Let’s keep this party bus rolling into the business-end of the tournament. We have big-time top-seeded match-ups as we’ve reached the final eight.
Murray v Nishikori
This leans Murray because he’s gaining confidence, having survived his draw. I would call his a decent draw with the Klizan FH, the gentle giant DPo and a rising talent in Khachanov who we love to see make a R16 in a major at 21. Murray’s isn’t the most compelling argument, but he’s here.
Nishikori has to be feeling the wear-and-tear of the clay. He survived a five-setter in R3 with the help of a rain-delay, but was able to bounce-back and beat the dangerous Verdasco in R16. If Nishikori has all of his weapons in tow, can find the energy and Chang’s winning words of wisdom, we might have a classic. Nishikori, as we know, has potential; his tennis can be lethal.
But we’ll go with the more reliable Brit who appears to have found that bridesmaid outfit (make me eat those words, Murray!).
Wawrinka v Cilic
The easy pick here is Stan, because of his game (though he looked a little troubled by Monfils), his history deep into major draws, his history on clay (a Masters and a major) and his H2H v Cilic: 11-2. Stan seems the obvious pick.
However, Cilic looks fit, getting up well to the too-common drop-shot and defending better (ROS). We know of Cilic’s unplayable, rampant form. Could this be another case of that rare bird?
The problem with this match-up is if Stan, at worst, just stays in the match, he has the fortitude to go long and nasty. Marin’s best chance is probably to hit the Swiss off the court. A tall order. Both seem to have a lot in the tank, so this should be entertaining with Stan continuing to fulfill our dreams.
Nadal v Carreno Busta
Pablo has beaten Dimitrov and Raonic along the way, but this should be a clay clinic from his countryman, a raging bull who seems to have his eyes on a much bigger prize than even La Decima. Nadal is aiming to get off the court, to destroy and bury the evidence. He’s probably respecting his opponent here as he says he respects them all, but even the clay king is susceptible to a little peak behind the curtain (at the looming semi-final).
Djokovic v Thiem
The smart pick based on experience and legacy, on H2H and recent play is Djokovic. I would call this a bigger upset if Thiem wins than if Djokovic beat Nadal. Djokovic is going to be a very difficult out especially if he’s hitting the ball well. If his unforced error numbers are down, look-out.
But if Thiem can continue to murder the ball from the baseline, with his added dimension of more DTL, Djokovic could be in for a long brutal match. Look at the highlights of Thiem’s Zeballos match, for instance. I am sure that his camp worked on more DTL from both wings. The inside-out FH, and the more unpredictable direction of the shot, along with his big serve and decent mobility all add-up to a player on the rise in this sport.
I beliem in Thiem, but he needs a bit of that Chokovic to show-up, become angry and errant to advance to a date with Nadal in the SF.
Bottom-line is this could be a whale of a match. Let’s hope so.
15 thoughts on “Roland Garros QF Preview”
I beliem in Thiem! The time has come for him to take revenge on a disrespectful (I call it as I see it) Novak who in their last meeting used every opportunity to inflate his declining ego against a young player who looked petrified and yet was polite not to point out the blatant frivolous indulgence that Chokovic (see Rome finale) was harnessing at his expense.
The tennis gods are furious! I have been given the task to direct their wisdom to this mortal realm, to be the messenger of their will, and they have informed me that we are in for a big surprise!
With the aid of the tennis gods: Plexicushionatus the Young, Smectitus the Mighty, Poaceaesus the Cunning, and Decoturfus the Fast I predicted Wawrinkas annihilation of Chokovic at last year’s USO finale, and so I will predict this FO QF. Thiem will regain his honour and vanquish the dragon in 4 sets.
Eloquent, my friend.
An Austrian victory would be a giant turn of events. Like I said in my post, I think this would be as dramatic as a Nadal loss only because I see the Serb on the brink of recovery. Would be tough for the Serb to tip-toe around the lawns of Anglo-Saxony with a more desperate psyche.
This is all about the Serb, yet Nadal seems to have stolen the spotlight. A Djokovic win tomorrow brings this narrative to a head, which probably happens.
But Caligula has spoken. All hail the tennis prophecy of the king.
Ha! I admire your tennisacumen and wit, Caligula.
Thanks for the chortle.
Beliemers! I come to repent and renounce my doubts and to proclaim the deity of Caligula. He is not just the messenger of the tennis gods. He is one of them!
What is more, I can report on extensive research that reveals that Caligula’s horse is the hardcourt GOAT. Incitatus has never been beaten by any top 10 player, or by any top 50 player. And there is no currently active ATP player who holds a positive H2H against the emperor’s steed. On all these measures Incitatus surpasses each of the ‘big four’ and therefore we can conclude that he is the hardcourt GOAT.
As for the game. Wow. It’s Thiem time! But what a desperate exhibition by Djokovic! Sic transit gloria mundi.
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Come my faithful followers, bask in my splendour and glory! For the tennis gods have bestowed upon me the might to smite the infidels who proclaim false “greatest players of all time”.
Incitatus remains uncontested on hardcourts.
Once again the balance has been restored and the delicious bagel Thiem served to Djokovic in the third set was truly sign from the heavens, revenge is best served cold.
We beliem in Thiem! Yay!! That was insane from Thiem; and with a bagel to top it off – sweet! Matt, henceforth I pronounce you Oracle of the tennis world!! Can’t wait for the fangirls’ excuses…rigged draw, blah blah blah…😭Le Decima under serious threat, you think, Matt??!!
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Yeah, not sure how the match-up will go for Nadal. Rafa has to be favored here. Thiem can get a little wayward with his big game. I would say if Thiem is in the zone, hitting lines all day, Nadal might have some very serious trouble.
But I also see Nadal with a few timely, sudden breaks and boom sets start to disappear. He’s one of the best chess players out there.
Pure tennis, however, Nadal has to hope Thiem is not quite so pure. We know Thiem probably doesn’t fear Nadal (respect of course).
Should be a great match. Thanks for reading and contributing, TB.
Wow, Seriously? What was that last two sets….I mean we seen this happening but not expected from Elite players….
Nambi, I didn’t address the tank job in the 3rd in my QF analysis.
I will later. That was obscene.
Bravo, Caligula. Your (insane) prescience has again added to the genius of this blog, this tennis space. By the way, even when you’re not predicting the fall of Slowvak, your, as Wilfried says, “tennisacumen and wit” are great additions to the tennis theater I’ve been trying to build here.
What a match, on so many levels.
Of course, I will reiterate my own prophecy that dates back to USO 2016. 🙂
But everyone give the crazy king his due: the “surprise” was bloodier perhaps than most of us thought. But, again, bravo, for the force of that intuitive genius.
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Could unfortunately only watch the 2d half of the 2d set of this QF between Djokovic and Thiem ( because of appointments/obligations which I couldn’t replace).
I was watching on Eurosport, as Skysports doesn’t have a licence to broadcast any matches from Roland Garros.
Guess who was commenting this match on there…!?
None other than John Mc Enroe and his colleagues !
I honestly don’t remember much of all he said (no fun intended), but what I recall him saying was something like « nobody saw this coming ».
No John, not true ! Here on this blog, Caligula clearly saw it coming !
Bravo Caligula and Matt !
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Sometimes I’m not quite sure what sport they’re watching. Even throughout 2017 it’s been “what’s wrong with Novak?”
Watch the tennis!
A really top-notch final 4.
I will not be denied!
What an entertaining match, I had my servants carve out a statue of Thiem in honour of his good stead all while my guards motived them to perfect the sculpture with lashes, rations will soon be due! The first set could have gone to either of the players, but when the seed of doubt was planted Novak began to feel the wrath of the tennis gods.
Looking forward to your wrap up for the quarter finals Matt.
Wrote the first piece pretty quickly and I have more to cover, especially the way that match ended.
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