French Open Quarter Final’s Preview
Day 9 of the French Open brought us a couple of fantastic matches along with an almost inevitable win. This was Nadal’s confident 3 set win over dangerous young gun Maximillian Marterer. Although the German did do well to take it to a tie break in the 3rd set, Nadal was impressive in his win.
Meanwhile, Nadal’s quarter final opponent, Diego Schwartzman did it the hard way by coming back from two sets down against Kevin Anderson. Marin CIlic also came through a tough 4th round finally getting over the line against Fabio Fognini after the Italian came back from two sets down. He will face Del Potro in the quarter finals, who played impressive tennis to beat John Isner in straight sets.
And now, onto the predictions for the first two quarter finals, taking place on day 10 of the tournament.
Novak Djokovic vs Marco Cecchinato
Although not playing his best tennis throughout the tournament, Djokovic has found his way into the quarter finals and now has a favourable draw to make it one stage further.
Last year, Djokovic played Thiem at this stage of the tournament, and suffered one of the most devasting losses of his career, losing 6-0 in the final set of a straight sets match. Since then, Djokovic has not done a whole lot to reassure his fans that he has markedly since then. Despite these problems however, Djokovic will be confident of once again making a grand slam semi-final.
Djokovic’s opponent, Marco Cecchinato, ranked 72 in the world, has had a stunning tournament, beating the likes of Pablo Carreno Busta, and more impressively, in the last round, David Goffin. However, the psychological pressure of playing one of the all time greats, along with being in the quarter finals, much more a mental burden then the less impressive sounding fourth round, is likely to give the advantage to the more experienced Serb.
Prediction- Djokovic wins in 3 sets
Alexander Zverev vs Dominic Thiem
The most interesting match of the quarter finals, and possibility the whole tournament, this match pits the two most promising young players against each other. Both have been in excellent form over the clay court season. Zverev won in Madrid and pushed Nadal to the brink in a high-quality final in Rome. Meanwhile, Thiem was the only man to beat Nadal this clay court season so far, with an impressive straight sets win over the Spaniard in Madrid. On this basis, analysts have predicted that both of these two will be future French Open champions. However, all the focus for the time being will be on the match in hand.
In terms of the history of this rivalry, Thiem has a narrow lead, at 4-2 in front, including a win in this tournament two years ago. However, must has changed since then, and Zverev has certainly become a more accomplished clay court player. This is shown in the last match between the two, just a few weeks gao in the final of Madrid, where he dominated in an impressive straight sets win.
So, onto current form. Thiem has made his way through the draw fairly comfortably, never being pushed beyond 4 sets. This included impressive wins over future star Stephanos Tsitsipas and, in the last round, Kei Nishikori, which was an ominous win. Throughout this tournament, Thiem’s good form has been assured.
Zverev meanwhile has been a direct contrast to Thiem’s fast progression through the tournament. For the last 3 rounds, Zverev has been pushed to 5 sets, going 2 sets to 1 down in each of them. Zverev has been vey shaky, but still has managed to get the results, the sign of a true champion.
Against Thiem however, If Zverev does go down 2-1, I do not think he will be able to come back once again against the quality of Thiem. Despite the German having a more successful clay court season thus far, I still believe Thiem is the more accomplished clay court player, especially in this, the biggest clay court tournament in the world, where he has been a semi-finalist in both of the last two years.
After having little success in the last match with Zverev, Thiem will have adapted his game play to suit his own style. In Madrid, Thiem focused too much on the weaknesses of Zverev, trying to keep the ball low by slicing to the Germans forehand. This was ultimately not a successful tactic, as this is not a normal tactic of the aggressive Austrian. While this was worth trying out, if Thiem is more aggressive, while working on this tactic at times, he will be more successful this time around.
Prediction- Thiem wins in 4 sets