Friday, June 08, 2012

2012 FRENCH OPEN: Men's Semifinals Preview

Here are my predictions for the men's Semifinals at the 2012 Roland Garros. This year I previously predicted 3 of 4 women's quarterfinals correctly and predicted 4 of 4 men's quarterfinals correctly. Last year I correctly predicted 1 of 2 men's semifinals and 1 of 2 women's semifinals. I have also predicted this year's women's semifinals (1 of 2 correctly).

Novak Djokovic SRB (1) vsRoger Federer SUI (3).  This a rematch of last year's US Open, French Open and Australian Open semifinals. In fact, in the record 31(!) major semifinals that Roger Federer has reached in his career, an inordinate number of them (7) have been played against the kid from Serbia. In those seven major semifinals, Djokovic actually leads 4-3. Only one of them has been on clay, and that was last year's thriller when Federer became the first player to beat red-hot Djokovic in 2011, ending an astonishing 42-match winning streak. Federer leads their career head-to-head 14-11, including a 3-2 lead in clay court matches. In Grand Slam (5-set) matches the two are tied 4-all, with all their matches coming in those 7 semifinals and the 2007 US Open final won by Federer. Djokovic is a very different player now, a deserved World #1 and has won 26 Grand Slam matches in a row, and is a mere two matches from achieving something that Federer has never been able to do, win 4 major titles in a row (28 consecutive Grand Slam matches). Federer knows precisely the historic pressure that Djokovic is feeling, because twice in his career he has won 27 matches in a row, only to be stopped in the 28th match by Rafael Nadal in Paris.

Federer is not playing as well this year as he played last year, but with his talent you never know when he can raise his game and take out anyone, anytime. Last year I predicted that Djokovic would advance to his first major final in Paris and was proven wrong by Federer. This time, even though Federer has reached 5 finals here in the last 6 years as the clear second-best clay court player in that period, I have to go with the higher ranked player, who I think is starting to show that he is about to take over the title of second-best player on clay in the world.  PREDICTION: Djokovic.

David Ferrer ESP (6) vs.  Rafael Nadal ESP (2)David Ferrer showed that even though he is no longer rated in the Top 5 in the world , he is most definitely one of the top 5 clay-court players in the world by dismissing World #4 Andy Murray in the quarterfinals.. These two Spaniards have played 19 times before, with Nadal holding an overwhelming 15-4 edge. On clay, Nadal lost the first time the two met, in 2004 when he was a teenager and has since won 12 matches in a row on the surface. Interestingly, the two have only met three times in Grand Slams and Ferrer has won two of those matches, losing the one match the two have played at Roland Garros, in the 2005 quarterfinals. In fact, the two played on clay just a few weeks ago in Rome and the match ended with a bagel beat down. Nadal has yet to lose a set and Ferrer has only lost a single tiebreak set in the last round. I suspect that Ferrer will be able to at least hold on to reach at least one tiebreak set and will probably break Nadal enough to win some battles and preserve his pride but he will lose the war.  PREDICTIONNadal.

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