Roland Garros 2011: A Review Of The Remaining Matches In The Men’s Draw

1 Jun

Roger Federer. Often argued to be the greatest tennis player of all time. 16-time grand slam winner. Former world number one. Former winner at Roland Garros. Only man yet to drop a set at the French Open 2011. And yet he is still only the third favourite to win according to the bookies. In contrast to basically the entire rest of his career, Federer is not really under pressure to achieve great things here at the French in 2011, it is rather the two 24-year olds, Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic, who have to play with the weight of big expectations.

Rematch

Nadal, being defending champion and the clay court player that he is, was the favourite prior to the tournament despite losing to Djokovic on clay twice this year already. Since the tournament started he has dropped down from that position in the estimation or rather guestimation of most tennis fans and bookies, largely due to his lack of form, or even the motivation for which he is normally continuously lauded. In addition Nadal has to face the man who ousted him from Roland Garros in 2009 in their quarter-final on Wednesday, while Federer, by virtue of an up-and-down win over Gael Monfils, and Djokovic, courtesy of a walkover, are already preparing for their much-anticipated semi-final clash. Nadal has admitted that he cannot win the tournament playing at the level he has thus far. Suddenly there is chatter that he might not even progress past the encounter against the Swede, Robin Soderling. Soderling managed to beat Nadal in 4-sets in 2009, but suffered a straights sets rout at the hands of the Spaniard in last year’s final. The result of tomorrow’s match will depend largely on which Nadal comes to play; if it is the somewhat despondent man we have seen thus far at the French, reminiscent of him during his failed 2009 campaign, it is likely that Soderling will have an excellent opportunity to achieve a newsworthy scalp at Roland Garros. With his immense power, and clear motivation to win attitude illustrated by his prolonged fist pumping celebration upon winning his 4th round match yesterday, it seems the big, tall man has a chance and could perhaps oust the defending champion for the 3rd straight year. For Nadal to win, he will have to hit some form during this quarter-final match. Should that happen, the top seed will in all likelihood retain that form, and go on to retain the title. Nadal in form, is truly unbeatable over 5 sets on the clay of Roland Garros.

The Hard Court Aficionado

Of course Andy Murray and Juan Ignacio Chela are still alive in this half of the draw. Murray, being the far superior tennis player, ought to win this match with some ease over the man still most well-known for his bouts of bad sportsmanship. Murray’s ankle injury however could prevent this result from being a given. Either way, it is unlikely that this match will affect who is the eventual champion at Roland Garros. Both Soderling and Nadal, the two possible semi-final opponents for Murray – should he win – ought to be the victor over the not-so-happy-on-clay Scot, who has a definite – not just according to the British press – chance to win one of the other two remaining grand slams of the year.

The Aging King and The Young Prince or at this point… David and Goliath

On the other side of the draw, we only have 2 men left standing; if Soderling is the winner over Nadal tomorrow as many expect him to be, the stakes surrounding the Federer-Djokovic semi-final will drastically increase. The odds appear to be stacked as follows at this point: If Nadal wins tomorrow, he will almost certainly go on to win the tournament. If he loses, the winner of this semi between the legend and pretender to the throne, will very likely determine who wins the Coupe de Mousquetaire come Sunday.

Federer might be playing fairly well here, but Djokovic is like I’ve said before, in the form of his life. His confidence is through the roof – almost everything he tries, he manages to pull off. Despite being past his prime, Federer is still the most technically gifted player to ever hold a tennis racquet. He is probably better suited to the playing conditions and the clay courts of Roland Garros too. All-in-all this match ought to still be won by the form man, Djokovic. It can be taken for granted that he will be playing at an incredibly high level throughout. The outcome of this match rests on Federer’s somewhat rusty racquet. It’ll be great to see what he brings to the court, and how much he troubles the currently staggeringly beautiful play of the Australian Open Champion.

The Odds

According to the bookies a Djokovic vs Nadal final is most likely. A match between these two players at this stage of their careers is likely to be epic, and an incredibly tightly contested affair. Like previously mentioned the Spaniard will be in form if he makes it this far in the tournament. This would be a great match which ought to bring to an end Djokovic’s unbeaten run. There’s no beating an in form Nadal on clay over 5 sets.

The Dream

 Having been a fan of the Nadal-Federer rivalry for all of it’s existence, I would love to see these two men in the final again. Just imagine the quality of the semi-final match between Djokovic and Federer, if the Swiss player played at a level able to end the incredible run of the younger man. Imagine if her were to bring that level of play into a final against Nadal, how amazing that match would be… This is very likely wishful thinking, but there are a lot of winners in this dream. Not least of all the viewers.

Who Do You Think Will Win?

 

(Then it would be great if you could share this entry via Facebook, StumbleUpon or Twitter. The buttons are available at the bottom of this specific entry’s page. Comments would be appreciated. Would love to hear how everyone else thinks the draw will pan out… And then finally, I am writing blog entries for www.tennisgrandstand.com. New entry The Top 5 Of The Last 5 Days Of Tennis At Roland Garros, would love it if you could check it out. S)

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9 Responses to “Roland Garros 2011: A Review Of The Remaining Matches In The Men’s Draw”

  1. pinkpolkadotblog June 1, 2011 at 12:16 PM #

    Great post!! I would also like to see Nadal and Federer in the final!

  2. vibhu batra June 1, 2011 at 12:55 PM #

    EXcellent post :)… Liked it a lot…

    Felt very good to read that u think FEDERER is the favorite….

    It will be like a dream if Roger can beat Nadal just once in french open … I will be more happy than probably Roger Himself 🙂

    And yes, keep posting…U really write very well… All the best 🙂

    • schroeds June 1, 2011 at 12:57 PM #

      I’m not that sure he’ll win, actually favour Djoko at this point, just think the tennis would be better and according to the poll, Fed has got a good chance according to most people… 🙂

  3. Brady June 1, 2011 at 1:21 PM #

    I said it since March: ‘Nole will win it’. By then, a logical doubt was Rafa to play great and beat him. By now, the only guy who seems capable of doing this is Federer. He really seems to enjoy his tennis again. Great match expected in the semis. The one who wins that should definitely be the champ.

  4. allballsallowed June 1, 2011 at 1:30 PM #

    Hi,
    Enjoyed your post a lot, you’re certainly right that Nadal’s success depends entirely on whether he comes into form rather than on how the other guys play. If Nadal is at his best on clay no-one can beat him, no matter how well they play. My predictions is Soderling beats Nadal in a close 5 set match and goes on to face Murray who I think, injury permitting, has the potential to beat Soderling and make the final. On the other side of the draw I find it hard to call because Federer has quietly been creeping through by playing some excellent, solid tennis. I still think Djokovic is playing far too well to lose though and I think he will be the eventual champion.
    Look forward to reading more of your blogs.

  5. Dimitri Sorah June 1, 2011 at 2:13 PM #

    I think Djokovic is the man to beat. Federer has played well, but his route to the semi-final with Djokovic has been the easiest of the all the remaining players. Monfils was terrible yesterday playing back-to-back days. Nadal should beat Soderling but it will not be easy. Djokovic has lost one set and it was to a player that probably should be in the top 10 (Del Potro).

    What this all says though is that tennis has probably never seen a better era. Would it be a major surprise if Nadal, Djokovic or Federer win? No. To me, even if Murray and his never quit attitude or Soderling would not be a surprise. Can’t wait for Nadal-Soderling today.

  6. Heather June 1, 2011 at 4:34 PM #

    I love Federer! And I am to a big fan of the Nadal-Federer rivalry. However, Djokovic has been on fire at this year’s French Open! I am very exciting and to be honest sweating bullets for Federer in their upcoming match. I of course want Federer to win, but if Djokovic wins, I don’t think I will be too pissed off (Nadal is another story). When someone is good, such as Djokovic in this case, then I will give someone credit when it is deserved. Of course, I want Federer to win, but I wouldn’t mind seeing a Djokovic-Nadal matchup for the final. As long as Nadal doesn’t win, I’ll be ok lol

  7. Milady_S June 2, 2011 at 1:09 PM #

    I dont have any favorite male player in particular now, but I think that Novak Djokovic is the player to beat this hour. He has gained much of confidence (according to what I’ve seen in many of his strokes and many nice winner shots) he might win the very neck-and-neck match against Roger Federer, but I don’t think he can make it through Nadal (whom could beat Murray in no time – sorry for Murray’s fan. I like him but I don’t think he will win) so, in my opinion, nadal is going to be the winner of this tournament and maintain his reputation as king of clay court 🙂

  8. Hashim Abbasi June 3, 2011 at 2:59 PM #

    excellent piece of writing… however I believe that FedEx will derail the Djokers dream ride in the semis. The result for it will be out in a few hours but one thing is for sure, Nadal will be in the final again and it will be interesting to see how it goes if Djokovic is on the other end.

    Djokovic is probably playing the best tennis of his life but if he looses a few matches in succession, we might end up seeing the old Djokovic who couldn’t hold on to his nerves when it comes to playing the big points.

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