Rio Olympic Tennis: Men’s Semifinal Predictions

 

Rafael Nadal vs. Juan Martin del Potro

Rafa had a tough singles win followed by a long and emotional doubles win.  The big question is whether or not Rafa is drained/tired heading into this match?  I think if Rafa is close to 100% he is favored in this match.  JMDP has played quite well to reach the semifinal round including his upset win in round 1 over Novak Djokovic.  JMDP has matched up well with Rafa in the past and should handle high bounces well.  Still, Rafa seems to be in a good place so long as he is not worn out from playing 6 total sets of tennis on Friday.

My Prediction: Rafael Nadal d. Juan Martin del Potro 7-6, 6-4

Level of confidence in my pick – moderate


Their Davis Cup match earlier this year was on a much faster court

Andy Murray vs. Kei Nishikori

Each man needed a 3rd set tiebreak to reach the semifinal round.  Kei Nishikori fended off Gael Monfils and two match points in winning 7-6, 4-6, 7-6.  Murray defeated Steve Johnson by the strange scoreline of 6-0, 4-6, 7-6.  I think Murray should win this match, but he better take care of his second serve points.  Nishikori’s return matching up to a low first serve percentage from Murray would be a comparative advantage for the underdog.  I think Murray’s form will improve since he is closer to the finish line.  Murray had a relatively soft draw and expectations were on his shoulders.  Now, he faces a top 10 opponent and is one match away from winning either gold or silver.  I think that will help Murray settle into his desired form.

My Prediction: Andy Murray d. Kei Nishikori 6-4, 6-3

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2 Comments

  1. First – ¡vamos y grande Rafa y Marc!

    I’m so excited for them, and I think Rafa is too. Marc has had a ridiculously amazing 2016 so far, and Rafa made history (as you probably already know as a tennis historian; he, along with Ree & Vee and Nicholas Massu, are the only tenistas to have both singles & doubles gold in the Olympics. Pretty exclusive group).

    Second, we were just speculating about the extent to which this probably wore him out emotionally & physically. After the ceremony and the requisite physical wrap up and all that press — do we think he even got any sleep tonight at all? I mean, after all, we’re still up, and we’re not even playing tomorrow.
    🙂

    Third – I’m sorry I haven’t checked in to comment here before this, but I’ve obviously been reading — and JMDP has been playing the Classic Big Man Tennis we all loved him for before he got hurt, but not only that — he’s been ridiculously good at it, maybe even better at it than he was … and I’m not just talking about that victory over Novak.

    He’s stretching, he’s hustling, the 2HBH is creeping (and sometimes thundering) back, he has the reach of a Middle Earth Ent, and you can hear the sonorance of the FearHand even when he’s practicing. I’m not sure we’ve seen tennis that looks like this since 2007 Roger, and the Rafa that took him out in that infamous match in Miami.

    So, I mean, IDK. I remember the last match I saw the two of them play was the IW 2013 final, and anyone watching that day remembers the ridiculous level of tennis we saw. And JMDP seems to have been doing better than that here — there is a whole lot of azul y blanca in the stands, and given the fact that he plays every match these days like it might be his last (because it very well could be …)

    I think I’ll go as far as to say that if this Rafa is going to beat this DelPo, he’ll need 105%, not just 100%.

    But if anybody has it, it’s Rafa playing for Spain.

    So … vamos a ver.

    (At least *you* will. I willl definitely depend on your summary; I will miss the whole thing as I have a family memorial service tomorrow. Boo. Though maybe this is better — my stomach might leap out of me if I was forced to sit through the whole thing. 🙂 )

    P.S. Re your Tweet here

    We did have a bronze medal match in 2012, did we not? That was how JMDP ended up with his bronze. And Sockson had to beat someone to get theirs, didn’t they …?

    1. Yeah, I somehow thought they were going back to not having a bronze medal match like 1988 and 1992, but I can’t figure out why I thought that was going to happen. – Thanks for the awesome comment!

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