French Open – Men’s Quarter Finals (Tuesday 5th & Wednesday 6th June 2012)

Roger Federer (3) vs Juan Martin Del Potro (9)

Had you have asked Roger Federer who he would rather face in the last eight of the French Open from the last sixteen encounter between Juan Martin Del Potro and Tomas Berdych, he probably would have answered that he didn’t mind. Deep down however, I’d say the former would have been his preference and that is exactly what he has been given. Del Potro defeated one of my fancied outsiders in Berdych on Monday afternoon and will no doubt enter his quarter final match against Federer in great spirits. Federer can boast an 11-2 head to head record against the South American and having won their last five encounters with an aggregate set score of 11-0, he’ll believe he has the measure of Del Potro’s game.

That said, I’ve seen some flaws in the Federer game and aside from his first round match, he hasn’t been able to win through in straight sets. No disrespect meant towards Tobias Kamke, Adrian Ungur, Nicolas Mahut, or David Goffin, but Juan Del Potro is an entirely different proposition to the aforementioned quartet and will run Federer very close indeed. I can see this one going the distance with Federer coming out on top, although he’ll need to be at the very top of his game in order for that to happen.

Selection: Roger Federer
Score Prediction: 3-2 RESULT 3-2 !!!!

Novak Djokovic (1) vs Jo-Wilfried Tsonga (5)

The last time a Frenchman lifted the Coupe des Mousquetaires in Paris was way back in 1983 when Yannick Noah defeated Eurosport’s very own Mats Wilander in straight sets. For such a feat to be repeated, France’s only remaining hope Jo-Wilfried Tsonga will first and foremost need to defeat the top seeded Serbian and world number one Novak Djokovic.

Djokovic beat Tsonga earlier this year in Rome (also on clay) and by the Frenchman’s own admission, the red stuff is certainly not his favourite surface. Tsonga enjoys the grass court season far more than the clay court swing and even though Djokovic probably isn’t playing at the level he was playing at this time last year, Tsonga was only able to take a solitary set off Novak at Wimbledon last year and I don’t expect him to improve on that any come Tuesday.

Selection: Novak Djokovic
Score Prediction: 3-1 RESULT 3-2

David Ferrer (6) vs Andy Murray (4)

Andy Murray may be forgiven for feeling like he is living a somewhat charmed life this week in Paris. A fairly straightforward first round match against Japan’s Tatsuma Ito was followed by an eventful encounter with Finnish veteran Jarkko Nieminen. After losing a 37-minute first set 6-1, Murray was quick in calling the trainer on court to see to his back problem that is apparently no longer troubling him. Despite being broken early in the second, Murray was somehow able to get the better of Nieminen who didn’t play the most sensible match under the circumstances. A straight sets win against little-known Colombian Santiago Giraldo in round three meant Murray had to overcome home favourite Richard Gasquet and notwithstanding an error-strewn first set, Murray was absolutely outstanding against Gasquet, showing the kind of form he has yet to show on the clay this season.

Next up for Murray is one of three Spaniards in his half of the draw and David Ferrer will be a very tough nut to crack indeed. Having not dropped a set the entire tournament, Ferrer is clearly playing some very good tennis and will no doubt be keen to show that he deserves to reach his first Roland Garros semi final. Like many others, I was rather surprised to learn that Ferrer had never advanced past the last eight in Paris and I expect him to put that right on Wednesday.

Ferrer has an inferior head to head record against Murray 5-4. However, he crucially has a 3-0 record against Murray on the red stuff and in a best of five set match, I just can’t see Murray outlasting the Spaniard. Contrary to what the French public thought of Andy’s apparent gamesmanship against Gasquet on Monday, Murray is without question feeling the affects of a sore back and the last person (aside from Nadal) he’d want to see on the opposite side of the net is David Ferrer. He’ll give away few cheap points, chase absolutely everything and where possible, make Murray play one extra shot. Bluntly speaking, I wouldn’t fancy Murray if he was 100% which in my opinion he isn’t, so I’ll take Ferrer to overcome the Scot in a lengthy battle

Selection: David Ferrer
Score Prediction: 3-2 RESULT 3-1

Nicolas Almagro (12) vs Rafael Nadal (2)

Put simply, Rafael Nadal will be winning this quarter final. At the present time, there is absolutely nobody that can live with arguably the greatest player ever to grace a clay court and Nicolas Almagro will need to not only produce something quite special, but find Nadal having an ‘off day’ which are few and far between. Admittedly Almagro is in fantastic form. Since losing to Tomas Berdych in Rome, Almagro has won his last TWENTY sets of tennis, which included a tournament win in Nice.

Nadal has been in blistering form this past week and hasn’t even come close to dropping a set, never mind losing a match. He has started most of his matches around the 1.02 or 1.03 mark and hasn’t looked in any particular trouble at any stage.

Unfortunately for Almagro, I just cannot make a justifiable case for him to overcome Nadal on Wednesday. He has an inferior 7-0 head to head record against Nadal and I’d be astonished if this wasn’t made 8-0 with consummate ease.

Selection: Rafael Nadal
Score Prediction: 3-0 RESULT 3-0 !!

Follow Chris on Twitter @cdquinn86

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