Saturday, June 1, 2013

Rafa at Roland Garros: Quest For Crazy Eights - Round 2

 (pumped up for Round 3!)

Once again, Our Hero, Rafael Nadal has prevailed in 4 sets at this year's French Open. He won his 2nd Round Match against Martin Klizan  4-6, 6-3, 6-3, 6-3. It was a match long delayed by rain. Klizan was playing sharp for that first set, and Rafa was not quite dialed in, throwing in more errors than is his customary style. Still, by the start of the second set Rafa was back in control and it seemed obvious Kilzan was not going to be able to pose much more of a threat, though he continued to play pretty well.

This is another good example of why it's so hard to beat Nadal on clay in 5 sets. Best 2 out of 3? Eh, a bigger window of opportunity. But Nadal's level of play is consistently too high to lose many 3 out of 5 set matches. Opponents can play at their absolute best for an hour and maybe dig out one set, but they can't sustain it. and then by the end of the second set which Rafa wins, the score might be technically even, but the amount of energy expended by both players is totally lopsided. Then Rafa just pressed forward toward victory.

Next up in the 3rd round is Fabio Fognini, a player I much enjoy. He shouldn't provide too much of a challenge to Rafa. Somewhat surprisingly, these two have only met on tour once before just a few weeks ago at the 2013 Rome Masters where Rafa beat him in the second round 6-1, 6-3. 

Other third round action I'm looking forward to includes a rematch between Djokovic and Dimitrov and a face off between Isner and Haas. Dimitrov has a win against Novak on clay this season, and stands the best chance of knocking him out of the tournament early, but I'm probably just kidding myself for the same 3 sets vs/ 5 sets rationale I gave for Rafa up above. Isner v. Haas is a tough one because I like to see both guys have success, but I think there's more versatility in Haas' game, so I'll give the edge to him.

On the women's side, I'm happy to see Sloane Stephens already advance to the 4th round where it seems likely she'll run into Maria Sharapova. I'm also rooting for American Bethanie Mattek-Sands against a player from Argentina named Paula Ormaechea. This seems like a strong opportunity for her to get into Week 2! VAMOS!!

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