Can Novak Djokovic deny Rafael Nadal a thirteenth French Open title? We break down the men’s singles draw, analyse the…
Can Novak Djokovic deny Rafael Nadal a thirteenth French Open title?
French Open Men's Champion | Roland Garros 2020 27 September-11 OctoberRafael Nadal 11/10 Bet Now! New Customers only. 18+. T&C’s Apply. begambleaware.org.
We break down the men’s singles draw, analyse the contenders and predict the semifinalists and champion as Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic and Dominic Thiem lead the draw at the 2020 US Open.
French Open 2020: Preview
No man has ever ruled the French Open, also known as Roland Garros, like 12-time champion Nadal, who has only ever lost two matches there.
But the 2020 French Open will be different – it’s being played in chilly, damp autumn instead of the sunshine and heat of June, and at best only limited spectators will be allowed, with players enclosed in a bio-security bubble.
Can Nadal adapt to these new conditions, and his own lack of match practice, or will one of his challengers wrest the Coupe des Mousquetaires from his grasp?
US Open Semifinals
Novak Djokovic (1) vs Stefanos Tsitsipas (5), 5pm local/4pm BST
World no. 1 Novak Djokovic faces Stefanos Tsitsipas, playing his second Grand Slam semifinal, as Djokovic attempts to reach the final of the French Open for the fifth time.
Djokovic comes into the match with physical concerns, having struggled in his quarterfinal against Pablo Carreno Busta. Djokovic took to the court with his neck taped and clearly suffering from pain and stiffness in his left arm. He dropped the first set to Carreno Busta – the first set he has lost in the tournament – but won 4-6, 6-2, 6-3, 6-4 and said afterwards that the pain faded as his body warmed up.
Tsitsipas, in contrast, looked just the right combination of relaxed and intense as he faced Andrey Rublev in what was not just the Greek’s first Grand Slam quarterfinal since his initial breakthrough semifinal run at the Australian Open in 2019, but a rematch of the Hamburg Open final which Tsitsipas had served for and then ended up losing a few weeks before. But a polished performance by Tsitsipas saw him claim his first win over Rublev in four attempts, his all-court game leaving the Russian looking one-dimensional and his backhand standing up to the Rublev forehand better than it has before.
Tsitsipas has beaten Djokovic before, but not on clay, and most crucially not over the best-of-five sets. Djokovic has obvious physical concerns, but even if he loses the first set against Tsitsipas, he’ll always be favoured to play his way into the match. You can’t say the same for Tsitsipas.
Novak Djokovic vs Stefanos Tsitsipas | French Open Men's SF | 9/10/2020, 4pm BSTDjokovic -5.5 games 27/25 Bet Now! New Customers only. 18+. T&C’s Apply. begambleaware.org.
Rafael Nadal (2) vs Diego Schwartzman (12), 2.50pm local/1.50pm BST
Nadal has never won the French Open when he came in without winning a title on clay, although that stat is a little misleading – all bets are off in this strangest season, after all (though not literally). He has still only lost two matches at Roland Garros, and it’s hard to avoid the conclusion that although he played abysmally in losing to Schwartzman in Rome, the 12-time champion has had exactly the draw he needs to play himself in.
Nadal dropped only 23 games in reaching the quarterfinals, beating Egor Gerasimov, Mackenzie McDonald, Stefano Travaglia and young qualifier Sebastian Korda all without turning a hair, pretty much; and he’s adapted his game to the slower, colder conditions, flattening out the cross-court backhand in particular. His sternest test of the tournament came against 19-year-old Italian Jannik Sinner, who had eliminated David Goffin in the first round and Alexander Zverev in the fourth; Sinner served for the first set, had a break lead in the second, but still lost in straight sets, Nadal winning 7-6(4), 6-4, 6-1.
Meanwhile, Diego Schwartzman earlier that day played for over five hours to knock out Dominic Thiem, in a match which was both a very impressive win – Thiem was looking for his fifth straight semifinal or better at the French Open – and also something of a missed opportunity for Schwartzman, who arguably could and should have won in straight sets.
If he had, he would have been at less of a physical disadvantage coming into the semifinal against Nadal, although both players do have two days to recover.
Schwartzman beat Nadal in Rome in straight sets, his first victory over the Spaniard in ten attempts. But it’s difficult to see him repeating the feat. Nadal served abysmally in Rome, and didn’t play well off the ground, while Schwartzman was inspired and aggressive. If Nadal plays even 20% better, Schwartzman will be forced back off the court and unable to dictate and the match will follow familiar patterns – the Argentine could come out and absolutely redline for a set and maybe take it, but will be unable to keep up the pressure over the best of five.
Rafael Nadal vs Jannik Sinner | French Open Men's QF | 6/10/2020Over 30.5 games 7/5 Bet Now! New Customers only. 18+. T&C’s Apply. begambleaware.org.
French Open 2020: Prediction
Djokovic d. Tsitsipas
Nadal d. Schwartzman
Nadal d. Djokovic