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By Chris Oddo | @TheFanChild | Wednesday June 5, 2019


Rain wreaked havoc on Wednesday at Roland Garros, cancelling all play. So we cue it up again for Thursday—here’s what we’ll be watching on Day 12…

See the Full Day 12 #RG19 OOP Here

Time is of the utmost important for the men

Somebody on the men’s top half of the draw is going to be playing three best-of-five set matches in four days—while Rafael Nadal or Roger Federer on the top half will be playing two matches in five days. Rain fell hard at the most inopportune moment in Paris, with the bottom half men’s quarter-finals finished and the top half yet to play.

That creates a difficult scenario for top-seeded Novak Djokovic, who is ramping up his quest to carry all four major titles at once for the second time in Paris. To do it he’ll have to be efficient. He faces Alexander Zverev not before 2:30 Paris time on Thursday, and the contest with the German stands to be Djokovic’s most difficult test of the fortnight.

Djokovic, who has managed to get through four rounds in a blink-or-you-missed it 6:46, owns a 2-2 lifetime record against Zverev, which includes losses to the No.5 seed in the Rome final in 2017 and the ATP Finals title match in 2018.

Zverev has done himself no favors at Roland Garros, save for the most important one, which is to keep winning matches. The German is into his second consecutive Roland Garros quarter-finals but he’s needed 12:05 to do it. What will he have left for Djokovic on Thursday and has he found the type of form that will enable him to challenge the World No.1?

If the time on court is an underlying negative for Zverev the day off on Wednesday could actually help him. He’s had a second day to relax and recharge for the giant challenge of facing Djokovic.


Halep v the kid Anisimova

Simona Halep had no problem derailing the run of Poland’s 18-year-old Iga Swiatek in 45 dominant minutes. On Thursday she’ll look to tear up the dreams of another teenager—America’s Amanda Anisimova.

The 17-year-old American is the youngest Roland Garros quarter-finalist in 13 years and she has swept through her first four matches without dropping a set. But Halep will be an extreme challenge for Anisimova because the Romanian will likely find ways to make Anisimova move from her comfortable hitting zone on the baseline. Defense is not Anisimova’s forté and the more she has to move and react to Halep the tougher her task will be.


Halep, who has now won 11 straight matches in Paris, will have to get on offense as much as she can because Anisimova has the weapons to hurt anyone from the baseline.

“I hope that we're both going to be making a lot of backhand-down-line winners,” a thrilled Anisimova told reporters after reaching the quarter-finals in Paris. “We'll see.”

Keys and Barty battle again

The last time Madison Keys and Ash Barty met at Roland Garros it was a first-round affair and Barty was not too far removed from the beginning of her comeback after leaving the game to explore the world of being a professional cricket player. That was 2017 and Barty was just barely inside the Top 80. Keys won in straight sets, but two years on Barty outranks Keys and is in the midst of an absolutely brilliant campaign.

Stylistically the players are drastically different. Barty relies on craft, guile and shrewd serving, while Keys likes to crush big serves and forehands and let the chips fall where they may.

But when all is said and done this contest will come down to which player holds serve more effectively. Both Barty and Keys have been top-notch in that department in Paris, though they go about it in different fashion.

Will it be Barty, who will build points with spot serving and finish them with precision, or Keys who keeps points short and looks to overpower, that gets it done? We can’t wait to find out.

Thiem’s dream is Khachanov’s target

Dominic Thiem will bid to stretch his run of Roland Garros semi-finals to four against Karen Khachanov, a player that has struggled mightily in 2019 but has found his form once again in Paris.

The Russian entered this year’s draw with a 10-12 record on the season but has responded by reaching his first major quarterfinal.

Thiem fell to Khachanov in their only lifetime meeting and Thursday’s encounter should be an entertaining battle of players who can hit the cover off the ball.


 

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