May/18

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Roland Garros 2018 Anticipation

Rafa_01

By Scoop Malinowski

On paper the 2018 Roland Garros mens’ tournament projects to be a one man demolition, performed by the famous lefthander from Spain whose grand persona is as synonymous with red clay as wine is to Italy, hot dogs to baseball and money to a bank.

For those who don’t know, the man of the moment is named Rafael Nadal and to many tennis observers he is money in the bank to win the French Open. He has participated fourteen times since 2005 winning 10 Roland Garros championships, including last year, so it makes total sense to lean for him as the favorite to win this year. Before you go crazy, do yourself a favor and review sportsbooks before betting so you get the site offering the best price for Nadal.

 

As automatic and dominant as the King of Clay appears to be, he is still human and an army of invaders are also preparing to overthrow the the emperor.

The leading contenders who are capable of upsetting Nadal are Novak Djokovic and Dominic Thiem. Djokovic leads Nadal head to head overall 26-25 but is only just beginning to regain his top form after a two-year span of substandard play. Djokovic has beaten Nadal seven times on clay in the last seven years and lost their most recent meeting in Rome by a competitive 76 63. Djokovic also is the only man to achieve a three-match win streak vs. Nadal on clay. So Djokovic has shown he can best Nadal on clay with his tactical ability to control play from his backhand wing.

Djokovic is the lead threat to overcome Nadal but the big question is if the Serbian can summon the level of play required to do what only two men – Robin Soderling and himself – have been able to do.

The other player who has been able to defeat Nadal on clay is the ATP world no. 8 Dominic Thiem who has managed to do it three times – 2015 in Buenos Aires 64 46 76, 2017 in Rome 64 63 and this year in Madrid 75 63. However, Nadal and Thiem have played six other times on clay and Nadal won all six of those matches. Curiously, the two titans have played nine times in ATP matches and each contest was on outdoor red clay.

The third wave of contenders who have shown glimpses of troubling Nadal include David Goffin, Kei Nishikori, Nick Kyrgios, John Isner, Sam Querrey, Fabio Fognini, Alexander Zverev, Kevin Anderson, Diego Schwartzman and Stan Wawrinka.

And then the fourth wave would include: Pablo Carreno Busta, Marin Cilic, David Ferrer, Daniil Medvedev, Andrey Rublev, Karen Khachanov, Jack Sock, Juan Martin Del Potro, Grigor Dimitrov, Lucas Poulle and Kyle Edmund.

In the womens’ competition Simona Halep, Elina Svitolina, Petra Kvitova, Maria Sharapova and Karolina Pliskova are in the best form at the moment but lurking outside the top group are Serena and Venus Williams, Garbine Muguruza, Angelique Kerber, Caroline Wozniaki, Su Wei Hsieh, Madison Keys, Julia Georges, and Sloane Stephens.

 

Photo by Henk Abbink

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46 comments

  • Hartt · May 24, 2018 at 3:00 pm

    If both get to the third round, Shapo will face Jack Sock. Given the current form of each guy, I would put my $ on Denis. But then, disaster in the fourth round – it will be against Rafa.

  • Chazz · May 24, 2018 at 3:18 pm

    Side news: Nicolas Kicker guilty of match fixing!

  • Hartt · May 24, 2018 at 3:37 pm

    It took them long enough to deal with Kicker’s case, the matches involved were in 2015.

  • Chazz · May 24, 2018 at 4:43 pm

    Juicy first round matchups:

    Coric-Kohlschreiber
    Johnson-Mannarino
    De Minaur-Edmund
    Isner-Rubin
    Tiafoe-Querrey
    Pouille-Medvedev
    Harrison-Marterer

    Roland Garros site crashed so I haven’t had a chance to look at women’s draw yet

  • Chazz · May 24, 2018 at 4:43 pm

    Oh great, we’re back to no line breaks on posts

  • Chazz · May 24, 2018 at 4:58 pm

    Site is back up. Women’s matchups:

    Siegemund-Vandeweghe
    Georges-Cibulkova
    Wang-V.Williams
    Keys-Vickery
    Kenin-Osaka
    Kasatkina-Kanepi
    Collins-Wozniacki

  • Chazz · May 24, 2018 at 5:09 pm

    Man, that Tiafoe-Querrey matchup is huge. Perfect chance for Foe to assert his standing among American tennis. QBall is very beatable on clay.

  • catherine · May 25, 2018 at 2:58 am

    A little surprised Kostyuk didn’t qualify but there’s plenty of time for her.

    On the other hand I wouldn’t be at all surprised if Konta goes out 1st match, plus a few others I won’t name because I’ll be proved wrong.

    Angie plays fellow German Barthel and should avoid last year’s misfortune when she lost in the 1st round and sat there afterwards telling everyone ‘I don’t know what to do now.’

  • catherine · May 25, 2018 at 3:05 am

    Agree with Chazz with that Edmund-De Minaur pick – I don’t know much about Edmund’s record on clay and if he wins that one he’s got a tough draw, including Fognini in 3rd round.

  • catherine · May 25, 2018 at 3:09 am

    BTW Konta plays Putintseva who beat Sloane Stephens in Nuremberg.

  • Scoop Malinowski · May 25, 2018 at 7:31 am

    Tomic Qs into the main draw without losing a set.

  • Duke Carnoustie · May 25, 2018 at 11:07 am

    Tomic draws Kyrgios in the first round!!!

    All of Australia watching that one.

  • Chazz · May 25, 2018 at 11:45 am

    Count me in as a viewer of that one. That is a must see match.

  • Dan Markowitz · May 25, 2018 at 1:23 pm

    How do you know Kyrgios is going to make it to the starting gate? Gulbis qualifies beating the Italian he SS at US Open a couple of years ago, Gianessi.

    I was watching some Opelka v Kovalik the other day and Opelka fought hard, but the guy’s body language is strange. He looks like he’s pissed off out there. He’s an interesting player to watch, turning 21 this summer and really hasn’t had a big breakthrough yet.

  • Scoop Malinowski · May 25, 2018 at 2:30 pm

    Opelka beat Anderson and others two years ago, he has some wins but has not strung a win streak together yet. More of isolated good matches followed up by mediocre losses. Tomic vs Kyrgios will be drama with Hewitt in the house. We know Hewitt and Tomic despise each other now after that public spat a few months ago where Tomic basically accused Hewitt and Tennis Australia of major corruption. Gotta give Tomic a lot of credit for getting himself back into contention and relevance.

  • Duke Carnoustie · May 26, 2018 at 12:23 am

    Here’s Duke’s lock betting tip for RG. Bet as much as you can on Khachanov in the first round vs. Haider-Maurer, who is using a PR to get in.

    He hasn’t won a tour-level match in 11 tries since foot surgery in 2015. He has lost every set in all of those matches except for last week’s loss to Sandgren in which he won the first 6-1 and then won more game the rest of the way.

    Bet on Khachanov in straight sets. That’s Duke’s lock of the week.

  • catherine · May 26, 2018 at 2:48 am

    But really, dead silence here until the first ball is struck.

  • Scoop Malinowski · May 26, 2018 at 8:09 am

    Duke, that looks like the lock of the first round, or Jaziri (3-0) vs Youzhny, Gasquet (6-1) vs Seppi, Leo Mayer (4-1) vs Benneteau.

  • Michael in uk · May 27, 2018 at 4:05 am

    French up and coming young player Corentin Moutet (discussed on this excellent forum) plays Dr Ivo on day one. I think they played against each other not long ago and and I commented on the likely record breaking age difference between competitors in any sorts at highest level.

  • Scoopmalinowski · May 27, 2018 at 9:21 am

    Yes Moutet vs Ivo is a rematch of a marathon three setter in Quito earlier this year won by Moutet. Will be a popcorn thrilla.

  • catherine · May 27, 2018 at 9:24 am

    Kyrgios withdraws – who knew it ?

  • catherine · May 27, 2018 at 9:43 am

    It’s Nick’s elbow again. Not ready for 2 weeks on RG clay but I expect to see him at W’don.

  • Scoop Malinowski · May 27, 2018 at 10:14 am

    Looks like Nick chickened out of the high pressure high drama showdown with Tomic and backed down with a suspect injury. Very surrpised Nick chickened out but then again he hates these high profile grudge matches and Tomic is looking great now and he’s back with a vengeance. Watch out for Tomic in Paris, he’s back with a vengeance.

  • catherine · May 27, 2018 at 10:38 am

    Well, Nick can spend quality time with his girlfriend, who gave Svitolina a bit of a fright. Elina had to win 6 games in a row to get back into the 1st set.

  • Duke Carnoustie · May 27, 2018 at 11:15 am

    Nick is a mental midget much like his doubles partner. Maybe they can find a Paris gym to shoot some hoops together and celebrate that Lyon title.

  • catherine · May 27, 2018 at 1:26 pm

    Williams, Konta out 1st round and Koslova serving for the match v Ostapenko.

    Konta no surprise – can see her back on the coaching merry-go-round before long – I’d bet on it actually.

    Bartoli is doing TV commentary. She should stick to that.

  • catherine · May 27, 2018 at 1:29 pm

    Ostapenko goes out to Kozlova – when was the last time the defending women’s champion lost in the first round at RG ?

  • Michael in uk · May 27, 2018 at 2:10 pm

    Gosh, yes I just saw that score. Ostapenko wil be furious with herself surely. Kozlova is unseeded.

  • Duke Carnoustie · May 27, 2018 at 2:25 pm

    Looks like Ostapenko’s Rome injury was an issue. I don’t consider it too bad a loss.

    Bad loss for Taylor Fritz to some no-name. Clearly he got overconfident after beating Sock, not realizing that beating Sock right now is slightly more impressive than beating Scoop.

  • Hartt · May 27, 2018 at 2:42 pm

    Berankis was not able to give Zverev the Younger much resistance, but Sascha was scarily good in that match, taking it 6-1, 6-1, 6-2 in 69 minutes. If he can keep up that level he will be a threat to any player.

  • catherine · May 27, 2018 at 2:52 pm

    Ostapenko had a blister, which was no doubt painful, but she really hasn’t played very well over the past year and definitely needs to do some work on her serve and overall game. I wasn’t expecting to see her go very far this time in Paris.

  • catherine · May 27, 2018 at 2:57 pm

    Sorry – Kozlova had the blister. I don’t know what Jelena’s injury was.

  • Scoop Malinowski · May 27, 2018 at 3:08 pm

    Kozlova’s first win since January. Ostapenko wasn’t smiling very much today, guess the pressure and expectation to defend did her in. Fritz lost to Andreozzi who is a bludgeoning ball striker. I have seen this power player live twice beating Kozlov in SS at US Open qualies last year and 2015. He simply overpowered Fritz with a stunning display that not many expected. Fritz did nothing wrong, Andreozzi just played A plus power tennis and kept his nerve at the end and came up with some incredible plays. Nishioka used up every ounce of heart and soul and desperation to fight with Verdasco but the heayvweight vs featherweight aspect of this clash took it’s toll in the end. Nishioka cried and had to be halped off the court. He really needed the points. Verdasco was one of his lefty heroes. Emotional ending to a marathon epic 75 in the fifth. Haase attempting shenanigans to stall the match vs Goffin who he lead 64 64 but Goffin took the next two 64 61 with Haase trying to postpone the match due to darkness. Goffin showed top ten level magic and Haase had no answers despite Paul Haarhuis lending support.

  • catherine · May 27, 2018 at 3:17 pm

    https://twitter.com/stu_fraser/status/1000788814514851840

    If this comes up I think it’s kind of interesting.

  • catherine · May 27, 2018 at 3:33 pm

    This came from Konta’s press conference but I shouldn’t think you’ll see it reported quite like that on the WTA site.

    I think Johanna is actually one very confused person. No wonder Fisette took a hike.

  • Scoop Malinowski · May 27, 2018 at 7:11 pm

    Pretty good attempt at a difficult analogy by Konta while calling the media “bastards” :0 Im starting to like Konta.

  • Scoop Malinowski · May 27, 2018 at 8:27 pm

    Some surprise WTA doubles breaks ups. Team Bucie, is out, Safaraova is playing with Kuznetsova while Sands is now with Chan. Vesnina and Makarova kaput, Vesnina with Ostapenko and Mak with Kalinskaya. Mike Bryan is playing with Querrey with Bob out with a hip problem. DY with Ebden. Harrison with Pospisil.

  • Chazz · May 27, 2018 at 10:29 pm

    How about Fritz and Tiafoe playing as a doubles team? Also Sock with Johnson probably because Kyrgios is out of RG.

  • catherine · May 27, 2018 at 11:04 pm

    Konta comes off here sounding unreasonably bitter. Reminds me of Johnny M at his best. She’s had a pretty good ride with the media in Britain and everything was just fine when she won Miami last year – did that go to her head ?

    Her publicist (yes, she’s got one) should get to work.

  • catherine · May 27, 2018 at 11:17 pm

    I had to laugh. Konta’s main press booster in the press here is Kevin Mitchell at the Guardian. In his first report on Konta’s match he left out her whining and then had to go back and put it in when the BTL comments brought it up 🙂

  • Duke Carnoustie · May 28, 2018 at 3:02 am

    Scoop, I’m with you, nice to see Konta call out the tennis media vultures. She doesn’t owe them anything!

  • Duke Carnoustie · May 28, 2018 at 3:33 am

    We were talking about college tennis. Well the Wake Forest foreign guys have advanced to the NCAA singles title match.

    It’s been on tennis twitter how one of the Wake kids, Borna Gojo, is a big cheat. Watch him cheat on this point against UNC’s Will Blumberg. Even Taylor Fritz called him out…

    https://mobile.twitter.com/Taylor_Fritz97/status/1000485022783148032?ref_src=twsrc%5Egoogle%7Ctwcamp%5Eserp%7Ctwgr%5Etweet

  • Michael in uk · May 28, 2018 at 4:09 am

    Haha, that’s great about Kevin Mitchell Catherine. I agree with you, as usual, Jo K has had a good ride in then UK media. I suppose one Could criticise the usual over optimistic talking up of prospects that UK media seem to give to most British players.

  • catherine · May 28, 2018 at 4:38 am

    Michael – yes, it’s par for the course for Brit media to talk up and then let down British efforts (see recent cricket and then coming football W.C.)but what struck me about J’s comments was how angry and muddled she sounds, plus her language which is of the kind not usually heard in a p.c 🙂

    However – last year when Kerber was plunging down the rankings the German press was hard on her, to the extent that Barbara Rittner went on TV to ask them to lay off – but I never heard Angie blame her bad form on the media, at least never in an English interview. Angie knew who was responsible for her results on court and it wasn’t the guys in the press box.

    Players and press are locked in a symbiotic type of relationship. Konta should understand that.

  • catherine · May 28, 2018 at 7:55 am

    Kvitova squeaks past Cepede in 3 and Azarenka, whose best days are behind her, goes out.

  • Scoop Malinowski · May 28, 2018 at 9:02 am

    Terrible cheating by Gojo, as bad as it gets. They should strip his title away.

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