Thursday, June 04, 2015

2015 FRENCH OPEN: Men's Semifinals Preview

Here are my predictions for the 2015 men's quarterfinals at the French Open. Last year I correctly predicted 2 of 2 men's semifinals and 2 of 2 women's semifinals. This year I correctly predicted 4 of 4 women's quarterfinals and correctly predicted 3 of 4 men's quarterfinals. I  have also written a post to predict the women's semifinals in a separate post.

Novak Djokovic [1] vs Andy Murray [3]. Of course the reason why this match is occurring is because Djokovic spoiled 9-time French Open champion Rafael Nadal's 29th birthday 
 by defeating him in straight sets in the most anticipated quarterfinal of the century.

As I predicted beforehand, Djokovic was able to do something that no one else had been able to accomplish in 95 five-set matches on clay against the Spanish King of Clay: winning not just one set, not two sets but three sets in a row. Nadal had previously beaten Djokovic 6 consecutive times at Roland Garros. Murray also did well to earn his first clay-court win against another Spaniard clay expert, 2013 French Open finalist Davd Ferrer in four sets to reach his 3rd Roland Garros semifinal. Excitingly, both players are playing some of the best tennis of their careers right now. Djokovic is currently on a 27-match winning streak while Murray is undefeated in all 16 matches he has played in since he got married in mid-April. Head-to-head, Djokovic has dominated their rivalry, currently leading it 18-8. These two were famously born just a week apart (Murray is older) and have faced each other in five major finals, with the two alternating victories in a way that gives Djokovic a 3-2 lead, including the 2015 Australian Open. Bizarrely, only two of their 26 meetings to date have been on clay and both have been won by Djokovic but they were also way back in 2008 and 2011, well before Murray had become a major champion. I think this match will be closer than the Djokovic-Nadal match, but in the end I don't think the Serb's date with destiny on Sunday can be denied. Mad Professah's pick: Murray.

Roger Federer [2] Stan Wawrinka [8] vs Jo-Wilfried Tsonga [14]. Before I talk about the semifinal I must say something about the quarterfinal results which got us to this point. I did not expect Wawrinka to beat Federer considering their historic head-to-head which has been dominated by Federer. However, Wawrinka completely flipped the script and simply overpowered his celebrated countryman in a straight sets shellacking.

There really was not much that Federer could have done; Wawrinkka won nearly half of his points on direct winners. It was the first time since 2002 that Roger Federer had failed to break serve in a Grand Slam match! If he continues to play that kind of tennis I completely believe that Wawrinka could win this tournament regardless of who is on the other side of the net. However, it's doubtful that he can maintain such a high level for two more rounds. Then again, all he needs to do is take it one match at a time.  Wawrinka and Tsonga have only played six times in their careers (5 times on clay) including twice at Roland Garros. They are tied 3-all overall and have split their French Open matches 1-all with Wawrinka holding a slight 3-2 in their clay court matches. Wawrinka is playing in his first semifinal at Roland Garros and his fourth overall of his career while Tsonga is playing in his 2nd semifinal at Roland Garros and fifth career semifinal overall. Mad Professah's pick: Tsonga.

1 comment:

carter said...

I know I guessed wrong on the Tsonga and Stan quarterfinal matches, but Stan looked SO strong against Federer that if he can maintain anything resembling that form, as you say, there may be no one on the other side of the net to deny him the title.
The emotional crowd will all be for Tsonga, so Stan has some heavy lifting to do to reach the finals.
Should be a very good match.
Novak is still Novak.


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