June 5, 2013 by Parveer Mann
The first 11 days of the 2013 French Open have come and gone with little to no surprises. We have seen the qualifiers, wild cards and up and comers cede to a last eight that most saw coming. It may have been predictable but it does not make it any less rewarding to think of the matchups and storylines we will get into the weekend here at Roland Garros.
Final Four Preview
This seems to be the most lopsided match we will see the rest of the way. It’s quite a statement considering Errani is the 2012 French runner-up and is coming of a big win over Aga Radwanska. But there is nothing I can see Sara doing that will affect Serena in any significant way. There’s always the chance that Serena has a terrible serving day that manifests into her beating herself but I see Serena winning in two easy sets.
The defending champion survived an early scare against Jelena Jankovic to secure a spot in another French Open semi. Her opponent is the Aussie Open champion who has been relatively unchallenged in reaching her first French Open semi. These two last saw each other in a slam at the 2012 US Open when Vika won in three tough sets. I believe the difference between these two is razor thin on a hard court but it widens on clay (Azarenka’s least successful surface). Knowing that, I believe Maria will win and advance in three sets to get another chance at Serena.
It will be clear who the crowd favourite is on Chatrier when these two face off. Tsonga is coming off an emphatic win over Roger Federer is seeking to advance to his second slam final (first in his home country). On the opposite side, Ferrer is looking for his first breakthrough after five previous semifinal losses in an era dominated by the big four. He may have his best chance this year and it will be to his advantage facing player who has all the pressure on him. This is a tough one but I think David does enough to irritate Tsonga to win in five sets.
The match we have all been waiting for us will take over the main stage on Friday and may decide who ultimately wins this tournament. Djokovic clearly stated that the French is his most important goal remaining (completing the Career Grand Slam) and he would most likely have to go through Rafa to get it. Already this year, Nole has ended Rafa’s run at Monte Carlo and is maybe the only player who can take away the angles that Nadal creates on a court. The difference may be Rafa’s serve and the myth he still carries in Paris as an all-time champ. I’m going to go with Nadal in four close sets but would not be shocked if it was the opposite result.