Away from all the action at Roland Garros, Stanislas Wawrinka has just confirmed his attendance for the AEGON Championships at Queens, which starts in ten days time. It’s a real score for the London event to acquire another top ten player. Andy Murray, Tomas Berdych and Jo-Wilfried Tsonga are also playing Queens. In yesterday’s poll, 71% went for Nadal to beat Thiem. I am interested to see the poll results for Day 6’s top mens match between Tomas Berdych and Roberto Bautista-Agut…
1. Tomas Berdych v Roberto Bautista-Agut (ATP RG, R3)
Roberto Bautista-Agut leads the head-to-head against Tomas Berdych and will fancy his chances of causing the biggest upset in the bottom half of the mens draw come Friday. Bautista-Agut has beaten Berdych twice before, including earlier this year at Indian Wells. Berdych was incredibly critical of his performance on that day as he went down, 4-6 6-2 6-4. Berdych lost a set to Aleksandr Nedovyesov in a very tight four setter, 6-7(4) 6-4 7-5 6-3. It was a much tougher match than anticipated.
Bautista-Agut continued his excellent recent form with a straight sets win over Benoit Paire. The Frenchman had won his first round match in straight sets after an injury plagued year. He was no match though for RBA. The Spaniard has had a terrific year, so much so, that this is the first time he is seeded at a Grand Slam. I originally went for RBA when I was filling out my drawsheet, but got cold feet and changed my mind. This will be a really intriguing match. RBA can certainly pull of the upset, but it was the best of five sets that made me lean towards the Birdman.
Prediction: Berdych d. Bautista-Agut in 5 sets
2. Milos Raonic v Gilles Simon (ATP RG, R3)
I was cursing at Gilles Simon on Wednesday. I really wanted the Suzanne Lenglen schedule to go slowly so I could watch the last match between Cornet and Townsend. Normally you can rely on Simon to get embroiled in an epic five setter, but he was in sweepingly super form. The Frenchman appears to have turned a corner this year after his rather admirable efforts against Rafael Nadal in Rome. In the second round, he lost just six games in a comprehensive victory over Alejandro Gonzalez. In fact, he has lost just eleven games all tournament. This paves the way for an intriguing third round match with Milos Raonic. The Canadian player has been in equally impressive form. His second round opponent, the very talented up-and-comer, Jiri Vesely served for the first set. Raonic rebounded in style, posting a straight sets win, 7-6(4) 6-4 6-1.
Raonic was equally dismissive of teen talent in the first round when he overcame a potentially sticky opener against Nick Kyrgios. Now that Nishikori has departed from his section, this is Raonic’s best ever chance to finally make a quarter-final at a Grand Slam. Simon won’t be an easy opponent as signalled by his domination in the first two rounds. Raonic won their only previous encounter in Estoril in 2011. The world number nine, Raonic, has been supremely consistent and dare I say, reliable. Raonic will lose a set, but book his place in the last 16.
Prediction: Raonic d. Simon in 4 tight sets
ATP Roland Garros 3rd Round Predictions
John Isner d. Tommy Robredo in 5 sets
Ernests Gulbis d. Radek Stepanek in 4 sets
Roger Federer d. Dmitry Tursunov in 3 sets
Martin Klizan d. Marcel Granollers in 3 sets
Jo-Wilfried Tsonga d. Jerzy Janowicz in 4 sets
Novak Djokovic d. Marin Cilic in 4 sets