The two matches Wednesday are really too tough to call. If my life were on the line, I’d go with Murray and Rafa.

Does anyone else find the tone around the Epic Quarter has changed? It seemed to me, when the draw came out, Novak was the overwhelming favourite on Tennis-X, but now that Rafa is RIGHT there, and will actually be on the court for Novak to beat, folks are hedging. If WE feel that Rafa/RG intimidation factor, I bet Novak does too!


Markus Says:

I always pick Nadal to win the French. This year is no exception. He will rise like the phoenix. I always thought that Djokovic will have a tough time winning the French and could only win it via a freak accident, the way Federer did. And it is not inconceivable to assume that the French will be a glaring omission in Djokovic’s career.


steve-o Says:

jane: I don’t think anyone has beaten three of Federer/Nadal/ Djokovic/Murray to win a Grand Slam. Maybe in best of three, it’s happened, but I doubt it.


Tom Says:

Sure Markus, keep telling yourself that.

Steve-0, nobody has done it because no sucked bad enough of the Big 4 until now to be in that position like Nadal. Coincidence? I think not!


Matador Says:

Djokovic is the clear favorite but Rafa can beat this peak version of the Serb on Philippe Chatrier.
Nadal is saving the best for Nole on wednesday.
Is time to make another comeback against the best player of the world for Rafa Nadal.


Giles Says:

How many times has Nadal beaten the GOAT at Roland Garros? I’ve lost count.


skeezer Says:

@jane
Thanks. So other umps DO penalize him for his infractions.. Poor Carlos :(


KatH Says:

Jane – the commentators discussed it -saying it should not have called at such a crucial time – but he did gain that particular point with the one serve left to him – a number of us cheered. Maybe we’re talking about a different penalty???


jane Says:

katH as far as i know there was only one “second violation” and it was on break point. rafa was broken to level the third set 5 all. and then sock held after which he broke again for 7-5. here’s a reporters explanation:

“Then a late flurry from the American saw him go up 0-30, and when Nadal was forced to play a second serve on break point, after a second time violation warning, he hit long, and Sock broke for 5-5. Not only that, Sock held serve and played two winners to bring up break points. One more forehand winner up the line and the American had the set, 7-5.”


madmax Says:

Well done to Fed today. I didnt thing that Monfils would cave in so easily to be fair.

He is always a clear and present danger to anyone. Such a fabulous player to watch, but so unpredictable.

I watched some of the shots Roger was shooting today. He really, REALLY does dance on the tennis court. I can’t believe his agility sometimes.

It is pure beauty. He is clearly trying to run around his backhand much more these days, but the timees he chooses to hit the backhand, the stroke really does hit the spot he is aiming for.

I can’t believe his genius sometimes.

Love the fed.


madmax Says:

Rafa played well, may be not at his best, but I believe he is building on his game, buildingon his strength, doesnt matter that he is not the player of old, who cares? He still can do it.

Stil the favourite in my eyes.

Nole’s match was a master class.


KatH Says:

OK Jane – looks like you are right – but my head buzzes – there were 4 of us looking and while we were not justifying Nadal’s delays – we agreed with the commentators who said something like why couldn’t the penalty have been applied at a less crucial moment – then we all fully believed he survived that particular penalty – (ie that particular stroke) and we said so…even though he eventually lost the game.

??????!!!! – look ain’t too important in relation to the big picture – the big picture being Nadal vs. Nole (and looking to see the youngish Jock/Jack Sock make news in the future).


Markus Says:

Some people will be scratching their heads in two days and say, “How did that happen?”. Then they’d realize that winning the French 9 out of 10 times means you know what to do at the right time. Somebody is bound to get nervous and it wouldn’t be the one so used to it that is has become a habit.


RZ Says:

@KatH and Jane – I hate it when commentators talk about how a foot fault/time violation, etc. should not be called at a crucial time in the match. The rules are the rules and should be enforced uniformly whether it’s the first point or match point.


jane Says:

rz, the commentators i was listening to were not saying that. i think they were british? i am not sure what broadcasting feed we had; it wasn’t espn though, and i don’t think it was sky.


mat4 Says:

There’s nothing to “how”. The balls are slower than they ever were. Babolat had slowed them down this year again. It has done in 2012 already. Federer had to release the tension of his strings from 27 kg to 25 kg to be able to make a winner.

The Chatrier itself is much slower than the Lenglen, e.g. The number of aces is ridiculously low, and you simply have the impression that a player has to hit three outstanding shots to be able to make a winner. I watched Novak against Richard today, and Richard, who is not such a fast player, manage to put his racquet on almost every ball.

So the conditions heavily favour Rafa on the central court. He played easy encounters on the Lenglen, but faced a potentially dangerous Almagro on the PC, where Almagro’s shots were ineffective. Rafa was able to chase everything down.

On a faster court, a player like Novak, in his present form, would have been the favourite. But on the Chatrier, in the present conditions, Rafa just can’t lose.

Anyway, as a Nolefan, I got already used to it. Since the famous streak of semis against Fed, it has become easy to notice. I sometimes even doubt that there is more than that, but it can all be fortuitous.


steve-o Says:

mat4: I think it has less to do with the conditions than with the fact that Djokovic will inevitably start to think about what winning Roland Garros will do for his career. Once he does that, it’s over. Nadal will take advantage of the slightest lapse.

If Djokovic is playing well, he’ll manage to take it to the fifth set. That’s where it stops being about the tennis and starts being a question of mentality.

@RZ: totally agree. Why the hell should the player get any say about when they’re penalized? If they find the penalty inconvenient, there’s a very simple solution: don’t break the rules.


mat4 Says:

@steve-o:

“inevitably”… we have a player that has won 36 important tournaments, and “he will inevitably start to think”, and that will affect his game?

So sorry, I don’t buy it.

We have objective circumstances here that we can assess: the Chatrier is big and slow; the balls are very slow. They seem to grip the surface extremely, and players have to produce their pace. It’s all an advantage for Rafa.

On the other side, Rafa has lost of his speed and consistency. So, it gives Novak a good chance. But Rafa is still the favourite. And he plays on his birthday.


Okiegal Says:

@Jane 2:35…..I didn’t know he got two violations today……I missed one. I believe the one I’m talking about he just go out played on the point. As a poster above pointed out, sounds like he got rattled on one of them.


Okiegal Says:

@Jane 2:35 Rafa has had a towel in each corner for quite awhile. He did that when the time violation crack down started. Trying to save 3 or 4 secs. He isn’t going to quit the towel, the sweat drips like a faucet. Maybe he has added a 3rd?? :)


SG1 Says:

My point with Monfils is that he could have taken the opportunity to get under Fed’s skin a little. Even if it was only for another game or two. It would have sent the message to Federer that he’s in an all out street fight and he’d better be prepared to dig deep. Instead, he effectively let Federer have until the next day to re-group.

There are no guarantees in anything but irritating Federer and keeping him on the court when he really wanted to leave would have sent the message that Gael was ready to anything needed to win.

And if Gael was opening serve in the 3rd set while it was getting dark, this was to his advantage, not Federer’s. To be perfectly honest, I don’t have any idea how dark it was when the match was suspended but I doubt it was any darker than the ’08 Wimbledon final (which Federer lost).


Okiegal Says:

@Ben Pronin……Your question about how Rafa fans are feeling about his match against Novak….All I can say on the matter is if Rafa loses that will be two losses at FO out of how many matches….I’ve lost count?? It won’t be a tragedy, no? Rafa’s own words….. It will be a great match and Rafa will be nervous, but I feel Novak will too. We will see, too close to call. Que sera sera!! :)


SG1 Says:

Ben Pronin Says:
Serious question for Nadal fans, how are you guys feeling right now? As a Djokovic fan, I’m nervous as hell. No matter his form, we’re talking beating Rafa at the freaking French Open. He’s the favorite no matter what, even if it’s slight. So are Nadal fans confident but nervous? What’s the feeling?

————————

I don’t think Nole fans need to fret over this one. I think this match goes to Novak in 3 tight sets. All streaks, no matter how impressive, have to eventually end.

Going from the Kuznetsov’s and Sock’s to Novak Djokovic is huge leap. Beyond the fact that Novak is better than these guys, none of them hold a candle to him on clay. I see Rafa having a very tough time holding serve. He’ll need to serve in the 65-70% range and hit with velocity.

You can never write Rafa off and I personally hope he gets through but I just don’t think it’ll happen. I think this will be Novak’s year. He also has a potential calendar slam in play so you have to think that there will all kinds of great things motivating Novak. The only question is…can he hold his nerve.

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