Spring 2018 claycourt season

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Spring 2018 claycourt season

Post by MrInvisible on Fri 13 Apr 2018, 3:59 pm

First topic message reminder :

There's always something reassuring about the arrival of the claycourt season - means (for those of us in northern hemisphere) longer days and warmer weather on the way and we can start to predict what sort of crazy new records Nadal will get this year whilst looking for any chinks in his armour and speculating on which players can challenge him on the surface.

Well, before the claycourt season proper started, Nadal laid down an impressive marker by beating Zverev comfortably in the Spain vs Germany Davis Cup tie on home soil. Meanwhile, Kyle Edmund, who had a pretty forgettable Indian Wells and Miami, is looking good so far on the clay in Marrakesh, where he is seeded no. 2. Norrie looked good on the clay earlier this year in Davis Cup, so will be interesting if he can show some further form on the surface.

I will be watching Thiem with interest when he returns as he is arguably one of the few potential challengers to Nadal on clay. Other than Thiem, Nadal and Zverev I am struggling to see who else will be going far in the claycourt masters and Roland Garros this year - maybe Coric? From what I've seen of the Croat he looks to have a good game for clay although I don't know what his results have been on the surface so far. Djokovic still looks in trouble, I fear Wawrinka is on his way out shortly and neither Federer nor Murray will be around in the claycourt season.

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Re: Spring 2018 claycourt season

Post by sirfredperry on Fri 27 Apr 2018, 3:46 pm

Dimi lost in straight sets having nearly lost yesterday. Another bad result for him.

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Re: Spring 2018 claycourt season

Post by MrInvisible on Sat 28 Apr 2018, 4:45 pm

Another impressive result for Tsitsipas who beats Carreno Busta 7-5 6-3 to reach the final where he will no doubt play Nadal. Great experience for the youngster to play Nadal on the clay in a final at this stage in his career - he's v unlikely to win but has got nothing to lose.

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Re: Spring 2018 claycourt season

Post by Nathaniel Jacobs on Sun 29 Apr 2018, 4:42 pm

Rafael Nadal crushed Tsitsipas 6-2 6-1 to win Barcelona open for an eleventh time. 46 consecutive sets on clay to boot. Mad domination

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Re: Spring 2018 claycourt season

Post by laverfan on Sun 29 Apr 2018, 8:36 pm

Congratulations to Nadal, on another Barca title. clap

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Re: Spring 2018 claycourt season

Post by Nathaniel Jacobs on Mon 30 Apr 2018, 10:41 am

Nadal’s domination on clay is ridiculous 401-35(92% win rate) Vilas leads all time on clay with 672 wins but lost 169 defeats(80% win rate)

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Re: Spring 2018 claycourt season

Post by sirfredperry on Sun 06 May 2018, 8:40 am

Disappointment for Edmund and Norrie at Estoril after initial wins, but at least the GB pair have reached the doubles final.
   Tsitsipas has had another good week while Tiafoe has gone one better by reaching today's final.
   Looking ahead to Madrid, Rafa has Thiem and delpo in his half, while Djoko in the bottom half has a tough opener against Nishi. Only an injury can stop Rafa who once again appears nigh-on unbeatable on clay.

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Re: Spring 2018 claycourt season

Post by sirfredperry on Tue 08 May 2018, 7:21 am

Djoko came thru that opener with Nishi. A welcome win for him.

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Re: Spring 2018 claycourt season

Post by lags72 on Tue 08 May 2018, 10:15 am

sirfredperry wrote:Djoko came thru that opener with Nishi. A welcome win for him.

He says it has given him a huge confidence boost, going forward.

We know what the acid test will be for just where Novak’s clay game is, ie as far as the top level is concerned. Let’s see if the meeting happens ......

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Re: Spring 2018 claycourt season

Post by Nathaniel Jacobs on Wed 09 May 2018, 3:15 pm

British #1 Kyle Edmund beats former world #1 Novak Djokovic in the second round at the Madrid Open, 6-3 2-6 6-3 for unquestionably the Brit's biggest win of his career.

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Re: Spring 2018 claycourt season

Post by slashermcguirk on Wed 09 May 2018, 3:27 pm

Djokovic is reaching new lows every week. Last week klizan and now Edmund. Coming from a huge djokovic fan I kind of hope he retires at this point. It is very tough to watch such a great champion losing to players he would beat almost blindfolded just two years ago.

How on earth do you beat nishikori and lose to Edmund? Words literally fail me

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Re: Spring 2018 claycourt season

Post by sirfredperry on Wed 09 May 2018, 3:40 pm

slashermcguirk wrote:Djokovic is reaching new lows every week. Last week klizan and now Edmund. Coming from a huge djokovic fan I kind of hope he retires at this point. It is very tough to watch such a great champion losing to players he would beat almost blindfolded just two years ago.

How on earth do you beat nishikori and lose to Edmund? Words literally fail me
 Yes, you would have thought Djoko would have gone deep after beating Nishi. A terrific win for Kyle, though, who now faces Goffin. According to BBC, Edmund will now break into the top 20.

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Re: Spring 2018 claycourt season

Post by slashermcguirk on Wed 09 May 2018, 3:48 pm

There is no getting around the fact that djokovic should be destroying players like Edmund and klizan. I just cannot believe that djokovic has fallen this low. It is painful to watch

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Re: Spring 2018 claycourt season

Post by theslosty on Wed 09 May 2018, 4:14 pm

I've always been a massive Federer fan but I can't help but feel sad for Novak right now. For me he is right up there with Fedal but often is overlooked and is now in danger of being the forgotten member of this trio.

From those who are watching his matches, what does he appear to have lost from his peak? We've heard a lot about psychological difficulties but in theory he should be able to eventually overcome those.

Has he lost a touch of his athleticism? Elbow issue affecting his serve? What kind of points is he now losing that he used to win?
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Re: Spring 2018 claycourt season

Post by slashermcguirk on Wed 09 May 2018, 4:25 pm

From what I have seen his serve is now so slow! He is getting no free points on it and I could be wrong but his 1st serve % appears to have dropped too.

His backhand is nothing like it used to be, he is far less aggressive in general. The djokovic of old used to pepper the lines and would always get the ball really deep which took time away from his opponents.

To summarize he is a shadow of the great player he was and it must be a case of the elbow injury and the impact it has had.

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Re: Spring 2018 claycourt season

Post by MrInvisible on Wed 09 May 2018, 5:24 pm

Another disappointing result for Djokovic but a great win for Edmund who closes in on the top 20.  Didn't see the match myself but the BBC report suggested it was of a decent quality.  I wonder then if its also an issue of lack of match toughness/intensity in Djokovic as well as the serving problem - in the past Djokovic on his day could be unplayable on clay.

I'm glad though for Edmund that after the disappointments of Indian Wells and Miami that he's having a decent claycourt season so far, especially given his lack of great results on the surface previously in his career.

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Re: Spring 2018 claycourt season

Post by sirfredperry on Wed 09 May 2018, 6:04 pm

Djoko is now something like 6-6 for the season, which is fairly dismal from him. I keep waiting for hime to have a big tourney and it seemed, after the Nishi win, that Madrid would be it.
  I'd love to know if he's actually hurting on court or if he is unconfident. The latter would be better than the former.
   Meanwhile, could somebody please at least give Rafa a decent match, even if they can't beat him. It's getting faintly ridiculous.

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Re: Spring 2018 claycourt season

Post by slashermcguirk on Wed 09 May 2018, 8:07 pm

It’s bad enough that djokovic is losing to players he should be beating with relative ease. However another big problem is that Nadal basically has no opposition now on clay.

With the exception of soderling winning against Rafa at the French open, djokovic is the only player who seemed to genuinely believe he could beat Nadal at the French. While Nadal won most of those meetings at the French, djokovic was the one who always at least tested him beating him once, taking him to five sets on another occasion and also taking sets in other meetings. It is also easy to forget that while Nadal always had the upper hand over Novak on clay, Novak managed 7 wins on clay against Nadal. I may be wrong but I think federer only ever managed 2-3 wins on clay vs Nadal.

Tennis needed djokovic competing at or near his best to at least make the French open semi interesting. I can see Nadal winning the French open without losing a set

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Re: Spring 2018 claycourt season

Post by No name Bertie on Wed 09 May 2018, 11:09 pm

At least Djokovic doesn't appear to be injured. Be interesting to know how he is feeling.

Won't be too long before Murray is expected to get back on the tour. He was going to start off with a challenger tournament in Scotland. I don't know why players returning from potentially career ending injuries don't start their way back playing future's tournaments, then challengers, and then finally the ATP. However, I suppose there are issues with regard to protected ranking, and having a too high ranking to enter in futures / challengers??

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Re: Spring 2018 claycourt season

Post by MrInvisible on Thu 10 May 2018, 1:05 pm

Kyle Edmund beats David Goffin in the next round 6-3 6-3. Another great result for Edmund - Goffin is no slouch on clay, and to follow up the Djokovic win with that is impressive to say the least.

Elsewhere, I'll be interested to see how Coric vs Thiem pans out - the Austrian hasn't been convincing this year and Coric will provide a stern test.

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Re: Spring 2018 claycourt season

Post by No name Bertie on Thu 10 May 2018, 2:48 pm

It seems that Kyle Edmund may be well and truly over his injury that hampered his semi-final performance at the Australian Open, that kept him out of tennis for about two months or so afterwards, and which was then followed by various scratchy performances.

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Re: Spring 2018 claycourt season

Post by Nathaniel Jacobs on Thu 10 May 2018, 8:04 pm

Rafael Nadal wins his 49th consecutive set on clay to equal the all time record of most consecutive sets won on one surface, McEnroe won 49 consecutive sets on carpet

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Re: Spring 2018 claycourt season

Post by Nathaniel Jacobs on Thu 10 May 2018, 8:59 pm

Nadal breaks the record wins his 50th consecutive set on clay. Incredible. A rather indifferent performance from the Spanish superstar. Probably the best tournament for someone to upset him

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Re: Spring 2018 claycourt season

Post by No name Bertie on Thu 10 May 2018, 11:42 pm

Coric gave Thiem an excellent game going down 6-2 6-7 4-6, while Shapovalov beat Raonic 6-4 6-4. Shapovalov plays Edmund in the quarter-finals.

As for Nadal it would be interesting to get his views on his career so far on clay. Nobody has been so dominant for so long. On clay he is playing against opposition who have match records of 0 - 13, 1 - 16, 0 - 10 ... against him. Another 3 Roland Garros' trophies should be well within his reach - assuming he doesn't finally break his body.

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Re: Spring 2018 claycourt season

Post by naxroy on Fri 11 May 2018, 11:13 am

I doubt nadal can win 3 more really, but he is favourite for this one for sure

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Re: Spring 2018 claycourt season

Post by No name Bertie on Fri 11 May 2018, 6:17 pm

naxroy wrote:I doubt nadal can win 3 more really, but he is favourite for this one for sure
And Thiem takes the first set against Nadal 7-5 in the quarter-final.  Thiem is the only one that I have heard that has been mentioned as having the potential to overthrow an aging Nadal.

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Re: Spring 2018 claycourt season

Post by Nathaniel Jacobs on Fri 11 May 2018, 6:20 pm

Thiem dethrones Nadal in Madrid, straight sets 7-5 6-3. The Austrian's third win on clay against the legendary Spaniard. Federer world number one

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Re: Spring 2018 claycourt season

Post by No name Bertie on Fri 11 May 2018, 6:41 pm

Sounds like Nadal gassed in the second set? It is always usual to suspect that a Nadal loss on clay might be due to Nadal being below par for some issue (slight injury, ill health, fatigue). But credit to Thiem - he is building up a good reputation for his clay court ability.

Yes, Roger Federer will break the record for the oldest man to reach #1 in the ATP world rankings next week. Another bottle of champagne for the man for beating himself to extend the record.

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Re: Spring 2018 claycourt season

Post by laverfan on Fri 11 May 2018, 7:38 pm

Congratulations to Thiem. Good break for Nadal before Rome.

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Re: Spring 2018 claycourt season

Post by sirfredperry on Fri 11 May 2018, 8:04 pm

Well, despite Thiem's prowess on clay, a defeat for Rafa is a big surprise. Could it be that having completely wiped the floor with everybody the Spaniard was surprised to actually have someone providing a serious challenge ?
 So another week at least for Rog at number one and something for the other players to think on - namely, that they can compete with Rafa on clay.

Later: Shapovalov bt Edmund in three to complete one of the youngest Masters Series semi line-ups for a good long time.


Last edited by sirfredperry on Sat 12 May 2018, 8:21 am; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : adding on)

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Re: Spring 2018 claycourt season

Post by Nathaniel Jacobs on Sat 12 May 2018, 2:14 pm

Think Nadal run out of gas tbh, his winning on Thursday was a fairly laboured affair as well. If this event wasn't in Spain I doubt he would've played let's know forget Nadal destroyed Thiem in Monaco for the lost of 2 games

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Re: Spring 2018 claycourt season

Post by sirfredperry on Sun 13 May 2018, 7:59 am

Zverev v Thiem today for the Madrid title before they are all at it again in Rome. I expect Rafa will make up for this week by taking the title in Italy, although he may have to get past Thiem again.
   Another title for Kvitova this weekend. Good to see her doing well after her troubles.

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Re: Spring 2018 claycourt season

Post by laverfan on Sun 13 May 2018, 7:07 pm

Congratulations to Zverev on another MS1000. clap

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Re: Spring 2018 claycourt season

Post by Calder106 on Sun 13 May 2018, 7:17 pm

Yes congratulations. Third Masters 1000 title and just turned 21. Hopefully he can start to compete better in the slams as when playing well he is a player who could challenge Federer and Nadal in the next few months.

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Re: Spring 2018 claycourt season

Post by sirfredperry on Wed 16 May 2018, 8:11 am

In Rome, another good win - over Berdych - for Shapovalov who is certainly looking the business at the moment.
   I fully expect Rafa to get back to number one with a title in this tournament and to go on to win again at RG.

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Re: Spring 2018 claycourt season

Post by Nathaniel Jacobs on Wed 16 May 2018, 4:15 pm

Nadal beats Dzumhur for the loss of a single game. Fognini took out Thiem in 3 sets. Nishikori beat Dimitrov in 3 sets and Djokovic eased into the next round.

Staggering to think Nadal has gone 5 years since he last won the trophy in the eternal city

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Re: Spring 2018 claycourt season

Post by lags72 on Wed 16 May 2018, 4:16 pm

Conveniently for Rafa (who dropped just one solitary game in his own opener today), home star Fognini has dumped Thiem out of Rome.

Don’t really see anyone else equipped to stop him. Maybe Sasha Zverev ..... ? Or could Del Potro perhaps do something special ??

EDIT : posts crossed !

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Re: Spring 2018 claycourt season

Post by sirfredperry on Thu 17 May 2018, 9:09 pm

Rafa, Zverev and Djoko among today's winners, with the possibility of a Rafa-Djoko clash. Delpo had to retire, with a leg problem. Let's hope it's nothing too serious.
Another good run from Zverev here, plus something better from him at RG and Wimbledon and we might see, finally, a challenge at the very top from someone outside the Big Four. Long way to go yet, though.

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Re: Spring 2018 claycourt season

Post by lags72 on Thu 17 May 2018, 11:11 pm

Worth mentioning that Zverev was pushed very hard by Edmund.

Edmund does genuinely seem to belong with the big boys. Let’s hope he can maintain the current momentum and push on further.

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Re: Spring 2018 claycourt season

Post by sirfredperry on Fri 18 May 2018, 8:51 am

lags72 wrote:Worth mentioning that Zverev was pushed very hard by Edmund.

Edmund does genuinely seem to belong with the big boys. Let’s hope he can maintain the current momentum and push on further.

Yes, Edmund saved numerous MPs before going down. He's already in the top 20 and if he can finish the year in that position it would be a good 2018 for him, even if he can't get any higher.
  Zverev really must do better at the Slams where his record is poor. He needs to be in the opposite half to Rafa at the French (as does everybody else!).
  I'm keen to see how Djoko does today and whether he'll be able to give Rafa much of a game should they meet tomorrow.


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Re: Spring 2018 claycourt season

Post by lags72 on Fri 18 May 2018, 9:06 am

Can’t really see anyone troubling Rafa.

Delpo is out, sadly, with injury (though not the wrist this time). Don’t think Novak is at the necessary level to stop Rafa on clay - but it would obviously be good for the game if he can.

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Re: Spring 2018 claycourt season

Post by slashermcguirk on Fri 18 May 2018, 8:03 pm

Djokovic into the semis after after what looks to have been a tough match against nishikori. Some encouraging results this week for Novak, hard to make judgement as I haven’t seen the matches but a good sign that he is coming through some tighter matches. That’s some tricky opponents he has beaten on clay this week.

I can’t see anything other than a straight sets win for Nadal but I am just glad to see novak back in the situation where he is facing Nadal. Hopefully he can make a match out of it. Novak just needs to win matches now and I would already count this week as a success given how poor Novak’s game has been in recent times.

Anyone see the match with nishikori?

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Re: Spring 2018 claycourt season

Post by sirfredperry on Sat 19 May 2018, 8:57 am

Didn't see any of it but the Djoko win over Nishi must have been a heartening one for the Serb. Rafa should be too strong for him, but as SmcG says above it's good that Djoko has come thru this far so he can at least meet Nadal.
In the women's Sharapova had a three-hour-plus win over Ostapenko and now faces Halep. No love lost there, nor indeed with many of the women when it comes to Sharapova.

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Re: Spring 2018 claycourt season

Post by slashermcguirk on Sat 19 May 2018, 7:23 pm

Super impressed by Novak today! I know he lost but that first set today might be the best set of tennis on tour this year. Nadal was unplayable today but djokovic really tested him throughout.

So encouraging to see Novak hitting with some conviction again . Still a long way from his best but this week certainly a couple of steps forward. Just hope he can keep up the progress.

Nadals form is ominous

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Re: Spring 2018 claycourt season

Post by No name Bertie on Sat 19 May 2018, 7:52 pm

slashermcguirk wrote:... Until Djokovic finds his serve again, he has no chance of winning the big tournaments. His serve has declined beyond recognition, he hardly ever gets free points off it and the pace of it is so slow. While he says he is playing with less pain in his elbow, his serve has been the big shot that has gone from his armoury. ...
Hi Slashermcguirk - how was Djokovic's serving today?

Someone said (maybe you?) that Djokovic had changed his serving action since the injury, which is different to the serving action he used that produced all his grand slam success. Is he still using the new serving action - but better, rather than going back to his old serving action?

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Re: Spring 2018 claycourt season

Post by slashermcguirk on Sat 19 May 2018, 9:06 pm

He still doesn’t seem to be hitting his serve with the same pace. It seems slightly different to before and lacks penetration. I also seem to recall that Novak tended to win more points off his second serve in his prime.

What was noticeable today was he was hitting his ground strokes with more pace and his backhand down the line was much better, that used to be such a weapon for him.

He was still a level or two below his best but a huge improvement to other tournaments this year. I feared he might get walloped today and it would really hit his confidence but he put up a great fight and you could see at the end that Nadal had been in a tough match

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Re: Spring 2018 claycourt season

Post by No name Bertie on Sat 19 May 2018, 10:10 pm

A Zverev is building up an impressive resume below Grand Slam level.  He beats Cilic 7-6 7-5 to reach another Masters final.  He seems to be becoming quite a zen master at keeping his nerve in tie-break situations.  In the semi-final he won the tie-break 15 - 13.

He clearly must be fairly brilliant at several aspects of match play tennis at the elite level.  I have doubted whether he will be able to be a long term success at slam level given his oversized frame (6'6").  Someone like a Coric (6'1"), or a Chung Hyeon  (6'2") or a Shapovalov (6'0") to me seem better proportioned physically for long-lasting success at Slam level.  But maybe Alexander Zverev will prove me wrong.

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Re: Spring 2018 claycourt season

Post by Nathaniel Jacobs on Sun 20 May 2018, 3:48 pm

Rafael Nadal handing young Sascha Zverev a brutal beating in the opening set in the eternal city. Zverev broke Nadal in the opening game, yet the king of clay reeled off 6 consecutive games to win the set.

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Re: Spring 2018 claycourt season

Post by MrInvisible on Sun 20 May 2018, 3:59 pm

Whilst Zverev has clearly been the next best player after Nadal on the clay this year, Nadal has comfortably beaten him on the surface. Zverev has taken sets off him and pushed him hard but only on hardcourts.

Other than Thiem who handed Nadal his only defeat of the claycourt season to date, only Djokovic and Fognini have really pushed Nadal on the surface this year, and they were only able to do so in the 1st set of their matches.

From what I've seen I think Nadal may drop couple of sets at Roland Garros this year but unless Djokovic can play like he did for that 1st set the other day, I really don't see anyone coming near to beating him (Thiem is one who can take a set off him but he doesn't look consistent enough to beat Nadal on best of 5 sets) at Roland Garros.

For Zverev, I'd like to think this year at Roland Garros is when he finally steps up at the slams - he ought to reach semis you would think.

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Re: Spring 2018 claycourt season

Post by Nathaniel Jacobs on Sun 20 May 2018, 4:02 pm

Don't see Thiem taking sets off Nadal in Paris TBH. On the slower clay courts like Paris and Monaco Nadal destroyed Thiem. Thiem's at his best results against Nadal have been in Rome and Madrid

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Re: Spring 2018 claycourt season

Post by Nathaniel Jacobs on Sun 20 May 2018, 4:25 pm

Zverev wins the second set 6-1

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Re: Spring 2018 claycourt season

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