Roland Garros 2014: QF round-up and Ladies SF Preview

We’ll start proceedings with a Lawro-esque review of my QF predictions.

Al scored FIVE correct results with ONE perfect score.
Yes it was a decent showing overall with only Bouchard, Petkovic and the man who continues to surprise everyone but himself Gulbis who scuppered my predictions.
All eight of the quarters had their talking points and drama, even the straight-setters giving wins for Petkovic, Djokovic ,Gulbis and Halep.
Andrea Petkovic is growing in confidence with every match and had far too much for Errani, the Italian looking tired and weak at times.
Ernests Gulbis is playing some astounding stuff and will be a huge test for Djokovic who so far hasn’t been tested anywhere near his limit. Berdych – so often a monument to consistency simply crumbled in the wake of the Latvian’s uber-confident clay play.
Novak will be ready for his fourth straight semi-final appearance here, this time against a childhood friend. It will surely be a bigger test than the one dimensional Raonic who you feel will only progress into the top 5 if a few more strings are added to that big serving bow.
Halep meanwhile has everything to succeed and is looking untouchable here. The Romanian plays so cleanly and purely so even on the defense-kind red stuff she blew away Kuznetsova.
The Russian veteran was clearly hampered with her movement however – not the ideal scenario against a ruthless opponent.
Drama coated the other matches as Sharapovaand Bouchard diced with death in tight three setters before both coming through to face each other. Maria is of course the only former champ left now and it will be fascinating to see if she can add to her career slam set. Amazing to think it would be the French, perhaps the one we all thought would elude her most.
Hats off to Muguruza however, who has joined many a player to face a wounded Sharapova’s wrath.
In Bouchard, the Russian faces a similarly stern test, a youngster brimming with confidence and backing it up with the game to match. The Canadian who looked to have wilted against Suarez-Navarroespecially in the second set, is the only playe this year to make the semi’s of both majors so far.
The much anticipated clash between Ferrerand Nadal looked to have been justified after the elder Spaniard repeated his Monte-Carlo magic by taking the first set 6-4. Once Rafa found his range however – and Ferrer lapsed into the pattern which has seen him lose regularly to Nadal hear over the years – it was over in a heartbeat.
Which leaves us with the extraordinary Murray vs Monfils encounter. The Scot took full advantage of the Frenchman’s ponderous, nervous play in the first two sets. It all looked very easy for Andy who had shown maturity in the face of the French ensemble. But such is the momentum game of tennis that as soon as Monfils started firing he quickly grabbed the ascendancy.  From nowhere, Monfils had transformed into the top-ten player he can be leaving Murray shaken and stirred.
Murray was deflated and defeated as the fifth set roared into view amidst the Parisian twilight. Then, inexplicably it was Monfils who buckled and whether through panic at his rejuvenated opponent or overcome by the suddenly very real sniff of victory – he was non-existent, winning just six points in a 6-0 drubbing.
Semi-Final predictions
Maria Sharapova vs Eugenie Bouchard
The bombshell battle should deliver on drama and decent quality if the Canadian can keep her head. I cannot see Sharapova getting stunned a la Muguruza, the Russian looks to have her game-face well and truly on.
Verdict – Maria in two.
Simona Halep vs Andrea Petkovic
A tougher one to call – both have been at times the most comfortable all fortnight and neither look like having an ‘off day’. For the simple fact that she is still on something of a road to recovery, I will have to settle for Andrea to falter come the crunch.
Verdict – Halep in three.

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