Friday 3:00am PST
Djokovic v Cilic
Haven’t really seen the Djoker play, but his draw has been weak. He missed-out on a Cecchinato or Schwartzman, even a Dimitrov though the later is pretty much on career laxatives. Still, Djoker got Fritz and Chardy, the equivalent of some Ritz Crackers and a bad French chardonnay.
Cilic survives a draw that included Kyrgios and Del Potro — both having seen their better days probably long in the rear-view-mirror.
The Croat is a two-time French Open quarter finalist and junior French Open Champ back in 2005. . . which is to say that the big guy can play the clay. I didn’t see his win over Struff, but the big German has played well as of late, beating Tsitsipas in Barcelona before losing to Rafa in the QF 57 57.
Laslo Djere has been a stingy clay courter in 2019. So, again, maybe the Croat can stick some crow in the Djoker’s throat.
Federer v Thiem
Where do we start? Federer getting by Monfils today was quite the battle. Couldn’t believe the 6-0 start; Monfils has had some ridiculously solid form this year, earlier really, peaking in that Rotterdam run where he took-out Medvedev and Wawrinka on the weekend to claim the title.
Then lost in the Dubai SF to Tsitsipas in a SF war — couldn’t believe Tsitsipas got through that one. The Frenchman has had another gear this year.
Federer getting the third set back on serve and finally taking care of business in the TB is a good sign for the Federer camp. His squashy serve-and-volley tactics look nice on the red dirt.
Keep in mind, he dodged a bullet in the 2nd round there facing Gasquet instead of Fokina. I was to write a little post about this Spaniard teenager from hell. This kid is a riot. I think I read that Dicky Gasquet said he almost died against that kid in R1, so Federer got A) a spent Frenchie (who’s coming back from injury as well) and B) again, a pass on having to face this kid.
Alejandro Davidovich Fokina is the kid’s name, of Russian/Swede descent, the 2017 Junior Wimbledon Champ — and just a beast. He destroyed Monfils, as a matter of fact, in Portugal last week.
Keep your eye on this kid.
Still, Federer had a tough one today.
And now Thiem, who beat Foghat in straights.
Advantage Thiem, obviously, but this is a must watch. Federer should NOT beat Thiem. I thought Federer ended his stay today, but he battled-on. Brilliant stuff from the Maestro. Let’s hope this match has some keen competitive depth and not the young Austrian just toying with his one-handed uncle.
I want to see both of these gents continue to find form en route to Roland Garros, so a three-setter, please: merci.
Tsitsipas v Zverev
Zverev is not my favorite tennis player to watch at this point. He pouts, his two-handed pedestrian style is redundant and I’m not buying this guy’s character, much at all. He looked cooked against the Pol today: we talked of this kid’s tennis during Indian Wells. Hurkacz is a hell of a talent. He’s only 22 and can put quite a stroke on the ball, especially from that BH, two-hander, but either CC or DTL he can crush the ball. Got too errant today and let the German off-the-hook.
Either way, we like the Greek fellow, with one hand tied behind his back to smoke the German 😉
Obviously, Zverev is the defending champ, and he might have gotten his game in gear in today’s gutsy win. I still like Tsitsipas: Páme!
Nadal v Wawrinka
Stan beat Pella who beat Medvedev. Pella is a very hot clay courter at the moment. Stan smashed him. Then beat Nishikori.
Nadal is Nadal. I taped the FAA v Nadal match, but haven’t watched. Looked pretty routine by the scoreline, but I’ll probably take a gander before I hit delete.
Bottom-line: let’s see the thick Swiss guy bring Rafa some gifts. We just want a street fight.
Indeed, some great tennis lined-up for tomorrow, folks.
I’m almost out of the woods and ready to write about tennis full-time.