We’re in the 2nd week at the French Open. Up-coming match-ups, predictions, and more perspective is what we’re focusing on.
First of all, rain. With today’s men’s R4 of the top half of the draw postponed due to rain, we have another storyline: the “brutal” schedule of that top half as those men will find themselves having to play some matches on consecutive days, potentially. Right now, the schedule seems a bit “up in the air” due to rain and how forgiving the organization wants to be towards the schedule of matches.
According to an AP article on the subject:
For the tournament to have the singles finals over the weekend as planned, players could be asked to play on consecutive days, as opposed to every two days, which is usual when conditions are ideal. That should not be a huge problem in women’s singles, which play best-of-three sets, but could be tougher on men if their singles matches go to five sets. [Guy] Forget didn’t rule out that the finals could also be postponed.
”We are not that far back on schedule,” Forget said. ”If they do have, eventually at one point, to play two matches, then I guess the fittest guy will be rewarded for it.”
Not sure what your view is on the matter. I think such issues are part of the competition, so players need to adjust, prepare and overcome. As Djokovic’s R4 vs. Agut is amongst those that will hopefully be played tomorrow (Tuesday), if the weather cooperates, his schedule is now, again, coming into question in terms of its difficulty.
You all know I certainly root for Novak to do well, but I do not buy into this concern. The talk of last year’s insanely difficult schedule where he faced Nadal in the QF, Murray in the SF and Stan in the F is hot air. The issue has a couple of layers for those making this claim. First, the quality of opponent is an excuse for his fatigue: Nadal/Murray/Wawrinka. On that, Nadal was not in form; he beat the Spaniard in three sets. Was it overly emotional? I don’t necessarily buy it.
In the SF he was up two sets to nil, 62 62. Then he shit the bed and had to finish the match the following day, thus extending his schedule, adding to his “difficulty.” On that, he did that to himself. Andy is not Bjorn Borg. Novak should have closed-out the Scot. Finally, Stanimal was too tough. What the hell? One match; seize the opportunity. The schedule was not unfair.
So, we may have a similar storyline to follow as the rain interrupts the men’s schedule, especially in that top half of the draw.
For instance, Djokovic v Agut (R4) goes early tomorrow and Murray v Gasquet (QF) play tomorrow in the afternoon, pending weather. One can see the discrepancy beginning to materialize.
What have we seen and what do we expect to happen during this 2nd week of play, as they grind-out this muddy 2016 FO?
In the comments of my last post, I touched-on the fact that I wanted to write a little more detailed account of the Gasquet v Kyrgios match. Two reasons: the 2nd set TB illustrated why I like Kyrgios to someday/somehow get his shit together (I am aghast at his incompetence, overall); the tennis was marvelous and Kyrgios actually had a set-point, which would have, probably, affected the match very much. Of course, Richard reversed the outcome with his brilliant play. That’s the 2nd reason I wanted to write about this. I wanted to say, wow, Gasquet looks very very good. We have all seen the Frenchman play many many matches over the years. He is, almost without exception, a second tier player, back half of the top 10 at best.
But this is a different Richard Gasquet. I intended, in this phantom post, to say he’d beat Nishikori. Not a terribly huge upset anyways, I bet most people had Kei winning that. Not me. Gasquet has Bruguera in his box and has a little more fire in his eyes. Have you seen it? He’s spotting his serves. He’s absolutely masterful from the BL with the best SHBH in the land (though Stan’s has a bit more up-side 😉
Ladies and gentlemen, I am calling for the Gasquet upset of Murray. The Frenchman has made his first RG QF and he is poised to play well. The fact that he seems so animated, so driven to play well in front of his people helps with this prediction. His tennis is what really has me so wildly insane.
Having said that, if Murray beats him in three or four, his form seems to be much improved since his first two matches. It’s tough to pick Gasquet here on paper, and his serve is really nothing to write home about, but he’s got a different demeanor and his tennis is very sharp thus far. This should be a quality QF.
In Stan’s QF, the defending champ should advance with out much drama. I did not see the Raonic v Ramos-Vinolas match. Pretty surprising really. And now we hear Raonic to add Johnny Mac to his WB preparation? Whatever the case may be, this bottom half of the draw is a beast.
Up top, all we can hope for is a Djokovic v Thiem SF. Sure Berdych/Ferrer might have something small to say about that first QF, but Novak should be fairly fresh, despite the scheduling, for the SF.
As for Thiem’s QF, Goffin and/or Gulbis could certainly be tough and actually upset the young Austrian. This quarter is more wide-open we’d have to say, but the reports of Thiem’s maturity and level suggest he should find his way to the SF.