Friday, June 7, 2013

Roland Garros '13 - Clash of the Titans

We have all heard about the Roman gladiators. TV series and movies have made them come alive for us. It was a sport, a fun thing, involving blood and gore and even lives...just for fun! It was a spectre to prove one's might and strength over the rest and stand glorious. It may be unjustified but it pulled the crowd.

In today's more civilized world we have versions of sports with no life's at stake but no less anyhow. Sport has always been the world's biggest reality show, made even more glorified and rewarding with the technology and its reach.

Today's tennis reminds me of those Gladiatorial battles, with two individuals closed in an arena, highly skilled in an art/sport, trying to outdo the other with tactics, power, speed and skill. To come out on top is to snatch all glory and more money.

With the advent of more and more slow courts around the globe, the baseline battles have become bloody. And the two pioneers of this type of play are facing each other for the 35th time. Nadal vs Djokovic - the 35th edition. Their 6 hour+ Australian Open final led even the spectators weary. They have had epic clashes in the past and today promises to surpass.

Much is at stake for both. For Djokovic, a 1st French Open title and career slam. For Nadal, retaining the title and proving that Djokovic is not in his head. Losing to Djokovic at his favourite arena will hurt him for sure.

Conditions favour Nadal the most, so is the previous head to head and his impeccable record at the French Open - and even the weather forecast. Match-up suits Djokovic. He's 1-0 against Nadal in 2013 and that win was on Monte Carlo clay. Djokovic's backhand will play a crucial role in deciding the outcome of this match but for sure it will be a long and taxing battle.

In the other, much subdued half, because of the hype surrounding Nadal-Djoko semi, a frenchman Jo-willy takes on the Duracell battery David Ferrer for a place in the final. Despite Ferrer dominating the previous H2H, I believe the outcome is on Tsonga's racket here. He showed immense mental fortitude to dispatch Roger Federer in straights (the game always there) and I like his chances over Ferrer. But with Ferrer's tenacity and unending energy, the result may come not easy and not quick.

We are in for a feisty Friday here at the French Open and the modern day Gladiators will be all set to lighten up the arena. Let us begin!

Picks for me are (and I'll take my chances here), Djokovic in five sets and Tsonga in four sets!

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