Sunday, 3 June 2012

French Open: 4th Round Predictions for Day 9

The top three on Day 9:
Andy Murray
1. Richard Gasquet v Andy Murray
The most intriguing match on the day 9 schedule is the one between Richard Gasquet and Andy Murray.  The Brit struggled with back spasms in his second round match, but looked in better form with a straight sets win over Santiago Giraldo.  Gasquet lost the opening set of his last two matches against Grigor Dimitrov and Tommy Haas but came through both in 4 sets.  The two last squared off in Rome where Gasquet won 6-7 6-3 6-2.  Murray just does not look 100% this week and I think the French crowd will have something to celebrate about in this one...
Prediction - Gasquet to beat Murray in 4 sets

2. Janko Tipsarevic v Nicolas Almagro
Nicolas Almagro has looked extremely assured on the clay this week and he has made amends after suffering a shock first round exit in 2011.  His opponent in Janko Tipsarevic has had an equally comfortable route to the 4th round having lost just one set in his opening match to Sam Querrey.  This will be a first ever match-up between the two, which makes it all the more exciting.  Both players have made big improvements to their game, most evidently the mental side so it should be a good match... I think Almagro will edge into the quarter-finals.
Prediction - Almagro to beat Tipsarevic in 5 sets

3. Petra Kvitova v Varvara Lepchenko
All four of the womens quarter-finals look slightly one-sided on paper although having seen the action unfold, surprises are no way out of the question.  Petra Kvitova struggled in her third round match, but managed to find a way past Nina Bratchikova, 6-2 4-6 6-1.  She has come a long way to be able to win these kind of matches, but still has no discernable plan B when her her A-game is not working.  She will play Varvara Lepchenko who has come through three epic matches; her shortest match this week was her first round win over Ksenia Pervak, which took 2 hours and 47 minutes.  I do not think she will have much left in the tank for this one and her only chance will be if Kvitova is off-radar, which is not 100% out of the question... 
Prediction - Kvitova to beat Lepchenko in 2 tight sets

Maria Sharapova
Best of the rest:
Maria Sharapova has looked in sensational form so far and will look to cement her status has the favourite to win the title against Klara Zakopalova, who she comfortably beat in Madrid earlier this year.  Li Na will play the resurgent Yaroslava Shvedova, who made the quarter-finals back in 2010, but has struggled since to make an impact on the singles tour because of a knee injury.  The final 4th round match will see Kaia Kanepi take on Arantxa Rus; I think Kanepi will come through in a tight two setter and set up a quarter-final with Sharapova, meanwhile I expect the second quarter-final from this section to be contested between Kvitova and Li.
All four mens 4th round matchues look to be very exciting on paper.  Rafael Nadal takes on Juan Monaco, who has had a fabulous 2012 aside from the injury he picked up in Monte-Carlo.  He beat Milos Raonic in five sets in the third round and it is unfortunate for him he runs into Rafa, who has looked unbeatable this tournament so far.  The final match will played out between David Ferrer and Marcel Granollers.  Ferrer was brilliant in dispatching Mikhail Youzhny in the last round; on the other hand, Granollers has had to battle through two tough five setters including saving match points in his second round match against Malek Jaziri.  After a tight first set, I think Ferrer will steamroller his way through to the quarter-finals.

You can follow my original predictions for the WTA and ATP draws at Roland Garros.  My womens draw has been a total disaster :-P

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