I honestly think that Federer will be over the moon about his showing in Paris. The draw has fallen kindly for him and he said himself “I was pretty bit lucky at the end” against Stan Wawrinka today, but in truth, he was the player creating the majority of chances. eighteen break points in total but only capitalising on two. Stan had his chance at a break up in the third but relinquished his serve immediately and with it, sent a big message to Federer that this was within his grasp again. That was the moment Fed really took control and should have won easier. A bit of match time probably won’t go amiss though. Stan did look a bit jaded in fairness but it’s still a good win. This is the Fed-Express first semi-final in Paris for seven years, he lost to Nole in straights that time.
Rafa went onto beat Nole in the final that year and the bookmakers have always told us that was what they thought would happen again this year and that may well be. First, he will have to beat his old rival Federer though to get to (potentially) Nole. Kei Nishikori has once again learned the hard way for playing too much tennis as he was well beat today by Rafa. Nishikori would have had his work cut out anyway but if he has long matches coming into it then it’s an inevitable outcome. You do really feel that barring injury there really is only Djokovic left that can truly test Rafa here and with the Serb’s record, I still think he would have a chance. I hope we get that final, as it will be what my mate likes to refer to as a ‘Popcorn match”. We have our first ‘Popcorn match’ with Fed/Rafa. Coincidentally, I see that is a blog on the official website.
I can’t really argue with Sloane’s loss to Jo Konta. The Brit was once again brilliant. You can only really be impressed when she is playing like this and taking control of the points. Sloane really struggled to get on the Brits serve today and didn’t find any solution to it. It means my main tip for the outright and quarter is gone but I can have little complaints. It was a worry going into the match but it became a reality and one that only looked like it was going to turn around if Konta dropped her level. She will go into her semi-final as a slight favourite. I thought it might be a (tiny) little bit shorter than the 5/6 currently on the Betfair Exchange.
That is because Marketa Vondrousova got pretty tight at the end of her quarter-final against Petra Martic. That could all change in the next match for all I know, you can’t always gauge things on that basis. The nerves were noticeable from the television between these two though. Martic had 5/3 and had 3 set points at 0-40 on the Czech serve in the first set before Vondrousova went a set and a break-up. Martic kept fighting and making her work but after breaking back and taking advantage of her opponent’s nerves, she slipped up herself to lose her serve and with it the match. I actually did have both of these as my quarter tips but also had Martic at 200s on the outright. I think Konta would have had too much in the semis anyway but like I keep saying, you just never know. Great effort from both and especially Martic these last 10 days in fairness. Finally, Jo did beat Vondrousova in Rome when Marketa was suffering from fatigue. The Brit deserves to be favourite after today for sure.
It sounds like there will be a lot of rain for Day 11. Brace yourselves.
Andy Del Potro