Stan and the Tough Draw
Nole got the Tough Draw
When the draw was released it looked like Rafael Nadal would have a tough quarterfinal match with Juan Martin del Potro who had beaten him last fall. Stanislas Wawrinka’s two instant classic matches in 2013 against Novak Djokovic were overlooked. As it turned out, JMDP lost early and Novak was eliminated 9-7 in the 5th set as their trilogy of great matches went Wawrinka’s way for the first time in a Grand Slam.
Is this French Open 2013 All Over Again?
Rafa looked masterful against Monfils and Federer. He looked a bit vulnerable against Nishikori and Dimitrov. Still, Rafa for the second time in less than 12 months enters a Grand Slam final as the overwhelming favorite. He is better on clay than on Plexicushion, but Ferrer had won sets and matches (including 2 at Grand Slams) against Rafa. Wawrinka has never won a set at this point versus the number one seed. So there is no chance for an upset, right?
Not exactly. Wawrinka is an obvious underdog. In addition to his lousy record vs. Rafa, Nadal has just played 7 sets against guys with one-handed backhands (as if he needed practice on what to do with a one-hander). He has a low chance at victory, but I think Stanislas has a better chance than Ferrer had one year ago.
So You’re Telling Me There’s a Chance
Wawrinka on clay would have a worse chance than Ferrer had last year. However, Stan played Rafa tough last year at the World Tour Finals. Stan also is playing better than Dimitrov who did threaten Rafa. Stan has a serve that can allow him to stay in sets and see what happens on Plexicushion. I don’t think he has a great chance, but they should not engrave Rafa’s name on the trophy just yet either.
If Nadal plays like he did against Federer, it is hard for me to see Wawrinka winning this match. If Nadal plays like he did vs. Dimitrov, I still think he’s the favorite, but it might be a long match. I think Stan has the ability to push people around and dictate play in a way that even Federer lacks. He hits through the court. He will have to do a lot of that to have a chance at victory. I think Rafa will either come out smoking or play his way into form. Either way, the Spaniard is likely to win. I do think Stan will take his first set off of Nadal though.
Nadal d. Wawrkina 6-4, 6-7, 6-3, 7-5