Five things we learned on day 13 of Roland Garros 2016


  • The review’s prediction is looking good

We said we had a feeling that Garbine Muguruza was going to win the title. Well, she is into the final. She crushed the 20th seed Samantha Stosur 6-2 6-4. On day 14, Muguruza will take on the top seed Serena Williams.

  • The review’s prediction is not looking so good

Two years ago in the second round Muguruza destroyed Williams 6-2 6-2. “I learned so much from that match,” Williams said. “I hate to lose but when I do I hope it was worth it. And that match was needed and worth it.” What exactly was gleaned will remain a mystery. But Williams added ominously that the information has allowed her to go on and win many more matches. The 34-year-old will sweep through the final if she maintains that level of mystery.

  • Stan’s had a good time

Defending champion Stan Wawrinka bowed out of the tournament on day 13. He lost his semi-final in four sets to the second seed Andy Murray. The Briton, said Wawrinka, was just too solid for him. But, just before he signed off, Wawrinka said he had a good run and probably wouldn’t have reached the last four had he not had the confidence of being defending champion. He said he also wanted to thank the organisers for doing the best they could under the circumstances. He added that Guy Forget, the new tournament director, had endured a baptism of fire. Bless.

  • Portents, portents

Rod Laver was in town on day 13. He was brought onto Centre Court before the men’s semi-final between Wawrinka and Murray and presented with a trophy from the French Tennis Federation acknowledging his achievements. There was some grainy video footage from his two triumphs at Roland Garros in 1962 and 1969. Those were less fussy days. He won, ran up to the net, shook the hand of his conquered foe and then shook the hand of the umpire. There was none of this clenched fist falling onto the ground and then climbing up into the stands to embrace the support group. Old school stuff. The youngsters could learn a thing or two about decorum. We mention Laver because he was the last man to win four grand slam tournaments on the trot. If Djokovic wins the final on day 15 against Andy Murray. He’ll emulate Laver’s feat – up to a point. Djokovic has won Wimbledon and the US Open in 2015 and the 2016 Australian Open. Laver won all four in the same year. Twice. Advantage Laver.

  • Not quite Thiem time

And so the young gun was spiked. Quite convincingly so. Djokovic saw off the 22-year-old Austrian Dominic Thiem 6-2 6-1 6-4 to reach the final for the second year in a row. Thiem showed his potential but the master exploited his rawness. Thiem, who was seeded 13th this year, is being paraded as one of the crop of youngsters most likely to inconvenience the big four of Djokovic, Roger Federer, Andy Murray and Rafael Nadal. Thiem has beaten both Federer and Nadal this year. But Djokovic is in a different league from those gentlemen. And he showed it. Departing champion Wawrinka thinks Djokovic will be holding the crown on day 15. We’ll see if his augury is as good as his backhand.

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