Sunday, June 11, 2017

2017 FRENCH OPEN: Men's Final Preview (and Semifinals Review)

Rafael Nadal (ESP) [4] vs. Stan Wawrinka (SUI) [3].
Here are my predictions for the men's final at Roland Garros. Last year I correctly predicted Novak Djokovic would beat Andy Murray in the men's final and incorrectly predicted Serena Williams would beat Garbine Muguruza in the women's finalThis year I did not predict that Jelena Ostapenko would beat Simona Halep in the final, but I did correctly predict 1 of 2 women's semifinals2 of 2 men's semifinals3 of 4 women's quarterfinals and 4 of 4 men's quarterfinals. 

Below is my review of the men's semifinals and my preview of the men's final at the 2017 French Open.

Stan Wawrinka (SUI) [3] d. Andy Murray (GBR) 6-7(6) 6-3 5-7 7-6(3) 6-1. Although the final result was not that surprising (to me) the overall quality of the match was (to almost everyone). The World #1 and 2016 Roland Garros finalist had not been playing his best tennis in 2017 while the 2015 Roland Garros champion had not dropped a set in the first five rounds of play this year. However, somehow Murray was able to finally play some of his best tennis since he won this match-up last year, and Wawrinka (again) rose to the occasion, blasting an amazing 87 winners past Murray on clay!) The match was actually in Murray's control after the 3rd set but for unknown reasons he played an awful 4th set tiebreak and was quickly down 5-0 before putting up some more spirited resistance to dodge the final bagel set humiliation.

Rafael Nadal (ESP) [4] d. Dominic Thiem (AUT) [6] 6-3 6-4 6-0. As the 9-time French Open champion demolishes the field on to his seemingly inevitable 10th title (called La Decima by the press) he is constantly setting new records.  By only losing 7 games in this semifinal (against someone who had beaten him on clay in the last month and who dismissed the defending champion in straight sets the round before!) Nadal reached the final here only dropping a total of 29 games, just two more than the all-time record set by Bjorn Borg. Although some people had given Thiem a chance of pulling the upset here it seemed like a near impossibility to me. Even when Thiem opened the match with a break of serve, he was still down 4-1 fifteen minutes later, and in the end only the first two sets were even "competitive" and that is stretching the meaning of the word. TheAustrian youngster, who almost certainly will win a French Open title at some point, was unable to avoid the humiliation of a final set decimation, which I am pretty sure was intentional on Nadal's part.


Wawrinka has been in 3 major finals and sports a perfect 3-0 record. Nadal has been in 21 finals and has an impressive 14-7 record. It's pretty amazing that after losing a major final in Melbourne to his arch-nemesis, Nadal has another opportunity to re-insert himself into the G.O.A.T. discussion by becoming only the second player in history to win 15 majors and to again bring himself within striking distance of Federer's total of 18. The discussion about the greatest clay court player of all time is over: Nadal is the winner by acclamation.

It is true that Wawrinka is incredibly mentally tough and credits this aspect of the game with allowing him to have his incredible breakthrough at the age age of 28. The problem is I think the final will come down to who is physically tough. The weather forecast indicates that it will be well over 90 degrees and Nadal is perfectly ready, willing and able to spend 5 to 6 hours on court to claim this 10th French Open title. I believe Wawrinka is willing to do the same, but is he able? He just spent well over 4 hours winning his 5-set match over Murray and he has spent almost 5 hours more on court than Nadal has in the last two weeks. I believe that will be the edge and that Nadal will again be biting the French Open trophy after the last point is played.

MadProfessah's pick: Nadal.

No comments:


Blog Widget by LinkWithin