by: Tom Cochrane

Women’s third seed Agnieszka Radwanska was the biggest casualty on Day 6, the Pole sensationally bundled out of the tournament 6-1 6-2 by former French Open champion Svetlana Kuznetsova.

Day 6 Recap

The other big names in the women’s tournament managed to avoid defeat on Day 6, with Victoria Azarenka rounding off a straight sets victory just before sunset and Sam Stosur racing out to a 4-0 first set lead against Nadia Petrova and never looking back in a straight sets win over an opponent who has troubled her in the past.

Croat Petra Martic knocked off another seed, this time taking out Spain’s Anabel Medina Garrigues, while Germany’s Angelique Kerber enjoyed a hard-fought 3 set victory over the Italian Flavia Pennetta.

Among the men, Roger Federer dropped a set against Nicolas Mahut but still prevailed with relative ease, Novak Djokovic was businesslike in a straight sets win, and Jo-Wilfried Tsonga was too good for a fatigued Fabio Fognini. Stanislas Wawrinka and Tomas Berdych both came back from 2 sets to 1 down to defeat high-quality opponents, as Wawrinka outlasted Gilles Simon and Berdych overcame Kevin Anderson.

Juan Martin Del Potro continued to build momentum on Day 6, the Argentine outclassing Marin Cilic, but the news was not so good for Spain’s Fernando Verdasco, the fourteenth seed upset by Italy’s Andreas Seppi.

Matches of the Day – Day 7

1. David Ferrer vs. Mikhail Youzhny

I have pencilled in David Ferrer to make the semi-finals of this tournament, and so far the Spaniard has gone about his matches with a minimum of fuss. If it weren’t for the incredible abilities of his countryman Rafael Nadal, Ferrer might have claimed far more clay-court trophies, but in any event the diminutive Spaniard is a very talented player in his own right.

Youzhny has done well to make the round of 32 after being handed a reasonably difficult draw, but on clay I can’t see the Russian doing much more damage than scoring a set off Ferrer. And even that is hard work against the super-fit and ever-consistent Spaniard. Ferrer in 3.

2. Tommy Haas vs. Richard Gasquet

After battling his way through qualifying, Tommy Haas is now through to the third round of the main draw and is clearly enjoying his time in Paris. I think Haas has got a pretty good shot at upsetting Gasquet in this encounter, as the Frenchman is someone who probably feels that playing in Paris is just as much of a burden as it is an advantage.

Gasquet did well to see off the dangerous Grigor Dimitrov in the previous round (despite vomiting on court after a 38 stroke rally!), but Haas is a far more experienced opponent. To my mind, this is almost an even-money bet, but I’ll take Gasquet by a whisker. Gasquet in 5. 

3. Kaia Kanepi vs. Caroline Wozniacki

A quarter-finalist in Paris in 2008, Estonia’s Kaia Kanepi experienced some ups and downs on the WTA Tour in the years that followed, but in the last 12 months or so she has become a far more consistent and dangerous player, winning the title in Brisbane earlier this year and hovering around the world’s top 20.

Wozniacki did well in her last match to nullify the power game of Jarmila Gajdosova, and the Dane will have to employ similar tactics against Kanepi, who is a back of the court slugger as well. Kanepi could well push Wozniacki, but I think the ninth seed will have a bit too much class and creativity in the decider. Wozniacki in 3.

4. Santiago Giraldo vs. Andy Murray

Down a set and a break against Jarkko Nieminen and suffering from some severe back pain, Andy Murray later admitted he was only a few points away from retiring from the match. But the Scot went for broke on a few points and his high-risk approach paid off. Over the course of the match, the fourth seed’s back loosened up a bit and eventually Murray was victorious in 4 sets.

Murray will need his back to be properly loose against Giraldo in this clash, as the Colombian is a very solid clay-court player who enjoyed a quality win over Aussie teen Bernard Tomic in the second round. After that match, Tomic rated Giraldo as being among the top 10 to 15 clay-courters on the ATP Tour. But assuming his back is OK, I think Murray will be very focused after his scare against Nieminen and will be looking to win through with a minimum of fuss. Murray in 4.

5. Juan Monaco vs. Milos Raonic

This is an intriguing match-up, as it pits a classic clay-courter enjoying the best season of his career to date against a rising star who is not at his best on the red dirt but whose big serve should see him enter the top 10 at some stage over the next year or so. On grass or hard-courts, I’d be backing Raonic (despite Monaco having performed well in the American hard-court tournaments earlier this year), but on clay it’s a tougher one to call.

For Raonic, the focus will be on keeping the points short and serving well. Monaco, on the other hand, will look to neutralise the big serve of Raonic and will back himself to win the majority of the long rallies from the baseline. I’ll go with Monaco but I think Raonic has the talent to win if he can ensure the match is played on his terms. Monaco in 5.

Put your house on: Rafael Nadal to ease past Argentina’s Eduardo Schwank, who is better known for his doubles prowess, without getting out of second gear.

Upset alert: If his fitness is OK (and that’s a big if), then Paul-Henri Mathieu could back up his marvellous win over John Isner with another upset win, this time against twentieth seed Marcel Granollers.

Likely to go the distance: Janko Tipsarevic should prevail against Julien Benneteau, but I suspect the French crowd will spur Benneteau on and make this into another 5-set thriller.

That’s it for today. Enjoy the tennis and I’ll be back with another serve tomorrow.

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