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Richard Gasquet, of France, serves to Roberto Bautista Agut, of Spain, during the Western & Southern Open tennis tournament, Friday, Aug. 16, 2019, in Mason, Ohio. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)
Richard Gasquet, of France, serves to Roberto Bautista Agut, of Spain, during the Western & Southern Open tennis tournament, Friday, Aug. 16, 2019, in Mason, Ohio. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)|Associated Press
Tennis

Western & Southern Saturday men's semis: Abrams picks Richard Gasquet vs David Goffin, Novak Djokovic vs Daniil Medvedev

The first men's semifinal is scheduled for 1 pm EDT.

Neal Abrams

Neal Abrams

Western and Southern Open

Cincinnati, OH

Saturday, August 17, 2019

Men’s Saturday Semifinal picks

Richard Gasquet over David Goffin

After the resurgent Richard Gasquet’s quarterfinal victory over the very tough Roberto Bautista Agut, in which the stylish Frenchman took a 7-6, 3-6, 6-2 decision, how can you bet against him? When Gasquet is on, he can hit groundies with anyone, but his game really depends on movement, and he only this week seemed to show the ability to cover the court like he used to. Goffin has had a nice run this week, but when Japan’s Yoshi Nishioki withdrew from their quarterfinal showdown because of illness, Goffin missed a day of match play, and it is difficult to determine how well he is playing because he’s had a relatively easy draw. For a draw in which the bottom half originally housed Rafa Nadal, Dominic Thiem, Kei Nishikori, RBA, Borna Coric, Alex de Minaur, Andy Murray, Marin Cilic, FA2, and Sascha Zverev, who would have thought that Gasquet and Goffin would come out of that half battling to reach the finals? But that’s where we are, and since upsets have been the rule, rather than the exception in this half, why not expect just one more?

Novak Djokovic over Daniil Medvedev

Eighth-ranked ranked Daniil Medvedev, the 23-year-old 6’6” Russian, has a chance to beat #1 Novak Djokovic. The last time they played, the Russian took a 6-3, 4-6, 6-2 decision on the slow clay in the Playground of Mankind, Monte Carlo. But the three times they’ve played before that, all on fast surfaces, Djokovic prevailed, and it is reasonable to expect the Serbian to win again. But Medvedev has been lights out lately, and he took out countryman Andrey Rublev with relative ease, 6-2, 6-3 in the quarters, after Rublev stunned Roger Federer the round before. I think The Joker wins this one, based on style alone. Both are power baseliners, although Medvedev has the serve to be much more aggressive. As long as these guys both stay back and pound groundies at each other, Nole should win, because he makes fewer mistakes, and opens up the court with angled shots better than the Russian. But if Medvedev could adjust his style to find his way to net, he’s got a puncher’s chance. Unfortunately for the guy ranked #8, he feels more comfortable from the baseline, and probably won’t see the light to get his tail to net until it’s too little too late.

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