Andy Murray injured again, can he play Wimbledon?

Andy Murray

Andy Murray became hurt again, and he had to pull out in Cincy Championships, in London, Great Britain,  but hopefully when Wimbledon begins, he will look respectable, on the court. The Scot has won it twice, yet to win it again would be stunning, as he hasn’t gone very deep at the Slams for the past four years. It is lucky that he will retire at the end of the summer, and wave goodbye.

 The other day, he practiced with Carlos  Alcaraz, as the Spaniard just won Roland Garros. Murray just practiced with Alcaraz, and the 37-years-old was pleased.

“I was really excited to practice with him, well, because I love watching him play. [Carlos] for sure one of my favorite players to watch,” he said. “He’s obviously one of the best players in the world, so I was really pumped to go and practice with him. It’s interesting for me, having played against Roger [Federer], Rafa [Nadal], Novak [Djokovic], getting the chance, like, I practiced with [Jannik] Sinner before the Australian Open, practiced with Carlos and stuff. It’s cool for me to get a chance to play for this newer generation and see what do they do better or worse or differently to, the guys that I competed against my whole career. I really enjoyed it.”

Unfortunately, Murray pulled out of the cinch Championships, in London, as he won the first match, but he had to retire after five games due to his super sore right leg. In the past three years, it was difficult, as his injury mounted. However, he did beat a number of good players, but not over the spectacular competitors.

“Although the last few years might have seemed okay, it’s been hard, it’s been really hard on the body. Physically it’s been tough,” he said. “A lot of days where it’s not been that much fun to train and practice and everything. But, yeah, obviously I have tried to work through it and find ways to get on the court and compete at this level. But tennis is a really, really hard sport.”

That is for sure, because usually, after 35, your body is starting to break down. It is possible to have a terrific couple weeks, but then, the pain will come again. Eventually, you have to retire, pretty soon.

Regardless, he has now 1000 matches, which is amazing. The former No. 1 has played some tremendous matches winning the 2012 US Open, and the 2013 and 2016 Wimbledon. He would yell a lot, on the court, but he was so darn consistent, both sides.  Mentally, if his body was hurt, he didn’t really care, and to stay in there. That is why he has won 46 titles.  

“There’s the kind of mental side of things on the court, the way that you’re dealing with,  stressful situations,  in the matches and everything. There’s sort of like a performance state you want to get into, and then also how you deal with the highs and lows of the wins and losses, and also the day-in, day-out kind of training and traveling and being away from friends and family and things that, you obviously need to take care of as well,” Murray said.

He will have to, and last year at Wimbledon, in the second round, he lost against Stefanos Tsitsipas in five dramatic setters. Maybe he can do it, or maybe not.

He did speak with Alcaraz, off the court, and the 21-year-old really listened to what he said. He knew that, and now he has won three Slams, too. A great comment.

“Every time that I talk to him, we had a conversation, I was really focused,” Alcaraz said. “Every word I’m hearing from him, it is amazing for me,” he said. “He watched a lot of my matches. Yesterday when I practiced with him, he congratulated me about the French Open, that it was an amazing stuff. He’s a legend.”

Alcaraz is playing in cinch Championships, but lost in straight sets to Jack Draper in the round of 16.

“I love watching him play. I mean, his style, it’s really amazing to watch. He’s really aggressive. I love these kind of players.”

Four Slam champions were given wild cards into Wimbledon: Naomi Osaka, Angelique Kerber, Emma Raducanu and Caroline Wozniacki.

There was a fine match on Thursday with Jessica Pegula taking out Donna Vekic 6-4, 7-5.

Both Taylor Fritz and Sebastian Korda won, so maybe if they can really understand on the difficult grass, they will even further, just like Pete Sampras did.

Katie Boulter wins Nottingham, Andreescu out in final

Bianca Andreescu

The 27-year-old Katie Boulter was pretty decent over the past eight years, but she wasn’t able to beat the very good players, consistently. Well this year, she began to be more aggressive, and also, with some extra shots. On Sunday, she won Rothesay Open, Nottingham, beating Emma Raducanu and Karolina Pliskova. It was difficult that week with a lot of rain, but on the grass, she stood in there,  and she rarely did not collapse.

“To come out here and play some seriously good tennis and get over the line, I’m not entirely sure how I did it in the end. But I’ve gone back-to-back and I’m super proud of myself,” Boulter said.

That was in England, and in February in San Diego, the United States, Boulter’s won it on the hardcourts. She has become very consistent and flatted it out. Her first serve is hard, and she can hit it into the corners. She has beat a number of solid players, but she has yet to beat any of the top 10s competitors this year. Maybe she can rise again, as this week, she will be in Birmingham. 

That was a stringy match when Liudmila Samsonova beat the Canadian Bianca Andreescu 4-6, 6-3, 7-5 in the final at Libema Open in the Netherlands. 

The Russian Samsonova has had a so-so year, but when she is really on, she can out-hitter. Even last year in Beijing, she reached into the final at a huge event, and she beat Petra Kvitova, Jelena Ostapenko and Elena  Rybakina, before she lost against the No. 1, Iga Swiatek. That was darn, good. 

On Sunday, the No. 15 Samsonova was battling, all the time. She had to, as in the semis, she bashed over Ekaterina Alexandrova, and in the final, she slammed over Andreescu. As she once said, “I think [the mental] was the part where I had more difficulties, to play all the weeks on the same level. I think I had the tennis level, I had the physical level already, but I didn’t have the mental level to do it consistently,” Samsonova said. 

Andreescu lost, and in third set, she had to take  an off-court medical timeout. Then she was done. However, she was very pleased. 

“For me, this is definitely a step forward,” Andreescu said. “I’ve been through a lot for quite some time, especially the last 10 months. This is just my second tournament back. Obviously it’s upsetting, but I know there are good things coming for me.” 

Sebastian Korda is rising, almost the top 20

Sebastian Korda
Mal Taam/MALTphoto

Sebastian Korda has reached into the final at ‘s-Hertogenbosch, Netherlands, and the American has played very well this week. However, the 23-year-old is still up and down, but that is why that he will reached into the top 20 for the first time. He might reach into the top 10, at some point, as long as he can stay the course, and understand whether if he has to hit harder, or be more patient. He plays a lot, not only in the United States, but also in Europe. He has been doing it for a very long time, as he lives in Florida, and his father, Petr Korda, also played, and he won the 1998 Australian Open. 

He talks with his son, but Petr also has to watch his daughters, Jessica and Nelly, who are pro golfers on LPGA Tour. At the top. Wow.

However, Sebastian Korda not only his dad, but another coach is Radek Stepanek. The Czech reached No. 8, and he won five titles, but he never was able to go to super deep at the Slams. Maybe Sebastian Korda will try to do so, but he does want to go much better.

“Radek, we’ve been around each other for basically my whole life. My dad coached him for 15 or so years, so he’s family,” Sebastian Korda said. “He knows me better than anyone else out there. We’ve put in a lot of great, hard work. It’s been unfortunate that I had a wrist injury for so long [in 2023], so you can’t really do too much. Now hopefully that’s passed us, and we can put in some good work.  We’re definitely trending the right way. We’re playing some better tennis now and putting a lot more work on the tennis court, which is great. Hopefully we can have some better results in the near future.”

Last year, he did get an injury, and he stopped for three months. He was barely so-so, so gradually, he got a little better. This week on the grass, he beat  Tommy Paul in the quarters,   which was huge, but he has yet to beat a top 10 in 2024. Very good luck in the final, because he has to face against the No. 9 Alex de Minaur. Korda will have to play excellent, as he hasn’t beaten anyone in the top 10 since a year ago. Plus  de Minaur beat him in Rotterdam. Is Korda  really rising?

Speaking of which, Coco Gauff  is No. 2, and that is terrific, but in the semis at Roland Garros, she could not play consistently, and she lost against Iga Swiatek. She wasn’t hitting the ball, cleanly, and she went to make way too errors, a lot. She is still young, but she has been around for four years. Yes, she has improved her forehand, and with her serve, too, and it is still good, but not great, yet. She has won one Grand Slam, and eventually, she will grab it again, but  exactly when? Maybe at Wimbledon, coming up?  Perhaps, as Gauff will rush the net a lot, on the grass, and to attack. Swiatek has now won four Slam in Paris. She is just so darn good, with her forehand, her backhand, and returning. The No. 1 Swiatek hasn’t won Wimbledon either, so that will be a huge challenge. The same goes with Gauff, who hasn’t won it either, so  there has to be eight players to go very deep  in the second week. But which one?  

“If you’re playing against anybody in I would say the top 10, I feel like the margins are smaller. Even against Ons [Jabeur]  I felt like my margins were smaller,” she said. “And that’s just when you play higher-ranked players, you know that some mistakes that you make aren’t going to — when you’re playing somebody who maybe isn’t as experienced or just not as talented maybe, you know that eventually you’re going to get back some of the mistakes.  When you’re playing anybody, honestly, in the top 10 at this point, you know that you can’t give anybody free points. I feel like against her and against any top player you do feel like your margins are smaller because you know they’re probably not going to give that back to you. If they do, it’s not maybe at a scale of somebody who’s less experienced.”

That is correct, when you are playing, you almost have to play well and win it. If someone is sick, and slow, or kick it out, then you could win, almost easily. However, if she is playing terrific, then you have to play almost perfect.  

 Gauff said that while she lost against Swiatek, she wasn’t horrible. However, she has to be calm, and accurate.

 “I think it was the execution that I didn’t do well on. I had a couple of break points early in the first set to break back,” who will play in  Berlin, next week.   “I made errors, a lot of short ball errors. I feel like I wasn’t always, hit off the court today. Now if I want to transcend to the next level, there’s a different way to play. Not that I can’t play defense, not passive, but making them work for the point, but I also know if I want to win more and stay at the top, then I have to be aggressive in certain moments and especially against [Iga].”

On grass, a new shot at Wimbledon for Swiatek

Iga Swiatek
Mal Taam/MALT photo

It is pretty obvious that Iga Swiatek won Roland Garros four times, and in the next few weeks, now she will try to win Wimbledon for the first time. Last year, she lost against the tough competitor, Elina Svitolina. Maybe they can face off again, or maybe not, but the No. 1 Swiatek wants to really try to change in up, on the slick grass. It depends on the day, when it can rain, a lot, or warm and sunny. No one really knows until it started.  

Swiatek is on the roll, winning Madrid, Rome and Roland Garros. She played fantastic, almost each match, but now she has to take a breath, and breath, and think about it.

She might have to, as Naomi Osaka almost beat her in the second round, but she came through, 7-5 in the third. However, she rose up, and the former No. 1 Osaka was a little erratic, but already, she is darn good. She has won four Grand Slams, but the Japanese has never gone into the third round at Wimbledon. She must do it ASAP, as on the court, she can be brilliant. But she has to play more consistent. 

This week, she is playing at the Libema Open, and she defeating versus Elise Mertens 6-2, 6-4. Impressive.

 “I’m kind of taking it as if this is my first year on grass,” Osaka said. “I think even now, this is my first time at this tournament so in some ways I feel like a newbie all over again. I’ve been in Europe since April, so this is a lot of commitment for me. I’m really happy that I’m doing this.”

She is ranking No. 125, so if she can win a few matches, then she will be  at Wimbledon, and she won’t have to qualify, unless they will give her a wild card. Either way.

In England, at the Rothesay Open, there are some interesting  matches. Almost everyone is there from Britain, such as the No. 30 Katie Boulter, who won it in San Diego on the hardcourts, and that has her best tournament, ever.  But after that, she began to struggle, so to go deep in Nottingham, she will drive hard, early. Two of the top seeds are Ons Jabeur and Marta Kostyuk.

The Americans really have a chance to win Wimbledon, with Coco Gauff, Jessica Pegula, Danielle Collins, Madison Keys, and Emma Navarro. None of them have reached into the final, but it is possible, as Serena and Venus Williams did it so many times. Both of them will nail the ball, with there first serves, there backhands, and there returns. Even Serena could also split her forehand, into the corners. The current players have watched her a ton, so then they must have seen them, on the court. Then try to do a new thing. Last year, Marketa Vondrousova won it, beating, believe it or not, Jabeur, in the final. Both of them could go very deep, this time.

The No. 5 Pegula just returned to play in the Netherlands of the Libema Open.The American had not played  since April when she got a rib injury. Now she feels much better, and she knows that she will have to play a lot now, on the grass, and the hard courts, and then in Paris on clay in July.  Good, luck.

“It’s just such a crazy year with the Olympics squeezed in. With my game, I’d rather be ready for grass and the rest of the hardcourt season and grind out the rest of the year, than try and push it for clay and it doesn’t feel well,” Pegula said.” That’s why we played it safe.”

She says that when she watched during Roland Garros, she thought that the No. 1 is stunning. 

“Iga dominated the clay season, what else is new,” Pegula said. “Now we go into grass and I’m sure the grass-court players will do well. I feel like I’m walking back into the same kind of thing. That’s good.”

Carlos Alcaraz: three-time Slam winner

Carlos Alcaraz
Courtesy of Babolat

In the Roland Garros final fifth set, Carlos Alcaraz was locked in. He knew that if he could crack the ball, everywhere, then he could win another Grand Slam. He certainly did, when he defeated Alexander Zverev 6-3, 2-6, 5-7, 6-1, 6-2.

That was stunning. However, in the last two sets, he became to hit it very hard, and he attacked, whenever he had to. He had played for hours, but he believed that he could still smash the ball, and throw in some incredible shots.

“I know that when I’m playing a fifth set, you have to give everything and you have to give your heart,” Alcaraz said. “I mean, in those moments, it’s where the top players give their best tennis.”

He has now won three Grand Slams, winning Roland Garros, Wimbledon and the US Open. He is only 21-years-old, and if the No. 2 continues to be healthy, he can certainly win many more Slams. He is content and he is getting better each month.

“Different tournaments, different aura, but I’m going to say: same feeling. I mean, winning a Grand Slam is always special,” he said.

No. 4 Zverev had a fine event, but in his last two sets, he collapsed, and he looked tired. Maybe in the final of a Slam, he could be be more forceful, or try to rush the net more.

But not with Alcaraz, who is so much smarter. In the semis, the Spaniard edged Jannik Sinner in five, tough sets. Once again, he hammered his forehand and his backhand.

“Last year I clearly failed that exam, but this time we’d done our homework,” said the Spaniard. “This year I managed to do much better. I think I passed the exam, but not with flying colors. It’s something I have to keep improving and as the years go by, I’ll feel even better.”

The Italian Sinner became No. 1, for the first time, and while he couldn’t win at Roland Garros, at least he won the Australian Open, the  ATP Masters 1000 title in Miami, and he reached the semis at Indian Wells, Monte Carlo and RG. He was disappointed in Paris, but now he is thrilled.  That was a gigantic achievement.

“It represents a great result of work ethic. It was one of my goals for myself and my team this year,” he said. “The most important goal is always to improve as a player and as a person, surrounding myself with great people. In the last period I’ve played some really good tennis. I’m very happy to be in this position.”

Here comes the grass
Will Alcatraz, Sinner or Zverev grab the Wimbledon title? Maybe, but it is totally different on the lawn. Perhaps a few of the American men will go deep there, such as Taylor Fritz, Ben Shelton, Tommy Paul, Sebastian Korda and Frances Tiafoe.

Fritz is not playing this week, but the rest are, in Netherlands and Germany. Even the current No. 12 Fritz lost super early at last year’s Wimbledon, so is it possible that maybe one American can reach into the second week? That would be good, as the US guys won it at Wimbledon, such as Pete Sampras and Andre Agassi. Sampras won it seven times, and Agassi did it once in the 1990s and the early 2000s. Will the young players push it and learn from it?

Roland Garros final: Carlos Alcaraz versus Alexander Zverev

Alexander Zverev

Eight years ago,  Rafa Nadal and Novak Djokovic won the title at Roland Garros. Finally, a couple “new” people have the chance to finally win it in Paris. The fast Carlos Alcaraz beat Jannik Sinner in five tough sets, at the semis, and then, Alexander Zverev pounded Casper Ruud in four sets.

Both of them certainly knows that if he is play great, most of the time, he would nail it in the corners, and win it. But it is complicated, as both Alcaraz and Zverev can be patient, and wait until he has a chance to strike it with a winner. Both of them can slap his forehand, low, and with his backhand, it could be  wicked, and deep. Sometimes in the second serve, they will step closer, but in the first serve, they are way back, near the fence, even with the Spaniard. On court, they know that if he can be proficient, then he can control him.

This will be the 10th time with Zverev leads 5-4.  That is very close.

“We had very tough battles in the past,” Zverev said. “It’s going to be a difficult match. It is a Grand Slam final. If you’re in a Grand Slam final, you deserve to be there. That goes for both of us. I think both of is are expecting a tough battle.”

Alcaraz  has won the U.S. Open and Wimbledon, but he has yet to win Roland Garros. But now he is ready to make some incredible shot. He can miss some odd shots, but then, he can change it up, and throw in some amazing shots. He does think that his opponent can hit some huge  hits, super deep. Zverev can be very intense.

“Sascha, he’s playing great tennis on clay,” Alcaraz said. “Big serve, big shots, really solid. It’s going to be a really interesting final.”

In there four matches, Zverev beat Alcaraz at the Aussie Open in the quarters, in four difficult sets, but in 2023, the Spaniard won it at Madrid and the U.S. Open. Then the German grabbed it at the ATP Finals. Essentially, it is tied, but Zverev will finally win a Grand Slam, 6-4, 7-6, 7-5, 7-5. He will finally make it.

Roland Garros final: Will Jasmine Paolini upset Iga Swiatek?

Iga Swiatek
Mal Taam/MALT photo

Who would have thought that Jasmine Paolini have reached the final at a Grand Slam? Over the past 10 years, she wasn’t close, but finally, she started to try to hit the ball, much harder. And she made it, beating Mirra Andreeva 6-3, 6-1, a quick day in the semis. She was sprinting, left and right, into the corners, and back. Anytime she had a chance to rip it, she did, most of the time, because Andreeva threw in some many errors. Perhaps she was sick, but she was totally out of it.

Now, though, Paolini  has to face against the No. 1 Iga Swiatek, who is totally on fire. She won Madrid, Rome, and over the past 13 days at Roland Garros, she has been so intense, on the court. In the semis, Swiatek beat Coco Gauff 6-2, 6-4, pretty clean. Yes, Gauff had a small change to win in the second set, but Swiatek just hammered it with his  forehand. Plus, while Gauff has improved substantial, but her second serve and her forehand was spotty, at best. Yet Swiatek is much more calm, during the matches, and plus, she wants to attack, anytime she wants to. During the match, she can change her direction. 

On Saturday, she has one four Grand Slams. Another? Perhaps.

“After the tournament it usually hits me what I achieved, but during it, I feel like I just need to play another match,” said Swiatek. “Sometimes, it’s hard not to see what’s at stake and what the atmosphere is around these matches. I’m not used to it. It’s not the routine. On the other hand, when I’m focused on work, I can make it a routine because that’s easier to do.”

The Italian Paolini will have to play 100 percent, and make sure that  Swiatek will slam it, early. Even a few years ago, Paolini lost a lot, maybe because she pushed the ball, when it was close. This year, though, she knew that she had to rise up, risky of not. 

The 28-year-old Paolini said that she needed to change, and better, to everyone. “Often, I heard, ‘You play well’ and ‘You could do more. You can get good results,” she said, who is now ranked No. 7. “You could do great things.’ But I never really believed it deep down, which is something that has changed lately. The on-court results are something tangible, more concrete, to me than someone telling me, ‘You can do great things.’ It helps to win more matches — or even lose ones that were hard-fought against strong opponents.”

While Paolini has had a terrific tournament at Roland Garros, but with the Polish person on court, she will be very stable. Because if that, Swiatek will win it in straight sets, quickly.

A toss-up: Alcaraz versus Sinner in the RG semis

Jannik Sinner
Mal Taam/MALTphoto

The former No. 1, Rafa Nadal, has won Roland Garros 14 times. On clay, he is the best player, ever. However, the other Spaniard, Carlos Alcaraz, also really likes on the clay, and in the past 12 days, he has played very aggressively. He out hit Stefanos Tsitsipas in three tough sets, and while he did a few odd errors, he was composed, at the end.

Now in the semis he has to go against Jannik Sinner, who will soon be No. 1 on Monday. He will be thrilled, but if he loses in the semis or the finals, then he would be upset. Or maybe not.  The first thing is he has to be super patient, and really go for it, when the time is right.  Sinner has improved this year, and his forehand and his backhand can mix up, and smash it very hard. Alcaraz has an amazing ground strokes, and the two-time champion has improved his first serve. The young player is very fast, when he is running, and he also is very solid at the net. They are close when they have played each other, as they have had eight matches, 4-4. Is that close enough? Yes. They have only played on the clay once, and Umag, and the Italian Sinner won it. At the Slams, Sinner beat Alcaraz at Wimbledon, but at the 2022, the Spaniard defeated him, and he won the US.Open. They have played only once in 2024, at Indian Wells, and Alcaraz beat him in three demanding sets.

In a sense, they know  each other, pretty well. Both of them think that if he is totally on, then he can really go for it, with his first serve, close to the lines.

“Everything [Sinner] does, he does it perfectly,” Alcaraz said. “The way that he hits the ball is unbelievable. The way he moves, it’s really, really [good]. He pushes you to the limit in every ball, in every point. I think it is the hardest thing to face Jannik. At the same time, I love that. I love these kind of matches. I love this kind of challenge, to have a really difficult battle against him.”

Sinner will try to slap with his forehand, somewhat  deep, yet Alcaraz will attempt to go down the line with his quick spin.   It will likely be a marathon, and in the end, in the fifth set, Alcaraz will win it 6-4, in four hours.

Can Alexander Zverev will finally win a Grand Slam?

Well, over the past week, he was struggle, but he made it. From the backcourt, he was so consistent, crosscourt, and down the line. He rarely gets tired now, and his goal is to win a Slam for the first time.

“I’m in another semifinal here, which I’m very pleased about. Of course I want to win one,” said Zverev. “I want to be in the finals. That’s my main focus.”

He has to face the 25-year-old Casper Ruud, who really loves on the clay, having reach into the final at the 2023 Roland Garros. He lost against Novak Djokovic, but in the semis, he beat Zverev. Yes, this year, he came big again, but in the semis, Ruud was on fire, while Zverev collapsed. Maybe the German will do some knew shots, that fool him. Or, Ruud can trick him, again.

“Okay, I won’t play perfect, but I’m going to be a tough player to beat in best-of-five sets on clay,” said Ruud. “That’s the kind of mentality that has been working for me.  I know if the opponents want to beat me, they’re going to have to play really good tennis for at least three full sets, and I’m going to try to make it tough for them. Physically I’m going to try to be in good shape and make them suffer if I can.”

Ruud knows that Zverev can be very intense for hours, but he does know that on the clay, he can exhaust him. He will, and Ruud will win it 6-7, 7-7, 6-4, 6-3.

Can Coco Gauff  upset Iga Swiatek in the semis?

Coco Gauff
Mal Taam/MALTphoto

Is it possible that Coco Gauff will beat against Iga Swiatek for the second time? Maybe, but the Polish person has beaten the American 10 times, and Gauff beat her just one time, in Cincinnati, on the hardcourts. At Roland Garros on Thursday, Gauff is going to have to chance a few tactics, and make sure that she can try to crush her forehand, as Swiatek knows that she is more solid, and deeper, too. Last year at RG in the quarters, Swiatek  beat Gauff 6-4,  6-2, with some amazing shots. 

Yes, Gauff has a terrific backhand, and she is very quick, when she is running. Also, she loves the net, but Swiatek has a better serve, and she is not only can immediately attacks, but also, she can jump on the lines. Eventually, Gauff will beat her again, but exactly, when and where on the clay? Swiatek has won four Grand Slams — three at the French Open — and one at the 2022 U.S. Open. Gauff has won just one at a Slam, at the 2023 U.S. Open. Gauff has improved a lot of the past two years, yet she was unable to win a tournament since January, which is OK, yet Swiatek just won Madrid and Rome. She is on fire, beating  Gauff 6-4, 6-3 in Rome. 

“I remember last year was really stressful for me, so every match was kind of like a relief,” Swiatek said. “Now I’m enjoying it more, and I have more satisfaction from just playing my game. Two years ago, I would say in my mind it felt pretty similar, because I just felt like I had already a great season, and now I can just go for it.”

Iga Swiatek will win it 6-4, 5-7, 6-3 in the third set.

All of a sudden, the 17-year-old Mirra Andreeva rose up, super high.  In the third set, she was comfortable, while Aryna Sabalenka threw in some unusually bad shots, and she lost  6-7(5), 6-4, 6-4.

Andreeva went for it a lot, down the lines, and closer  into the corners. Her serve isn’t great yet, but her forehand and her backhand was huge.  She has to face against the Italian, the  Jasmine Paolini, who stunned Elena Rybakina 6-2, 4-6, 6-4,  her first time at the Grand Slam semis. Over the past 10 days, she has been very impressive, pushing herself, trying to hit it harder and harder, rather then just putting it back in. She also scrambled, and managed to confuse with Rybakina, who almost won, but she missed some wild, out, shots. 

So now, both Paolini and Andreeva have reached the semis at a Slam, so clearly, when they come on the court, they will be nervous, but when they start, one of them will lock it in. They will have some cool rallies, and some tremendous shots, but in the end, the veteran Paolini will win it 4-6, 7-6, 6-3. 

Roland Garros: Will Alex de Minaur beat Alexander Zverev?

Alexander Zverev
Mal Taam/MALTphoto

Eventually, the very good players finally understand how to figure out on the clay.

Up until this year, the Australian Alex de Minaur looked very good on the hard courts, but in the slow surfaces on the dirt, he could be very impatient. But now de Minaur became committed, and two days ago, he stunned to beat Daniil Medvedev in four sets. He has yet to reach the semis at the Grand Slams. In January, he won the United Cup in the hard courts, beating Alexander Zverev in the final. Now his confidence is high there, which is good, as over the past two months, he wasn’t great yet, but he was pretty solid.  

“Well, I screamed, ‘I love the clay. I love it here. I can’t get enough,’” De Minaur said, who has to face Alexander Zverev in Roland Garros. “I’m pretty happy, (I’m) not going to lie. (I) managed to beat a quality opponent in a Grand Slam fourth round, which is one of the goals that I had been setting for myself to go deeper at these events. I’m very proud of myself.”

De Minaur is ready to win another match, but Zverev has beaten de Minaur seven times, and lost just two. In Paris, Zverev won a very close match, twice, in the five setter. At times, he can back off, but when he has to, he can swing away, deep, and close to the lines. Zverev  will not be nervous, yet, but de Minaur might panic when it is super close.

“They gave me a lot of slack for me complaining all these years of my level on the clay, but now it looks like it’s one of my best slam results. It looks like I’ve converted myself into a clay specialist,” de Minaur said.

Zverev beat de Minaur at Indian Wells in March. So he will do it again, but maybe not in five setters. The German will collapse. Perhaps.

Aryna Sabalenka is playing very solid, even better, as she will rake the ball. She has to face the 17-year-old Mirra Andreeva, who is so quick. The Russian Andreeva can slam the ball, especially with her hard backhand. Her forehand is pretty good, but she has a lot of work to do over the years. Sabalenka is now much more calm in the Slams, and her serve has improved a lot. Her forehand and her backhand are terrific, and now she can change it up, more. The Belarusian  Sabalenka  will win it in two, tough sets.

When Elena Rybakina is on, it looks like that she can win another Grand Slam, like she did at the 2022 at Wimbledon. But that is on the grass, so with the clay, you have to be patient and really set it up. At Roland Garros,  Rybakina is attacking early, and she is more thoughtful. But at times, she can become very frustrated.

She has to face against Jasmine Paolini who has a good year, and while she isn’t very tall, she can run for a very long time. She is fast, and she can move forward, and try to put it away.  The Italian Paolini has played for 10 years,  and while she has played much better, but  Rybakina will pound her and win in in straight sets.