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  • French Open quarter-finals preview: Will Andy Murray, Rafael Nadal & Novak Djokovic fight through?

    Reporter: Aditya Soni
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    The French Open quarter-finals have been set, with some fascinating ties unfolding on the men’s side of the draw.

    The top-four ranked players in the world Novak Djokovic, Rafael Nadal, Andy Murray and Stan Wawrinka are all involved in separate matches, while former Grand Slam champion Marin Cilic is also in the mix.

    First-time Slam quarter-finalist Pablo Carreno Busta, former US Open runner-up Kei Nishikori and last year’s semi-finalist Dominic Thiem make-up the remaining numbers – with seven of the top-eight seeds all involved in the latter stages.

    Here we take a look at the quarter-final match-ups and offer a prediction for the contests.

    • Rafael Nadal v Pablo Carreno Busta (Tuesday)

    French Open quarter-finals preview: Will Murray, Nadal & Djokovic fight through?

    The pair will face each other (Picture: Getty)

    Nadal’s start to the French Open has been nothing short of terrifying and the nine-time champion has not even come close to losing a set at Roland Garros.

    Next up for the world No. 4 is a man playing in his first Grand Slam quarter-final and it’s hard to give him much of a hope in hell of causing an upset.

    He’s taken one set off his compatriot in their previous three meetings – and none on a clay court – and it’s incredibly difficult to see anything other than a Nadal success.

    Nadal-Carreno Busta


    Nadal 3-0 Carreno Busta (2-0 on clay)

    Best French Open performance

    Nadal: Winner (2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014)
    Carreno Busta: Quarter-finals (2017)

    Grand Slam titles

    Nadal – 14 (Australian Open, French Open x 9, Wimbledon x 2, US Open x 2)
    Carreno Busta – 0

    Last meeting

    2016: Rio R32 – Nadal 6-1 6-4 Carreno Busta

    Routes to quarter-finals

    R1: 6-1 6-4 6-1 Paire
    R2: 6-1 6-4 6-3 Haase
    R3: 6-0 6-1 6-0 Basilashvili
    R4: 6-1 6-2 6-2 Bautista Agut
    Carreno Busta
    R1: 6-4 6-2 6-2 Mayer
    R2: 7-5 6-4 4-6 6-0 Daniel
    R3: 7-5 6-3 6-4 Dimitrov
    R4: 4-6 7-6 6-7 6-4 8-6 Raonic

    Impressive wins against Grigor Dimitrov and Milos Raonic may give some observers a faint bit of hope that he can pull the impossible off.

    Prediction: Nadal in 3

    • Novak Djokovic v Dominic Thiem (Tuesday)

    Djokovic humbled Thiem in Rome (Picture: Getty)

    The pick of the quarter-final ties.

    Last year’s champion takes on the only man to beat Nadal on clay in 2017, in what promises to be a fabulous encounter.

    Djokovic humbled Thiem in their recent meeting, although that came immediately after he had expended a lot of physical and mental energy in beating Nadal.

    The Austrian has not dropped a set at Roland Garros and is looking to match last year’s performance of reaching the semi-finals, but to do that he will have to beat the man who dumped him out at that stage in 2016.



    Djokovic 5-0 Thiem (2-0 on clay)

    Best French Open performance

    Djokovic: Winner (2016)
    Thiem: Semi-finals (2016)

    Grand Slam titles

    Djokovic – 12 (Australian Open x 6, French Open, Wimbledon x 3, US Open x 2)
    Thiem – 0

    Last meeting

    2017: Rome SF – Djokovic 6-1 6-0

    Routes to quarter-finals

    R1: 6-4 6-0 6-2 Tomic
    R2: 7-5 6-1 6-3 Bolelli
    R3: 6-1 7-6 6-3 Johnson
    R4: 6-1 6-3 6-1 Zeballos
    R1: 6-3 6-4 6-2 Granollers
    R2: 6-1 6-4 6-3 Sousa
    R3: 5-7 6-3 3-6 6-1 6-1 Schwartzman
    R4: 7-6 6-1 6-3 Ramos-Vinolas

    Djokovic’s own form has been cause for concern this year, and he’s had plenty of up-and-down moments at this edition of the French Open.

    But with his mental hold over the sixth seed, he should be able to get over the line, although I suspect the real winner from this inevitably lengthy match will be Nadal.

    Prediction: Djokovic in five

    • Andy Murray v Kei Nishikori (Wednesday)

    Nishikori will hope to reach the last-four in Paris for the first time (Picture: Getty)
    After a poor warm-up to the tournament, there were fears Murray wouldn’t make it past the early rounds but the world No. 1 has found his feet and looks on song again.

    The straight sets win over Juan Martin del Potro gave him a lot of confidence and he looked at his level-headed best in dismantling Karen Khachanov in the last-16.

    For Nishikori, who has endured a disrupted 2017 through injury, it’s been a difficult tournament and he’s failed to produce his best form over an entire match.



    Murray 8-2 Nishikori (1-0 on clay)

    Best French Open performance

    Murray: Runner-up (2016)
    Nishikori: Quarter-finals (2015 & 2017)

    Grand Slam titles

    Murray – 3 (US Open, Wimbledon x 2)
    Nishikori – 0

    Last meeting

    2016: ATP Finals – Murray 6-7 6-4 6-4

    Routes to quarter-finals

    R1: 6-4 4-6 6-2 6-0 Kuznetsov
    R2: 6-7 6-2 6-2 7-6 Klizan
    R3: 7-6 7-5 6-0 Del Potro
    R4: 6-3 6-4 6-4 Khachanov
    R1: 4-6 6-1 6-4 6-4 Kokkinakis
    R2: 6-3 6-0 7-6 Chardy
    R3: 7-5 6-4 6-7 0-6 6-4 Chung
    R4: 0-6 6-4 6-4 6-0 Verdasco

    There were, however, positive signs in his recovery against Fernando Verdasco in the last-16 and he did win his last Grand Slam meeting with Murray at this stage in the 2016 US Open.

    But Murray looks back towards his best and it’s hard to go against him on this occasion.

    Prediction: Murray in 4

    • Wawrinka v Cilic (Wednesday)

    The last quarter-final tie was set after straightforward victories for the pair on Day 9, with both yet to lose a set throughout the tournament.

    Cilic is yet to drop more than three games in a set, although he’ll do well to keep that record in this match, and has been ruthless in his reaching of the last-eight.

    There are question marks, perhaps, over how strong this quarter really is, with neither man being truly tested but both look in good form and this will be an intriguing match-up.



    Wawrinka 11-2 Cilic (1-0 on clay)

    Best French Open performance

    Wawrinka: Winner (2015)
    Cilic: Quarter-finals (2017)

    Grand Slam titles

    Wawrinka – 3 (Australian Open, French Open, US Open)
    Cilic – 1 (US Open)

    Last meeting

    2016: ATP Finals – Wawrinka 7-6 7-6

    Routes to quarter-finals

    R1: 6-2 7-6 6-3 Kovalik
    R2: 6-4 7-6 7-5 Dolgopolov
    R3: 7-6 6-0 6-2 Fognini
    R4: 7-5 7-6 6-2 Monfils
    R1: 6-3 6-3 6-3 Gulbis
    R2: 6-3 6-2 6-2 Kravchuk
    R3: 6-1 6-3 6-3 Lopez
    R4: 6-3 3-0 RET Anderson

    The Croat has never been to this stage at Roland Garros before and after Kevin Anderson retired, he completed his set of making the quarter-finals of every major.

    A junior French Open champion with aspirations of gate-crashing the top-five by the end of the year, the 2014 US Open winner could strive towards that aim with a run to the semi-finals and beyond here.

    Wawrinka won the event in 2015, though, and will rightly enter as the favourite but I suspect Cilic will give him a real run for his money.

    Prediction: Wawrinka in 5

    Source : Metro.co.uk {link}
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