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Clay Court Season - the run up to the French Open 2022

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Post by sirfredperry Mon Apr 04, 2022 9:16 am

First topic message reminder :

IW and Miami are done and attention switches to the clay-court season culminating in RG.

How much of this period will involve Medvedev playing is uncertain, while Rafa will miss part of the clay season as well.

Happenings in America have shown that the likes of Alcaraz and Sinner (and possibly Ruud) are ready to challenge the older stars of the Next Generation such as Zverev and Tsitsipas.

Alcaraz, in particular, has burst on the scene in a way perhaps not seen since the young Nadal emerged in 2003-05. Sinner is also a very exciting player and both he and Alcaraz look like they will become firm favourites with the fans.

What of Djoko? He has plenty of points to defend in the next few weeks and Medvedev could regain the number one position without playing. For once Rafa, assuming he's fit enough to play, can actually GAIN points at RG. I always tip him to win it, and see no reason to change my mind this year.

Swiatek won the French in 2020 and now comes into the clay-court stretch on top of the world after a sensational few weeks. Osaka is on the rise and the sooner the likes of she and Halep are back in the top 10 the better.




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Post by Jeff Navarro Fri May 06, 2022 5:44 pm

Carlitos takes out Rafa in Madrid, 6-2 1-6 6-3. Alcaraz in the first set was hitting winners from every where.
Don’t think Nadal would’ve played this event if it wasn’t in Spain. He didn’t look at the best in all three matches.

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Post by Jeff Navarro Fri May 06, 2022 9:11 pm

Tsitsipas beats Rublev 6-3 2-6 6-4

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Post by Jeff Navarro Fri May 06, 2022 11:31 pm

Sascha beats FAA 6-3 7-5. Zverev on this type of fast clay court is very dangerous.

Djokovic vs Alcaraz
Zverev vs Tsitsipas

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Post by sirfredperry Sat May 07, 2022 8:41 am

It was a terrific win for Alcaraz. But it should be remembered that Rafa was coming back from an injury and had had an ultra-long match the day before.

A truer test to see where Alcaraz is will come today in the semi against Djoko.

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Post by Jeff Navarro Sat May 07, 2022 7:03 pm

Carlitos Alcaraz registers the biggest win of his young career as he outlasts Novak Djokovic in an epic Madrid semi final.
The Spanish star comes from a set down to win 6-7 7-5 7-6

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Post by slashermcguirk Sat May 07, 2022 11:06 pm

Not sure which is more impressive, that Alcaraz beat Djokovic today or that Djokovic being half the player he was last year and out of form came so close to beating the most in form player in tennis right now. I actually thought alcaraz would win more comfortably because Djokovic so far in 2022 has been a shadow of the player he was last year (because of lack of tournament play). As a Djokovic fan I am pleasantly surprised by Novaks results this week.

As for Alcatraz, a huge talent that will surely win many slams

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Post by Jeff Navarro Sun May 08, 2022 1:29 am

Sascha Zverev beat Stefanos Tsitsipas 6-4 3-6 6-2 to setup up final showdown with Alcaraz.
Somewhat surprisingly, for me anyway, this was Zverev's first win over Tsitsipas on clay.
Terrible schedule in Madrid, they opted to have the Ladies' final between the men's semis. The second semi didn't start until after 11pm - highly unfair imo.
Anyway Zverev looking to defend a masters 1000 for the first time. Alcaraz looking for second masters 1000 as a teenager.Could be epic.

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Post by sirfredperry Sun May 08, 2022 10:56 am

The only worry that you have for Alcaraz is that he may be overdoing it.

I wonder if it would be better for him to skip Rome this week and save himself for the French. He probably won't, though, cos at the moment, at just 19 years of age, he probably wants to play every day.

Saw a few clips of his matches against Rafa and Djoko. Of course, we know Alcaraz is a big hitter but what impressed me was his net play. It's a bit frightening to think he's going to get fitter, stronger and more experienced.

We're almost back to 2005 where a young 19-year-old Spaniard fully burst on to the scene, challenging and usually beating the top players.

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Post by Jeff Navarro Sun May 08, 2022 6:46 pm

Carlitos Alcaraz destroys Sascha Zverev 6-3 6-1 to win his home tournament. Alcaraz literally toyed with Zverev whom is one of the premier clay courters around.

Alcaraz is now my favourite for Roland Garros.

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Post by sirfredperry Sun May 08, 2022 7:06 pm

Checked the scores expecting it to be, perhaps, one set done and early days in the second set, only to find it was all over.

This must be up there with the most remarkable of runs by a teenager in the Open Era. Only needs a GS for Alcaraz to join the likes of Becker, Wilander, Chang, Sampras and Rafa.

I wouldn't necessarily make Alcaraz THE favourite for the French but he must be considered one of the favourites.

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Post by Turron Sun May 08, 2022 7:08 pm

Zveverev seemed to have no clue how to play Alcaraz. He completely lost his head and his serve in the 2nd. It was like watching someone with a game plan hitting someone without one off the court.

Embarassing!

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Post by Henman Bill Sun May 08, 2022 7:55 pm

This win was clearly another level for Alcaraz, who's already having a good season.

He's now beaten most of the top players recently.

I checked the bookies odds on Odds Checker and Rafa is the favourite for the FO, Alcaraz is 2nd, Djoko is 3rd. But it's very close. They all have similar odds. That seems reasonable.

It certainly makes the FO a bit more interesting this year. If none of those top 3 lose in the first week then it could end being a very entertaining tournament.

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Post by Jeff Navarro Sun May 08, 2022 10:46 pm

Alcaraz will skip Roma. Smart decision. No point burning out prior to Roland Garros.

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Post by sirfredperry Mon May 09, 2022 12:25 pm

Stan the Man is back. He was close to defeat in the second set against Opelka, but rallied to win it 7-5 and then took the final set 6-2.

Zverev has hit out at the crazy scheduling which saw him have two very-late finishes in Madrid. He said he would probably have lost to Alcaraz in any case, but said in the circumstances he had no chance.

If I'd been part of the Alcaraz team I would have urged him to skip Rome. So it seems very sensible he's decided to do so.

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Post by slashermcguirk Tue May 10, 2022 5:14 pm

It will be very interesting to see how Alcaraz does at the French open this year. I can understand why he pulled out of Rome but that could be a costly one because the Rome clay is probably the most similar to Roland Garros. Madrid is always a bit random because its faster and at altitude. I still expect Alcaraz to do very well at the French open, his biggest risk would probably be in an early round against a player he is expected to comfortably beat. There will be a lot of focus on him.

I am really curious to see who comes out on top in Rome. I would love to see Djokovic make a strong run there, good start beating the dangerous Karatsev in straight sets in round one. He could well face Wawrinka in the next round. I dont see it happening but if Djokovic could win Rome, that would be massive for his confidence. I just dont think his form has been good enough on his return in 2022 to win this week. That being said I was surprised he took Alcaraz to a final set tie break last week given the incredible form Alcaraz is in and Djokovic being so far off his 2021 level.

Nadal could well take the title this week but he is definitely not the certainty he once was, particularly after his recent injury.


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Post by sirfredperry Tue May 10, 2022 6:27 pm

After Djoko's safe passage in Rome today, Emma R's back was playing up again and she had to retire after trailing Andreescu 2-6, 1-2.

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Post by Oakdene Wed May 11, 2022 8:35 am

sirfredperry wrote:After Djoko's safe passage in Rome today, Emma R's back was playing up again and she had to retire after trailing Andreescu 2-6, 1-2.

I don't know if it's the fact she's playing lots of tournaments but she seems very injury prone.

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Post by Jeff Navarro Wed May 11, 2022 1:51 pm

Nadal breezes past Isner 6-3 6-1 will face Shapovalov next.

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Post by Jeff Navarro Wed May 11, 2022 7:51 pm

Stan the man beats Dere 7-6 3-6 6-4 to setup Djokovic showdown.

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Post by sirfredperry Wed May 11, 2022 8:02 pm

Dimi twice held an MP deep into the final set v Tsitsipas but the Greek held on before taking the tiebreak and the match.

Another good win for Stan the Man. I guess he'll get a WC into the French, being a former RG champ.

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Post by sirfredperry Thu May 12, 2022 7:23 am

Cilic beat Norrie last night. As well as Djoko-Stan today, we have Nadal v Shapovalov.

I wonder if Swiatek's wonderful run will end today. She takes on Azarenka.

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Post by Henman Bill Thu May 12, 2022 4:34 pm

sirfredperry wrote:

Another good win for Stan the Man. I guess he'll get a WC into the French, being a former RG champ.

I agree - would be a surprise if he didn't.

Seems that players playing on well into their 30s has just become the norm now even when, like Andy Murray, they get major injuries or issues.


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Post by Jeff Navarro Thu May 12, 2022 6:02 pm

Djokovic outclasses Wawrinka at Roma. 6-2 6-2 for the Serb, one more win to guarantee the top ranking.

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Post by Jeff Navarro Thu May 12, 2022 9:39 pm

Shapovalov upsets Nadal at Roma. The Canadian winning 1-6 7-5 6-2. Shapo with his usual flair in the second and third sets.
Nadal wilting badly in the closing stages.

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Post by Henman Bill Fri May 13, 2022 12:26 am

Henman Bill wrote:
I checked the bookies odds on Odds Checker and Rafa is the favourite for the FO, Alcaraz is 2nd, Djoko is 3rd. But it's very close. They all have similar odds. That seems reasonable.


Just had another look after Rafa´s loss at Rome and it´s now a three way tie, no single favourite. Depends on which bookmaker you asking for now....

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Post by Jeff Navarro Fri May 13, 2022 12:52 am

Nadal’s foot issue seems to have returned. He was limping heavily towards the end of the match with Shapovalov.

Can’t see the Spaniard playing Roland Garros if the condition doesn’t improve massively.


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Post by slashermcguirk Fri May 13, 2022 11:12 pm

Win number 999 for Djokovic on tour and now 370 weeks at world number one. Incredible stats for his career. He also now has 252 wins on clay which is the 2nd highest in the open era after Nadal, pretty amazing given it’s his supposed ‘weakest’ surface. I would love to see Djokovic go all the way in Rome but it’s still a tough ask with Ruud followed by either Tsitsipas or Zverev




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Post by Jeff Navarro Sat May 14, 2022 12:33 am

Depending on the results of the semi finals, Djokovic will retain #1 ranking until at least the end of Roland Garros.
If he loses in the semi to Ruud, Medvedev can retake #1 by reaching semi finals.

Sascha Zverev seems to be peaking at the right time for Roland Garros, eased past Cristian Garin.

Stefanos Tsitsipas, arguably third favourite for Roland Garros behind Alcaraz and Djokovic, saw off Jannik Sinner. Close first set but the Greek showed his pedigree in the second set.

Casper Ruud another dark horse for Roland Garros, saw off Denis Shapovalov in two tight sets.

Djokovic showed vulnerability against FAA, but being 5x champion at Roma showed as the Serb held his nerve.

Tsitsipas vs Zverev - rematch from Madrid. I’d favour Tsitsipas in these conditions.
Djokovic vs Ruud - fancy Djokovic here. 5 time champion and 6 time runner up. Djokovic is 11-1 in semi finals at Roma. Djokovic has now reached more semi finals at Roma(13) than Nadal(12). Crazy.

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Post by Jeff Navarro Sat May 14, 2022 12:41 am

slashermcguirk wrote:Win number 999 for Djokovic on tour and now 370 weeks at world number one. Incredible stats for his career. He also now has 252 wins on clay which is the 2nd highest in the open era after Nadal, pretty amazing given it’s his supposed ‘weakest’ surface. I would love to see Djokovic go all the way in Rome but it’s still a tough ask with Ruud followed by either Tsitsipas or Zverev



This can’t be correct, I’m sure Vilas won like 600 matches on clay.

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Post by sirfredperry Sat May 14, 2022 8:11 am

Jeff Navarro wrote:
slashermcguirk wrote:Win number 999 for Djokovic on tour and now 370 weeks at world number one. Incredible stats for his career. He also now has 252 wins on clay which is the 2nd highest in the open era after Nadal, pretty amazing given it’s his supposed ‘weakest’ surface. I would love to see Djokovic go all the way in Rome but it’s still a tough ask with Ruud followed by either Tsitsipas or Zverev



This can’t be correct, I’m sure Vilas won like 600 matches on clay.

This from Wikipedia - "Known for his prolific match play, especially on clay, he (Vilas) became the second man to win more than 900 matches in the Open Era, and his number of match-wins on clay (659) is by far the most of the era."

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Post by Soul Requiem Sat May 14, 2022 8:26 am

slashermcguirk wrote:Win number 999 for Djokovic on tour and now 370 weeks at world number one. Incredible stats for his career. He also now has 252 wins on clay which is the 2nd highest in the open era after Nadal, pretty amazing given it’s his supposed ‘weakest’ surface. I would love to see Djokovic go all the way in Rome but it’s still a tough ask with Ruud followed by either Tsitsipas or Zverev




Not sure why you're making up stats but each to their own, the top five is as follows;

Villas
Orantes
Muster
Nadal
Lendl

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Post by slashermcguirk Sat May 14, 2022 8:29 am

Sorry that stat of 252 wins on clay is active players. It was on tennis.com yesterday

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Post by slashermcguirk Sat May 14, 2022 8:47 am


It was on tennis.com yesterday, I didn’t see it said (active players) in brackets. Why would I make stats up???? What an odd thing to say

https://www.tennis.com/news/articles/stat-of-the-day-novak-djokovic-999th-win-auger-aliassime-rome

Soul Requiem wrote:
slashermcguirk wrote:Win number 999 for Djokovic on tour and now 370 weeks at world number one. Incredible stats for his career. He also now has 252 wins on clay which is the 2nd highest in the open era after Nadal, pretty amazing given it’s his supposed ‘weakest’ surface. I would love to see Djokovic go all the way in Rome but it’s still a tough ask with Ruud followed by either Tsitsipas or Zverev




Not sure why you're making up stats but each to their own, the top five is as follows;

Villas
Orantes
Muster
Nadal
Lendl

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Post by sirfredperry Sat May 14, 2022 12:47 pm

Still no stopping Swiatek who has demolished Sabalenka 2 and 1 in today's Rome semi.

Those eight games Emma R got off the Pole recently are looking better and better.


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Post by sirfredperry Sat May 14, 2022 3:51 pm

In their 12th meeting. Zverev and Tsitsipas are into a final set. Of course, the Greek was two sets up in the French final last year before going down to Djoko. Can he go one better this year?

LATER - Tsitsipas takes it, 6-3 in the third.


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Post by Jeff Navarro Sat May 14, 2022 4:20 pm

Tsitsipas beats Zverev 4-6 6-3 6-3. Decent come from behind win for the Greek. Into his first final at Roma.
As for Zverev more disappointment. Being a former champion at Roma, he should’ve really won.
Anyway don’t see Tsitsipas winning Roland Garros.

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Post by sirfredperry Sat May 14, 2022 4:37 pm

If I were a bookie, I would go against recent form and give shorter RG odds on Djoko or Tsitsipas than the man-of-the-moment Alcaraz.

The reason? Five-set tennis is completely different from the three-set version. Yes, Alcaraz's performances of late have been sensational. But he is very inexperienced at Slams and we really do not know if he can maintain this sort of form for seven best-of-five matches.

In the normal way I'd make Rafa favourite, but his fitness level is a worry.


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Post by Jeff Navarro Sat May 14, 2022 9:21 pm

Djokovic beats Ruud 6-4 6-3 to reach 12th Italian Open final(joint record with Nadal).
Djokovic was just a level above Ruud, whom rallied at points but never seemed likely to win.

Djokovic vs Tsitsipas final wouldn’t usually go against the Serb but I’m favouring Tsitsipas.

As Djokovic reached the final, Medvedev will not reclaim #1 until at least after Roland Garros.

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Post by sirfredperry Sun May 15, 2022 9:20 am

Terrific achievement for Djoko to reach 1,000 main-tour wins. You always thought that he and Rafa would be able to follow Fed in reaching the landmark.

But will anyone else do it? Well, Alcaraz - quickest to 50 wins - has certainly started well.

But you have to have everything on your side - health, fitness and a long-lasting ability - to do it.

Besides, the players don't have quite so many matches a season now compared to some years ago. This is partly thru the scheduling*, where top players get more byes, and partly due to the players themselves not over-playing.

Federer, for instance, won 92 matches one season. There have also been 70 and 80-match wins in some years for the Big 3, but those types of annual hauls aren't being approached now.

So what do you think. Will there ever be another 1,000-wins player?

* Toronto/Montreal and Cinci are among tournaments where the top seeds have fewer matches.

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Post by Jeff Navarro Sun May 15, 2022 2:32 pm

Iga Swiatek destroys Ons Jabeur 6-2 6-2 to defend her title at Roma. The Pole has now won 28 matches in row. It’s her fourth consecutive WTA 1000. I don’t think there’s been an overwhelming favourite as Swiatek is for Roland Garros.

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Post by Jeff Navarro Sun May 15, 2022 3:42 pm

Djokovic serves up a bagel in set 1 against Tsitsipas. Tsitsipas serve has been under siege

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Post by Jeff Navarro Sun May 15, 2022 4:52 pm

Djokovic wins Roma for the 6th time beating Tsitsipas 6-0 7-6. Crazy to think Djokovic’s 6th title should be lauded as an incredible achievement. Then you still realise that Spanish chap won 10 titles. Madness.
Anyway Djokovic far too good for the Greek. Tsitsipas just isn’t the level of this likes of Medvedev and Alcaraz.

Most titles at Roma in Open Era:
1. Nadal - 10
2. Djokovic - 6
3. Muster - 3
4. Nastase, Borg, Gerulaitis, Gomez, Lendl - 2


Last edited by Jeff Navarro on Sun May 15, 2022 5:08 pm; edited 1 time in total

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Post by slashermcguirk Sun May 15, 2022 5:00 pm

Huge win for Djokovic, he beat some really good players this week and that’s a big confidence booster heading into defend his French open title.

38 masters series and his 1001st win on tour. Massive week for him. 87th ATP title and now a record of 232-106 record vs top 10 oppenent in his career. That is an insane winning record against top players

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Post by sirfredperry Sun May 15, 2022 5:47 pm

So both number ones took Rome titles. Both must be regarded as favourites for RG.

Assuming Medvedev plays and is at the bottom of the draw, there will be a lot of interest in seeing who Djoko, at the top, gets in his half.

Although Swiatek is overwhelming favourite, I just wonder after this incredible run whether it's asking a lot of her to add another seven matches to the streak.


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Post by Jeff Navarro Sun May 15, 2022 8:44 pm

Andy Murray has withdrawn from Roland Garros. Will look to play challenger event on grass instead.

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Post by Henman Bill Mon May 16, 2022 4:09 am

Jeff Navarro wrote:
Most titles at Roma in Open Era:
1. Nadal - 10
2. Djokovic - 6
3. Muster - 3
4. Nastase, Borg, Gerulaitis, Gomez, Lendl - 2

This is an interesting stat indeed. I would have guessed under 6 for Novak, the 13 semis is higher than I would have guessed as well.

I just checked and the last Rome final not to feature Novak or Rafa was 2004 when Carlos Moya beat Nalbandian.

Yes, Novak now the man to beat at French Open if not quite clear favourite. The slam semis and finals between Novak and Rafa often have gone to the form player, and you would fancy Novak at the moment a bit even if Rafa is fully fit by then.

Novak will be the only person to win each slam three times if he does it. That would be massive in my view. I don´t think any male player has ever done it in the entire history of the game. Although Serena Williams has that one, and Steffi Graf has 4 of each slam and might have even got 5 if she had not had so many absences at the AO as she won that one 4 times and the others 5+.

Looking like an odd decision for me for Rafa to play both masters back to back returning from injury. Surprised he didn´t skip Madrid to let the injury heal.

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Post by CaledonianCraig Tue May 17, 2022 10:04 am

Jeff Navarro wrote:Andy Murray has withdrawn from Roland Garros. Will look to play challenger event on grass instead.

Not s surprise. It was quite a surprise to see him play on clay at all this year as he earlier said he was giving the clay court season a miss.
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Post by Jeff Navarro Tue May 17, 2022 7:28 pm

Richard Gasquet beats Daniil Medvedev 6-2 7-6 at the Geneva Open. This is the Frenchman’s first win over a top 2 ranked player in 17 years.

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Post by sirfredperry Thu May 19, 2022 6:43 pm

Draw is out for the men at RG and it's really good news for last-year's r-up Tsitsipas as well as Medvedev.

For Rafa, Alcaraz and Zverev are ALL in Djoko's half of the draw, with Novak seeded to meet Rafa in the quarters and, possibly, Alcaraz in the semis.

It was pretty crazy having Rafa and Djoko meeting in the semis last year. This year there's going to be an even earlier meeting.

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Post by Jeff Navarro Thu May 19, 2022 6:48 pm

Nadal vs Wawrinka potential R2 matchup.
This draw ensures the winner comes from the top half.
Tsitsipas probably favourite to make the final.

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