We know the line up for the women’s final at the French Open and on Friday we will find out which two men will battle it out for the second Grand Slam title of the year when four of the best in the world set foot onto the Philippe Chatrier Court at Roland Garros.
These two semi-finals will do well to match the drama of the women’s last four clashes on Thursday but given the quality we have in them we shouldn’t rule out the possibility of that, on what has the potential to be a sizzling day of tennis both in standard and temperature.
Day 12 Recap
It promised to be a nervy day in the women’s semi-finals with all four women appearing at this stage of a Grand Slam for the first time in their career and that is exactly how it played out. To be fair the first game was a little disappointing with Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova defeating Tamara Zidansek in straight sets but what the first game lacked in drama the second made up for in droves as Barbora Krejcikova defeated Maria Sakkari 9-7 in a deciding set in a match which went beyond three hours and had everything a semi-final should have.
Unfortunately that all meant that we were not successful with our bet for the day which was for the first semi-final to contain more than 21.5 games. In keeping with how annoying this tournament has been the match ended in the 21st game when in the game before the finish Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova broke serve. Had Zidansek held serve in that game we would have won but it has been a bit like that for us all event.
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Philippe Chatrier Court
Alexander Zverev vs Stefanos Tsitsipas
The opening semi-final on the Philippe Chatrier Court sees two of this season’s Masters 1000 winners battling it out when Alexander Zverev goes up against a Stefanos Tsitsipas who will be looking to do what his Greek compatriot Maria Sakkari couldn’t do and progress to the final of the competition.
Having taken Tsitsipas on in the quarter final, albeit a lot of that was on price rather than ability reasons, I happen to think he’s a good thing here but it is hard to judge Zverev recently. He started the tournament very slowly, being 2-0 down to a nobody in the first round and then escaping tricky positions against Laslo Djere in the second round but his last two opponents have faded quicker than a light against him so were they bad or he good? I suspect the former which would make Tsitsipas a massive favourite here in my book but like I say there is a bit of guesswork in there, which I never like to have. If pushed I’d back Tsitsipas to come through with a bit in hand but he’s plenty short enough so I’m happy to leave this one alone.
Novak Djokovic vs Rafael Nadal
The second semi-final on Friday is a repeat of the final of this tournament back in October and many Grand Slam finals before it as the world number one Novak Djokovic takes on the King of Clay and of Roland Garros in Rafael Nadal.
Both these men were at it in their quarter finals. There was a period where Diego Schwartzman was all over Nadal and longer periods where Matteo Berrettini was giving it to Novak Djokovic but they both came through in four sets. If you wondered what this tournament means to Djokovic he indicated it perfectly in his reactions after seeing off the Italian. I don’t think there is much need for concern with Nadal losing a set to Schwartzman. The Argentine was unplayable for half an hour in that match. Of more concern for me would be that Djokovic was 2-0 down to Lorenzo Musetti in the round before that.
There is no way Djokovic can come from 2-0 down here so he has to start better but the simple fact is that here, on these courts on a roasting hot day, Nadal is too good, for him and anyone else in his way, and I expect him to come through if not in straight sets then in four sets. Djokovic has looked a split second slower to me than usual in this second week in Paris and even a millisecond and Nadal will find you out. Conditions suit Rafa perfectly here so I’ll snap up the 1.75 on Nadal to cover a 1.5 set handicap.
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