Watching Stanislas Wawrinka’s stunning performance at this year’s Australian Open has been one of the highlights of 2014 so far. If his victory in the final was arguably spoilt by the injury of Rafael Nadal, nobody could deny his brilliant win against four-time victor Novak Djokovic.
He has been a player in great form. Having seen Wawrinka play Nadal at the O2 finals in London at the end of last season, it was clear that he was a player brimming with self confidence. Nadal managed to beat him 7-6 7-6 on the day, but the Swiss clearly had the shots to really trouble the world number one. Just a couple of months on and Wawrinka has turned those missed chances into defining moments.
Rafael Nadal has just made Grand Slam history by winning his eighth French open title against David Ferrer. It was a disappointing final as Ferrer was completely outclassed (in three sets) by the imperious Nadal. The Spanish number two had little to cheer about amongst the drizzle on Philippe Chatrier. The final result was 6-3 6-2 6-3.
The first set was dominated by errors from both Spaniards, with Ferrer missing his opportunities to hurt the Spaniard. Meanwhile, Nadal’s backhand was troubling him, missing the line on several occasions. However, the twelve-time Grand Slam victor showed off his clay court prowess towards the end and clinched the first set.
The second set followed suit but as Nadal’s mighty forehand began to dominate play, Ferrer just couldn’t match the powerful display of his Spanish compatriot.
After a slight delay in the third set, Ferrer attempted to stage a fightback and looked comfortable at 3-3. Ferrer had the chance to break Nadal and lead the set 4-3 but failed to close the game. Unfortunately for the older Spaniard,this followed the narrative of this final; a final of missed chances.
When tennis pundits look back on this year’s tournament, they will remember the brutal semi-final matchup between Nadal and Novak Djokovic as the defining moment. It was a renewal of what is fast becoming another classic rivalry in men’s tennis. Previously, it had been Roger Federer versus Nadal. Now, the current rivalry between the Serb and Nadal draws the attention of tennis fans from across the world.
See one of the best points in the French Open semi-final below:
It was an another epic encounter between these two giants of the game that will not be forgotten. Djokovic was incredibly close to beating the Spaniard if not for some unlucky breaks throughout the match.
However, the final at Roland Garros will be remembered as securing Nadal’s place in the tennis hall of fame. Tennis fans have seen history made. At 27, and eight Roland Garros titles, the fear for his opponents is that he should have more titles in Paris to come.
It was apt that Usain Bolt was there to meet Nadal in victory. Two sporting legends of today, with pace, power and tenacity in battle. Let’s hope that the Spaniard can recover in time to make a great challenge at Wimbledon in a couple of weeks time.
Last year, I laid my cards on the line and predicted who I thought would be victorious in the 2012 tennis Grand Slams (click here to read the post). It turns out that most of those predictions ran true, and, had I placed a bet at the time of writing I probably would have received a substantial amount in return.
Now, with just over two days before the 2013 Australian Open begins I’ve decided to hedge my bets once again. To start with, I’m going to predict who will win in Melbourne and then attempt to choose the other Grand Slam winners in future posts. Continue reading →
There is no doubt that, for many tennis fans, Wimbledon is the most highly anticipated tournament in the tennis calendar. The pristine courts, royal visitors and unconditional support from the masses on Henman Hill make the tournament unmistakable. Amidst the great … Continue reading →
After some advice from a colleague in the office, (albeit he told me to place a bet on my predictions, which I’ve yet to do) I have decided to display publicly my thoughts on who will win the remaining Grand Slams of the tennis season. I haven’t chosen a winner for the 2012 Olympics yet, although I think that Del Potro might take it.
So here goes:
Firstly, Nadal will win the French Open. Some might say that naming the ‘King of Clay’ as champion for the seventh time is hardly a remarkable statement. Yet, his loss in this year’s epic Australian Open final to Novak Djokovic was worrying for the Rafa fan club. He was unable to grind down his opponent in his signature style. In fact, the relentless nature of Djokovic’s attack and defence left the Spaniard exhausted. Likelihood rating 9/10
The honour of winning Wimbledon this year will return to the living legend that is Roger Federer. He may not have won a Major title since 2010 but that is testament to the opponents that he has faced. A 16-time Grand Slam winner knows how it is done and with superb victories over Murray and Nadal already this season, another victory at his most succesful tournament will certainly be one of his greatest achievements in the game. Likelihood rating 7/10
The US Open trophy is waiting at Flushing Meadows for a certain Mr Murray. With no pressure from a home crowd this is the year for Murray to win at his self-proclaimed favourite tournament. He has been extremely close for several years, Federer has been the main obstacle, but with Ivan Lendl at his side Murray will be ready. Likelihood rating 6/10
One Major title for each of the Top Four, can it happen?