We’re through to the second week of Roland Garros! Technically, the second week starts with the round of 16 matches. However, we’re considering the quarterfinals onward as the second week. This year’s edition has a few surprises, with 7 of the top 8 seeds making the quarter finals (Raonic didn’t make it. Come on, man. Why did you have to ruin it?), and 4 of them reaching this stage without losing a set (Marin Cilic, Stan Wawrinka, Rafael Nadal and Dominic Thiem).
(4) Rafael Nadal vs (20) Pablo Carreno Busta
This one seems obvious, no? Nadal has been in splendid form, with only one loss in the clay court season in Rome against Dominic Thiem. He won two Clay masters and Barcelona. He hasn’t lost a set and has lost only 20 games so far in the tournament. I mean, he almost triple bageled poor Basilashvili. Meanwhile, Carreno Busta has reached the quarters of a slam for the first time. Busta’s game is centered around playing a perfect shot, similar to Berdych, and this in turn leads to a hit and miss situation because such a game style certainly won’t work against a grinder like Nadal.
Nadal in straight sets.
(2) Novak Djokovic vs (6) Dominic Thiem
Ahh, this is a tough one. Their most recent meeting was in Rome, where Djokovic demolished Thiem. Of course, Nole proceeded to lose the final to Zverev in straight sets just one day later. They’ve previously also played here at Roland Garros, with Djokovic wining in straight sets in the semi finals last year. Djokovic has had a mixed clay court season with flashes of brilliance and dominance, while Thiem has had a consistent clay season. Djokovic has been playing more passive and his stamina hasn’t been how it used to be. Seeing that Thiem is a grinder, is in splendid form and the clay suits his game style, there’s no doubt that this match will be entertaining and gritty.
Thiem to win in four tight sets.
(1) Andy Murray vs (8) Kei Nishikori
Andy Murray won a match!
Jokes aside, the Brit showed solid form against Delpo and Khachanov and seems to be finding the rhythm and groove required to win matches. Nishikori probably skipped half of the clay season and pulled out of a match or two because of his perpetual state of “Injured”. The Japanese player has struggled in the opening rounds of the French Open, and was nearly knocked out by Chung. The postponing of the match was his saving grace, and he won in five sets. While Murray hasn’t breezed through either, he’s showing signs of improvement. He still needs to work on his serve, and he is half a step slower.
Murray in four.
(3) Stan Wawrinka vs (7) Marin Cilic
This is by far the most interesting one. Both aren’t the favourites and have quietly made their way past to the quarters, with Cilic making his first Roland Garros quarter final without losing a set and losing only 26 games, second least to Nadal. The Croat has a booming serve and an offensive style of play, which doesn’t suit clay, but he’s had a fantastic clay season, with a title in Istanbul and comparably good performances in the Masters. He’s quietly made it through and he seems to be a looming threat for the rest of the players, with him saying that he’s never felt better.
This one is difficult. Stan is a great clay court player, and Cilic is in solid form and has the second best showing this year in the French Open after Nadal
Stan in five.
(4) Rafael Nadal vs (6) Dominic Thiem
They’ve met three times in this clay season, with Thiem having won one match, and the only person to defeat the Spaniard in the clay stretch. Expectations of a gritty, entertaining and explosive match will be met, and as the sun sets over the Phillipe Chartier, the King will rise victorious. And just as he said earlier, “Not this time, punk *Wink*”.
Nadal in three.
(1) Andy Murray vs (3) Stan Wawrinka
Once the Stanimal awakens, there’s nothing stopping him. Will he wake up, though? Who knows. The best aspect about Stan is his unpredictability. He can lose miserably, or win ridiculously. There’s no prediction for this one, just a wild guess. If Murray finally plays consistently, he’ll win. If the Stanimal rises, God save Nadal. Murray did win against Stan in last year’s Roland Garros. However, that was an in-form Murray against Stan, not the Stanimal.
Wild guess: Murray in five.
A Murray-Nadal final! The moment a lot of tennis fans have been waiting for. If this happens, I have no doubt that this will be an incredible match. And of course it will be, it is the final after all! However, the chances of Murray reaching the final are slim, and a tight match up even if he reaches the final is extremely improbable. Nadal will be hungry for his third La Decima of the year, and Murray for his first French, so there’s that. Everything is pointing towards Nadal to win, and that’s probably what will happen.
Nadal in four, losing the second set, biting his 10th Roland Garros trophy, and becoming the number two player in the world.