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Run up to French Open 2021

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Post by sirfredperry Sat 01 May 2021, 8:02 am

Big tournaments at Madrid and Rome to come before the slightly-delayed French begins.

Rafa, naturally, will be favourite. In some ways there was more chance of an upset last autumn when Rafa had had little or no practice/clay court time and he STILL won the French.

His performance in that final against Djoko, who wasn't playing badly, was sensational. The Serb has had a couple of surprise results but can be counted upon to be at his best for RG.

As mentioned in an earlier topic, there have been some ultra-long matches in the clay court season so far and you have to wonder whether some players are wearing themselves out.

Meanwhile in Estoril today Cameron Norrie takes on Cilic in the semi. The draw for the men's Madrid is out and Thiem returns and is guaranteed to play a qualifier in his first match. Nada's first test could come against in-form Italian Sinner.

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Post by Jeff Navarro Sat 01 May 2021, 10:31 am

Unless Nadal suddenly gets old in these next few week can’t see anyone beating him in Paris. Tsitsipas played a great match in Barcelona and still lost.
Djokovic skipping Madrid, seems to me anyway, he doesn’t have the belief he can beat Nadal in Paris.

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Post by No name Bertie Sat 01 May 2021, 1:54 pm

With regard the long matches that have been recently noted by some - this is clay, where tactical play, positioning and endurance come to the fore.

Good to see Federer preparing to compete in the French Open. I assume there is now a sufficient gap between the French Open, and the start of the Grass Season / Wimbledon to give the old codger time to recover his knees, his shoulders and back.

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Post by sirfredperry Sat 01 May 2021, 5:56 pm

Excellent result for Cameron Norrie today who beats Cilic in straight sets to advance to the Estoril final. Only Tsitsipas and Rublev have won more matches on the tour this year than Norrie.

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Post by No name Bertie Sun 02 May 2021, 9:56 am

Kyle Edmund doesn't seem to have the physicality to cope with the ATP tour or mens tennis in general.  He had a stellar junior career winning two junior slams (US 2012 & French 2013), but it seems having a great junior career usually doesn't translate into having a stellar adult professional career.

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Post by sirfredperry Mon 03 May 2021, 10:27 am

Cameron Norrie was a set and a break up in the Estoril final but lost out in third-set tiebreak finish. He moves up to 48th in the rankings and is having a fine season.

Bit of a surprise in the women's in Madrid where Muchova beat Osaka.


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Post by sirfredperry Mon 03 May 2021, 4:46 pm

Dan Evans finally overcame Chardy in three sets today after squandering some MPs in the second set.

Intriguing-looking match now due on Wednesday, with Carlos Alcaraz of Spain, who will be 18 on Wednesday, taking on.....Rafa.

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Post by sirfredperry Wed 05 May 2021, 6:09 pm

Another Evans win today in Madrid, with Dan overcoming Millman in three.

The boy Alcaraz only got three games against Rafa but he did break serve at one point and also got.....an 18th birthday cake.

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Post by sirfredperry Fri 07 May 2021, 12:49 pm

Zverev was a step too far for Dan Evans.

Isner sprung something of a surprise by beating Rublev who made the BIG mistake of failing to win the tiebreaks. You don't get many chances to break the Isner serve so you just have to hold your own serve and take your tiebreak chances.

Don't know if there are stats for this sort of thing, but surely Isner has played the most tiebreaks of current players. Every match he plays seems to contain at least one breaker, sometimes two.

As I write Isner has just taken the first set against Thiem WITHOUT resorting to a tiebreak!

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Post by sirfredperry Fri 07 May 2021, 4:45 pm

Rafa beaten. Nadal loses 4 and 4 to Zverev. Is it a pointer for RG? Probably not. Rafa has only won Madrid once since 2014.

Thiem recovered to beat Isner (and no tiebreak sets!).

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Post by sirfredperry Mon 10 May 2021, 7:45 am

We now head for Rome for another big clay-court tournament following Zverev's victory at Madrid and an impressive effort from Sabalenka to halt Barty's winning streak.

Andy Murray has put himself down for qualifying for RG as the French authorities are waiting to see how fit he is before giving him a WC.

Andy may play in Geneva and so could be in the same draw as a returning Federer.

There could be a replay of the Djoko-Dan Evans match in Rome as the Briton will play Nole if he gets through his first-round match.

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Post by sirfredperry Wed 12 May 2021, 8:31 pm

Sinner gave Rafa a good match before going down today but Medvedev is out - beaten by Karatsev who is having a storming season.

Serena lost in her 1,000th match while Halep had to retire in her match.

Andy M, who has been practising with Djoko, took a late entry into the doubles and won today, partnering Liam Broady, by coming from 3-6 down in the champions tiebreak to finish the match.

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Post by Jeff Navarro Fri 14 May 2021, 6:03 pm

Nadal beat Zverev 6-3 6-4 to make the Roma semi finals yet again. The Spaniard will face surprise package Opelka in the semi finals. Nadal hugely favoured to reach 12th final in Roma.


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Post by sirfredperry Sat 15 May 2021, 1:15 pm

Tremendous recovery powers by Rafa to beat Zverev after such a long match against Shapovalov.

Another long match today featuring Djoko (although some of it was played yesterday) with Nole coming through against Tsitisipas. Djoko has to play again today, taking on Italian Sonego who having beaten Thiem has now ousted Rublev.

I can't see any sign of Andy Murray playing in Geneva next week in a tournament where Federer is number one seed.

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Post by Jeff Navarro Sat 15 May 2021, 8:12 pm

Nadal beat Opelka 6-4 6-4 to reach record extending 12th final in Roma. The American gave it a good go but Nadal’s pretty good on clay...

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Post by Jeff Navarro Sat 15 May 2021, 8:25 pm

Djokovic beat the spirited Sonego 6-3 6-7 6-2 but the match lasted nearly 3hrs.
Djokovic into his 11th final in Roma. In any other era Djokovic would be the Roman master of his generation, unfortunately for him Nadal’s in his era.
Anyway Djokovic is the defending champion. 5 time champion vs 9 time champion

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Post by Jeff Navarro Sat 15 May 2021, 8:56 pm

Andy Murray rejected Geneva wildcard and has withdrawn from Roland Garros, his groin issue still causing him issues.

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Post by sirfredperry Sat 15 May 2021, 9:19 pm

Andy's far-from-smooth return to something like full-time action runs into another hurdle. He just can't seem to get going.

Rafa looks like being the fresher of the two when he faces Djoko in the Rome final.

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Post by No name Bertie Sun 16 May 2021, 11:45 am

I saw highlights of the Rome Master's semi-finals.  Djokovic vs Sonego looked highly competitive for the first two sets with swings and roundabouts.  I was impressed by Sonego.  However I later learnt that he turned professional eight years ago, is 26 years old, and has only recently broken into the top thirty, so I am not sure whether he will become a major player in the game or just fade away again.  In the third set he just faded away as Djokovic's consistency, stamina, power and court craft took over.

Then there was the Opelka vs Nadal semi-final.  Opelka is a giant and one might have thought that would have been an advantage for him, but Nadal didn't have too many problems disposing of him.  Maybe he will be more of a threat on the grass but I have long suspected that one can be too tall for tennis at the very top of the sport - 6 foot one to 6 foot two seems to be the goldilocks height for mens tennis.

While I was on youtube I was recommended the highlights of the Wimbledon 2007 third round match between Nadal and Soderling which Nadal won in five sets 64 64 67 46 75.  Firstly Nadal looked a completely different species to what he has become in recent years.  No apparent mobility issues and full of spring, elasticity and power.  Secondly the upload also showed Nadal being interviewed saying how he finds Soderling weird and disrespectful.  It seems that Soderling was not a particular talkative individual on the tour, did not engage in small talk or common pleasantries and kept himself to himself.

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Post by Jeff Navarro Sun 16 May 2021, 7:04 pm

Rafael Nadal wins Roma for an astonishing 10th time after defeating Novak Djokovic 7-5 1-6 6-3. Strange match Nadal was brilliant in sets 1 and 3. Went missing in 2nd set. Djokovic still had to play a very high level on win that set.
Nadal overwhelming favourite for 14th Roland Garros title.

Iga Świątek Destroys Karolina Pliskova 6-0 6-0 to reaffirm her favourite status for Roland Garros.

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Post by sirfredperry Mon 17 May 2021, 7:43 am

I would have still made Rafa favourite at RG even if he'd not had a couple of tournament wins on clay this season.

As is usual with the French the more interesting thing is to work out who might make the final to meet Rafa. I see Rafa is still number three in the rankings this morning so there's a chance he might be drawn in the same half as Djoko in Paris.

Jeff N - Yes, a terrific win for Swiatek but it's really difficult to predict women GS winners at the moment. Iga will no doubt have to get past numerous Slam winners to triumph again.

Halep, if fit, is always a good bet while Barty will be tough to beat.

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Post by Jeff Navarro Tue 18 May 2021, 1:41 am

I totally agree SFP that the women’s game is a lot more of a lottery but in Świątek I can see her being the most dominant clay courter of her generation.
I also agree Halep has the pedigree but along with Barty both have big injury clouds.

Good old Boris Becker with his words of wisdom today proclaiming Nadal isn’t the favourite for Roland Garros...seriously...

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Post by No name Bertie Tue 18 May 2021, 2:08 pm

In the women's game we are still waiting for a generational great to appear. It looks like Osaka could be it for the hard courts.

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Post by Jeff Navarro Tue 18 May 2021, 7:45 pm

Pablo Andujar beat the returning Roger Federer 6-4 4-6 6-4 at the Geneva Open.

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Post by sirfredperry Thu 20 May 2021, 5:05 pm

Feel sure Fed would have beaten Andujar in the normal way. Just shows how hard it is to make a comeback at an advanced age.

Andujar beat another Swiss today, ending the run of 18-year-old Dominic Stricker.

Cameron Norrie's excellent season reached new heights today when he beat Thiem in straight sets.

Meanwhile Andy Murray is going to play Nottingham as well as Queen's. May be the weather will have picked up by then.

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Post by theslosty Thu 20 May 2021, 9:10 pm

Aside from a good run at the O2 Thiem has been really flat since his US Open win. Bit of a shame as I'd really like to see him push Rafa at RG but at the moment you'd say there's more chance of him being knocked out in the earlier rounds
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Post by Jeff Navarro Fri 21 May 2021, 10:21 am

Simona Halep has withdrawn from Roland Garros with a torn calf.

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Post by sirfredperry Sat 22 May 2021, 5:14 pm

Cameron Norrie rolls on. First, he completed a two-thirds finished match by taking the third set against LL Rinderknech before demolishing Khachanov 6-1, 6-1 to reach the final in Lyon.

Norrie may not get past Tsitsipas in the final but this is his second title match of the season and he's now won 22 matches this year.

Elsewhere Coco Gauff won her second career title today. She's inside the top 30 now, which ain't bad for a 17-yr-old.

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Post by sirfredperry Thu 27 May 2021, 7:55 am

All the Britons, save Harriet Dart, are out of the French qualifying.

With Medvedev ranked two, the French authorities have to decide whether to stick to the rankings for the RG seeding or push Rafa up to two.

I don't believe RG has ever swerved away from the rankings so we could have the ludicrous situation of a man (Medvedev) likely to go out early while the two best players in the world end up in the same half of the draw.

Naomi Osaka, a terrific player but a somewhat delicate flower, has announced she won't be doing press conferences at RG. I seem to recall her bursting into tears at a press conf at one tournament.

Considering what's going on in the world at present, talking for a few minutes after losing a tennis match is surely not a great imposition.

Jamie Murray, who must be worth a bob or two, is complaining that the men's doubles' hotel accommodation in Paris is "like a toilet". OK, it's probably not the five-star establishment he's used to. But these are weird times. Just get on with it, Jamie.

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Post by sirfredperry Thu 27 May 2021, 4:38 pm

Draw has been made and lo and behold Djoko and Rafa are in the same half.French organisers are blithering idiots.

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Post by theslosty Thu 27 May 2021, 10:16 pm

Don't really see what else they could do sfp. They've set a precedent and Medvedev has earned #2 if not on clay.

If the reverse was the case in say Australia would we be demanding Rafa be demoted to 3rd seed for the player with the better hardcourt form?
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Post by sirfredperry Fri 28 May 2021, 8:50 am

theslosty wrote:Don't really see what else they could do sfp. They've set a precedent and Medvedev has earned #2 if not on clay.

If the reverse was the case in say Australia would we be demanding Rafa be demoted to 3rd seed for the player with the better hardcourt form?

I take your point. But Wimbledon moved Rafa from two to three to accommodate Roger in 2019 (to Rafa's annoyance). Anyway that one worked out OK in that Rafa was not in Djoko's half and ended up playing, and losing, to Rog in the semi.

At least Thiem, Tsitsi and Zverev are all in the bottom half of the RG draw and you would think that one of those will make the final.


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Post by JuliusHMarx Fri 28 May 2021, 11:40 am

Wimbledon follows its own published formula for seeding, the others follow the rankings. I don't think any of them are allowed to vary from that, due to whatever agreements have been reached.

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Post by No name Bertie Fri 28 May 2021, 2:59 pm

It is supposed to be fair but it is clearly very silly. Maybe this has happened in the past with regard to Roland Garros with clay court specialists not being highly seeded compared to grass court / hard court specialists?

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Post by JuliusHMarx Fri 28 May 2021, 5:09 pm

It hasn't happened for years because the ATP i.e. the players, requested that seedings be based on rankings not the judgements of a seeding committee. Wimbledon held out on that, but agreed a formula, rather than a committee judgement.

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