1 Novak Djokovic vs. 3 Roger Federer
I don’t think either man has played near his A level during this event. To me, that means the player who is most likely to raise his game is the player who will win. Novak Djokovic is under pressure attempting to complete the Nole Slam. Roger Federer twice reached the French Open final when holding the other 3 slams. Rafael Nadal lost in the 2011 Australian Open quarterfinal round while holding the other 3 slams. Pete Sampras lost in the 1994 French Open quarterfinal round when holding the other 3 slams. This would be the greatest single achievement in men’s tennis history given the radical surface differences that have existed since 1978 and the increasingly physical nature of professional tennis. The fact that Roger beat Novak at this stage of the French Open last year means Novak could lose this match. I think this takes some pressure off of the Serb. My conclusion is Novak will play with less pressure and hence play well enough to advance.
My Pick – Novak Djokovic in 4 Sets
2 Rafael Nadal vs. 6 David Ferrer
Rafael Nadal’s complete dominance in Paris makes this section shorter than it should be. David Ferrer deserves great credit for preventing Andy Murray from reaching his 6th consecutive Grand Slam semifinal. Ferrer is a great clay court player who deserves to play in the final weekend of the French Open. Throw in Ferrer and Federer each being 30 years old, and my 36 year old self is happy to think that age does not preclude great tennis. Ferrer played Rafa tough in Barcelona. Still, Rafa is almost certain to advance in this match. Both men are fit and compete like few in tennis have. Ferrer just does not have enough weapons to win this match. When Ferrer was close versus Rafa, like he was in Barcelona, he also tightened up mentally.
My Pick – Rafael Nadal in 3 Sets