Saturday, June 9, 2012

French Open Finals Preview

We are just two matches away from crowning the champions of this year's French Open. For the women, it will be a fight between now world no. 1 Maria Sharapova and now top 10 player Sara Errani. It would be their first title at Roland Garros though in Errani's case it's also her first Grand Slam final. Actually that's not completely accurate as it was only yesterday she reached the Women's Double final with Roberta Vinci... and won. So no matter what happens today Errani has already had a winning fortnight. She will be seen as the underdog today, but underestimate her at your peril. She did take out two French Open champion and gutted out an impressive 3-set win in the semifinals against the reigning US Open champion Sam Stosur. For Sharapova, the pressure is wholly different. Winning this title would mean completing a career Grand Slam which is one of the sport's greatest achievements. After her relatively impressive clay court season and other top players early exits, the French Open really coalesced as hers to lose. Kudos to her to keeping focus and reaching the finals here for the first time. She even avenged last year's Wimbledon final loss to Petra Kvitova just a round before.

Like Sharapova, Novak Djokovic is reaching the finals of the French Open for the first time AND he is also looking to get a career Grand Slam. Not only that, but if he wins this tournament, he will become the first man since Rod Laver to hold all four major titles at once. Not even Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal have done this. It hasn't come at all easy for him, however, as he had to claw and fight his way through the draw. He was down two sets against Andreas Seppi, down multiple match points against Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, and nearly lost the first two sets to Federer. But the world no. 1 persevered, was fearless, and got through them all to make a date with history. Unfortunately for him, he is up against the undisputed King of Clay and Nadal has been nothing short of brilliant this fortnight. The six-time French Open champion has yet to lose a set or even be tested. The efficiency with which he dismissed each and everyone one of his opponents is scary and he will be going into the final against Djokovic as the heavy favorite. Just for reference, Nadal only let Juan Monaco win two games the entire match while Nadal made David Ferrer look clueless in their semifinal clash.

Predictions: Whoever wins it will be an inspiring sports story be it for a first-time slam winner, a career Grand Slam, or a record 7-time champion. If I was placing bets, I'll bet on Maria Sharapova to handle the big event better and use her experience and physicality to overpower Sara Errani. Likewise, Rafael Nadal will end Novak Djokovic's historic run as Nadal just seems unbeatable. With that said, weirder things have happened. That's why they play the game.

1 comment:

  1. Nadal has already demonstrated his dislike for electric blue / hot pink dyed clay . Now, if only the top players could come to a consensus to boycott venues with such asinine, visually-confusing coloring. It would be nice, too, if college teams in football and basketball would do the same.


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