Roger Federer celebrates winning his fourth round match against Argentina’s Leonardo Mayer on  June 2 (Michel Euler)
Roger Federer celebrates winning his fourth round match against Argentina’s Leonardo Mayer on June 2 (Michel Euler)|Associated Press

Tennis Tuesday - Abrams on French Open Men’s Quarterfinals: Nadal v Nishikori, Federer v Wawrinka

Neal Abrams

Neal Abrams

Tuesday, June 4, 2019

Men’s Quarterfinals

Rafa Nadal over Kei Nishikori
I love the fact that Kei Nishikor upheld his seed and got to the quarters, but his run is over. Rafa is back to playing the kind of clay court tennis we are used to seeing from him, and he’s just a better player on this stuff than Nishikori. Maybe his 10-2 career record, or his 4-0 clay court record over the Japanese will convince you, but if it doesn’t, just watch this match. Nishikori will compete as hard as he always does, but it won’t matter. Nadal will move forward.

Roger Federer over Stan Wawrinka
This match is really a complete toss-up at this point in both of their careers. Because Federer is 37 and Wawrinka is 34, I’d lean towards Wawrinka, not only because the pain of playing and recovering from the matches is harder for a 37-year-old than a 24-year-old. In addition, Wawrinka has shed the cloak of mediocrity he’s been under for most of this year and has found his absolute “A” game. He’s won two straight matches that he had to lay it all out there for, a 7-6, 7-6, 7-6 victory over Dimitrov, and a 7-6, 5-7, 6-4, 3-6, 8-6 five-hour slug-fest over Tsitsipas. He not only played wonderful tennis, but competed like a madman, especially when his match with the Greed God went over the five-hour mark. His countryman, Roger Federer, however, hasn’t been tested, and has looked almost perfect in his four matches here in his first visit back to Paris in four years. Federer hasn’t lost a set yet, and for a 37-year-old, that spells good news. An argument could be made that a Grand Slam champion must be tested, but who said Federer won’t be tested by Rafa in the semis? He’s healthy, he’s rested, and he’s playing top-notch tennis. This may be an exhibition of fantastic tennis, but Federer should walk away the winner.

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