1. Jo-Wilfred Tsonga is still relevant
Just when you think he’s gone, he comes roaring back into the spotlight.
It’s been a while since Tsonga got me really excited at a slam, but here is reaching the semi-finals in front of his home crowd with a brilliant five set win over Kei Nishikori. I was convinced that this match was going to go the way of Kei, particularly once the fight back was starting to look very real midway through the second set.
Now facing Stanislas Wawrinka in the semi-final, Tsonga has a tough but winnable opportunity to reach the final. He certainly goes into the match the underdog and the most tired of the two (more on Stan in a moment), but if he can keep himself energetic and enthusiastic this could be an interesting ride…
Also, my favourite thing about Jo writing “Roland Je t’aime” in the clay and using his own body as the ‘T’ is that I bet NOBODY in that crowd could see what on earth he’d written. It’s a nice moment:
Roland Jet’aime is what Jo-Wilfred Tsonga spells out in the end pic.twitter.com/N6UeAk1axw
— Andrew Jerell Jones (@sluggahjells) June 2, 2015
Tsonga through, 6-1 6-4 4-6 3-6 6-3
2. Stanislas Wawrinka is not a fluke slam champion
People I would be shocked (but excited) at winning this tournament: David Ferrer, Jo-Wilfred Tsonga…maybe even Andy Murray?
A person I would no be shocked (but still excited) about winning this tournament: Stanislas Wawrinka.
Wawrinka, to me, looks very much like the Australian Open champion of one year ago. He’s not a player to take for granted, he’s not somebody who just zoned for one tournament. As Lindsay and I discussed on our mid-tournament podcast yesterday – he’s somebody who could easily win at least one more slam in his career. Why not this one?
With Djokovic, Nadal, Murray and Ferrer set to exhaust each other in their half of the draw, and Tsonga having played an epic to reach the semi-final today, Wawrinka’s straight sets win over Roger Federer could not have been more timely. This is a very, very real opportunity for Wawrinka to back up his slam victory next year. Watch closely.
Wawrinka through, 6-4 6-3 7-6.
3. Safety first, please
I’m really hoping the team at Roland Garros are taking a close look at the safety of the stadiums this evening and tomorrow morning. Seeing a massive piece of spiked metal falling onto the crowd is scary. It’s a wonder that nobody was killed in the incident and a reminder that “the show must go on” is basically nonsense if you’re jeopardising lives. It’s only tennis.
Anyway, all seems to be well bar a few injuries, so hopefully we can continue unscathed!
4. Ana Ivanovic is not freaking out
Ana Ivanovic has not freaked out yet. She has reached the semi-final. And she has not collapsed under the weight of her own expectation. This is good, this is GREAT, this is the slam stages that I expected her to start making when she played well in 2014 and then stopped expecting when she played not-so-well in 2015.
Who knows which Ana will show up in the semi-final…I really hope she can keep up the form.
Is this really a process, or an ever-spinning wheel?
Ivanovic through, 6-3 6-2
5. Tennis chaos is hard, late round scheduling is harder
I have had to write this based entirely on replays and my experience of live scores because having a full time job in Europe during the French Open means not being able to watch the French Open live after R4, apparently.
IS THIS ADULTHOOD? Adulthood was a bad move. At least the finals take place on the weekend.
If it rains, we riot.
1. Lucie Safarova and Garbine Muguruza can HIT THE DAMN BALL.
I have to say that the Safarova/Muguruza match was the most entertaining straight-sets, wind-ravaged match on clay I have ever seen. I literally did not want it to end.
The depth and power of hitting, off of both ends, was just phenomenal. I need for that Muguruza to show up at all the Slams, and that version of Safarova to stay forever. NOBODY SCARE IT AWAY.
Seriously though, how fantastic is it to see Lucie Safarova figure this pro tennis thing out? SO GREAT. Either Safarova or Ivanovic will be in a Slam final, and that is pretty great.
Plus, Happy Lucie is just the best.
2. LI NA HAD A BABY. THIS IS NOT A DRILL.
Awwwwwwww. RT @IMGTennis: Welcome to the world, baby Alisa! #LiNa #LiNaBaby pic.twitter.com/w005wFuMAP
— Ben Rothenberg (@BenRothenberg) June 2, 2015
3. Federer is great. He’s not a given.
I wrote about Federer for Bleacher Report. What he’s done this late in his career, still No. 2 at 33 years old and winning titles, is incredible. But over the past three years he has not been able to bring his best on the biggest stages in tennis.
4. Stan and Jo.
How good were they today?! Andrew covered most of this above, so I will just say that I am so thrilled that one of them will make the final. Those forehands and backhands deserve the big stages.
#Wawrinka #Federer #RolandGarros pic.twitter.com/3eQ7BHT9Xy
— MiniPeople.ch (@SwissMinipeople) June 2, 2015
Roger Federer just lost to Your Dad’s Outfit When He Mows The Lawn.
— Ryan Nanni (@celebrityhottub) June 2, 2015
I usually think we overhype everything, but in the case of Djokovic/Nadal tomorrow, I actually don’t think it’s possible. Here’s one of my previews of the match–I’m still picking Djokovic, but I almost talked myself into picking Nadal instead in the process of writing this piece.
6. I missed this yesterday, and I feel like I failed you all.
Maybe I can represent both of us tomorrow @rogerfederer ?! #WhereIsRoger pic.twitter.com/7OSWp7ZFWZ
— Stanislas Wawrinka (@stanwawrinka) June 1, 2015
Esteemed Changeover staff with respect, Fernando expects you to know the Stanimal officially changed his name to from Stainislas to Stan quite some time ago. A demerit from Fernando. Below is why Rafa will win today.
1. Serving: We know that Djoker has been getting great length on Rafa’s second serve allowing him to start the point at neutral or even ahead. We will maintain a high first serve percentage. Even if it means slowing the serve down a bit to avoid falling behind at the start of there point.
2. The BH: Rafa’s BH down the line will unpin Rafa from the BH corner and free Rafa up to run around the BH to hit the FH to stretch Djoker.
3. Slices: Maestro has shown that Djoker can be uncomfortable coming in to hit the short slice, especially to his FH. Rafa has a great slice. You will see Rafa employ this. Djoker will hit these into the net.
4. Pressure: No one can dispute that the pressure on Djoker to win is enormous. Rafa is seemingly below par, Djoker is at peak form and the match in is the quarters. Djoker is human. He will be tight.
5. Intensity; Djoker has been cruising on auto pilot against his opponents. Djoker will not be used to the raw intensity of Rafa and will be unable to recover.
6. Roland Garros; Rafa- Roland Garros- 9 titiles. He does not lose. Time after time Rafa finds a way. Djoker will run into the net or the weather will change mid match or there will be a delay to change momentum, etc. This plays inside an opponent’s head, no?
I am Fernando @vivafernando
The ever-observant Fernando should note that Wawrinka himself uses ‘Stanislas’ on his Twitter account.
Fernando is never wrong. Stan must have forgotten. Fernando will remind him.
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