Fabio Fognini: Man Of The Day

As the whole world is focused on the Swiss maestro Roger Federer on centre court, meanwhile on court Suzanne Lenglen, a battle has taken place between two unseeded players.

Representing Spain, we have Albert Montanes, thirty years old, ranked number 38 and fighting for his first ever grand slam quarter final.

Albert Montanes fighting for his first grand slam quarter final.

On the other side of the net we have Italian Fabio Fognini, twenty four years old, ranked 47 in the world and just reached the fourth round of a gran slam for the fist time.

Fognini fights Montanes for first quarter final.

The match was scheduled as the first in Suzanne Lenglen. Many were focused instead on Vera Zvonereva who lost her fourth round match today against Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova. By this time, the match had already reached the fourth set which was won by the Italian, leveling it at two sets all and the beginning of the fifth and final set.

Albert Montanes began to take control as he lead 5-2 in the final set. However, he failed to take advantage of this lead as Fognini fought back to equal 5-5. Both men then continued to hold their games comfortably, with Montanes fighting for a few match points.

As Fognini served at 6-7, 15-30, two points from defeat, he suddenly began to feel the unbearable pain of cramps in his left thigh. A controversial decision was made as he received a medical time out mid-game and fighting for serve. It’s interesting to note that medical timeouts for cramps in no longer allowed.

Fabio Fognini in obvious pain.

However Fabio continued to fight back, only restricted to move side by side. He faced numerous match points which were wasted by Montanes and also made a large number of foot faults. The crowd were divided, some were supporting his fighting spirit, other accused him of cheating.

After blowing several match points, Montanes lost his service game which put Fognini ahead at 10-9. After 4 hours and 22 minutes, he served through the pain to stun the thirty year old and win his match 4-6 6-4 3-6 6-3 11-9. Up next, Fognini will face Novak Djokovic in his first grand slam quarter final. This makes him the first Italian man into the final 8 of Roland Garros since 1995.

Fognini battles through the pain to win his match.

The Italian committed a total of 104 errors in the match. He admitted after the match that he may be unable to compete in his quarter final match saying “I am in a lot of pain. It’s not cramp, I felt the muscle stretch. I have 48 hours to recover. I don’t know about the next match. I will go and see the doctor and then see what happens.”

Many fans have shown support for Fognini, while other have labeled him as a drama queen. For me, Fognini fought hard and showed his fierce fighting spirit which he brings to the game. In my opinion, this has been the best match so far in this years french open. I’m excited to see what he’ll bring to the ATP tour in the future. Although it’s certain Djokovic will win, i’ll be going for the underdog Fognini in their next match. Good Luck Fabio Fognini in your next match and your future in your tennis career.

French Open Mens Draw Analysis: One Week Later

Unlike the women’s draw, the mens side has been more solid and consistent. With the exception of a few absences and some pretty bad predictions from last week, the big four still remain in contention.

Quarter 1: Nadal

Previous Prediction: Nadal Vs Simon

Nadal hasn’t gone past his first two matches as smoothly as we hoped. Though he proved us wrong by an easy victory against Antonio Veic. He now faces Ivan Ljubicic who defeated an unwell Verdasco. Despite the potential challenge, Nadal will find his way into the quarters. Meanwhile, the following match promises to be battle with two time runner up Robin Soderling and home favourite and french man Gilles Simon. Soderling has the experience, but Simon will have the support.

Nadal Vs Simon

I still stand by my prediction even though Soderling is the better bet. I’m sure Nadal will win here.

Semi Finalist: Nadal

Quarter 2: Murray

Previous Prediction: Murray Vs Melzer

This section has completely opened up for Murray with the defeat of Jurgen Melzer. In the previous match, he badly rolled his ankle and says it still ached during his press conference. If this really does affect Murrays game, we will see a new semi finalist from here. It’s likely to be Victor Troicki who has to get past Murray to equal his best result. This is very difficult to predict with the injured ankle. Argentinian Juan Ignacio Chela and qualifier Alejandro Falla inhabit the other side of this quarter. Both have taken advantage of the open draw and one will achieve their first quarter final in a grand slam.

Troicki Vs Falla

Troicki may take advantage of Murray’s situation while Falla who almost knocked out Roger Federer in Wimbledon will over Chela.

Semi Finalist: Troicki

Quarter 3: Federer

Previous Prediction: Federer Vs Monfils

The quiet man of this years french open, Federer is fine to play with the spotlight on his two higher ranked opponents. He faces compatriot Stanislas Wawrinka who upset the number 9 seed Jo Wilfred Tsonga in a grueling five set match. In the other section is David Ferrer Vs sliderman Gael Monfils. Both have played well this year and have rised in the rankings.

Federer Vs Monfils

Monfils is powerful on clay, but I believe Federer will over come him in this match.

Semi Finalist: Federer

Quarter 4: Djokovic

Previous Prediction: Djokovic Vs Haas

I look back laughing at my prediction. I guess I expected too much of the returning veteran. Djokovic has proven his status as the favourite by defeating Juan Martin Del Potro. He faces another tough matchup against Richard Gasquet and the french crowd. I believe Novak should win this match and will likely win against Fabio Fognini or Alberto Montanes.

Djokovic Vs Fognini

Semi Finalist: Djokovic

Semi Finals:

Nadal Vs Troicki

It should be Murray, but i’ve changed my mind to Troicki after the sprained ankle. I’m sure Nadal will win this in three or possibly four sets.

Finalist: Nadal

Federer Vs Djokovic

An interesting match up, particularly on clay.I trust Novaks streak will still  go on after this match.

Finalist: Djokovic

Grand Final:

Djokovic Vs Nadal

This will be the match of the year. The streak will either end or continue after this tournament. In my opinion, Nadal will be the one ending it. In a grueling five set match I predict the winner will be….

 

Champion: Djokovic

French Open Women’s Analysis: One Week Later

The womens draw has been far from boring. There are surprises from all areas in the draw. It’s started off with the absence of the Williams sisters and followed by a string of surprising upsets. As we go into the final week of the tournament, let’s see which of the final sixteen women will take home the second grand slam of the year.

Quarter 1:

Previous prediction: Kuznetsova Vs Stosur

I was obviously wrong here. I was so sure Stosur would get this far into the tournament. The remaining players left in this draw are Daniela Hantuchova, Svetlana Kuznetova, Marion Bartoli and Gisela Dulko. After winning the French open two years ago, Svetlana seems sure to win this quarter. However, her next opponent Daniela Hantuchova is coming in with sky high confidence and playing amazing tennis after ousting the world number one Caroline Wozniacki. Whether she can maintain this performance is what we’ll find out today. Home favourite Bartoli is the only French woman left in the draw and has also dug deep to get past her previous match against rising star Julia Goerges. She faces Gisela Dulko who defeated last years runner up Sammantha Stosur in three sets. This match could go either way, but as much as my support goes for Dulko, I’m seeing Bartoli sailing into the quarters.

Kuznetsova Vs Bartoli

The French crowd will really be behind Bartoli. But Kuznetsova seems more superior in these grand slam situations.

Semi Finalist: Kuznetsova

Quarter 2: 

Previous Prediction: Zvonereva Vs Schiavone

My two picks for this quarter are still alive and so are their main competitors. World number three Vera Zvonereva will face Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova in the fourth round. Zvonereva comes into this next match with a victory against Pavlyuchenova on clay this year as well as her grand slam experience. Francesca Schiavone will face Jelena Jankovic in what promises to be a hard fought match between these two fighters. Both women have the game and the experience to claim victory. Jankovic has won their last three encounters with last being on clay. Although the stats favour the Serb, my pick for this match is Schiavone, which is based purely on her improvement and her current form since those previous matches.

Zvonereva Vs Schiavone

This is another interesting math up for Schiavone. Zvonareva has won all their previous encounters, which is why my decision is pretty controversial. I believe Schiavone will come through in a tough match. But as I write this Zvonereva just lost. xD

Semi Finalist: Schiavone

Quarter 3:

Previous: Azarenka Vs Li Na

My prediction is still possible but the only thing stopping this is Petra Kvitova. Kvitova is coming in with a huge rise in the rankings in the past year. She faces Australian open finalist Li Na who has played very solid tennis so far. This match could go either way. Azarenka is facing a surprising opponent Ekaterina Makarova who defeated 16th seed Kaia Kanepi in the previous round.

Azarenka Vs Li Na

Azarenka should take this one out because of her current for, but Li Na will be challenging her during every shot of the match.

Semi Finalist: Azarenka

Quarter 4:

Previous: Clijsters Vs Sharapova

Early round upsets has been common in the past grand slams, but the upset of Clijsters was really unexpected. Sharapova faces the polish player Agnieszka Radwanska who will take her every inch of the courts surface. On the other match, we have rising star Andrea Petkovic taking on Maria Kirilenko. Kirilenko has taken advantage of Clijsters upset and now finds herself into the fourth round. This will be the battle of the groundstrokes, but I believe we’ll be seeing the Petko dance at the end of this.

Sharapova Vs Petkovic

Petkovic defeated Sharapova in Australian Open but Sharapova got revenge in Miami. It’s difficult to predict, but I’ll stick by Sharapova.

Semi Finalist: Sharapova

Semi Finals:

Kuznetsuva Vs Schiavone

This is a replay of the epic match which took place in Australia, which went for four hours and ended at 16-14 with victory for Schiavone. Hopefully we have a replay here, but both women will ensure that doesn’t happen. It’s hard to predict as they’re the last two winners. My pick is on who I think will play better on the day.

Winner: Schaivone

Azarenka Vs Sharapova

Prepare your earplugs! This promises to be a loud one. I’m looking forward to this. It’ll be Azarenka’s first semi and Sharapova’s first since the injury. I would think Azarenka but Sharapova has recently defeated her on clay. For now, this one’s a lottery pick.

Winner: Azarenka

Grand Final

Schiavone Vs Azarenka

I still stand by my first prediction, though Kuznetsuva and Sharapova could be here instead. I reckon Schiavone will have that extra edge over Azarenka as she’s already won a grand slam.

Champion: Schiavone