French Open 2017 Quarterfinals preview: Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic, Andy Murray, Stan Wawrinka all in action

French Open on Day 11 will see all eight men's singles quarterfinalists in action. Nadal faces Pablo Carreno Busta, Murray vs Kei Nishikori, Djokovic vs Dominic Thiem and Wawrinka vs Marin Cilic. Women's quarters see Halep vs Svitolina and Garcia vs Pliskova.

Written by Tanuj Lakhina | Published:June 7, 2017 12:55 pm
french open preview, simona halep, tennis news, indian express Simona Halep faces Elina Svitolina in a tricky quarterfinal. (Source: Reuters)

The rain on Tuesday evening at French Open meant all four quarterfinals in the men’s draw would now be played on Day 11. If that wasn’t enough drama for you, the two women’s quarterfinals are also on offer with Timea Bacsinszky and Jelena Ostapenko already through to the semifinals. The order of play will see Pablo Carreno Busta hope to fight it out with Rafael Nadal first up on Philippe-Chatrier Court. It would be followed by Caroline Garcia against Karolina Pliskova and end with Andy Murray against Kei Nishikori.

Meanwhile on the other court, Suzanee-Lenglen, Dominic Thiem faces an arduous ask against Novak Djokovic and this follows up the ‘fresher’ quarterfinals of Elina Svitolina against Simona Halep and Stan Wawrinka against Marin Cilic.

The two of the men’s quarterfinals, namely Nadal vs Carreno Busta and Thiem vs Djokovic have already been looked at by IndianExpress.com, you can read more here.

Caroline Garcia carries French hopes

And it has come down to one. France’s hopes of a local winner hinge upon Caroline Garcia after Timea Bacsinszky got the better of title (and crowd) favourite Kristina Mladenovic. Garcia had earlier beaten Alize Cornet, another French woman, to reach this stage. She takes on last year’s US Open finalist Karolina Pliskova. It is safe to say that this isn’t the preferred surface for the Czech World No 3. Despite her thundering flat strokes on the forehand, the impact is lost on the slower surfaces at French Open. In their only match on clay, Garcia emerged triumphant and Pliskova has never done better than second round at Roland Garros – until now.

Elina Svitolina vs Simona Halep: Very even to call

The two ladies were pegged as heavyweights going into the women’s draw and two possible title winners. But it will, obviously, be just one and their matchup has come sooner than expected. On head-to-head, Halep holds a 2-1 advantage and in their most recent match, Svitolina came out victorious – in Rome two weeks back. Halep has not dropped a set so far at French Open and looks in really good form despite concerns over her injury coming into the Grand Slam. Svitolina, who leads the race to year-ending WTA Finals, was nearly down and out in the fourth round. She trailed Petra Martic 2-5, 0-30, in the third set before winning five straight games to progress. If Halep has to prove her credentials of taking over from Serena Williams, she needs to prove it against Svitolina.

Will Nishikori finally crack?

french open preview, andy murray, tennis news, indian express Andy Murray takes on Kei Nishikori in the quarters. (Source: Reuters)

In the last two rounds, Kei Nishikori has been bagled twice. First by Hyeon Chung and then by Fernando Verdasco. However, he has come back to win the next set (in Chung’s case the fifth set) and next three sets (against Verdasco). The Japanese player had stopped Murray from completing a Wimbledon, Rio Olympics gold medal and US Open dream finish to the season. Murray’s quest for the title was stopped short by Nishikori in the quarterfinal. “Obviously we played at the US Open and that was five sets, a match that got away from me a little bit, so I need to learn a bit from that,” Murray told Eurosport. “There’s a good chance it’s a long one. He returns well and he’s very solid off both wings. He’s always a tough guy to play against. I’m happy with where my game’s at. Everything is going pretty well just now. I’m feeling good going into the middle part of the second week.” Nishikori has a rather disappointing 2-8 record against the Briton but has beaten him in their only contest on clay.

Flawless Stan vs Perfect Cilic

Cilic and Wawrinka come into the last-8 showdown without having dropped a set so far at the French Open. Cilic will have fresher legs after Kevin Anderson retired midway into the second set in their fourth round match while Wawrinka had to circumvent the tricky opponent in Gael Monfils. On head-to-head, Cilic has a dreadful 2-11 record against the 2015 French Open champion Wawrinka and to make matters worse for him, historically at least, all five of their meetings on clay have gone to the Swiss player. They’ve met before at Roland Garros when in 2008 second round, Stan won 7-6, 7-6, 6-1. Expect another match fully of thumping serves and huge forehands. But in the end, Stan to prevail.

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