Hello there bloggies!!
We have arrived at the business end of this year’s 2nd major. And boy, did the tennis gods have a sack of storylines for us to dig through. Let’s jump straight into the action!
The Women’s Side
-Halep pulled something magical out of her bag today. Down a set and 5-1, she somehow found a way to win the 2nd set in a tiebreak before BAGELING Svitolina in the deciding set. The debate will rage whether Halep won or Svitolina lost the match. Honestly, it probably was a bit of both. But I choose to focus on the resilience of the surging Halep. Her performance on the clay season makes her the easy favorite to win her first major.
-Speaking of someone questioning how they’re still in the tourney, what the hell is Karolina Pliskova doing in the semis? Pliskova literally HATES clay courts. She even says how much she hates them and how poorly she plays on them in her interviews. But she’s stayed with her game and fired her big shots well enough to blast past the Frenchwoman Garcia (side note: big props to Garcia for a great tournament in front of the home crowd). Wouldn’t it be hilarious if her first major came at the French?
-Pliskova and Halep are meeting each other, with more than a berth in the finals on the line. They are fighting for the number one ranking. Neither have held it before and would be a massive achievement. I will say the long-term prospects for Pliskova grabbing the number one ranking in the grass and early US hard court season may be better, though she has US Open finals and the Cincy title points to defend.
-On the other side of the draw, my fav Wozniacki met her worst nightmare of the season: Jelena Ostapenko. Jelena has blasted winner after winner after winner past the speedy Dane this season. And to be honest (once the wind died down), it was more of the same here. Just an awful match for Woz especially on her worst surface. But damnnnnn, the upside on Ostapenko is huge. She hits the crap out of the ball and seems to have a great head on her shoulders. It’s crazy, but Jelena could win this tournament.
-Taking on Ostapenko is the lovely Timea Bacsinszky, who downed the other Frenchwoman in the quarters. Timea plays such a different brand of tennis full of athleticism and making the other player feel uncomfortable. And that backhand is a work of art man.
My picks: Halep over Pliskova in 2 sets & Bacsinszky over Ostapenko in 3 sets
The Men’s Side
-I’m going to start with the biggest headline from the gentlemen: Domi Thiem beat Djokovic in straight sets (INCLUDING A 6-0 3rd set!!!). Over the past year, I’ve personally become a massive Thiem fan. He is just so explosive and such a goddamn hard worker. I was so excited last year when he made the French semi’s and when he beat Rafa earlier this year. I’ve beyond thrilled that he’s found the mental fortitude to back that run up again this year and to take down Novak and Rafa this year!
Now, we have to take a look toward Djokovic. Almost everyone is simply stunned at his performance this year. Mentally he is just gone. Someone on Radio RG pointed out that this may be a letdown after finally chasing down and surpassing Federer/Nadal and winning his elusive French Open last year. His drive and desire is not what it was. He needs to take a minute to take a breath and rededicate himself mentally. He obviously can still tennis; Novak just needs to center himself.
-The rest of the men’s quarters were, well, pretty predictable. Nadal did what he does to other Spanish players and was aided by a retirement. Wawrinka eased through Marin Cilic, though it was great to see Cilic playing good tennis again this tournament…maybe he’ll be back on track for some of the faster surfaces. Murray recovered from a slow start and a 3rd set charge from Nishikori to take the match in 4. All fairly straight-forward, and all what we pretty much expected from these guys.
-Despite this predictability, we are set up for some brilliant semi-finals on the men’s side. Murray takes on Wawrinka in a rematch of their semis from last year’s French. Wawrinka is insanely explosive, and Andy is the best defender and relentless fighter. But the marque matchup is easily Nadal vs. Thiem. These two are easily the best two clay courters on the ATP this year. Can the young gun find a way to beat the 9 time champ? He did in Rome, but that was only best out of 3 sets. This is best of 5. Now that’s a big freaking ask.
Picks: Nadal over Thiem in 4 sets (I hope I’m wrong!!) & Wawrinka over Murray in 4 sets.
What are you looking forward to in the semi-finals? Let me know in the comments below or on twitter @DrFsThoughts.
Enjoy the semi-finals!!