Day 10 of French Open 2017 promises arguably the best action of the tournament so far, with the red-hot Austrian Dominic Thiem taking on Novak Djokovic. We break down the match and focus on where the game could be won and lost, and make our very own predictions for this match and other ones as well.
The French open has reached the crucial stage and every battle is a key battle. But we have selected the best of the best battles from today and given our predictions for these matches. The predictions are sourced from the newest fantasy game on the block –
6th seeded Dominic Thiem has arguably been the second best player on clay this season after Rafael Nadal, and he would be looking to reach his second consecutive French Open Semi-Final. Djokovic, on the other hand, would be looking to get his 2017 back on track, having had a really rough run of results since the turn of the year. Djokovic has never lost to Thiem before and has a 5-0 H2H advantage going into this matchup. Djokovic would probably feel that he "knows" how to beat Thiem. The duo met in the Semi-Final of the Roland Garros last year where Djokovic won in straight sets, and more recently in the Semi-Final of the Rome Masters, where Djokovic demolished Thiem 6-1 6-0. However, one could argue that this is Thiem's best chance to beat Djokovic, considering the fact that he is both physically and mentally fresh coming into this match up. Dominic Thiem is yet to drop a set in this year's French Open so far and would look to carry on his great form to set up another potential clash with Rafael Nadal.
How can Thiem beat Djokovic tomorrow?
In his past few meetings against Djokovic, Thiem has often found himself standing too far behind the baseline, and hence allowing Djokovic to be on the front foot in most of the rallies. Another problem that Thiem has faced while playing Djokovic is the fact that he seems to go for too much, too early, increasing the chances of committing unforced errors and hence throwing away the match in the process. If Thiem has to beat Djokovic today, he has to take the initiative, by taking the ball early. Thiem followed this very ploy against Nadal in Rome, and it paid off for him as he was able to take Nadal down in straight sets. On 2 previous occasions versus Nadal in Monte Carlo and Barcelona, Thiem made the same mistake and played too far behind the baseline and paid the price for it. Also, Thiem should be looking to attack Djokovic's forehand with his top-spin heavy forehand, as the Serbian had visibly struggled on that side in his 3rd round match against Diego Schwartzman. A combination of this game plan with a good first serve percentage should give Thiem every chance of beating Djokovic today. But we'll have to wait and watch if Thiem comes off age and beats Djokovic, or if the former world no.1 continues to get the better of the Austrian.
Key stats to watch out for:
1) Points won on the return of serve:
In matches played in 2017, Thiem has won 39% return points. On the other hand, Djokovic has won 40.6%. However, in this French Open, Thiem has won 49.6% return points compared to Djokovic's 40%. The player who returns serve better is likely to come out on top. Fans who are predicting on our game NostraGamus think that is going to be Djokovic:
2) Break point conversion:
In 5 H2H matches vs Thiem, Djokovic has a staggering break point conversion rate of 55.18%. Also, in French Open 2017, Djokovic has won 47.7% of his break points. Thiem, on the other hand, has converted a mere 8.3% of his break points against Djokovic (2/24). One would feel that Thiem has to convert more than 50% of his break points if he has to stand a chance of beating Djokovic.
Despite the stats being one-sided and in favour of Djokovic, we feel that this would be the match where Thiem comes off age and establishes himself as a genuine Grand Slam contender. Thus we predict Thiem to beat Djokovic and progress to the Semi-finals.
1) Rafael Nadal to beat Pablo Carreno Busta in straight sets.
2) Kristina Mladenovic to beat Timea Bacinszky.
3) Caroline Wozniacki to beat Jelena Ostapenko.
Do you disagree with our predictions? Don't worry, you can now have your own say on how the matches will turn out, by playing our very own
Did you know, Nadal is the only male player in tennis history to win one Grand Slam and Masters 1000 title for ten consecutive years from 2005–2014. For more fun stats and predictions play the newest fantasy-cum-predictions game in the market – Nostragamus. Download the game by tapping here.
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