French Open R4 previews and predictions: Goffin vs. Gulbis, Thiem vs. Granollers

Quarterfinal spots will be at stake on Monday in Rafael Nadal’s suddenly wide open section of the Roland Garros draw. David Goffin, Ernests Gulbis, Dominic Thiem, and Marcel Granollers all of grand designs of a huge run.

(12) David Goffin vs. Ernests Gulbis

Goffin and Gulbis will be squaring off for the third time in their careers when they battle for a place in the French Open quarterfinals on Monday. They split their two previous encounters; Gulbis survived 6-1, 3-6, 7-6(5) two years ago on the hard courts of Acapulco before Goffin got the job done 3-6, 6-1, 7-5 last spring on the clay of Madrid. They have practiced extensively together the past few offseasons, with the Latvian saying that he “couldn’t beat him because the guy is like a wall.”
Goffin 1
Very few players have been able to beat Goffin of late–at least not before the latter stages of most tournaments. Having previously never advanced to a Masters 1000 semifinal, the 13th-ranked Belgian accomplished that feat in both Indian Wells and Miami. He most recently advanced to the quarterfinals in Rome, a run that featured a 6-0, 6-0 double-bagel of Tomas Berdych. So far this fortnight Goffin has taken out Gregoire Barrere, Carlos Berlocq, and Nicolas Almagro (the latter in five sets). Gulbis has already accounted for almost half of his 2016 win total at this tournament alone. His defeats of Andreas Seppi, Joao Sousa, and Jo-Wilfried Tsonga bring his victory count to eight for what had been a dreadful season. Of course, it has to be said that the world No. 80 received a third-round gift in the form of a Tsonga retirement with the Frenchman leading 5-2 in the opening set. Clay favors Gulbis, who has an easier time of hitting through this surface than Goffin. But on any court, this is a favorable matchup for the No. 12 seed, whose flawless ball-striking and defensive skills will frustrate an opponent that is prone to bouts of inconsistency.

Pick: Goffin in 4

Marcel Granollers vs. (13) Dominic Thiem

Thiem vs. Rafael Nadal was one of the fourth-round showdowns everyone eagerly anticipated when the draw was revealed. Instead, it will be Thiem vs. Granollers on Monday after a wrist injury forced Nadal to withdraw and give his fellow Spaniard a walkover. The 22-year-old Austrian is a perfect 3-0 in this head-to-head series and all three of his victories came two years ago on clay; 3-6, 6-3, 6-2 in Barcelona, 2-6, 6-3, 7-5 in Hamburg, and 6-4, 7-5 in Kitzbuhel.

An alarmingly packed schedule has not slowed Thiem down at Roland Garros. The world No. 15 has played 49 matches this season (his 39 wins are second on tour behind Novak Djokovic) and he captured the Nice title one day before this tournament started. Thiem booked his spot in the last 16 by beating Inigo Cervantes, Guillermo Garcia-Lopez, and Alexander Zverev. No player in all of tennis has been more fortunate than Granollers during this clay-court swing. He got lucky loser spots and byes to the second round in both Monte-Carlo and Madrid, parlaying the Monte-Carlo opportunity into a quarterfinal run. Prior to Nadal’s withdrawal, the world No. 56 received a retirement from Nicolas Mahut in round two at Roland Garros. This is where Granollers’ luck will likely run out, as Thiem boasts superior talent in every department and did not waste too much energy in his first three victories.

Pick: Thiem in 3

12 Comments on French Open R4 previews and predictions: Goffin vs. Gulbis, Thiem vs. Granollers

  1. I also have Thiem in 3 and Goffin in 4. Have been thrilled with how well Thiem has been playing.

  2. Gulbis would lose a championship even if he were the only contender, somehow he would find a way to f it up… him and Verdasco are the clearer examples of wasted natural talent

  3. The RG scoreboard team have just flashed up Goffin was serving for the match. They had forgotten they play five sets in the Slams 🙂 Goffin is now up 2:1 against Gulbis.

  4. What’s come over Gulbis. Is under orders from Breznick not to throw hissy fits or trash his racquets?

  5. Gulbis split with Austrian coach before FO.
    Gulbis played fine until he made stare at noisy crowd, both times he done that he lost his serve. He recently said he dont train on official courts between games to avoid spectators, he trains somwere else. So he gets iritated esily I think.

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