Saturday, June 06, 2015

2015 FRENCH OPEN: Men's Final Preview (and Semifinals Review)

Stan Wawrinka [8] (SUI) vs. Novak Djokovic [1] (SRB) 
The 2015 men's singles championship of the French Open at Roland Garros will be played between World #1 Novak Djokovic of Serbia and Stan Wawrinka of Switzerland 

Last year I incorrectly predicted that Djokovic would defeat Rafael Nadal in the final.  This year I have correctly predicted 1 of 2 women's semifinals4 of 4 women's quarterfinals3 of 4 men's quarterfinals and 1 of 2 men's semifinals. I also correctly predicted Serena Williams would defeat Lucie Safarova in the women's final this year. Below are my thoughts about this year's men's semifinals and final.

Men's Semifinals Review
Novak Djokovic [1] d. Andy Murray [3] 6-3 6-3 5-7 5-7 6-1. Surprisingly, this semifinal ended up being the more dramatic of the two played in this round. Following his straight sets dismissal of his primary obstacle to winning the career slam, I suspected this match against Murray would be more complicated than other
s expected but no one expected a 5-set marathon over two days. Djokovic has been dominating Murray recently, having won the last 7 matches they played, including 10 of the last 11. Murray is brimming with newfound confidence and was undefeated on clay, which also happens to be every match he has played as a married man. Djokovic easily went up 2 sets to love and had opportunities to seal Murray's fate in the third but he let him escape and the weather caused the match to be halted at 3-all in the fourth. When they resumed play the next day Murray snuck out the fourth as well with one break. However, then Djokovic re-asserted himself to easily win the final set and reach his 3rd 2nd consecutive French Open final, and 4th in five 3rd in 4 years.

Roger Federer [2] Stan Wawrinka [8] d. Jo-Wilfried Tsonga [14] 6-3 6-7(1) 7-6(3) 6-4. 
Wawrinka played some of the best tennis anyone has played in the tournament to demolish his frenemy Roger Federer in the quarterfinal. I actually think Wawrinka would have also taken out Nadal if the draw had been different and he played him instead of Federer in that same round. Tsonga utilized the crowd to outperform his seeding to win the last five games of his four-set match against #4 seed Tomas Berdych in the quarterfinals. I thought he would be able to do so again in a match against Wawrinka (also counting on the Swiss player having a lull after finally getting past Federer in a major). However, despite evening the match at 1-all, Tsonga took the crowd out of the crucial third and fourth sets with his questionable shot selection. The Frenchman has a powerful forehand and a relatively solid two-handed backhand but for some inexplicable reason he was hitting one-handed backhands as attempted offensive shots. Most of the time he made them, but it just demonstrated his loss of tactical control.

Men's Final Preview
Although Novak Djokovic leads his head-to-head with Stan Wawrinka 17-3 the Swiss player has more than a 15% chance of winning this match. It's probably twice (but not three times) that amount. But it is definitely not above 50%. No doubt about it, this is Djokovic's title to lose, which everyone has been saying all year long. The Serbian 28 year old is playing some of the best tennis of his entire career and is currently enjoying a 28-match winning streak. He has won every single important tournament that he played in this year and there's no reason to expect the French Open will be any different.

Wawrinka is quite talented, and definitely has the game that can beat Djokovic (5 of their 6 five-set matches have gone the distance) and he is a former boys' champion at Roland Garros so he knows how to play on clay.

So far in this year's tournament through 6 rounds they have played an equal number of sets (20, winning 18) and Djokovic has 93 more winners than errors while Wawrinka has less than half that margin (43 more winners than errors). This is just one of the many reasons I think Djokovic will win this match, and complete the career slam, becoming the 9th man in history to do so, and the third i this golden era of men's tennis, following Federer and Nadal.

MadProfessah's pick: Djokovic.

1 comment:

carter said...

This result did not surprise me, as Stan was playing lights-out tennis the entire 2 weeks, and his demolition of Federer told me he had stepped up his game to another level, which he clearly has.
Congrats to Stan Wawrinka, now the possessor of two of the four grand slams, only one less than Novak, without all the notoriety and fanfare that Novak brings to the discussion.


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