Friday, May 31, 2013

Exciting Encounters: Day 6 at Roland Garros '13

Damp Thursday calls for a Fiery Friday. The plate of Tennis enthusiasts would be full today. And thankfully the weather forecasts predict clear skies and even some Sun. TGIF! We are moving closer to the second week of a Grand Slam and its gonna get more and more exciting. We have today all the exciting encounters of yesterday and more from today; looks like a feast after skipping a meal. Let's have a look:

1. Roger Federer vs Julien Benneteau

Federer leads their head to head 4-2; is a way better player than the Frenchman; is ranked 3 in the world opposed to Benneteau's 30. So what makes this match exciting? It's the match up. Tennis is all match-ups and Federer doesn't like Benneteau on the other side. Last year at Wimbledon, Julien Benneteau gave the eventual champion Roger Federer a hell of a scare in the third round. He lead Federer two sets to love and after losing the third took the fourth to a tie-breaker which Federer won but....just. Maybe one point here and there and 2012 would have seen a different Wimbledon champ. And this year Benneteau has defeated Federer in Rottedam, that too in straight sets. Federer himself acknowledged in the recent interview that he has troubles against Julien. Benneteau has a powerful serve and an accurate backhand to dictate and of course, Federer can do anything with the ball. Clay may be Federer's least preferred surface but he's better than most here as well. Also, Benneteau will have to move really well on clay to challenge Federer. Pick: Federer in Four Sets!

2. Sabine Lisicki vs Sara Errani

Sabine Lisicki has too much talent to not cause a threat. The German has big shots in her bag and can blast through any opponent. But a career marred with injuries has always prevented her from the heights. Sara Errani is more like the female David Ferrer - consistent, counter puncher and her game suits for clay. The theme of the game would be - Lisicki will blast the ball and Errani will put it back in play. Who blinks first? Lisicki motivates herself well against bigger opponents in Grand Slams and can pull an upset but she has to be very very consistent. But since its clay...Pick: Errani in three!

*Yesterday's two exciting matches are now on today's roster.

3. Fernando Verdasco vs Janko Tipsarevic

The mini version of Spain vs Serbia. The mini version of Nadal vs Djokovic. Both have always been in the shadows of their legendary countrymen; both have been involved in some great matches but never crossed the line to be considered in the top tier. Both are experienced campaigners at the Grand Slams. Their head to head encounters are lead by Tipsarevic 4-2 but they all have been close. They are meeting at the French Open for the first time and their only clay meeting was back in 2009 with Verdasco winning in straights. Verdasco has the power and dash, and is a lefty, but is quite inconsistent. Tipsarevic, not so flashy but gets the work done, that's why he's the eighth seed. Tipsarevic in Four!

4. Tommy Haas vs Jack Sock

Its like yesterday vs tomorrow or may be even day after. Its's 35 yrs vs 20 yrs - that's too much of a gap in terms of Tennis or any professional sport. It's their first competitive meeting but they are practice partners. Yes, they know each other and each other's game well. Jack Sock is a budding US player with big serve and big forehand (like all other US players) but is young and promising. He can dictate the match with his energy, power and 'go for the shots' attitude. Tommy Haas must be the oldest player in the competition but he's enjoying a resurrection at this late age. He has an all court game and much more variations in his bag than the young American. However good the young Jack Sock may be, it's not wise to pick against a complete player who is cherishing his each day on the court as his last. Tommy Haas in Four!

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