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The French Open - 2019

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Post by sirfredperry Sun 26 May 2019, 8:12 am

First topic message reminder :

RG begins today, with Fed among those with a Sunday match. I'm going for Rafa for the title, with Djoko and Thiem his main rivals.

Fed should get thru a few rounds but is an unlikely winner, especially as he may have to get past Tsitsipas.

The women's title could go to anyone in the top 15. Halep would be a safe bet, but she can be injury prone. There are a lot of teenage players who could cause upsets. It's really difficult to forecast the eventual winner.

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Post by MrInvisible Sat 08 Jun 2019, 3:36 pm

Well done Thiem - got through a tricky match in testing conditions. Was surprised at some of Djokovic's poor tactical play - came to the net a lot following some quite poor approach shots. It was only in the 5th set where he finally judged his net tactics right and judged the right approach shots to come forward on. Thought it was odd he didn't have confidence in his baseline game to continue trading groundstrokes from the back.

Looking at who other than Nadal has beaten Djokovic at Roland Garros over the years he does tend to come unstuck against attacking claycourters (interestingly with single-handed backhands) - Wawrinka, Thiem and Ceccinato last year.

Nadal is firm favourite tomorrow - just hope Thiem can play at his best level and make a good game of it. He has beaten Nadal before on clay and has probably got a better record on the surface against him than just about anyone else.

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Post by No name Bertie Sat 08 Jun 2019, 4:07 pm

Thiem had no trouble breaking Djokovic when he needed to and lasted in a five setter against Djokovic - the landscape is beginning to change.  As I mentioned earlier Thiem is at an age now considered to be his prime.  He is certainly a future and possibly near future RG champion.  Thiem turns 26 in september while Nadal turned 33 early this week.

Thiem RG record:
2014: R2
2015: R2
2016: SF
2017: SF
2018: F
2019: F or better.

ps I assume Thiems focus this entire season has been to prepare for and win the RG title.  He has now reached / returned to the final after overcoming Djokovic over a stop-start two day match and has "only" Rafael Nadal remaining in his path - something he has presumably prepared his best for.

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Post by sirfredperry Sat 08 Jun 2019, 4:48 pm

Barty takes the title after a near faultless performance. Vondrousova is a kind of golden retriever and needed the Australian to make more UEs if she was to have a chance.

Barty's dropshots and BH slices were terrific. With that slice she might do well on the grass. Von reminded me of a young Kerber - left-handed, very good defence, good speed but too few attacking shots. Kerber managed to get more attacking with experience. Perhaps Von can do the same.

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Post by Nathaniel Jacobs Sat 08 Jun 2019, 5:02 pm

No name Bertie wrote:Thiem had no trouble breaking Djokovic when he needed to and lasted in a five setter against Djokovic - the landscape is beginning to change.  As I mentioned earlier Thiem is at an age now considered to be his prime.  He is certainly a future and possibly near future RG champion.  Thiem turns 26 in september while Nadal turned 33 early this week.

Thiem RG record:
2014: R2
2015: R2
2016: SF
2017: SF
2018: F
2019: F or better.

ps I assume Thiems focus this entire season has been to prepare for and win the RG title.  He has now reached / returned to the final after overcoming Djokovic over a stop-start two day match and has "only" Rafael Nadal remaining in his path - something he has presumably prepared his best for.
Unless Nadal's movement suddenly gets considerably worst despite being 33/34 next year he'll still be a massive favourite for Roland Garros.

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Post by sirfredperry Sat 08 Jun 2019, 5:12 pm

Right until the end I thought Djoko would be able to pull it off. The stoppages certainly favoured him. He was in trouble on Friday night but then it was decided the match should be halted.

Then, when he's in difficulty again today, they're off for rain. Thiem then looks to have blown it when missing two MPs and it all seemed set for a come-from-behind victory for Novak.

As it is, Thiem has another crack at Rafa. But I really can't see him going one better than last year.

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Post by No name Bertie Sat 08 Jun 2019, 5:53 pm

Nathaniel Jacobs wrote:Unless Nadal's movement suddenly gets considerably worse despite being 33/34 next year he'll still be a massive favourite for Roland Garros.
sirfredperry wrote:... As it is, Thiem has another crack at Rafa. But I really can't see him going one better than last year.
Clearly Thiem has to take the match game by game - focus on holding serve - not expending too much energy attempting to break serve.  One would have to imagine Thiem has the advantages of energy and endurance - as long as he doesn't fritter it away as "nervous energy".    However I guess in the first instance Thiem needs to make sure the final scoreline is "respectable".

Thiem:
2016: loses in SF: 2-6, 1-6, 4-6 against Djokovic (Djokovic was a different "animal" then imo)
2017: loses in SF: 3-6, 4-6, 0-6 against Nadal
2018: loses in ..F: 4-6, 3-6, 2-6 against Nadal
2019: pending

Nadal:
2016: withdraws prior to 3R match due to injury
2017: wins in F: 6-2, 6-3, 6-1 against Wawrinka
2018: wins in F: 6-4, 6-3, 6-2 against Thiem
2019: pending

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Post by Nathaniel Jacobs Sun 09 Jun 2019, 10:36 am

Interesting stat, only 4 men have beaten Nadal on clay 3 or more times:
Djokovic 7-17
Thiem 4-7
Fognini 3-6
Gaudio 3-3

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Post by CaledonianCraig Sun 09 Jun 2019, 12:21 pm

I can only see Nadal winning this one such as his mastery on clay. Thiem is great on clay but that counts for little when you are playing the all-time greatest.

Thiem must hang tough and competitive in the sets and strive to hold serve and force some pressure onto Rafa. If he can do that he may have an outside chance but to do that against Rafa on clay is easier said than done.

Rafa to win in 3 or 4 sets.
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Post by sirfredperry Sun 09 Jun 2019, 12:54 pm

CC - Absolutely spot on. I'd be surprised if Thiem even gets a set. Rafa's display against Rog was tremendous, especially given the very awkward conditions.

I didn't think Djoko was anywhere near his best in the semi, but Thiem still did well to beat him. But Rafa on clay, at the RG, in the final...Well, it's one of the toughest tasks in any sport, let alone tennis.

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Post by sirfredperry Sun 09 Jun 2019, 2:41 pm

First break to Thiem after a blistering start to the match. Thiem serving at 3-2.

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Post by Nathaniel Jacobs Sun 09 Jun 2019, 2:56 pm

Nadal broke back immediately and then saved BP in his next service game, a marathon game well over 10 minutes, Nadal leads 4-3.

The level of play is extraordinary

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Post by sirfredperry Sun 09 Jun 2019, 2:58 pm

We've already had some amazing rallies. Wonder if there's been a better start to a GS final?


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Post by Nathaniel Jacobs Sun 09 Jun 2019, 3:02 pm

Nadal breaks again 5-3

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Post by Nathaniel Jacobs Sun 09 Jun 2019, 3:06 pm

Nadal wins first set 6-3, winning 4 consecutive games

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Post by sirfredperry Sun 09 Jun 2019, 3:07 pm

Rather a tame ending to the set after some incredible tennis earlier. Rather think/fear Rafa will run away with it now.

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Post by Nathaniel Jacobs Sun 09 Jun 2019, 3:26 pm

On serve in the second set, Thiem 3-2

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Post by Nathaniel Jacobs Sun 09 Jun 2019, 3:42 pm

Still on serve, Thiem leads 5-4

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Post by sirfredperry Sun 09 Jun 2019, 3:42 pm

Still on serve at 4-5. Contrast to first set. Shorter rallies. Easy holds.

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Post by sirfredperry Sun 09 Jun 2019, 3:55 pm

Thiem takes second set 7-5

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Post by sirfredperry Sun 09 Jun 2019, 3:59 pm

Rafa has dropped just ONE point in his first five service games of the second set but was broken to 15 at 5-6.

Thiem was very solid in his service games too and now we're going to get at least two more sets.

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Post by Nathaniel Jacobs Sun 09 Jun 2019, 4:03 pm

Nadal breaks to love

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Post by Nathaniel Jacobs Sun 09 Jun 2019, 4:10 pm

Nadal breaks again 3-0

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Post by sirfredperry Sun 09 Jun 2019, 4:17 pm

Well Thiem won just one point in the first four games of the third set but at least holds in the fifth game to go 4-1 down.

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Post by Nathaniel Jacobs Sun 09 Jun 2019, 4:26 pm

Nadal breaks again and seals the third set 6-1

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Post by Nathaniel Jacobs Sun 09 Jun 2019, 4:39 pm

Nadal breaks in the fourth set 2-0. Thiem petrol tank is flashing red

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Post by Nathaniel Jacobs Sun 09 Jun 2019, 4:51 pm

Nadal breaking Thiem's heart

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Post by No name Bertie Sun 09 Jun 2019, 4:51 pm

I watched the highlights of the Djokovic vs Thiem semi-final, and it seemed to me that Thiem compared to Djokovic was energy inefficient in his stroke play.  Thiems hitting motion seemed more exaggerated, more telegraphed, not particularly well timed (compared to Djokovics) - and all this required him using more energy.  He also seemed to hit the ball later while Djokovic tended to hit the ball earlier.  I thought to myself although he has the energy and strength of youth on his side - he seemed to be wasteful of energy and wasn't as well timed and skilled as Federer, Nadal, Djokovic in his stroke play.

Maybe this is why he hasn't been as successful against Nadal in best of five set matches compared to best of three set matches.  He seems to fade in the third set ...  6-0 in 2017, 6-2 in 2018 and 6-1 in 2019 with at least another set to be played & currently 3-0 down.

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Post by Nathaniel Jacobs Sun 09 Jun 2019, 5:00 pm

Nadal 4-1 in the fourth set

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Post by Nathaniel Jacobs Sun 09 Jun 2019, 5:08 pm

Nadal breaks again 5-1 and serves for the championship

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Post by Nathaniel Jacobs Sun 09 Jun 2019, 5:13 pm

Game, set and match Nadal - 6-3 5-7 6-1 6-1 yet more history for the Spaniard. First player to win the same major 12 times RIDICULOUS!!!

Thiem will definitely win Roland Garros one day but maybe only after the king retires.

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Post by No name Bertie Sun 09 Jun 2019, 5:13 pm

Nadal wins 6-3 5-7 6-1 6-1.  So a bit better from Thiem but fades away significantly results wise as the match enters a third set.

So that is a ridiculous 12 Roland Garros singles titles for Nadal and 18 grand slam singles titles in total.

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Post by Nathaniel Jacobs Sun 09 Jun 2019, 5:19 pm

Nadal 93-2 at Roland Garros, only seems fitting he should return next year to reach 100 wins.

Also in his 93 wins, Nadal has dropped only 21 sets. Truly ridiculous

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Post by sirfredperry Sun 09 Jun 2019, 5:22 pm

Well at least Thiem made it competitive for periods of the match. But  it only goes to show just how difficult it is to play Rafa at the French.

Rafa, for as long as he plays, will be favourite at RG and could easily overtake Rog's GS record simply by playing in Paris every year.

Rafa, on clay, is relentless. You can match him for a time, you might even get the odd set of him. But he's practically unbeatable. Who of the current players could beat him at the French? Djoko maybe. Stan the Man on one of his massive-winners days. Possibly.

Thiem is just gonna have to hang on in there until Rafa finally calls it a day or gets injured. Then the Austrian would have a good chance to take the French.

So where does this all leave us with two of the Slams played for this year? The top four all made the semis in Paris and are well ahead in the year-so-far points table. Djoko has a big lead in the rolling-year rankings but has a stack of points to defend from here on.

Thoughts now turn to the grass-court season. I see that Rog is not playing Stuttgart but will presumably turn up for Halle. He did OK on the clay and will be among the favourites for Wimbledon.

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Post by No name Bertie Sun 09 Jun 2019, 10:05 pm

Results would suggest that Rafael Nadal sustained an injury during Wimbledon 2012 or soon after that left him more or less permanently impaired - presumably to do with the knees.  Because following that having reached five Wimbledon finals between 2006 and 2011, winning two of them, Nadal was never to get beyond the fourth round of Wimbledon until 2018.  The issue seemed to be an inability to bend low at the knees - the grass surface because of the low and variable bounce puts extra pressure on the knees compared to other surfaces.


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Post by Calder106 Sun 09 Jun 2019, 10:09 pm

Well done to Nadal. Another FO under his belt. Thiem played well but the effort he put in to win the second set took what energy he had left after a long 4 days away. He has a great chance of being a future FO winner.

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Post by Calder106 Sun 09 Jun 2019, 10:15 pm

No name Bertie wrote:Results would suggest that Rafael Nadal sustained an injury during Wimbledon 2012 or soon after that left him more or less permanently impaired - presumably to do with the knees.  Because following that having reached five Wimbledon finals between 2006 and 2011, winning two of them, Nadal was never to get beyond the fourth round of Wimbledon until 2018.  The issue seemed to be an inability to bend low at the knees - the grass surface because of the low and variable bounce puts extra pressure on the knees compared to other surfaces.

Maybe he should think of experimenting with missing the grass court season as it seems to affect him for the second half of the year.

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Post by No name Bertie Sun 09 Jun 2019, 10:30 pm

Calder106 wrote:
No name Bertie wrote:Results would suggest that Rafael Nadal sustained an injury during Wimbledon 2012 or soon after that left him more or less permanently impaired - presumably to do with the knees.  Because following that having reached five Wimbledon finals between 2006 and 2011, winning two of them, Nadal was never to get beyond the fourth round of Wimbledon until 2018.  The issue seemed to be an inability to bend low at the knees - the grass surface because of the low and variable bounce puts extra pressure on the knees compared to other surfaces.

Maybe he should think of experimenting with missing the grass court season as it seems to affect him for the second half of the year.
I don't think Nadal has ever admitted to having this impairment when it comes to grass - but his results of 2006-2011 compared to post 2012 are night and day.

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Post by dummy_half Mon 10 Jun 2019, 12:26 pm

Nadal's record at RG really is ridiculous. 15 appearances, 12 tournament wins, 93 match wins to 2 defeats.

What I don't understand is why he is SO good at RG, even compared to other clay court events. I don't think it's the 5 set thing, as he isn't coming through in 4 or 5 sets - he just rarely drops a set in Paris (21 sets lost across all matches). Are the conditions really in such a sweet-spot for Rafa's game, as he sometimes gets hit through on 'faster' clay (higher altitude, so faster ball flight) and sometimes out-lasted on really slow courts?

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Post by naxroy Mon 10 Jun 2019, 12:43 pm

roland garros 12/15
montecarlo 11/16
barcelona 11/14
roma 9/15
hamburg/madrid 5/14

I would say that except for Madrid/Hamburg stats are pretty similar, but it is true the best percentage is in RG

in the end he always takes the other tournaments as preparation for Roland Garros

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Post by theslosty Mon 10 Jun 2019, 12:52 pm

Rafa just seems to turn into a different animal at RG, you never really thought he was ever going to lose yesterday even though Thiem has beaten him at other clay venues. That first set saw some stunning tennis from both but for a truly great GS final we needed Thiem to take it.

I don't know how it was possible but Moya has managed to make Rafa look even more invincible, his level the past two weeks has been as good as I've ever seen from him. It sounds strange to say but I think there are past versions of Rafa that Thiem might have stood a better chance against.
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Post by lags72 Thu 13 Jun 2019, 12:07 pm

A very short clip, but I found these words by Rafa quite touching.

Worth a watch for any true fan of sport and admirer of sporting ambition / achievement ..... regardless of any personal tennis player ‘bias’.

https://www.facebook.com/ATPTour/videos/690496071399696/

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Post by MrInvisible Fri 14 Jun 2019, 10:25 am

Whilst the womens' final was one of the poorer slam finals we've had in a while I found the mens' final v enjoyable - good varied shotmaking from both players, engaging contest for 2 sets at least, and even when Nadal was in control early in 4th set Thiem was still making a good fight of it.

Over the years as Nadal has had to adapt his game I've found him more enjoyable to watch than when he relied more exclusively on his physicality - did a decent amount of net approaches (and even a serve-volley point!) on Sunday and that drop-volley he did was exquisite.

Was a v good tournament for Federer too - I'm sure he'd have been delighted with semi-finals at start of the tournament. Also, good to see Tsitsipas coming through as a future challenger on the surface. Can definitely see the young Greek as a future crowd favourite - reminds me a bit of Guga Kuerten.

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