Can Stan possibly defeat Rafa today?
Stan beat Novak here in 2015. There’s your huckleberry…
G’day from Roland Garros!
In order to “flash forward” to figure out who is going to win today’s Roland Garros men’s final between Rafael Nadal and Stan Wawrinka, we need to “flash back” to remind ourselves what is possible for Stan on Court Philippe Chatrier…
2015 Roland Garros Final: Wawrinka def. Djokovic 4-6, 6-4, 6-3, 6-4
Power toppled consistency. Down the line dominated cross court. Offense beat defense, and coming forward to the net beat staying back behind the baseline.
- Stan 60
- Novak 30
Stan was not supposed to beat Novak. He was not supposed to hit double the amount of winners. Novak was winning 56% of baseline points leading to the final, but won only 44% against the Swiss.
Stan simply overpowered Novak, and if he is to win today, he must do EXACTLY the same against Rafa. The blueprint for Stan was his 2015 victory over Novak. It’s time for a rinse, and repeat…
Stan’s forehand was by far the most dominant shot on the court, blasting 26 winners. Consider this – every other groundstroke winner on BOTH sides of the net totaled one more at 27.
Stan hit 15 forehand winners standing in the deuce court, including seven spectacular frozen ropes, hit as hard as he could crush the ball straight down the line.
Stan also hit 10 forehand winners standing in the Ad court, including seven run-around winners back behind Novak’s backhand, and added one return winner on the second point of the deciding set.
The forehand MUST be the biggest shot on the court once again today. No other shot matters as much for Stan as his forehand.
Backhand Down The Line
The beauty of this shot for Stan is that it will get the ball away from Nadal’s more lethal forehand – making the Spaniard have to hit more of his less potent backhands. Those backhands will typically come back cross court to Stan’s forehand. Genius…
With the 2015 final against Novak in the balance, Stan’s backhand down the line turned the lights out on Novak. Stan won the last three games of the match, hitting five pure backhand down the line winners in the final 22 points of the fourth set.
Stan At Net
A massive turning point was Stan coming back from 0-40 at 3-4 in the fourth set. Novak had won seven straight points from 3-3, 15-40, and the match was wildly swinging back his way. From 3-4, 0-40, Stan won five straight points on serve, finishing at the net on four of them, with the other being a service winner. When push came to shove, the front of the court is where he shifted the battle against Novak, and that dynamic is exactly the same today v Rafa.
Overall, Stan won 70 per cent (23/33) at the net, and 51 per cent (84/163) at the baseline.
2017 Roland Garros
- Stan 115
- Rafa 76
- Stan 57
- Rafa 31
Baseline Points Won
- Stan 50%
- Rafa 60%
Can Stan really upset Rafa today? It’s a huge ask. Playing Rafa on THIS court, with a 10th title on the line, seems incredibly daunting. But Stan climbed the mountain against Novak in 2015. The only player that is going to beat Rafa is a player than can play THROUGH him with power. Stan is the best player of the other 127 in the draw to make that happen.
Let’s hope for a great final!