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Ricky’s Tennis Picks for Day 6 of The French Open, Including Nadal vs. Goffin and Federer vs. Ruud

Rafael Nadal of Spain plays Yannick Maden of Germany during their men?s second round match during the French Open tennis tournament at Roland Garros in Paris, France, 29 May 2019. EPA-EFE/JULIEN DE ROSA
Rafael Nadal of Spain plays Yannick Maden of Germany during their men’s second round match during the French Open tennis tournament at Roland Garros in Paris, France, 29 May 2019. EPA-EFE/JULIEN DE ROSA

 

 

By Ricky Dimon

 

Both Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer will continue their French Open campaigns on Friday, going up against respective opponents David Goffin and Casper Ruud. An especially intriguing matchup pits Stan Wawrinka and Grigor Dimitrov.

 

Ricky previews three of Friday’s matches and makes his predictions.

 

(27) David Goffin vs. (2) Rafael Nadal

Nadal and Goffin will be facing each other for the fifth time in their careers, with the head-to-head series standing at 3-1 in favor of Nadal. The Spaniard is a perfect 3-0 at Goffin’s expense on clay. Only against a hobbled opponent has the Belgian ever emerged victorious, which happened during round-robin action at the 2017 Nitto ATP Finals via a 7-6(5), 6-7(4), 6-4 upset. Nadal promptly withdrew due to a knee injury. They most recently collided last season in Barcelona, where Nadal dominated 6-4, 6-0.

Goffin is not the easiest of third-round foes; he would normally run into a top player in the second week of major, but physical problems and a bit of a slump have left him at 29th in the world. Although he is a modest 12-12 this year, he appears to be turning things around with a fourth-round finish in Miami, a semifinal performance in Estoril, and a win over Wawrinka in Rome. Nadal earned a confidence-boosting title in Rome and so far at Roland Garros he has routed qualifiers Yannick Hanfmann and Yannick Maden.

Pick: Nadal in 3

 

(3) Roger Federer vs. Casper Ruud

Roger Federer of Switzerland plays Lorenzo Sonego of Italy during their men?s first round match during the French Open tennis tournament at Roland Garros in Paris, France, 26 May 2019. EPA-EFE/JULIEN DE ROSA

Roger Federer of Switzerland plays Lorenzo Sonego of Italy during their men’s first round match during the French Open tennis tournament at Roland Garros in Paris, France, 26 May 2019. EPA-EFE/JULIEN DE ROSA

Like Nadal, Federer could not have asked for a more routine start throughout rounds one an two in Paris. Making his first French Open appearance since 2015, the 37-year-old Swiss opened with straight-set romps over Lorenzo Sonego and lucky loser Oscar Otte. That’s not to say that Federer would necessarily have been troubled by a tougher draw. He went into this event with a 4-1 record on clay, which included defeats of Gael Monfils (Madrid) and Borna Coric (Rome).

Another unseeded opponent awaits the 2009 champion, as Ruud ousted No. 29 Matteo Berrettini 6-4, 7-5, 6-3 on Wednesday. The 63rd-ranked Norwegian, who previously crushed 2014 semifinalist Ernests Gulbis 6-2, 7-6(2), 6-0, owns 13 of his 30 career ATP-level match victories in 2019. Ruud will put Federer through plenty of difficult baseline rallies, but he does not really have anything with which to hurt the 20-time slam champ.

Pick: Federer in 3

 

(24) Stan Wawrinka vs. Grigor Dimitrov

Stan Wawrinka of Switzerland plays Cristian Garin of Chile  during their men?s second round match during the French Open tennis tournament at Roland Garros in Paris, France, 29 May 2019.  EPA-EFE/SRDJAN SUKI

Stan Wawrinka of Switzerland plays Cristian Garin of Chile during their men’s second round match during the French Open tennis tournament at Roland Garros in Paris, France, 29 May 2019. EPA-EFE/SRDJAN SUKI

It is not often that a third-round result can be considered somewhat of a success for both Wawrinka and Dimitrov, but that is arguably the case–especially for Dimitrov. The 28-year-old Bulgarian has slumped to No. 46 in the world, thus relegating him to unseeded status for the season’s second slam. After scraping past Janko Tipsarevic 6-3, 6-0, 3-6, 6-7(4), 6-4, he had to go up against 11th-seeded Marin Cilic and survived 6-7(3), 6-4, 4-6, 7-6(2), 6-3.

Wawrinka was expected to make it this far as the No. 24 seed, but he ran into a red-hot Christian Garin on Wednesday so it looked like a tough one may be in the cards. Instead, the 2015 Roland Garros champion destroyed the fast-rising Chilean 6-1, 6-4, 6-0. He preceded that result with a 6-1, 6-7(3), 6-2, 6-3 defeat of Jozef Kovalik. Wawrinka has won two in a row against Dimitrov to pull even in the head-to-head series at 4-4, and he has every reason to make it three straight. Dimitrov will not be helped by the fact that he already has 10 sets of tennis in his legs and was showing signs of a shoulder problem late in the match against Cilic.

Pick: Wawrinka in 3

 

Ricky contributes to 10sballs.com and also maintains his own tennis website, The Grandstand. You can follow him on twitter at @Dimonator.

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