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When Good Picks Go Bad (or How I Thought the French Was Going to Go)

So I don't think I did the Pick 'em team any favors this go-around with my French Open predictions!
The semifinal brackets in both the men and women draws are set at the French, and I can't help but think of this: Man, did I blow it.

See, one of my favorite things to do at my blog, Tennis Talk, Anyone? is to make quarterfinal predictions and I usually do pretty good, with about four to six right in each draw. This year's French is officially the worst I've ever done with only 3 out of 16 picks right from both sides! Now, I had a pretty good deal of players make the round of 16, but they fell short of the Elite 8.

What I figured I'd do now to put my mind at ease as I gear up for Wimbledon is show you how I went about making my picks for the men's draw and why they didn't come to fruition. I figured if I at least do this, you'll know my mind was in the right place! You can find the post where I originally made my picks here:

Here's how I saw it:

1st quarter:
My call: Rafael Nadal vs. Fernando Verdasco
What happened: Robin Soderling vs. Nikolay Davydenko
Why I made my call: To me, this bracket was a no-brainer. You have to go with Rafa getting that far. We all know what happened there! As for Verdasco, I thought Davydenko wouldn't be healthy enough yet. I was even thinking Verdasco could've challenged Rafa. So much for that match-up! Now Soderling is all the way in the semis. I didn't even consider him a threat, figuring David Ferrer would've gotten him.

2nd quarter:
My call: Marin Cilic vs. Mikhail Youzhny
What happened: Andy Murray vs. Fernando Gonzalez
Why I made my call: You know how the only time you hear of Janko Tipsarevic doing anything is around the Slams? Well, I thought that was going to be the case here with him taking out Andy Murray, who I still wasn't convinced had a decent clay-court game. Guess I should stop saying that! And then I thought Cilic would knock out Tipsy. I was really tempted to go with Gonzo, but I knew he was injured at some point in the clay season, so I went with the player that had been playing decently the past few weeks in Youzhny. As far as I was concerned, Gilles Simon and Marat Safin in that section were nonfactors and they proved me right. (It's something I got right!)

3rd quarter:
My call: Juan Monaco vs. Novak Djokovic
What happened: Juan Martin del Potro vs. Tommy Robredo
Why I made my call: A result that I considered to be kind of surprising was Jo-Wilfried Tsonga knocking out Monaco, especially as how I thought the opposite was going to happen! Clay is definitely Tsonga's worst surface and Monaco's best. I thought Monaco was going to get both Jo-Willie and JMDP. Djokovic was another no-brainer to me. I thought he and Robredo in the 16s would've been a decent match, but I guess Phil Kohlschreiber had other plans!

4th quarter:
My call: Andy Roddick vs. Roger Federer
What happened: Gael Monfils vs. Roger Federer
Why I made my call: Wow! Federer is the only quarterfinalist I got right! I liked his draw from the start, even though I was a little concerned about him possibly playing Tomas Berdych in the fourth round. I was torn between going with Jurgen Melzer or Andy Roddick for his opponent. Monfils wasn't a possibility for me because he didn't even confirm he was going to play until the last minute! Even if he did decide to, I thought Melzer would've gotten him. Now, Roger better watch out tomorrow!

See? There's a method to my madness!

(Photo: Getty Images)

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Comment by Gaurav on June 7, 2009 at 9:30am
Roger Federer is standing on the brink of creating history as another win will ensure the Swiss maestro's legendary status in the tennis fraternity. Federer has been in phenomenal form from the past one month, pocketing the 15th Masters series trophy with a win over Nadal in M... and then coming through some gruelling matches against Tommy Haas and ofcourse the thriller against Juan Martin Del Potro in the semifinals of French ...thriller against Juan Martin Del Potro in the semifinals of French Open. With stakes backed by such strong wins, Federer will attempt to get past one last hurdle, Robin Soderling.

The talented man from Sweden proved to the world that his win over Rafael Nadal in the fourth round was not a flash in the pan. Infact, his come from behind victory over Fernando Gonzalez in the semifinals only gets him the spot in the 'A' league.

Check out Live Commentary of what will happen in this nail-biting final where both men will get into the ultimate slugfest to prove their mettle on the red clay of Roland Garros.
Comment by Meags on June 7, 2009 at 6:27am
I think a lot of people would have been similar to you. It just goes to show what a great tournament it has been with upsets and some of the best matches ive seen like Nadal v Sod and DP v Fed. I just hope Sod carries on the same way against Fed. We have all expected him to crash out at some stage but he has continued his power hitting all the way through and like we saw against Fed, DP played better than I have ever seen him and pushed Fed to the limit. If Sod has got a little more staying power than DP it could be a really interesting afternoon.
Fed to come thro though it just seems like destiny with what hes been through. I for one will be supporting the underdog to make a match of it, hope it goes all the way to a tight 5th.
Comment by Gaurav on June 5, 2009 at 11:51am
Good predictions and great analysis. My pick had always been Nadal in final and watch him taking on Federer once again in kingdom of clay.
But what a miss.
Federer's road to semifinal has been no less than a slugfest, With Acasuso challenging him in the second round, followed by an easy win over Frenchman Paul-henri Mathieu. The real test came in the pre-quarterfinals when the Swiss maestro beat Tommy Haas from a two-set deficit to reach the quarterfinals where he easily edged past another Frenchman Gael Monfils
And still struggling against Delpotro
Comment by Mark / The Mayor on June 4, 2009 at 10:42am
Great post Van!
I want to feature it on the front page. Can you crop the picture like mentioned here:

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