Last Word on Sports Tennis Analysts Steen Kirby, Niall Clarke, and Stefano Berlincioni will be offering you up a first serve preview of each day of Men’s singles action at Roland Garros 2015, each day the best, and most interesting matches will be selected from the order of play, and each writer will offer up their analysis and a prediction. The tournament starts Sunday with a partial schedule of matches, and here are the tastiest men’s singles offerings of the day.
Panelists Predictions For Roland Garros 2015 Men’s Day 1 Matches
(24)Ernests Gulbis vs. (Q)Igor Sijsling
These are a pair of players with talent, but they haven’t shown much of it this season, Sijsling, as Niall will mention, broke a lengthy losing streak to shockingly qualify, and Gulbis has been a walking disaster this season, mentally self destructing, and spewing errors on the forehand side almost every match. He played so well here last year, and the win in Nice suggests to me he still should have enough to get through this one, but Sijsling should battle him, likely choking or cramping late to give Gulbis the win, as he’s also not mentally strong, part of me wants to say Gulbis will entirely self destruct here, but I’m not going to predict it. Gulbis in 5 sets
Gulbis picked up his first win for what seems like forever in Nice, but the Latvian’s struggles this year have been well documented. An early exit here will see his ranking plummet as he has semi-final pints to defend. Igor Sijsling has a decent serve and volley attack, but his play doesn’t translate well to clay. In fact, in qualifying for this tournament he broke a six match losing streak spanning back to Indian Wells.
Gulbis has been shocking this year, but it is not like Sijsling is any better at the moment. Gulbis is a far better clay courter and should win this despite his slump. Gulbis in 3 sets
Sijsling played great in qualifying, showing his nice attacking tennis and missing less than usual. Gulbis in Nice finally won a match on clay and there is no doubt he is the better player. I think he doesn’t care about the huge amount of points he is defending here so this will not put additional pressure on him and in 5 sets will be easier for him to overcome the mental lapses he often has. Gulbis in 5 sets
Lukas Rosol vs. (Q)Elias Ymer
Ymer was excellent in qualifying, and I don’t doubt that the young Swede has the mentality and the talent to win this, that said, he’s still lacking in experience at this level, and Rosol is not a great matchup for him. Ymer is great on clay, but Rosol’s power game should be able to dictate him to some extent, and thus I see Rosol holding serve comfortably, and winning enough rallies to get the job done without the match having to go to five sets. Rosol can get erratic but he’s taken sets off of Murray and Wawrinka on clay this year, so his form seems good enough at the moment to get the job done. Rosol in 4 sets
Ymer is one of the ATP tour’s rising stars, and he is younger than myself. It is depressing when i think about it. The Swede has good movement and forehand, but his shot selection is often questionable and backhand is prone to breaking down. Lukas Rosol is best remembered for his Wimbledon triumph over Nadal three years ago, but his ball bashing style can cause havoc especially when he is on form. But with that style comes off days, and on those days he can be prone to losing to anyone. I think Rosol takes this, but Ymer will put on a good showing and may even take it the distance. Rosol in 4 sets
I watched Ymer during his 3 qualifying matches and was impressed by his consistency. He is really solid and motivated but he did not face opponents with Rosol’s power. Rosol can hit very hard but he is also capable of missing a lot in a bad day, I think the match is in his hands but I would not be surprised by an upset. Rosol in 4 sets
Mikhail Youzhny vs. Damir Dzumhur
It doesn’t seem like that bold of a pick, given how atrocious Youzhny has been for a while now, as retirement is clearly beckoning for the colonel, but very few people are picking Dzumhur, and I’m going to be one of them. The 23 year old qualified in Geneva, and reached the semis in Casablanca, he doesn’t have a ton of weapons, but he’s a steady baseline ball feeder who should frustrated an unconfident and erratic Youzhny at the moment. Youzhny is just 3-5 on clay this year and I see him running out of gas down the stretch to allow Dzumhur to seize a win. Dzumhur in 5 sets
Mikhail Youzhny is not the player he once was but that does not mean you can sleep on him. The Russian has a lot of shots in his arsenal, and is perhaps more dangerous than his ranking suggests. Damir Dzumhur has a solid baseline game, but his lack of power can sometimes be his undoing. The Bosnian has a good baseline game, but can often find himself getting overpowered. I feel this one might be a long one that goes the distance. Both are quite similar in that they don’t possess the greatest of power, but with Youzhny’s experience and wider variety, I think the Russian will prevail in 5.
Youzhny in 5 sets
Both players with very questionable form: the Bosnian after the good run at Casablanca ATP has posted bad results but he should find a good level to be able to annoy Youzhny with his defensive tennis. It could be an unforced error festival by the Russian if Dzumhur shows up not focused but I think Youzhny’s better class will be sufficient against the younger Dzumhur, who doesn’t have as much experience. Youzhny in 4 sets
Pablo Andujar vs. Albert Ramos
Andujar has a rather lopsided h2h edge, but style wise this is a fun match to watch as both players pack a lot of spin in their clay court games, and thrive on this surface. Both Spaniards have shown blips of quality play this year, with Andujar of course shockingly reaching a 500 level final in Barcelona. They both have cooled off since their runs of form, and with the head to head in mind, a slight edge must be given to Andujar. Andujar in 4 sets
Pablo Andujar was impressive in his final run at Barcelona, which included a routine straight sets victory over Albert Ramos in the opening round. However since that run he has been unable to put together back to back wins. Ramos has never been past the second round at Roland Garros, but since Barcelona he has been in better form than his opponent. Being a lefty, he can trouble a lot of players particularly on the clay. With a 9-2 record, and more weapons to his name, it’s hard to look past Andujar taking this one. I will say Ramos gets a set, but Andujar will have enough to win.
Andujar in 4 sets
Both have never reached Roland Garros 3rd round but it has to be said that they always lost against tough opponents. Andujar’s exploits in Barcelona (very unexpected considering his recent form) makes him favourite tomorrow but Ramos-Vinolas showed some kind of form in Geneva. Their H2H record, largely in Andujar’s favour has to be considered. Andujar in 4 sets
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