Sunday, June 04, 2017

French Open Day 7: "I only wanted to see you underneath the Paris rain... [Paris rain, Paris rain]"

Hey Y'all. Galileo here.

The top eight seeds are all, as play stands, still in. Seeds 15, 17, 19-21 and 24 are still around.

Let’s have some more predictions, shall we? Due to the rain, we are a match short. Karen Khachanov, predicted to rise five places to 48, could beat his previous best ranking of 42. He has taken the first set off John Isner 7-6[1]. This BACKSPINNER is going to call that a Russian victory, but in four sets. [ED.NOTE: ding-ding-ding-ding. - tds] The Russian may even show some emotion with that win.

[Ummm, well... he *does* at least seem to like bananas. Maybe.]

In the battle for rightful ruler of all Asia, the score is delicately poised at 5-7, 4-6, 7-6(4), 3-0, with Hyeon Chung in ascendancy. Tomorrow, Kei Nishikori will take a while to find his feet. Once he does he is going to win in five. [After dropping the 4th at love, he won in five.] The South Korean will come a cropper to the experience of the Asian number one.

And in the Gasquet/Monfils duel, it is Gael Monfils with the 6-5 advantage. But it is on serve and their head-to-head is only 7-6 in the favour of Monfils. This will be a four set Monfils win. Neither are in great form, or are fully healthy. But can Gasquet hit through the wall that is Gael? [It ended with a 3rd set retirement. But -- shocker - it wasn't from Monfils, but Gasquet!]

...The Argentine led in the first set with a break, but once it started to go it went very quickly. Delpo’s first appearance here in five years was ended in three hours by the Scot, 7-6[8], 7-5, 6-0. In it Muzza had to dig extremely deep, and come up with magic from nowhere to take it. He held four set points in the first set but could not close it out. After that it just got tougher and tougher. Murray was lucky to get away with the first set but, once he did, he didn’t really look back.

Del Potro took the loss of the first set very hard indeed. But he can use this experience. Last year he made the third round of Wimbledon, beating Stan Wawrinka in the process. The time before that he made the semi-finals. Good things happen to the giant on the grass. Murray has played his best match of the year and it isn’t even close. His winner ratio of 44-28 was extraordinary. And breaking the big server six times? Superb. He has rounded into form and now plays Khachanov or, maybe, John Isner.
...Well, you must simply tip your hat to the brilliance of Marin Cilic. He has been dismal the whole year.

He has barely been able to string match wins together, let alone make a run anywhere. But here he is at his worst slam and, somehow, he is looking superb. He beat Lopez, playing in his millionth straight RG, 6-1, 6-3, 6-3. It only lasted an hour and a quarter. Cilic broke six times, won 74% of second serve return points, and made a very talented player look like an amateur. His forehand is now in gear, and if he can replicate this at Wimbledon, he should do very well. He must now face Kevin Anderson. It would be the most Cilic thing ever if he were to somehow lose that match. Both men have a golden chance to make a deep run here in Paris. It is a golden gift they have been handed, but the winner does have to play Wawrinka.
...Fabio Fognini served for the first set at 5-4. He had played well, had kept the Stanimal at bay, and might have been on course for an upset. Fabio didn’t even get a set point before he was broken. He got three set point chances at 6-5 but was broken then, too. After that he won two more games. His spirit was broken. He didn’t even misbehave. He was very limp as he lost 7-6[2], 6-0, 6-2. It didn’t even last two hours. And if there is anyone in the draw who could best Nadal it is Wawrinka. He is looking very good right now. His next opponent will have played three days in a row. He knew both of his potential opponents (Monfils/Gasquet) quite well. I just don’t see how he can lose. And then in the quarters he gets to face off against Cilic or Anderson. He hasn’t dropped a set. He may not drop one on the way to his third semi-final in a row here.
...The run continues. The match-up between Africa’s number one and Britain’s Kyle Edmund had massive repercussions attached to it. Earlier in the tournament the Kevin had beaten Malek Jaziri. So, regardless of the rankings, he is right now the best player on his continent. Should the big server win it he would be in with a chance of taking a seed at Wimbledon and his comeback would be almost complete. But if the Brit won he would be able to make his second fourth round appearance at a slam in the last three. And he, too, would have had a shot at that elusive grand slam seed. The stakes were high for the boys from Johannesburg. In two hours and 58 minutes, Anderson came back from two sets to one down to win, 6-7[8], 7-6[4], 5-7, 6-1, 6-4. He blasted 65 winners and broke three times to Edmund’s once. The key was on second serve returns. Anderson managed to win 63 per cent of his, but Edmund could only win 55 per cent. Both those numbers are great, but in matches like this it is that eight per cent which can turn things. There is a fallacy that big servers struggle on clay. Some do. But if they are intelligent big-servers, like Kevin, they do just fine. They use angles, kick and slice. All of those things are quite unpleasant on the dirt. And Kevin has a wonderful forehand. It makes a great second shot. If he can beat Cilic, the 11 time ATP finalist would have a new lease on life. Cilic leads the head-to-head 5-1, but it is only 1-1 on clay. If the South African lost that he would still be seeded at Wimbledon if he won or had a good result on the grass swing. A quarterfinal at Queens would do it.
...If the Spaniard can ever get all his game working he is very deadly. The conqueror of Alex Zverev took out another seed. The 22nd, from Uruguay, was dispatched in an hour and a half. Just 93 minutes to utterly wreck another player. And at a slam no less. Ferver saw off his opponent 6-2, 6-1, 6-3. He broke eight times to his opponent’s two and hit 31 winners to ten. He is one of a number who are rising, who are finding form at this year’s Roland Garros. That forehand is one of the biggest weapons we have in our sport today. And, apart from Nadal, nobody is immune to it. He has knocked out two seeds personally. With Nishikori in a long battle and Nadal miles away in the draw he could get to the semi-finals. Even if Muzza has looked good recently that forehand is still going to be a concern for him.

Thanks all and visit WTA BACKSPIN please.

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