French Open 2017 Day 8 | Key battles

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French Open 2017 Day 8 | Key battles

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SportsCafe Desk

06/04/2017

We are nearing the second week of French Open 2017, and the tournament is heating up as each round passes by. Day 8 sees Rafa Nadal take on Roberto Bautista Agut and Milos Raonic taking on 20th seed Pablo Carreno Busta. We take a look at the key battles which could potentially influence the match.

Match 1: Milos Raonic vs Pablo Carreno-Busta

Q1) How many sets the match will last?

Raonic and Carreno Busta have met in Grand Slams on one previous occasion in Wimbledon 2016, and Raonic prevailed in straight sets on that occasion. However, this encounter could bring back some bad memories for Raonic as he lost to another Spaniard Albert-Ramos Vinolas in the fourth Round of Roland Garros last year. Carreno Busta, on the other hand, is enjoying his best year of his career and is in 10th place for the Race to London. Both Raonic and Carreno Busta have only dropped one set in this tournament so far. Carreno Busta is coming off a stunning upset over 11th seed Grigor Dimitrov and would be oozing confidence, whereas Raonic might feel a little under-cooked as Garcia-Lopez retired after 8 games in his previous match. Hence there is a high chance of the match going to 5 sets, and who knows, maybe even an upset might be on the cards. 

 © Nostragamus

Q2) Who will win more break points? 

In the French Open 2017 so far, Carreno-Busta has broken serve 18 times whereas Raonic has broken serve 12 times. This could prove to be the most important battle in this match, as Raonic has often managed to bamboozle his opponents with his monstrous serve. However, Carreno Busta would be confident as the clay surface might neutralize the serve of Raonic to a certain extent. In the 3 H2H matches, Raonic has won 7 break points whereas Carreno-Busta has won only one. However, Carreno-Busta has won an average of 3.4 break points per match in 2017, whereas Raonic has just won 2.2. 

Q3) How many aces will Milos Raonic hit?

Like the break points statistic, this is another key area which could potentially influence the match. Raonic with his big serve often blows his opponents off the court, and the number of aces he serves tomorrow will be crucial to his chances. Raonic has already hit 45 aces in this year's French Open, and he would look to add to this tally against Carreno-Busta. In 2017, Raonic averages 12.5 aces per match. But this very number increases to a mammoth 19 aces per match whenever he plays Carreno-Busta. Raonic would be well aware of this and he would certainly be looking to ace his way to victory. 

Match 2: Rafael Nadal vs Roberto Bautista Agut 

Q1) Who will have a better 1st-serve success rate?

Although both Nadal and Bautista Agut don't possess a big serve, this could prove to be a key area in the match as free points on serve might turn out to be gold-dust. It is a well-known fact that both Nadal and Agut are great returners of serve, so the match might well be decided on who does better on serve. 

Q2) Will there be a tie-breaker?

Bautista Agut has already been involved in a tie-breaker in Roland Garros 2017, in his second round match against Kukushkin. Nadal, on the other hand, is coming off a demolition of Basilashvili where he just dropped 1 game in the entire match and is yet to play a tie-breaker in Roland Garros 2017. However, in their previous 10 grand slam matches, Bautista Agut has played 11 tie-breakers whereas Nadal has played 7. With this match promising a lot of service breaks, we might just witness a tie-break in this all-Spanish affair. 

 © Nostragamus

Q3) How many aggregate double faults will be committed?

So far in French Open 2017, Bautista Agut has committed 8 double faults compared to Nadal's 3. Also, a total of 4 double faults was committed in their only H2H match. Nadal has served a total of 54 double faults in 2017, whereas Agut has served 59 double faults. With both players having the tendency to dish out double faults, this could very well prove to be an area to watch out for. 

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