1. Winning the week before Roland Garros is a waste of time
I hope Almagro either got a nice title bonus from his sponsors or hooked up with some hot French models last week in Nice because otherwise he’s going to regret playing there.
It wasn’t the brightest decision he’s even made and without being overly smug about it, it wasn’t exactly a surprise to see him pay the price for his efforts last week.
When he was battling to stay in the match in the last game of his five set defeat to Lukasz Kubot, he hit two superb backhand passing winners but didn’t even celebrate.
Either he had mentally checked out or he just had nothing left physically.
2. Murray’s draw got a whole lot easier
With Almagro’s exit, the man who beat Murray in the 2008 third round is out.
Looking at his quarter there isn’t a clay courter of the calibre of Tomas Berdych or Fernando Gonzalez – the last two players to beat the Scot in Roland Garros.
Jurgen Melzer showed last year that he can trouble anyone but it’s a match-up Murray seems to like.
Aleksandr Dolgopolov could be a tough fourth round opponent if he can find some form but either way, Murray could hardly have scripted a path to the semi-final any better
3. Americans can clay on clay
But then I knew that already. Anyone who follows me on twitter or reads this blog regularly is probably sick of me beating the same drum over and over but poor results have mostly been down to their pathetic attitude.
Admittedly it helps that the courts are playing so quickly but either way John Isner put up an impressive display in a five set defeat to Nadal and Philipp Kohlschreiber is a good scalp for Querrey regardless of his current form. Which leads me to…
4. Kohlschreiber is going backwards
He’s currently ranked outside the top 40 and his relationship with Miles Maclagan doesn’t seem to have done him much good.
Kohlschreiber must be one of the biggest underachievers on tour. He has a decent first serve, huge groundstrokes and is one of the better volleyers in the top 50.
Yes, erratic power players are a dime a dozen in men’s tennis these days but two Mickey Mouse titles and no appearances in a slam quarter-final is a poor return for a player of his ability.
5. Nadal looks vulnerable than he ever has done at Roland Garros
Although Isner played a superb match, Nadal just did not look himself and I can’t remember him ever netting as many attempted passing shots.
Being taken to five sets in the first round just isn’t a good sign.
Commentators like to talk up the benefits of getting through a tight first round match but the simple fact is that Gaston Gaudio is the last player to win a slam after being taken to five in his opening match.
I have no idea who the last person was before that but it’s ages ago, trust me.
While that statistical quirk may be against him, being pushed to five by Robin Haase and Philipp Petzschner in the second and third rounds of Wimbledon didn’t do Nadal a whole lot of harm at the business end of the tournament and it would take a special kind of stupid to write Nadal off at Roland Garros.