And they’re off.
Stan destroying Andy is a “that should be the case”; Nishikori getting through in five sounds about right; Zverev ending his proceedings in three is a very good sign for the German; Coric losing in four to a guy named Norbert Gombos makes me smile (both the loss of the awkwardly arrogant Croat and his opponent’s name); Goffin losing is a little surprising but Skinner is the real deal (still, the Belgian is more of a Raheem Sterling ((pretty wasteful)) than he is a Kevin De Bruyne ((world class)).
Again, they’re off to the races there in the lovely city of lights to contest the 2020 French Open, in autumn.
As for the outlook, we have to like a Djokovic vs Nadal final, no? Not necessarily “like” as in that sounds like fun, but “like” as in the chances of that actually happening.
The big news was Thiem’s placement in the draw. Nadal should see him in the SF, which we know benefits Djokovic. Nadal should beat Thiem, unless, of course, Thiem has developed his game and confidence (coming off his first major) to the extent that he can take the Spaniard in Roland Garros in Bo5.
We have to wait and see everyone’s form. Even the Djoker looked less than clinical in Rome.
Schwartzman looks to be still in fine shape, nonetheless, slapping a Serb around in straights today 0 1 and 3.
But Nadal’s form is suspect (aside from his 12 French titles), and Thiem’s is a bit of an unknown quality, as well.
We’re all out of sorts, folks. The US Open ended three weeks ago, followed by two clay warm-ups; hell, this is like the grass season.
Djokovic has a very doable draw. His R16 sees a potential Humbert or Khachanov; the Russian has been terrible as of late. Novak’s QF includes the likes of RBA, Berrettini or PCB. Those two Spaniards, keep in mind, are better HC players, perhaps the only Spaniards under the Nadal umbrella who chose an alternative schooling.
Maybe the Chilean Cristian Garin meets Djokovic in the R16 (he has been playing well). Maybe Struff comes through to the QF.
Novak has a fairly easy route to the SF.
In that match, his opponent is the likes of Medvedev, Tsitsipas, Shapovalov or Rublev.
Rublev just beat Stefanos in the Hamburg final. I awoke at 3:30am accidentally and was able to see the last of that third set. The Greek had the break twice there in the decider, finally at 5-3. The Russian won out from that point: he held, broke Tsitsipas to get back on serve at 5-5, held for 6-5 and broke again, the #1 seed tossing-in a DF on MP to seal the collapse. Not a good look from that one-hander.
This follows his collapse vs Coric at the U.S. Open where the Greek had, I believe, six MPs. He looks quite shaky, so I don’t see much threat from him. On the other hand, sticking with the OHBH, Shapovalov could be tough based on his Rome form; I already mentioned in an earlier post: he was brilliant on the clay, coming very close to beating back the diminutive Argentine who blooms on the red dirt.
Medvedev doesn’t scare me either. I think his tennis lacks longevity. He’s too far back, and lacks a solid offensive strategy. His temper seems to be his best offense. Not a great look.
The Russian Rublev does look solid. But this is not the deepest half, at least at first glance. But, again, let’s wait and see some tennis, some players’ form.
Nadal could get Nishikori (R32), Fognini/Isner (R16), Zverev (QF) and Thiem/Wawrinka/Schwartzman (SF).
Fognini looked terrible in Hamburg, getting smoked by the Norwegian Ruud. Still, the typical Foghat. He’s split from his long-time coach, so he could be a real dud; then again, he probably rises to the occasion against his pal Rafa, if he make it that far.
Thiem’s quarter is loaded. He has Cilic in 1R, then Opelka (huge serve and can play a bit), then the red hot Ruud (R32), Stan (R16), Diego (QF) and the clay GOAT in the SF. Yikes.
Again, let’s wait and see before we get too excited. For instance, Stan has the German Dominik Koepfer next. This big hitting lefty can play tennis. Hopefully, Wawrinka’s destruction of Murray is legit and we get an Animal sighting at RG 2020.
Two tournament developments we’ll keep an eye on, as well:
The limited spectators to be present, in the stands.
The failure to adopt Hawkeye on clay.
The latter is a failure on so many levels. Hopefully the former turns-out okay.
All for now.
Hope all is well wherever you are.
We’re hanging-on here in the States, which means, really, we’re fucked.