Roland Garros, Day 5 Preview: Nadal v Thiem, Giorgi v Kuznetsova and more

Another day of shocks saw the world number one, Serena Williams ousted by Garbine Muguruza, 6-2 6-2.  By all accounts, Muguruza played a sensational match and Serena just had no answers.  This was another really STUNNING loss.  It has completely opened up the womens draw with the top two seeds both out.  Flavia Pennetta, Alize Cornet, Sabine Lisicki and Venus Williams also lost on day 4.  Cornet was upset by the immensely talented, Taylor Townsend, 6-4 4-6 6-4 in a tremendous match.  Townsend had big leads in the second and third sets, and showed terrific fight to hold on against a gritty competitor and an animated Suzanne Lenglen court.  I had a great set of predictions for the women through round one, but naturally, my draw was chucked in a blender today.  Always happens 😉

Polls: in yesterday’s polls, 54% correctly went for Kerber over Lepchenko and 34% correctly went for Barthel over Lisicki

TFF Dream Team Update: Grand Slammers remains clear in first place followed by BK in 2nd place and builtfspd2 in 3rd place.

1. Rafael Nadal v Dominic Thiem (ATP Roland Garros, R2)

Nadal

Rafael Nadal

The most anticipated match when the draw came out was Rafael Nadal and Dominic Thiem meeting in the second round and that match-up has become a reality.  Thiem played Paul-Henri Mathieu, which was not going to be a routine first round match, particularly with Mathieu having the backing of the home crowd.  Thiem put in a terrific display as he progressed in three tight sets, 6-4 7-6(3) 6-2.  Most of the coverage regarding Nadal’s first round match was that it was controversially put on Suzanne Lenglen court.  Personally, I didn’t think it was a big deal as all the big players play at least once on SL.  As was expected, Nadal tore through Robby Ginepri, 6-0 6-3 6-0 in just one hour and 42 minutes.

This will be the biggest match of Thiem’s short career, but his performance in the few big matches he has played so far suggest it could be a great occasion.  In Madrid, Thiem defeated Stan Wawrinka.  It was an all-out attacking display from Thiem, who held his nerves at the crucial juncture of the match against a Grand Slam champion.  Nadal has shown signs of vulnerability during this clay court season and he will certainly be more vulnerable at this early stage of a Grand Slam.  If Thiem can bring some of his best tennis to the table, he has the potential to get under Rafa’s skin.  I think Dom will claim a set in this one, but Nadal will eventually come through unscathed.

Prediction: Nadal d. Thiem in 4 sets

2. Camila Giorgi v Svetlana Kuznetsova (WTA Roland Garros, R2)

The best match from the womens side features former Roland Garros champion, Svetlana Kuznetsova up against the enigmatic Italian, Camila Giorgi.  Kuznetsova has played some excellent tennis during this clay court season and it’s a given that she will save her best for Roland Garros.  Last year she reached the quarter-finals and took a set off Serena Williams.  She may have threatened the upset if an abdominal injury hadn’t flaired up.  Kuznetsova had a straightforward and drama-free opener against Sofia Shapatava, 6-3 6-1.

Giorgi enjoyed an excellent win over Bojana Jovanovski in the first round, 6-4 6-3.  Giorgi has had a great year and loves a big match-up.  This year she has beaten Maria Sharapova, Dominika Cibulkova, Carla Suarez Navarro, Alize Cornet and Andrea Petkovic… all very impressive scalps.  Her aggressive game means though that she can come unstuck against anyone on an off day   Against Kuznetsova, she’ll be the underdog and that always seems to go in her favour.  She won’t be afraid of causing an upset.  However I am leaning more towards Svetlana on the Parisien clay.

Prediction: Kuznetsova d. Giorgi in 3 sets

3. Ana Ivanovic v Elina Svitolina (WTA Roland Garros, R2)

Ana Ivanovic began her rather treacherous route through the draw with a surprisingly one-sided victory over Caroline Garcia, 6-3 6-1.  There were three first round matches I was really looking forward too from the first round and all three (Ivanovic v Garcia, Venus v Bencic and Stosur v Puig) turned out to be damp squibs.  Next up for Ivanovic is Elina Svitolina, who pushed Ana to a third set tiebreak at Indian Wells.  That match was absolutely hilarious and I wrote about it HERE.  I remember that match well and Ivanovic did a good job to pull it out in three sets.  Svitolina is improving on tour although, personally, I don’t think she is one of the more promising of the next generation.  Svitolina advanced after playing just five games against Petra Martic, who pulled out with an injury.  Based on Ivanovic in her current form, Svitolina is unlikely to have enough in her locker to record a first win over Ana in four encounters.

Prediction: Ivanovic d. Svitolina in 2 sets

4.  Sloane Stephens v Polona Hercog (WTA Roland Garros, R2)

Sloane Stephens has been a complete mystery this year.  One thing you can bet on though is that she will bring her best tennis at a Grand Slam.  In her first round match, she played a very solid match against Peng Shuai, 6-4 7-6(8).  Sloane will play the talented clay courter, Polona Hercog in the second round.  Hercog defeated Jana Cepelova in the first round, 6-2 6-3.  The Charleston runner-up, Cepelova, has lost her last four matches all in straight sets.  Hercog has been hit by injuries in the last year.  She made her return on the tour in Marrakech where she recorded back-to-back WTA quarter-finals.  Originally I was thinking Hercog would win this.  However, despite all of Sloane’s quirks, she DOES raise her game for the Slams and I would expect her to edge this one.  I’ve gone against her enough to realise when she peaks…

Prediction: Stephens d. Hercog in 3 sets

WTA Roland Garros 2nd Round Predictions

Petra Kvitova d. Marina Erakovic in 2 tight sets

Lucie Safarova d. Casey Dellacqua in 2 tight sets

Ekaterina Makarova d. Coco Vandeweghe in 2 sets

Maria-Teresa Torro-Flor d. Magdalena Rybarikova in 3 sets

Simona Halep d. Heather Watson in 2 sets

Jelena Jankovic d. Kurumi Nara in 2 sets

Sorana Cirstea d. Teliana Pereira in 3 sets

Kirsten Flipkens d. Julia Glushko in 3 sets

Sara Errani d. Dinah Pfizenmaier in 2 sets

Silvia Soler-Espinosa d. Yanina Wickmayer in 3 sets

Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova d. Kiki Bertens in 3 sets

Andrea Petkovic d. Stefanie Voegele in 3 sets

Kristina Mladenovic d. Alison Riske in 2 tight sets

ATP Roland Garros 2nd Round Predictions

Leonardo Mayer d. Teymuraz Gabashvili in 5 sets

Dusan Lajovic d. Jurgen Zopp in 3 sets

Ivo Karlovic d. Andreas Haider-Maurer in 4 sets

Kevin Anderson d. Axel Michon in 3 sets

Juan Monaco d. Andreas Seppi in 5 sets

David Ferrer d. Simone Bolelli in 3 sets

Guillermo Garcia-Lopez d. Adrian Mannarino in 4 tight sets

Feliciano Lopez d. Donald Young in 4 sets

Gael Monfils d. Jan-Lennard Struff in 5 sets

Fabio Fognini d. Thomaz Bellucci in 4 sets

Carlos Berlocq d. Richard Gasquet in 4 sets

Fernando Verdasco d. Pablo Cuevas in 4 sets

Denis Istomin d. Philipp Kohlschreiber in 5 sets

Andy Murray d. Marinko Matosevic in 3 sets

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