2011 French Open – Nick’s Picks – Men’s Singles Round 2
Novak Djokovic (SRB) vs. Victor Hanescu (ROU)
There is only one other “person” that is undefeated on the tennis court and that is the backboard and if Novak keeps winning I just might start calling him Novak “The Backboard” Djokovic! The in streak he is on is historic and it seems he is getting more confident as the tournaments go.
Hanescu is 0-5 against Djokovic in his career and things don’t look too good for him heading into this match. He has an all-court game, but he lacks the firepower to push Djokovic back. Djokovic has been taking the ball early, even on the clay, and his conditioning has been world-class throughout this amazing run. I can’t see him losing a set against Hanescu, nevermind the entire match. I look for the streak to hit 38!
Nick’s Pick – Djokovic in 3 sets
David Ferrer (ESP) vs. Julien Benneteau (FRA)
Ferrer faced a tough opponent in the opening round in Jarkko Nieminen, but he made quick work of him and displayed just how good he can be on clay. He grinds for every point and he keeps his unforced errors very low. He also has a great return of serve and his movement is remarkable. There is no glaring weakness in his game, especially when he is on clay.
Benneteau is 3-2 against Ferrer, but the two haven’t met in three years. Benneteau is a very good player and will have the crowd behind him, but right now Ferrer is playing some fantastic tennis and I don’t see him losing this match. I look for Ferrer to advance in straight sets.
Nick’s Pick – Ferrer in 3 sets
Sam Querrey (USA) vs. Ivan Ljubicic (CRO)
Before I mention Querrey, I want to take a quick second to say how proud I am of the way John Isner competed against Rafael Nadal. He gave him everything he could handle and he really played some great tennis. This was a very positive sign for American tennis. Now, back to Querrey, he beat a very tough opponent in Philipp Kohlschreiber in the first round in four sets and now gets another difficult test in Ljubicic. He is 1-1 against the hard-serving Croat, but they have never met on clay.
When you break down these two, they both have big serves (don’t expect a ton of brakes of serve) and excellent forehands, but to me it’s the backhand and the movement that make the difference for Querrey. His backhand is superb and his movement for a big guy is very good. I think those two elements of his game will make the difference in this match and I look for Querrey to advance in four or five sets.
Nick’s Pick – Querrey in 4 sets
Robin Soderling (SWE) vs. Albert Ramos (ESP)
When people think of Robin Soderling they often overlook how good of a clay-courter he is. He’s been to the finals the last two years and although he really pounds the ball from both sides, he doesn’t hit with a ton of spin and he is able to push his opponents back off the court.
He had a test in the first round against IMG Bollettieri student, Ryan Harrison, but he proved too much for the young American (although Ryan did take a set). I don’t think Ramos will prove to be a huge challenge for Soderling and I look for the Swede to move on.
Nick’s Pick – Soderling in 3 sets
Keep your eye on…
Kei Nishikori vs. Sergiy Stakhovsky – Around here, Stakhovsky is remembered for taking out Ryan Harrison in the second round of last year’s US Open in a thrilling five-setter. Now, another IMG Bollettieri student will try to beat the powerful Ukrainian. Nishikori doesn’t want to get into long rallies with Stakhovsky and he should try to put the ball away early. When Stakhovsky is on, he doesn’t miss and he can also serve bombs. Should be a close match that could really go either way, but you know I will be cheering for Kei!!