2009 French Open – Nick’s Picks – Men’s Singles Quarterfinals
Robin Soderling (SWE) vs. Nikolay Davydenko (RUS)
Soderling pulled off the upset of the tournament, ending Rafael Nadal’s 31-match winning streak at the French Open. The win is the biggest of Soderling’s career and put him in the quarterfinals of a Grand Slam for the first time. Now, everyone will be watching the 24-year old Swede to see how he follows up that monster win.
Out of all the players left on the top half of the draw, Davydenko is probably the best clay-courter. He’s been to the semis here twice and just dismantled Fernando Verdasco in the fourth round. Don’t be surprised if Davydenko back in the semis and maybe even the finals later this week.
Soderling is 3-2 against Davydenko and has beaten him both times they have played on clay. We just saw what Soderling did to Nadal, but can he do it again? He is a big guy, with a powerful forehand and a very solid backhand. He moves well and is comfortable on the clay. Davydenko’s two-handed backhand is one of the best shots on tour. He is like a brick-wall on the baseline and it is very difficult to get anything by him because of his lateral movement. I think the difference in this match will be Davdenko’s ability to take the ball early and keep Soderling pinned back which will not allow the Swede to control the court like he did against Nadal.
Nick’s Pick – Davydenko in 4 or 5 sets
Andy Murray (GBR) vs. Fernando Gonzalez (CHI)
Murray took down the extremely talented youngster Marin Cilic in straight sets in the fourth round to reach the quarters for the first time in his career. With Nadal out, Murray is one of the favorites to now win this tournament and capture his first Grand Slam title. How will he handle this new-found pressure?
Pretty quietly, Gonzalez has moved through the draw without dropping a set. He’s gotten a bit of luck though with his toughest match coming in the fourth round against 30th-seeded Victor Hanescu. This is his third appearance in the quarters of the French Open and he is one win away from reaching the semis for the first time in his career.
Murray and Gonzalez are 1-1 against each other, but the two haven’t played since 2006 and have never faced on clay. Both men have played very well, and are used to playing on the big stage. Gonzalez has a monster forehand, big serve, and moves well. He has to win this match quickly against Murray, because the longer it goes the more it favors his opponent. Murray may not have the big weapon like Gonzalez does, but he does have much more variety, he moves better, and he is one of the smartest players on tour. His groundstrokes are consistent and his serve is improved. I like Murray to advance.
Nick’s Pick – Murray in 4 sets
Roger Federer (SUI) vs. Gael Monfils (FRA)
Federer survived a major scare from Tommy Haas in the fourth round, as he was down two sets before coming back to win it in five. Without a doubt, this is Federer’s best chance to capture this title and he knows it. I think you will see an extremely determined Roger throughout the rest of the tournament.
It took Monfils less than two hours to get by Andy Roddick in the fourth round, beating the American 6-4, 6-2, 6-3. Now, Monfils will get a chance to win what would be the biggest match of his career if he could beat Federer in the quarters. He is the last French player in the draw so there is going to be plenty of pressure on him to perform!
Federer is 4-0 against Monfils, with their last meeting coming in the semis of the 2008 French Open. That match was fantastic to watch as Monfils really played well and gave Federer everything he had for four sets. This will definitely be the match that everyone in the tennis world will be focusing on. Monfils is probably the best athlete on tour and Federer is without a doubt the favorite to win this tournament now that Nadal is out. In the fourth round, Federer really struggled against Haas and if he plays like that in this match he is going to lose. Specifically, he tried too many drop shots (which certainly won’t work against Monfils) and he wasn’t playing the quality of tennis we are used to from him. Still, he finds a way to win it and that is what makes him a champion.
I think the longer this match goes on, the more it favors Monfils because he will have the crowd behind him and he just seems to get better as the match progresses. I still give the edge to Federer in three or four sets, but in a fifth set I think Monfils could take it.
Nick’s Pick – Federer in 4 sets
Juan Martin Del Potro (ARG) vs. Tommy Robredo (ESP)
Del Potro has now reached the quarterfinals in the last three Grand Slam tournaments he has played in, but he has never been to the semis. In the fourth round, he dispatched of Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, ending the Frenchman’s chances.
Who would have thought that the last Spaniard standing would be Tommy Robredo? Well, he is back in the quarterfinals for the fourth time in his career and he is looking to reach the semis of any Grand Slam for the first time.
Del Potro is 1-0 against Robredo, but they have never played on clay. Del Potro definitely has the advantage in the service department, but Robredo is nobody’s fool either. He doesn’t play like the typical Spaniard and has excellent groundstrokes and moves incredibly well. Both guys are more than capable of winning this match and both are looking for their first Grand Slam semifinal appearance. This is going to be one heck of a match and is too close for me to call!!
Nick’s Pick – You pick the match!! Write your scores in the comments section below!