Tuesday, June 03, 2014

2014 FRENCH OPEN: Men's Quarterfinals Preview

The men's quarterfinals for the 2014 French Open are set. Last  year I correctly predicted 3 of 4 women's quarterfinals and correctly predicted 4 of 4 men's quarterfinals. This year I also have already made predictions for the women's quarterfinals. Below are my predictions for this year's men's quarterfinals.

Rafael Nadal (ESP) [1] vs David Ferrer (ESP) [5]. This is a  reprise of last year's final which was won by Nadal in three relatively easy sets 6-3 6-2 6-3. Ferrer and Nadal have played lots of times, and the World #1 currently leads their head-to-head 21-6, but earlier this season Ferrer finally was able to beat Nadal on clay for the first time in a decade, and he did it in straight sets in the quarterfinals of the Monte Carlo Masters. However, that was a best-of-three sets match and there quarterfinals in Paris will be best-of-five. The main problem with this match-up is that Nadal can do everything better than Ferrer. The question is, will he be able to do so? The King of Clay has only ever lost one match at Roland Garros in his career and only played two 5-setters, both of which he won. However, if there is any human who can outlast Nadal on clay, it is "the Little Beast." I just don't think that dogged defense will be enough to win the day, however he could weaken Nadal and make his path to a 9th Roland Garros title this year much more complicated. Mad Professah's pick: Nadal in 4.

Gael Monfils (FRA) [23] vs Andy Murray (GBR) [7]. Curiously, Monfils and Murray have only played 5 times before, with the Brit holding a slim 3-2 lead in their career head-to-head. The two have split their two clay court matches (which was 8 years ago). Murray is playing in his 13th consecutive major quarterfinal while Monfils is playing in only his 5th career major quarterfinal, all but one of which have been here in Paris. Monfils is an entertainer and the French Federation will try their best to schedule this match at a time when the partisan Parisian crowd can attempt to help Le Monf across the finish line, setting up a blockbuster semifinal for Friday. Murray is a surprisingly good clay court player and had a good showing against Nadal in the Rome quarterfinals, winning a set. Murray has a 4-15 record against the King of Clay while Monfils has a more pedestrian 2-10 record, so I would prefer it if Murray were to make it through but somehow I think Monfils will come through. This should be the best match of the bunch to watch. Vive la France! Mad Professah's pick: Monfils in 5.

Tomas Berdych (CZE) [6] vs Ernests Gulbis (LAT) [18] Roger Federer (SUI) [4]. This match-up is somewhat similar to the Ferrer-Nadal match-up. Is Berdych just basically a bigger, stronger version of Gulbis, or is Gulbis a younger, hungrier version of Berdych? Generally in clashes between youth and experience, I go with experience. The two have only played each other 6 times, with a 4-2 advantage to the Czech. Unsurprisingly, the two have played a LOT of tiebreakers against each other, with Gulbis winning 5 of the 6 (including 3 in one match!). If Gulbis serves as well as he can then he can make a match out of this, otherwise I expect the consistency of Berdych to prevail. The other complicating factor here is that Gulbis is coming off the biggest win of his career in his 5-set dismissal of Roger Federer in the round before, and the effects of that, despite Gulbis' apparent nonchalance at the results will likely come into to play at some point. Mad Professah's pick: Berdych in 4.

Milos Raonic (CAN) [8] vs  Novak Djokovic (SRB) [2].  These two have only met twice on tour, most recently in the semifinals of Rome a few weeks ago where Djokovic maintained his undefeated record against the tall, hard-hitting Canadian in a surprisingly tight match. Raonic is now a consistent Top 10 player but this is his first major quarterfinal, while it is Djokovic's 20th consecutive quarterfinal. Djokovic is playing scintillating tennis. He completely demolished a somewhat flat Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in the round before, giving up only 4 games against a hometown favorite who was a semifinalist here last year and held match points against Djokovic two years ago.  If that's the level of tennis Nole is playing it is going to be  a rough day at the office for Milos. The Serbian is a man on a mission (to complete the career Slam) and I am starting to believe 2014 is going to be the year his mission is accomplished. Mad Professah's pick: Djokovic in 4.

1 comment:

carter said...

Amazingly, Tsonga looked so flat that resignation had set in by the time he started playing the match.
Gulbis on the other hand came out smoking and gave Tomas no chance, winning in 3 sets. I figured Tomas would give him a better match than that.
But Gulbis has been playing some very good tennis this Spring, and these past 2 matches are very good examples.
But Novak will be another challenge at a much higher level.


Blog Widget by LinkWithin