Saturday, May 22, 2010

Roland Garros Men's Predictions

This year we enter Roland Garros with one question. How easily will Rafael Nadal triumph? Sure, it's quite unfair to completely disregard the world number 1 and resident G.O.A.T, Roger Federer, but the Swiss has been very shaky and Rafa, well, he's been anything but. Nadal isn't entering this year's French Open playing as well as he did in 2008, but one must have the experience, confidence and talent to derail the Spaniard this year, as he's been so far ahead of the pack. Many of this year's possible "Soderlings" have 2 of those 3, but without the whole package, no one is coming between Nadal and his 5th French title.

1st Quarter

Of course, Roger Federer sits atop the draw, like he always has. He comes into Roland Garros not having won a tournament since the Aussie Open, and he hasn't gone winless between the year's first two slams in 7 years. That being said, the Swiss was able to eliminate the erratic shanks from his game in Madrid that were ever-so-present in Indian Wells, Miami, Monte Carlo and Rome. The man he beat in last year's final, Robin Soderling, lies in Fed's quarter, but he hasn't been very impressive either. And Le Sod doesn't have an soft draw either, as he could possibly meet clay-court specialist Albert Montanes in the 3rd round, where I would give the edge to Montanes. Marin Cilic and Ernests Gulbis, who has already contested three 3-setters with Federer this year (winning 1 of them) all are possible quarterfinal opponents for Federer, who needs to get past the quick and crafty Gael Monfils and countryman Stanislas Wawrinka to reach that stage. Despite a rough path, Federer is the clear favorite to reach a 24th consecutive GS semifinal, and expect him to do it without too much difficulty.

Early rounder to keep an eye on: Gulbis vs. Cilic

Quarterfinals: Federer def. Cilic

2nd Quarter

I'll be honest- I have no effing clue who is going to win this section. It's by far the weakest of the four, with Andy Murray, playing pretty craptasticly as of late, leading the way. Right behind the Scot, is Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, who tends to suffer from the infamous "Frenchies at the French" disease, a syndrome Parisians tend to be infected with around May, when playing in front of their home crowd in Roland Garros. In other words, he can't handle the pressure or expectations placed on him by his country. Mikhail Youzhny, Tomas Berdych, John Isner and Tommy Robredo also lie in the 2nd quarter, and I would figure that one of them would be the semifinalist. Youzhny is a headcase, Isner is an American 9that should say it all) and Robredo is a grand-slam punching bag. Berdych, though, has the experience and the game to make a big run. Look for the Czech to cause an upset or two and reach a long overdue Major semifinal.

Early rounder to keep an eye on: Murray vs. Richard Gasquet

Quarterfinals: Berdych def. Tsonga

3rd Quarter

Novak Djokovic has been quite the mystery this year. Like Murray, he has all the talent in the world and top-notch results to prove it but a major case of choking (or what Nole would call it: allergies) have put a damper on the Serb's 2010. Poor results all Spring, which tends to be a thriving time of the year for the world number 3, have weakened Djoko's confidence and he isn't playing like a possible contender. Andy Roddick is the 2nd highest seed here, but the American has yet to play a clay-court match in 2010. not ideal circumstances for a solid Roland Garros campaign. The obvious choice would be David Ferrer, and as much as I would love to be a contrarian, everything points in the Spaniard's favor. Ferrer's clay-court run this Spring has been phenomenal, reaching the semis in Monte Carlo, Barcelona and Madrid, and the finals in Rome. Juan Carlos Ferrero and Sam Querrey are the next two highest seeds and could possibly meet in the 3rd round, both having had success on the clay.

Early rounder to keep an eye on: Ferrero vs. Querrey

Quarterfinals: Ferrer def. Ferrero

Rafael Nadal has to like the looks of his section this year. Beating Fernando Verdasco has been comically easy for Rafa this year, and you'd have to be insane to think that Fernando Gonzalez and Ivan Ljubicic pose any sort of threat to the Spaniard's clay-court dominance. Nicolas Almagro gave Rafa all he had in the Madrid semis, but over 3 out of 5 sets any menace Almagro previously provided is gone. I'd be surprised if Nadal lost much more than 10 games en route to the semis.

Early rounder to keep an eye on: Lleyton Hewitt vs. Jeremy Chardy

Semifinals: Federer def. Berdych, Nadal def. Ferrer

Here we go again. Federer and Nadal. Expect something along the lines of the 2008 final, but just not as harsh. Win number 5 for El Matador.

Finals. Nadal def. Federer

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