2009 French Open – Nick’s Picks – Men’s Singles Round 4
Stay tuned for updates throughout the French Open as Nick’s Pick will bring you daily analysis and predictions!
Juan Martin Del Potro (ARG) vs. Jo-Wilfried Tsonga (FRA)
Del Potro came away with a straight-set win over Igor Andreev in the third round and is into the Round of 16 at Roland Garros for the first time in his career. Del Potro has been to the quarters of both the US Open and Australian Open, but if he could win here it would be his first at the French Open.
It took Tsonga only 84 minutes to dispatch of Christophe Rochus in the third round. Like Del Potro this is Tsonga’s first appearance in the fourth round of the French Open and he is trying to get to his second career Grand Slam quarterfinal.
Del Potro is 2-0 against Tsonga, but the two have never met on the clay. Right off the bat, you know that Tsonga will have the crowd behind him and that will be a big advantage. Both players are big boys with powerful groundstrokes and serves. I believe Del Potro probably is a bit more consistent with both his serve and groundies and has had more experience in this situation. The longer this mach goes on, the more it favors Tsonga because of how strong he is and the crowd support. I just think in the end that Del Potro’s consistency will be the difference.
Nick’s Pick – Del Potro in 4 sets
Roger Federer (SUI) vs. Tommy Haas (GER)
Federer was tested again in the third round as he dropped the first set to Mathieu but was able to come back and win it in four. We know that Federer isn’t the same player he was two years ago, but he is still more than capable of winning multiple Grand Slam titles over the next couple of years.
It is fantastic to see Haas winning matches again on the big stage. I have always thought he could be an excellent clay-court player, but his results at Roland Garros over the years haven’t been the best. He is coming off of injuries, and hasn’t played much this year but he is showing glimpses of what he can do when healthy.
Federer and Haas have met 10 times previously, but none of those have come on clay. Federer is 8-2 in those matches and hasn’t lost to the Nick Bollettieri Tennis Academy professional since 2002. I can guarantee you that Haas is looking forward to this match. He loves the challenge and will not back down against Federer. He has to take it to Federer every chance he gets. He needs to hit huge forehands down-the-line to Federer’s backhand and put pressure on the former world #1. We all know what Federer can do, but Haas can keep this match close. The longer this match goes on, the more it favors Federer because of the variety in his game. Haas has to win this quickly if he wants to advance.
Nick’s Pick – Federer in 4 sets
Andy Murray (GBR) vs. Marin Cilic (CRO)
Murray is into the fourth round of the French Open for the first time in his career and he got a bit of luck in the third round when Janko Tipsarevic retired at the end of the second set. This should give Murray fresh legs as he looks to get to the quarterfinals and even go possibly further.
In two previous appearances, Cilic had never gone past the second round at Roland Garros. At the age of 20, Cilic is one of the bright young stars on the tour and he is looking to reach the quarterfinals of a Grand Slam for the first time in his career.
Murray is 2-0 against Cilic but the two have never met on clay. Cilic is a big boy in every aspect. He’s 6’6”, has a killer forehand, a monster serve and moves pretty well. The one thing that Murray can do though is negate that power with excellent defensive play. I’ve set it before and I will say it again, there is maybe no one better on tour than Murray at turning defensive shots into offensive ones. Murray also is more mature and has the experience of playing in this situation previously. When you look at all that, you have to give the edge to the Scot in this match.
Nick’s Pick – Murray in 4 sets
Rafael Nadal (ESP) vs. Robin Soderling (SWE)
Nadal had an easy win over former world #1 Lleyton Hewitt, losing only five games and committing only 17 unforced errors. He is now 31-0 at Roland Garros which is simply amazing when you think about how tough this surface is play on every other day. Nadal is rolling right now and I have a hard time seeing anyone stop him!
Soderling upset David Ferrer in the third round, taking out the Spaniard in four hard sets. Soderling had never been past the third round in any Grand Slam previous to this one and he should be loose because he has absolutely nothing to lose against Nadal.
Nadal is 3-0 against Soderling and just beat him in Rome a couple of weeks ago 6-1, 6-0. I am sure Soderling will remember that bad loss to Nadal from Rome, but hopefully he learned a little bit from that match. He is a solid ball striker who understands what it takes to win. In this match he is going to have to be a bit adventurous and take some risks and chances. Soderling cannot hang back at the baseline and try and go blow-for-blow against Nadal because he will have no chance. Nadal is way too strong and way to athletic on clay to lose that way. I look for the Nadal train to keep on rolling into the quarterfinals!
Nick’s Pick – Nadal in 3 sets