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Roland Garros Round 2 Men's Singles Writeup
Roland Garros : Aviator Adventurer? Or Mythical Dragon? Let's look at the facts. 1) Pokemon named the dragon looking pokemon Garrados (or something like that). Where did they get that idea? hmm 2) If you rearrange the letters in Roland Garros you get Roslan's Dragon, so the real question is was Roslan an aviator? because clearly Roland Garros was not 3) Many people dispute the realness of dragons, but have you ever been to France? If not, I promise you they had dragons 4) 4 5) Where did people even get the idea for airplanes from? Answer : from dragons. Dragons are notoriously good inventors, ever heard of fire? hoarding wealth? let's be honest, humans are just dragon wannabe's Here's some tennis : Djokovic Berankis : Quick standard work from Novak in the first round. No one looks more perfectly effortless than him when he’s in control. Berankis did well to surprise the lackluster Dellien even though clay isn’t his best surface. Dellien will likely be off the tour next year without some major grinding on the challenger tour. This next matchup looked good for a while at the USO but will be a similar result and a faster one on clay. Djokovic in 3. Galan Sandgren : Cam Norrie and Galan played one of the worst 5-setters you could see if you were betting on either one. Nonstop exchanges of multiple games and no one could really sustain offense. I had thought Galan would run away with this one as he’s such a specialist but Norrie (when he wasn’t making errors) had control here and was the only one who could really change the direction of the ball or serve aces. Just the same scorelines but completely different play in the Sandgren and Hurkacz match. Sandgren hung around in the first set even though Hurkacz was dictating. It appeared fairly obvious that Sandgren’s plan was to hang in rallies and not go for much, hoping for errors. When Hurkacz managed to get broken at the end of the first it began to look like that was a solid strategy. Sandgren was constantly serving at duece, facing break points in so many service games, and genuinely did not win this match at all. Hurkacz will need time or a new mental approach, because he’s losing matches due to errors, and this is a baaaaaad thing on tour because so many guys strategy when things get tight is to “try hard hope to earn errors”. When you’re known for making them guys try harder, and then you’re in the rare prison of supplying all the offense to a match. Guys like Federer can play 3 sets of offense, most of the tour is going to need to play error-free tennis so that their opponents are forced to at least go for something. Sandgren turned the tide in the 4th and 5th and Hurkacz began facing break points in all his games. The heavy ball Sandgren hits translates to a slightly more annoying pusher style, as he can kinda go for big targets and rely on pace/weight of shot to earn the point. This next matchup opened at -195 for Sandgren and I tend to disagree. Sandren played an exhausting match but has gone through a number of deep runs at majors before. He’s not mercurial by any means on clay but he’s been working very hard the past few weeks to get his game together. Where Hurkacz has the weapons to really hurt Sandgren, Galan relies more on work ethic and simple consistency to unseat opponents. Barring fatigue, I don’t see Sandgren losing this, and he’ll have ample opportunities to break. His movement isn’t as good as Norrie but his offensive/service game are world’s more reliable. Sandgren in 4. Garin Polmans : Garin and Kohl played a pretty good match, and Garin’s returning was what really got him over the finish line here. A lot of deep placement kept the times Kohl broke him from becoming a major issue, as he did have his chances. Garin is a player who thrives on flow and the more matches he wins the better he performs. Polmans, well, Polmans partied all over Humbert today. It was one-sided from start to finish, with Humbert just reflecting the ball and Polmans driving it. Fatigue could be a suggestion, but if you look at the guys who came from the ultra-fast courts of Hamburg they all struggled early in their matches. Humbert is not quite the physical talent that Rublev and Tsitsipas are so he wasn’t able to turn the tide, but they all found their timing around the 3rd set. Humbert’s mom is still cool, and he still has a bright future. If you like Polmans’ wacky hat and vivid celebrations on court (he seems almost like he’s about to start awkwardly breakdancing while celebrating/lamenting shots), him notching a win at a major is great for his ranking. Garin is a better Polmans. I don’t consider Humbert’s demise a total implosion, and Polmans will be involved in this contest, but Garin is a player who usually loses to bigger weapons, and while Polmans moves the ball well he isn’t overwhelming. He can win a set or two because Garin is still in somewhat a daze from Hamburg, but I think Polmans will play Garin into a rhythm and Garin’s precision tend to improve as he strings games together. Garin in 4. Vesely Khachanov : Vesely is starting to look like himself. Originally the inspiration for some Geico commercials, his transition to tennis has been brilliant, and his serving combined with the fact that he’s a lefty mean his game gives him an edge against most lower-tier players. Khachanov was one of the better comeback stories you’ll ever see in a straight set win. Majchrzak led by a break in every set and just couldn’t keep it together. A hint of future brilliance, but again his biggest issue is not being able to distance himself from his opponents in matches. Once Khachanov buttoned up his errors when he was down a break, it became difficult for Majchrzak to win rallies. I expect something similar in this tie with Vesely. Vesely’s backhand has been the side that makes errors during neutral rallies, and for a guy who crushes the ball this represents a big target. Vesely will need to serve well to have a shot at this, and while matches between two big hitters tend to never go in straight sets, Khachanov and Garin looks like an inevitability. Khachanov in 4. Bautista Agut Balasz : I’ve never seen someone look so dominant while getting beaten down. In the first set RBA was broken at love multiple times. Gasquet hit a number of unreal winners down the line with his backhand and worked to earn points with 20 shot rallies over and over. He led 5-2 at one point, but RBA had barely missed a shot to that point, aside from a few backhands into the net. Gasquet was emitting a quality of sweat I recognize as deep deep swampwater, and I know when things are that humid that comebacks are not in the cards. Gasquet lost the 1st set tiebreaker and was just about done. Gasquet is French for something, and while he’s out of the tournament here, he certainly has a neat backhand and a cool name, Balasz was one of the cheapest and most straightforward options of the day, and Uchiyama never really put up a fight. Balasz has an interesting game and is worth watching, but his tournament is likely over. Gasquet was brilliant in the first set and still only won 9 games. The heavier balls and slower conditions mean RBA has a tough time hitting through the court, but the flipside is it’s very difficult to find points against him. Balasz may confuse him for a while, but errors will come as he forces shots. RBA in 3-4. Pella Carreño Busta : Busta busta busta, I made you out of clayyyyyy. I know Pella’s name is first but I was just so relaxed watching PCB play his first round. He really comes into a match with a complete gameplan and sticks with it no matter the scoreline. Unpopular opinion : I don’t think he was going to lose in any fewer than 5 sets against Novak in NY. When he’s fresh and not making backhand errors it becomes extremely difficult to beat him, and for a guy whose somewhat regarded as a defensive player he steps into the court and unloads for winners whenever it’s possible. He is what Sandgren is trying to be. Pella and Caruso played what must have been a depressing match for Caruso fans. Endless rallies, great quality tennis, but no real way for either player to find clean winners. Matches like that are difficult to watch because your neighbor will hear 3 hours of grunting coming from your apt and also because you know a few random points at the end of sets are going to decide things. Pella won those points, and though he was down early breaks he looked like himself for the first time. I’m glad I announced he has a terrible injury; I now know how to summon top play from any opponent. I don’t know exactly what to expect from this matchup. They’ve traded some wins on hardcourt, but have oddly never played on clay. PCB’s movement/stamina are the biggest differences between him and Caruso, whose game sort of broke down as things progressed. Pella certainly played well, and even in a losing effort he’s going to make you play a ton of balls. The edge has to go to PCB given their recent forms, but his proclivity for going to duece means this could go the distance. PCB in 4-5. Struff Altmaier : Struff and Tiafoe, or Struffafoe as they’re known from now on, played a pretty good quality match. I once again feel Tiafoe needs better coaching, as he was winning a fair number of the baseline rallies but insisted on playing dropshots. They cost him this match. I don’t know a nice way to outline that winning on tour just isn’t easy. The mental lapses are always going to cost you at a professional level, but Tiafoe has shown great improvements following the tour’s break, and you can’t just summon the type of resolve/focus that Nadal has. It’ll take time. Altmaier (whose name is super annoying to type) beat Lopez in straight sets but these two pretty much started every service game at 15-40. It wasn’t great, but the conditions were such that Altmaier was able to take deep return positions and frustrate Lopez into forcing offense. A good win, and the comfort level may be a bit higher here against Struff, which should benefit him a great deal. Playing on tour in a major after grinding the challenger tour is something that gives you adrenaline you just don’t need at times, so a bit of comfort is a plus. I see a lot of recent wins for Altmaier but he hasn’t really played someone the caliber of Struff, and Struff’s loss to Coria troubles me but in a 3/5 format and after the good quality rallies him and Tiafoe had, Struff should be able to find an edge here. Struff in 4 or losing because he’s Struff. Harris Berrettini : Popyrin really struggled on serve at times, and didn’t seem like he’d been playing enough clay leading into this match. Harris seems to get most of his points on tour in the majors, which is interesting for such a young talent. Berretini beat Pospisil like he did something, and there’s not a lot to say about this next matchup. Harris is a great server but lacks consistency. Berretini in 3. Medvedev Ramos-Vinolas : Oops. The strangest thing about Medvedev’s loss was how early he started complaining about it. Halfway through the first set he was down a break and already fullscale yelling at the sky/his box/local squirrels/some children/the moon/the ocean/a rock/some guy. It reminded me of Novak’s wild frustration early against PCB. These guys shouldn’t be stressing so early in a match, but I think sometimes they know the writing is on the wall and the thought is too much. Fucsovics is not really a household clay name, but he stayed composed and got the job done here. Medvedev just forced shots here over and over, and it’s strange because his serve works fine on clay and his defense is good enough to really grind points. ARV vs Mannarino on clay is like Mannarino vs ARV on grass. These guys have such specific styles that they really can’t overcome a surface disadvantage. ARV is the sort of test that Medvedev should have been for Fucsovics once he went down a few sets; very solid defensively, doesn’t give you much to work with, and works multiple shots to earn points rather than just hoping for a W. I tend to think Fucs is up to the task, and while the “going to disneyland” notion creeps in after a big win, Fucs has had enough “almost” situations against the top 20 that notching a win won’t change his game. Both should be fresh for this one and it should be a clean, crispy tennis match. Fucsovics in 3-4. Giron Monteiro : So many matches went to overtime this first round. Both Halys and Giron were up a break in the 5th set, which is a much different feeling from Monteiro’s day. Thiago (which is the coolest name in the draw) added to Basil’s woes, breaking early and often. He just came off a finals appearance at a challenger a week ago and continued his good form. Giron represents a tough test because his speed/forehand are a gamechanger at times, but he’s unlikely to get the job done unless he gets an early lead. Monteiro tends to get out to quick starts and is a brilliant frontrunner. I give Giron a puncher’s chance, but can’t really think of a way he can win unless Monteiro’s backhand completely falls apart. Monteiro in 3-4. Lajovic Anderson : When I picture these two I always think of them sitting across from each other wearing black turtlenecks and evilly stroking cats. Lajovic had a pretty tough time with Mager, who crushes the ball and is a good indication that Anderson’s hitting (during the rally at least) won’t be too much of an issue. Djere refused to hold serve in this match, and that’s a bad decision to make against a server. They played much of the first stretch of their match in light rain, and Djere seemed visibly upset heading into the break. I would say this was an empty victory for Anderson, but he served well and he at some point, will find his former form since he’s not exactly too old for the tour yet. I feel the same about Nishikori but the question of when is a difficult puzzle if you’re not in his camp. Being conscious of your biases in assessing matches is a useful tool, and I’m aware that I’d never be backing Anderson in this one with Lajovic in good form. Due to this, Anderson having actually beaten Lajovic on clay two years ago in Madrid makes me think this is going to be closer than I’d normally expect. Anderson at full health gives him a slight nod. Lajovic on a decent run gives it to him here. I wouldn’t bet against Anderson here, but Lajovic in 5. Davidoch Fokina Rublev : First time watching Mayo and he has a really nice game. Good power, good forehand, pushes the pace well. He was up early in the 1st but once errors crept into his game it slipped away from him. There’s a big key in professional tennis and it’s being able to maintain a level throughout a match, even if it means playing slightly less than your all-out game throughout. Fokina is very solid and very comfortable. He seems like win or lose his expression will remain the same, and that’s more confidence than indifference. Rublev played one of the more difficult first rounds, as anyone who expected Sam Querrey to come out firing that well must have six magic 8-balls hooked up to a super intelligent iguana flying along a slip-and-slide on it’s way to Narnia. Querrey is a scary guy when he serves well and his forehand is a thing of useless beauty. Ruvlev/Tsitsipas/Humbert all seemed like their timing was poor early in the matches and Rublev was the first to turn it around. Fokina would win the first two sets against the Rublev from the first two sets. There’s no intimidation factor and his backhand/movement are rocksolid which is good since that’s the thing Rublev attacks the most. I think this is a tighter contest than oddsmakers are predicting but Fokina’s ability to hit winners during these baseline rallies is something I think will be absent. Earning errors, fine. Winning neutral exchanges at net, I definitely think so. Finding his way out of baseline rallies without Rublev errors? Idk. Rublev in 4-5. Shapovalov Carballes Baena : Shap played one of the least inspiring first rounds of the heavy favorites, trading breaks and looking at times like he wouldn’t be able to find the effort to hit through Simon. Simon was happy to move the ball around but really couldn’t find 1st serves at any point in the match. It was not a great match which makes the next round interesting. RCB had some injury concerns for me going in but eclipsed those, beating Steve Johnson 1, 1, 0. For those of you not familiar with tennis, these are not good scores. RCB represents the opposite version of Simon’s game. He is dynamic, has multiple names, and hits with pace. He doesn’t serve aces but he puts his 1st serve in at a good clip, and although Shap should win this matchup almost all the time, his struggles against the pusher style of Simon in the first round make me wonder how much patience/resolve he has left after a month and a half of nonstop tennis. Shapovalov is not the -660 favorite that he is priced at in the books, and I’d avoid this one entirely unless you’re looking at RCB or the over. Shap still did break almost at will, so I’ll give him the slight nod despite his issues holding serve/hitting the ball over the net. (for those of you not familiar with tennis, hitting the ball over the net is often an effective strategy) Shapovalov in 4-5. Martin Dimitrov : Maybe there’s something about Tuesdays that make me nervous about upsets, but this is an interesting contest. Dimitrov is -700 in this one. I also think he’s playing great ball lately, but that is not the correct line. Dimitrov is a big market and people haven’t heard of Martin so it lands this way. Sousa didn’t particularly do anything wrong in his opener against Martin, except for doing each thing you could do wrong once. He just looks unlucky out there. He’s hitting well at times, but just seems to find an error or unfortunate way to lose the point over and over. Martin, on the other hand, was crushing the ball. He hit clean winners time and time again on Sousa’s second serve, and I think that while he isn’t expected to beat Dimitrov, his ability to generate offense during baseline rallies will give him opportunities in some spots. Dimitrov rolled Barrere, but he served at duece in a number of games. Barrere is a nice hardcourt player, but really hasn’t won too many matches on clay. It became a perfect situation for Dimitrov, who looks great when things are going well. Martin is the type of player that clay tends to produce; not a dominant guy or a title-winner, but someone who is very comfortable with their game and who isn’t too troubled situationally (similar to what we saw from Munar today competing against Tsitsipas without too much mental duress). If this were 2/3 I’d like Martin. In 3/5 I think Dimitrov will have ample chances to break serve, and so will only lose in 5. Martin in 5. Milojevic Bedene : Upset of the first round for Milojevic. He hit the ball solid and was proactive about his shot selection, hugging the baseline and taking time away. Krajinovic really never had a chance to breathe in this one and as a player who refuses to move off the baseline, Kraj made a number of errors on the backhand trying to stand his ground. Nothing really new from him, as he’s been great on clay and also struggled at times. Bedene was solid against Rinderknech, who reminds me a bit of Ruusuvuori and may make his way on tour in a year or two. Good groundstrokes, very fluid forehand, and just a bit less experience giving Bedene the edge late in the match. This is another match where I lean towards the upset, but is the breakdown. Milojevic beat a superior player in Krajinovic, but a less consistent one. Kraj has had his fair share of struggles. Bedene isn’t a threat for deep runs in events, but gets the job done very consistently when he’s “supposed” to win. That’s a big thing on tour, as upsets happen. I did like Milojevic’s pace, and were he playing someone who has a bit more variety in their game, I’d think he had a better shot. Bedene tends to play a very similar game though, and the edge here will be very small. Milojevic elevating his game as the Kraj match progressed rather than barely getting across the finish line indicates to me fatigue wasn’t a factor and that it was just a one-and-done effort. Milojevic in 4-5. Cuevas Tsitsipas : Haha they put the Uruguayan flag for both, I thought. But it turns out I am a muppet and have much to learn about the world. Many countries enjoy stripey goodness it seems. Cuevas was a bit too good today, negating the over of 35 games even while going to 4 sets. Laaksonen looked ok in the second but Cuevas’ loopy returns saw Henri making error after error. The ball hitting the net with an open court is something that seems to compound struggles on tour, and this was over quickly. The polar opposite of Tsitsipas’ war with Munar, which took forever and featured some of the most skillful exchanges of the first round. Munar is everything you want in a smol one. Unexpected dropshots, clean shots down the line, and the ability to transfer luck if you rub his head. Tsitsipas looked very impatient, and I feel for Munar who really never had a chance to win after Tsitsipas found form, but Stefanos making this comeback is a very good sign. He was drenched in sweat, struggling to put this away, and never really blew up. Stefanos and Pablo played a week ago and although Cuevas was good, Tsitsipas seemed like he was able to defend the court well enough that Cuevas was only going to get the match with errors. I expect to see something similar here, although Stefanos won’t be able to afford the sort of slow start he made against Munar. Tsitsipas in 4 or Cuevas in 4. Bublik Sonego : Bublik got the job done, and Monfils left fans wondering if he really wants to be out there fighting any more. Nothing wrong with losing to a great server whose career is on the rise, but Monfils seems like he’s not fully engaged out there, and so as a professional athlete, people are going to ask questions. Sonego and Gomez had a good contest, and while I think Sonego matches up well with Bublik, taking 5 sets with Gomez means Bublik will be able to find breaks of serve. There are likely to be some tiebreakers here, but given Bublik’s ability to serve out Monfils, he’s likely to win them. Bublik in 4. Albot Fritz : If you read my predictions, you know what’s coming. Albot broke his slump by playing spirited ball again Thompson. It was one of the quicker matches in the first round, lasting just (insert however many minutes it lasted). Fritz Fritz’d it up, almost dropping the ball against qualifier Machac. Considering he barely snuck by, there’s reason to believe this will be a tough contest as well, even with Albot’s struggles. Albot tests his opponents movement, Fritz makes errors on the run. Albot breaks serve at a higher clip than most guys on tour, Fritz is mainly just a server. I think Fritz is the better player here, but I think that the lead will be very important for belief here, since Albot has struggled lately. I think Albot’s movement will be a key on the slower surface, but he’ll need to get off to a quick lead since Fritz (as many servers are) is a very dangerous opponent in a 5th set. Albot in 4. Gombos Rodionov : Finally a good reliable favorite. I warned readers that Gombos is the Gombosiest, but they didn’t listen. Coric found out the hard way, and honestly there difference in this one was just ballstriking. Coric was moving the ball around looking to present the “you can’t hit through me” challenge, and while this is a good strategy in later rounds, guys really crush the ball in the first round and the pace is much quicker. Gombos almost snagged Cilic in the USO, and didn’t falter here. Rodionov waited as long as possible to get going against Chardy, going down 2 sets and only winning the tiebreaker 8-6. He served for the match in the 5th set 3 times, and had a very lucky day to be playing Chardy. Chardy just couldn’t keep the ball in the court on offense, and will have to earn his points in the indoor season this year. Rodionov plays a solid game, and being lefty helps, but he lacks big weapons which is why he mostly plays on the challenger tour. Gombos has enough power to be able to dictate here, and Rodionov coming through the qualifier and played 5 long sets will make this an uphill battle. Considering Gombos hit through Coric, the defense is unlikely to phase him. Gombos in 3. Giustino Schwartzman : Lorenzo Giustino and Corentin Moutet had played the match of the first round by the end of the 2nd set. Moutet was just in unreal form and dictating most of the rallies in this one. Where he suffered was in two patterns. Giustino hit his forehand with height/shape rather than pace into Moutet’s backhand. Once into this pattern the shorter Moutet tended to drive the backhand downward crosscourt and Giustino would execute the same shot. The backhand never broke down but Giustino was able to wear down Moutet’s patience, and he took many opportunities as the match went on to run around his backhand and hit the inside in forehand. Giustino hit this ball crosscourt every time, really not missing often. These are simple exchanges but it’s the same shotpatterns that Djokovic employs against Nadal. What transpired was Giustino’s speed being pitted against Moutet’s arm, and while it looked like Giustino wouldn’t find offense, Moutet’s forehand got more loopy and Giustino found winners crosscourt since he was able to drive the ball more, and Moutet’s backhand lost depth and Giustino was able to catch Moutet with the forehand down the line over and over. If people are looking for the way to beat these lefty patterns this was a great example. I had hoped Moutet would win, as his offense would be able to trouble Diego a bit more. Schwartzman beat Kecmanovic easily, and Kecmanovic had that “this draw sucks and I’m already thinking about the next tournament” glazed look in his eyes throughout this match. Giustino has to be exhausted at this point, after qualifying and playing an extra 2 sets of tennis in the 5th. Diego is the wrong opponent to try to outlast, and I think unfortunately Giustino will be more error prone here which will drive Moutet insane from wherever he’s watching. Schwartzman in 3. Wawrinka Koepfer : Mats Wilander’s comment that Murray should leave these wildcards to younger players has some validity, but his presentation is part of what is wrong with social media. If he really had this concern, he could send Murray a message and offer some perspective. Maybe the clay tour isn’t really where Murray needs to play at this point. Posting these “open letters” and private messages as tweets is a really bizarre way to posture and the messages tend to be more about the person writing them than the issue at hand. Now, unfortunately, Mats Wilander (who I have never heard of) is an official douchenozzle in my mind. Unfortunate, but not as unfortunate as Murray/Wawrinka not giving us the classic we were all hoping for. Wawrinka has stumbled so badly recently that him playing his normal solid top 10 clay court tennis was unexpected. Murray’s movement was poor, but most players are going to lose to Wawrinka when he plays well. Koepfer looked solid against in dispatching Hoang, and there’s something to the idea that this next contest will be tricky for Stan. There’s always the crisp shotmaking and overwhelming power, but Koepfer is not really looking to win the hitting contest anyway, and instead thrives on scrambling rallies and working his opponent’s backhand. The outcome here depends entirely on Wawrinka, as Koepfer is likely to be steady throughout. I expect at least one set to go the German’s way, as he has proven to be an extremely difficult out. Wawrinka in 4-5 but I would avoid backing Stan here if you like dollars, especially since he’ll likely show his level and have a more predictably simple match the next round against Nishioka. With guys who are good for deep runs in tournaments if they’re playing well, it often helps to gather information rather than let that fear of missing out have you backing question marks. Gaston Nishioka : Lefty fiiiiiiiight! Gaston won the all-French affair pretty comfortably and Nishioka’s quality in his win over FAA was completely ignored. FAA can’t serve! FAA so many errors! Part of this is inconsistency but part of this is Nishioka being a wall and constantly moving his opponent. Gaston will be at a disadvantage here experience-wise but lefty vs lefty is always a difficult task for both, and Nishioka has been a mixed bag on the clay so far this season. Very tough to know how these two will match up, but the pre-match edge has to sit with Nishioka. Nishioka in 4. Ruud Paul : Pretty simple victories for both of these two, and this will be a great match to watch. Paul has shown he can compete at the top level, but watching him in his doubles match today he didn’t seem to be serving great. His partner Monroe is a great player to watch at net which is why I caught it, and inferences from doubles aren’t the most reliable, but I think Paul will need to avoid long rallies with Ruud, who has been improving every week since the restart. Pretty similar styles at different points in their career. Ruud in 4. Sock Thiem : Sock had some genuine emotion winning games against Opelka, and it’s nice to see him visibly motivated after his chubby troubles. Thiem looked like there wasn’t much adjustment to clay in the first round, and he was extremely composed/reserved while beating Cilic. Cilic isn’t in great form, but beating him so easily is a real testament to Thiem’s solid position in the top 2-3 players in tennis. Sock’s skill and whippy forehand allow him to match up better against the top tier than the results will indicate, but with Sock’s backhand still a liability this isn’t a spot where Thiem will struggle too much. Thiem in 3 and let the inbox threats begin, he is my pick to win this tournament. Zverev Herbert : Zverev continued his slow start strong finish method against Novak. Once he locks down the errors he becomes a very tough out and he hits the ball with such reservation during rallies that when he does finally go for a clean winner his opponents almost don’t move. In Serena’s age of dominance she’d often lose the first two games and then break back and her opponents level would fall and Zverev’s slow starts give me the same sort of “accidental or genius” psychological strategic vibes. It’s more likely it’s just tall players start slow. Herbert beat Mmoh, who is somehow a pusher that makes errors. I’d like to see him (Mmoh) go a bit more offensive for a season, as looking to be solid from the baseline just isn’t enough to win on tour. The Herbert Zverev matchup is an interesting one since Herbert’s game has the things that traditionally would snag a player who starts slow. Herbert is an old-school serve and volley player who is adept at adjusting his strokes to keep the ball in the court. Zverev is a bit too crispy at the moment to expect a bit blowup, but Herbert having a higher caliber of offense than Novak (who plays a bit too straightforward to really beat the mid-top tier guys) gives him a better chance. Zverev in 4. Londero Cecchinato : Londero flipped the result against Delbonis, who he’d lost in straight sets against in their previous meeting. It’s nice to see him back in the win column, as he plays a very unique game, going for accurate offense and looking to test his opponents speed. If it weren’t for fatigue, I’d think he were a decent favorite. Cecchinato has been great though, and murmurs of his previous French Open run were flying with his snowball beatdown of De Minaur. De Minaur isn’t the best on clay, as many pointed out, but he has some notable wins in his past including PCB, and beating him is never simple. Cecchinato’s power gives him an edge here if Londero is tired. Slower legs will leave more short balls and Cecchinato can really dictate. He’s also fairly deft at using the dropshot which can wear his opponents down. Where I hesitate to just hand him the win is that these new wins have been out of nowhere, and he hasn’t played a real top level player yet. Londero is the first such test, as his claycourt game can threaten all but the top 10-20 guys at the French. No pick here, but if either is able to win this quickly then Zverev is in for a difficult 3rd round. Paire Coria : Local kumquat Benoit Paire played quite well, beating Kwon in straight sets. There wasn’t a lot of hope for Kwon, and he struggled with his serving throughout. Paire, whose attention span is that of a drunk raccoon, will be a small favorite in his next round against Coria, but Coria is the quintessential villain to beat Paire. Coria lacks offense, but is a venerable wall. The errors Kwon made will be less available, and with Sinner looming in the next round both guys will know this is their last chance to advance. I expect Paire to either find great form here or lose. Finding great form isn’t what I expect, and if Coria is able to earn an early lead this could be over quick. Coria in 4. Bonzi Sinner : Bonzi played great against Ruusuvuori, and I got that match completely wrong. Sinner’s defeat of Goffin coupled with his 6-2, 6-2 loss to Cilic a week or so ago makes me think Goffin is either a bit injured or just not fully engaged in this clay swing, but Sinner looks great. Sinner in 4. Kukushkin Martinez : Fognini Fognini’d all over the place. He seemed to hurt his ankle during the 3rd set tiebreaker, and for a guy who lacks a bit of self control he shockingly did not withdraw. This seems to be one of his principles, as he’s finished matches injured before. Good win for Kukushkin, who hung around until he was given the match. Martinez on the other hand went out and earned it, downing the hard hitting Vukic in straight sets. Martinez and Kukushkin are unlikely to have huge edges against each other. Kukushkin does his best work at majors, but not really on clay, and Martinez is a claycourt expert, but generally earns errors/preys on his opponents inconsistency. I expect long rallies, and I expect Martinez to gradually pull away in this one. Martinez in 5. Korda Isner : I’m gonna have to be honest. I completely missed Isner’s match. It didn’t seem like Benchetrit was returning much, and Isner is generally the same. That being said, I regret this because Korda played very well in defeating Seppi and I’d like to be more confident about defending his chances here. Korda plays very well at net, and while he’s a bit green, he’s been losing in the qualifiers on tour for a few seasons now. Him starting to win matches now means we can expect a solid performance from him. He’ll have the edge in baseline rallies, and given they’re from the same country, he’ll be somewhat familiar with Isner’s game. This will come down to Korda’s ability to avoid bad service games, and whether Isner’s serve is unreturnable or not. These are question marks, and I’m starting to hate question marks. Not as much as I hate people bouncing the ball between their legs before their serves though. Korda in fourda. Nishikori Travaglia : Clay Nishikori is back! A late 5th set victory against Evans saw many bettors writing creative words into the livestream chat, and if you’ve never been called an assfish, you can only imagine how upset Dan is tonight. Kei was happy to get across the finish line, and he has to feel like he can breathe a sigh of relief. Travaglia beat Pablo Andujar, who I have been instructed by my attorney to point out is not from Colombia and does not live in the jungle and does not train jaguars and does not sleep in a cave and does not channel magical eagles and definitely does not possess the ability to call the wind from within his lungs which are definitely not made out of the spirit of a cursed python. Andujar had been on a tear, and beating him in straight sets coupled with Travaglia’s serving prowess mean I make him a slight favorite to beat Kei in this matchup. Since Kei is struggling to find length and rhythm playing a big hitter is likely a bad situation, and I give Kei a good chance since he’s such a difficult defender to beat but he really will be behind the 8-ball in his service games. Travaglia in 4-5. McDonald Nadal : Nice win and some much needed points and bucks for Mackie. Nadal didn’t look great against Gerasimov but Egor was hitting some great offense and Nadal doesn’t exactly need to press early. Nadal in 3 and the next round against Travaglia will be a good look at Nadal’s level. Finishing up the women's now. Should be up in an hour or two. <3
Reminder: Do NOT buy from 3rd Party Marketplace Seller on Ebay/Amazon/Newegg (unless you want to pay more). Assume all the 3rd party sellers are scalping. If it's not being sold by the actual retailer (e.g. Amazon selling on Amazon.com or Newegg selling on Newegg.com) then you should treat the product as sold out and wait.
Below is the compilation of all the reviews that have been posted so far. I will be updating this continuously throughout the day with the conclusion of each publications and any new review links. This will be sorted alphabetically.
NVIDIA says that the RTX 3080 is the gaming card and the RTX 3090 is the hybrid creative card – but we respectfully disagree. The RTX 3090 is the flagship gaming card that can also run intensive creative apps very well, especially by virtue of its huge 24GB framebuffer. But it is still not an RTX TITAN nor a Quadro. These cards cost a lot more and are optimized specifically for workstations and also for professional and creative apps. However, for RTX 2080 Ti gamers who paid $1199 and who have disposable cash for their hobby – although it has been eclipsed by the RTX 3080 – the RTX 3090 Founders Edition which costs $1500 is the card to maximize their upgrade. And for high-end gamers who also use creative apps, this card may become a very good value. Hobbies are very expensive to maintain, and the expense of PC gaming pales in comparison to what golfers, skiers, audiophiles, and many other hobbyists pay for their entertainment. But for high-end gamers on a budget, the $699 RTX 3080 will provide the most value of the two cards. We cannot call the $1500 RTX 3090 a “good value” generally for gamers as it is a halo card and it absolutely does not provide anywhere close to double the performance of a $700 RTX 3080. However, for some professionals, two RTX 3090s may give them exactly what they need as it is the only Ampere gaming card to support NVLink providing up to 112.5 GB/s of total bandwidth between two GPUs which when SLI’d together will allow them to access a massive 48GB of vRAM. SLI is no longer supported by NVIDIA for gaming, and emphasis will be placed on mGPU only as implemented by game developers.
So there we have it. The RTX 3090 delivers - at best - 15 to 16 per cent more gaming performance than the RTX 3080. In terms of price vs performance, there is only one winner here. And suffice to say, we would expect to see factory overclocked RTX 3080 cards bite into the already fairly slender advantage delivered by Nvidia's new GPU king. Certainly in gaming terms then, the smart money would be spend on an RTX 3080, and if you're on a 1440p high refresh rate monitor and you're looking to maximise price vs performance, I'd urge you to look at the RTX 2080 Ti numbers in this review: if Nvidia's claims pan out, you'll be getting that and potentially more from the cheaper still RTX 3070. All of which raises the question - why make an RTX 3090 at all? The answers are numerous. First of all, PC gaming has never adhered to offering performance increases in line with the actual amount of money spent. Whether it's Titans, Intel Extreme processors, high-end motherboards or performance RAM, if you want the best, you'll end up paying a huge amount of money to attain it. This is only a problem where there are no alternatives and in the case of the RTX 3090, there is one - the RTX 3080 at almost half of the price. But more compelling is the fact that Nvidia is now blurring the lines between the gaming GeForce line and the prosumer-orientated Quadro offerings. High-end Quadro cards are similar to RTX 3090 and Titan RTX in several respects - usually in that they deliver the fully unlocked Nvidia silicon paired with huge amounts of VRAM. Where they differ is in support and drivers, something that creatives, streamers or video editors may not wish to pay even more of a premium for. In short, RTX 3090 looks massively expensive as a gamer card, but compared to the professional Quadro line, there are clear savings. In the meantime, RTX 3090 delivers the Titan experience for the new generation of graphics hardware. Its appeal is niche, the halo product factor is huge and the performance boost - while not exactly huge - is likely enough to convince the cash rich to invest and for the creator audience to seriously consider it. For my use cases, the extra money is obviously worth it. I also think that the way Nvidia packages and markets the product is appealing: the RTX 3090 looks and feels special, its gigantic form factor and swish aesthetic will score points with those that take pride in their PC looking good and its thermal and especially acoustic performance are excellent. It's really, really quiet. All told then, RTX 3090 is the traditional hard sell for the mainstream gamer but the high-end crowd will likely lap it up. But it leaves me with a simple question: where next for the Titan and Ti brands? You don't retire powerhouse product tiers for no good reason and I can only wonder: is something even more powerful cooking?
When we had our first experience with the GeForce RTX 3080, we were nothing short of impressed. Testing the GeForce RTX 3090 is yet another step up. But we're not sure if the 3090 is the better option though, as you'll need very stringent requirements in order for it to see a good performance benefit. Granted, and I have written this many times in the past with the Titans and the like, a graphics card like this is bound to run into bottlenecks much faster than your normal graphics cards. Three factors come into play here, CPU bottlenecks, low-resolution bottlenecks, and the actual game (API). The GeForce RTX 3090 is the kind of product that needs to be free from all three aforementioned factors. Thus, you need to have a spicy processor that can keep up with the card, you need lovely GPU bound games preferably with DX12 ASYNC compute and, of course, if you are not gaming at the very least in Ultra HD, then why even bother, right? The flipside of the coin is that when you have these three musketeers applied and in effect, well, then there is no card faster than the 3090, trust me; it's a freakfest of performance, but granted, also bitter-sweet when weighing all factors in. NVIDIA's Ampere product line up has been impressive all the way, there's nothing other to conclude than that. Is it all perfect? Well, performance-wise in the year 2020 we cannot complain. Of course, there is an energy consumption factor to weigh in as a negative factor and, yes, there's pricing to consider. Both are far too high for the product to make any real sense. For gaming, we do not feel the 3090 makes a substantial enough difference over the RTX 3080 with 10 to 15% differentials, and that's mainly due to system bottlenecks really. You need to game at Ultra HD and beyond for this card to make a bit of sense. We also recognize that the two factors do not need to make sense for quite a bunch of you as the product sits in a very extreme niche. But I stated enough about that. I like this chunk of hardware sitting inside a PC though as, no matter how you look at it, it is a majestic product. Please make sure you have plenty of ventilation though as the RTX 3090 will dump lots of heat. It is big but still looks terrific. And the performance, oh man... that performance, it is all good all the way as long as you uphold my three musketeers remark. Where I could nag a little about the 10 GB VRAM on the GeForce RTX 3080, we cannot complain even the slightest bit about the whopping big mac feature of the 3090, 24 GB of the fastest GDDR6X your money can get you, take that Flight Sim 2020! This is an Ultra HD card, in that domain, it shines whether that is using shading (regular rendered games) or when using hybrid ray-tracing + DLSS. It's a purebred but unfortunately very power-hungry product that will reach only a select group of people. But it is formidable if you deliver it to the right circumstances. Would we recommend this product? Ehm no, you are better off with GeForce RTX 3070 or 3080 as, money-wise, this doesn't make much sense. But it is genuinely a startling product worthy of a top pick award, an award we hand out so rarely for a reference or Founder product but we also have to acknowledge that NVIDIA really is stepping up on their 'reference' designs and is now setting a new and better standard.
This commentary puts the RTX 3090 into a difficult spot. It's 10 percent faster for gaming yet costs over twice as much as the RTX 3080. Value for money is poor when examined from a gaming point of view. Part of that huge cost rests with the 24GB of GDDR6X memory that has limited real-world benefit in games. Rather, it's more useful in professional rendering as the larger pool can speed-up time to completion massively. And here's the rub. Given its characteristics, this card ought to be called the RTX Titan or GeForce RTX Studio and positioned more diligently for the creatoprofessional community where computational power and large VRAM go hand in hand. The real RTX 3090, meanwhile, gaming focussed first and foremost, ought to arrive with 12GB of memory and a $999 price point, thereby offering a compelling upgrade without resorting to Titan-esque pricing. Yet all that said, the insatiable appetite and apparent deep pockets of enthusiasts will mean Nvidia sells out of these $1,500 boards today: demand far outstrips supply. And does it matter what it's called, how much memory it has, or even what price it is? Not in the big scheme of things because there is a market for it. Being part of the GeForce RTX firmament has opened up the way for add-in card partners to produce their own boards. The Gigabyte Gaming OC does most things right. It's built well and looks good, and duly tops all the important gaming charts at 4K. We'd encourage a lower noise profile through a relaxation of temps, but if you have the means by which to buy graphics performance hegemony, the Gaming OC isn't a bad shout... if you can find it in stock.
Summarizing the GeForce RTX 3090's performance is simple -- it's the single fastest GPU on the market currently, bar none. There's nuance to consider here, though. Versus the GeForce RTX 3080, disregarding CPU limited situations or corner cases, the more powerful RTX 3090's advantages over the 3080 only range from about 4% to 20%. Versus the Titan RTX, the GeForce RTX 3090's advantages increase to approximately 6% to 40%. Consider complex creator workloads which can leverage the GeForce RTX 3090's additional resources and memory, however, and it is simply in another class altogether and can be many times faster than either the RTX 3080 or Titan RTX. Obviously, the $1,499 GeForce RTX 3090 Founder's Edition isn't an overall value play for the vast majority of users. If you're a gamer shopping for a new high-end GPU, the GeForce RTX 3080 at less than 1/2 the price is the much better buy. Compared to the $2,500 Titan RTX or $1,300 - $1,500-ish GeForce RTX 2080 Ti though, the GeForce RTX 3090 is the significantly better choice. Your perspective on the GeForce RTX 3090's value proposition is ultimately going to depend on your particular use case. Unless they've got unlimited budgets and want the best-of-the-best, regardless of cost, hardcore gamers may scoff at the RTX 3090. Anyone utilizing the horsepower of the previous generation Titan RTX though, may be chomping at the bit. The GeForce RTX 3090's ultimate appeal is going to depend on the use-case, but whether or not you'll actually be able to get one is another story. The GeForce RTX 3090 is going to be available in limited quantities today -- NVIDIA said as much in yesterday's performance tease. NVIDIA pledges to make more available direct and through partners ASAP, however. We'll see how things shake out in the weeks ahead, and all bets are off when AMD's makes its RDNA2 announcements next month. NVIDIA's got a lot of wiggle room with Ampere and will likely react swiftly to anything AMD has in store. And let's not forget we still have the GeForce RTX 3070 inbound, which is going to have extremely broad appeal if NVIDIA's performance claims hold up.
In Summary: this card is a real giant, especially at higher resolutions, because even if the lead over the GeForce RTX 3080 isn’t always as high as dreamed, it’s always enough to reach the top position in playability. Right stop of many quality controllers included. Especially when the games of the GeForce RTX 3090 and the new architecture are on the line, the mail really goes off, which one must admit without envy, whereby the actual gain is not visible in pure FPS numbers. If you have looked at the page with the variances, you will quickly understand that the image is much better because it is softer. The FPS or percentiles are still much too coarse intervals to be able to reproduce this very subjective impression well. A blind test with 3 perons has completely confirmed my impression, because there is nothing better than a lot of memory, at most even more memory. Seen in this light, the RTX 3080 with 10 GB is more like Cinderella, who later has to make herself look more like Cinderella with 10 GB if she wants to get on the prince’s roller. But the customer always has something to complain about anyway (which is good by the way and keeps the suppliers on their toes) and NVIDIA keeps all options open in return to be able to top a possible Navi2x card with 16 GB memory expansion with 20 GB later. And does anyone still remember the mysterious SKU20 between the GeForce RTX 3080 and RTX 3090? If AMD doesn’t screw it up again this time, this SKU20 is sure to become a tie-break in pixel tennis. We’ll see. For a long time I have been wrestling with myself, which is probably the most important thing in this test. I have also tested 8K resolutions, but due to the lack of current practical relevance, I put this part on the back burner. If anyone can find someone who has a spare 8K TV, I’ll be happy to do so, if only because I’m also very interested in 8K-DLSS. But that’s like sucking on an ice cream that you’ve only printed out on a laser printer before. The increase in value of the RTX 3090 in relation to the RTX 3080 for the only gamer is, up to the memory extension, to be rather neglected and one understands also, why many critics will never pay the double price for 10 to 15% more gaming performance. Because I wouldn’t either. Only this is then exactly the target group for the circulated RTX 3080 (Ti) with double memory expansion. Their price should increase visibly in comparison to the 10 GB variant, but still be significantly below that of a GeForce RTX 3090. This is not defamatory or fraudulent, but simply follows the laws of the market. A top dog always costs a little more than pure scaling, logic and reason would allow. And the non-gamer or the not-only-gamer? The added value can be seen above all in the productive area, whether workstation or creation. Studio is the new GeForce RTX wonderland away from the Triple A games, and the Quadros can slowly return to the professional corner of certified specialty programs. What AMD started back then with the Vega Frontier Edition and unfortunately didn’t continue (why not?), NVIDIA has long since taken up and consistently perfected. The market has changed and studio is no longer an exotic phrase. Then even those from about 1500 Euro can survive without a headache tablet again.
RTX 3080 was heralded by many as an excellent value graphics card, delivering performance gains of around 30% compared to the RTX 2080 Ti, despite being several hundred pounds cheaper. With the RTX 3090, Nvidia isn’t chasing value for money, but the overall performance crown. And that is exactly what it has achieved. MSI’s RTX 3090 Gaming X Trio, for instance, is 14% faster than the RTX 3080 and 50% faster than the RTX 2080 Ti, when tested at 4K. No other GPU even comes close to matching its performance. At this point, many of you reading this may be thinking something along the line of ‘well, yes, it is 14% faster than an RTX 3080 – but it is also over double the price, so surely it is terrible value?’ And you would be 100% correct in thinking that. The thing is, Nvidia knows that too – RTX 3090 is simply not about value for money, and if that is something you prioritise when buying a new graphics card, don’tbuy a 3090. Rather, RTX 3090 is purely aimed at those who don’t give a toss about value. It’s for the gamers who want the fastest card going, and they will pay whatever price to claim those bragging rights. In this case of the MSI Gaming X Trio, the cost of this GPU’s unrivalled performance comes to £1530 here in the UK. Alongside gamers, I can also see professionals or creators looking past its steep asking price. If the increased render performance of this GPU could end up saving you an hour, two hours per week, for many that initial cost will pay for itself with increased productivity, especially if you need as much VRAM as you can get.
As with any launch, the primary details are in the GPU itself, and so the first half of this conclusion is the same for both of the AIB RTX 3090 graphics cards that we are reviewing today. If you want to know specifics of this particular card, skip down the page. Last week we saw the release of the RTX 3080. A card that combined next-gen performance with a remarkably attractive price point, and was one of the easiest products to recommend we've ever seen. 4K gaming for around the £700 mark might be expensive if you're just used to consoles, but if you're a diehard member of the "PC Gaming Master Race", then you know how much you had to spend to achieve the magical 4K60 mark. It's an absolute no brainer purchase. The RTX 3090 though, that comes with more asterisks and caveats than a Lance Armstrong win on the Tour de France. Make no mistake; the RTX 3090 is brutally fast. If performance is your thing, or performance without consideration of cost, or you want to flex on forums across the internet, then yeah, go for it. For everyone else, and that's most of us, there is a lot it does well, but it's a seriously niche product. We can go to Nvidia themselves for their key phraseology. With a tiny bit of paraphrasing, they say "The RTX 3090 is for 8K gaming, or heavy workload content creators. For 4K Gaming the RTX 3080 is, with current and immediate future titles, more than enough". If you want the best gaming experience, then as we saw last week, the clear choice is the RTX 3080. If you've been following the results today then clearly the RTX 3090 isn't enough of a leap forwards to justify being twice the price of the RTX 3080. It's often around 5% faster, sometimes 10%, sometimes not much faster at all. Turns out that Gears 5 in particular looked unhappy but it was an 'auto' setting on animation increasing its own settings so we will go back with it fixed to ultra and retest. The RTX 3090 is still though, whisper it, a bit of a comedown after the heights of our first Ampere experience. To justify the staggering cost of the RTX 3090 you need to fit into one of the following groups; Someone who games at 8K, either natively or via Nvidia's DSR technology. Someone who renders enormous amounts of 3D work. We're not just talking a 3D texture or model for a game; we're talking animated short films. Although even here the reality is that you need a professional solution far beyond the price or scope of the RTX 3090. Lastly, it would be best if you were someone who renders massive, RAW, 8K video footage regularly and has the memory and storage capacity to feed such a voracious data throughput. If you fall into one of those categories, then you'll already have the hardware necessary - 8K screen or 8K video camera - that the cost of the RTX 3090 is small potatoes. In which case you'll love the extra freedom and performance it can bring to your workload, smoothing out the waiting that is such a time-consuming element of the creative process. This logic holds true for both the Gigabyte and MSI cards we're looking at on launch.
There’s no doubt that the $1,500 GeForce RTX 3090 is indeed a “big ferocious GPU,” and the most powerful consumer graphics card ever created. The Nvidia Founders Edition delivers unprecedented performance for 4K gaming, frequently maxes out games at 1440p, and can even play at ludicrous 8K resolution in some games. It’s a beast for 3440x1440 ultrawide gaming too, as our separate ultrawide benchmarks piece shows. Support for HDMI 2.1 and AV1 decoding are delicious cherries on top. If you’re a pure gamer, though, you shouldn’t buy it, unless you’ve got deep pockets and want the best possible gaming performance, value be damned. The $700 GeForce RTX 3080 offers between 85 and 90 percent of the RTX 3090’s 4K gaming performance (depending on the game) for well under half the cost. It’s even closer at 1440p. If you’re only worried about raw gaming frame rates, the GeForce RTX 3080 is by far the better buy, because it also kicks all kinds of ass at 4K and high refresh rate 1440p and even offers the same HDMI 2.1 and AV1 decode support as its bigger brother. Nvidia likes to boast that the RTX 3090 is the first 8K gaming card, and while that’s true in some games, it falls far short of the 60 frames per second mark in many triple-A titles. Consider 8K gaming a nice occasional bonus more than a core feature. If you mix work and play, though, the GeForce RTX 3090 is a stunning value—especially if your workloads tap into CUDA. It’s significantly faster than the previous-gen RTX 2080 Ti, which fell within spitting distance of the RTX Titan, and offers the same 24GB VRAM capacity of that Titan. But it does so for $1,000 less than the RTX Titan’s cost. The GeForce RTX 3090 stomps all over most of our content creation benchmarks. Performance there is highly workload-dependent, of course, but we saw speed increases of anywhere from 30 to over 100 percent over the RTX 2080 Ti in several tasks, with many falling in the 50 to 80 percent range. That’s an uplift that will make your projects render tangibly faster—putting more money in your pocket. The lofty 24GB of GDDR6X memory makes the RTX 3090 a must-have in some scenarios where the 10GB to 12GB found in standard gaming cards flat-out can’t cut it, such as 8K media editing or AI training with large data sets. That alone will make it worth buying for some people, along with the NVLink connector that no other RTX 30-series GPU includes. If you don’t need those, the RTX 3080 comes close to the RTX 3090 in raw GPU power in many tests.
NVIDIA’s GeForce RTX 3090 is an interesting card for many reasons, and it’s harder to summarize than the RTX 3080 was, simply due to its top-end price and goals. The RTX 3080, priced at $699, was really easy to recommend to anyone wanting a new top-end gaming solution, because compared to the last-gen 2080S, 2080 Ti, or even TITAN RTX, the new card simply trounced them all. The GeForce RTX 3090, with its $1,499 price tag, caters to a different crowd. First, there are going to be those folks who simply want the best gaming or creator GPU possible, regardless of its premium price. We saw throughout our performance results that the RTX 3090 does manage to take a healthy lead in many cases, but the gains over RTX 3080 are not likely as pronounced as many were hoping. The biggest selling-point of the RTX 3090 is undoubtedly its massive frame buffer. For creators, having 24GB on tap likely means you will never run out during this generation, and if you manage to, we’re going to be mighty impressed. We do see more than 24GB being useful for deep-learning and AI research, but even there, it’s plenty for the vast majority of users. Interestingly, this GeForce is capable of taking advantage of NVLink, so those wanting to plug two of them into a machine could likewise combine their VRAM, activating a single 48GB frame buffer. Two of these cards would cost $500 more than the TITAN RTX, and obliterate it in rendering and deep-learning workloads (but of course draw a lot more power at the same time). For those wanting to push things even harder with single GPU, we suspect NVIDIA will likely release a new TITAN at some point with even more memory. Or, that’s at least our hope, because we don’t want to see the TITAN series just up and disappear. For gamers, a 24GB frame buffer can only be justified if you’re using top-end resolutions. Not even 4K is going to be problematic for most people with a 10GB frame buffer, but as we move up the scale, to 5K and 8K, that memory is going to become a lot more useful. By now, you likely know whether or not the monstrous GeForce RTX 3090 is for you. Fortunately, if it isn’t, the RTX 3080 hasn’t gone anywhere, and it still proves to be of great value (you know – if you can find it in stock) for its $699 price. NVIDIA also has a $499 RTX 3070 en route next month, so all told, the company is going to be taking good care of its enthusiast fans with this trio of GPUs. Saying that, we still look forward to the even lower-end parts, as those could ooze value even more than the bigger cards.
Still, the performance offered by the RTX 3090 is impressive; the Gaming X is 53% faster than RTX 2080 Ti, 81% faster than RTX 2080 Super. AMD's Radeon RX 5700 XT is less than half as fast, the performance uplift vs the 3090 is 227%! AMD Big Navi better be a success. With those performance numbers RTX 3090 is definitely suited for 4K resolution gaming. Many games will run over 90 FPS, at highest details, in 4K, nearly all over 60, only Control is slightly below that, but DLSS will easily boost FPS beyond that. With RTX 3090 NVIDIA is introducing "playable 8K", which rests on several pillars. In order to connect an 8K display you previously had to use multiple cables, now you can use just a single HDMI 2.1 cable. At higher resolution, the VRAM usage goes up, RTX 3090 has you covered, offering 24 GB of memory, which is more than twice that of the 10 GB RTX 3080. Last but not least, on the software side, they added the capability to capture 8K gameplay with Shadow Play. In order to improve framerates (remember, 8K processes 16x the pixels as Full HD), NVIDIA created DLSS 8K, which renders the game at 1440p native, and scales the output by x3, in each direction, using machine learning. All of these technologies are still in its infancy, game support is limited and displays are expensive, we'll look into this in more detail in the future. 24 GB VRAM is definitely future-proof, but I'm having doubts whether you really need that much memory. Sure, more is always better, but unless you are using professional applications, you'll have a hard time finding a noteworthy difference between performance with 10 GB vs 24 GB. Games won't be an issue, because you'll run out of shading power long before you run out of VRAM, just like with older cards today, which can't handle 4K, no matter how much VRAM they have. Next-gen consoles also don't have as much VRAM, so it's hard to image that you'll miss out on any meaningful gaming experience if you have less than 24 GB VRAM. NVIDIA demonstrated several use cases in their reviewer's guide: OctaneRender, DaVinci Resolve and Blender can certainly benefit from more memory, GPU compute applications, too, but these are very niche use cases. I'm not aware of any creators who were stuck and couldn't create, because they ran out of VRAM. On the other hand the RTX 3090 could definitely turn out to be a good alternative to Quadro, or Tesla, unless you need double-precision math (you don't). Pricing of the RTX 3090 is just way too high, and a tough pill to swallow. At a starting price of $1500, it is more than twice as expensive as the RTX 3080, but not nearly twice as fast. MSI asking another $100 on top for their fantastic Gaming X Trio cooler, plus the overclock out of the box doesn't seem that unreasonable to me. We're talking about 6.6% here. The 6% performance increase due to factory OC / higher power limit can almost justify that, with the better cooler it's almost a no-brainer. While an additional 14 GB of GDDR6X memory aren't free, the $1500 base price still doesn't feel right. On the other hand, the card is significantly better than RTX 2080 Ti in every regard, and that sold for well over $1000, too. NVIDIA emphasizes that RTX 3090 is a Titan replacement—Titan RTX launched at $2500, so $1500 must be a steal for the new 3090. Part of the disappointment about the price is that RTX 3080 is so impressive, at such disruptive pricing. If RTX 3080 was $1000, then $1500 wouldn't feel as crazy—I would say $1000 is a fair price for the RTX 3090. Either way, Turing showed us that people are willing to pay up to have the best, and I have no doubt that all RTX 3090 cards will sell out today, just like RTX 3080. Obviously the "Recommended" award in this context is not for the average gamer. Rather it means, if you have that much money to spend, and are looking for a RTX 3090, then you should consider this card.
Let's be clear: the GeForce RTX 3090 is now the fastest GPU around for gaming purposes. It's also mostly overkill for gaming purposes, and at more than twice the price of the RTX 3080, it's very much in the category of GPUs formerly occupied by the Titan brand. If you're the type of gamer who has to have the absolute best, and price isn't an object, this is the new 'best.' For the rest of us, the RTX 3090 might be drool-worthy, but it's arguably of more interest to content creators who can benefit from the added performance and memory. We didn't specifically test any workloads where a 10GB card simply failed, but it's possible to find them — not so much in games, but in professional apps. We also weren't able to test 8K (or simulated 8K) yet, though some early results show that it's definitely possible to get the 3080 into a state where performance plummets. If you want to play on an 8K TV, the 3090 with its 24GB VRAM will be a better experience than the 3080. How many people fall into that bracket of gamers? Not many, but then again, $300 more than the previous generation RTX 2080 Ti likely isn't going to dissuade those with deep pockets. Back to the content creation bit, while gaming performance at 4K ultra was typically 10-15% faster with the 3090 than the 3080, and up to 20% faster in a few cases, performance in several professional applications was consistently 20-30% faster — Blender, Octane, and Vray all fall into this group. Considering such applications usually fall into the category of "time is money," the RTX 3090 could very well pay for itself in short order compared to the 3080 for such use cases. And compared to an RTX 2080 Ti or Titan RTX? It's not even close. The RTX 3090 often delivered more than double the rendering performance of the previous generation in Blender, and 50-90% better performance in Octane and Vray. The bottom line is that the RTX 3090 is the new high-end gaming champion, delivering truly next-gen performance without a massive price increase. If you've been sitting on a GTX 1080 Ti or lower, waiting for a good time to upgrade, that time has arrived. The only remaining question is just how competitive AMD's RX 6000, aka Big Navi, will be. Even with 80 CUs, on paper, it looks like Nvidia's RTX 3090 may trump the top Navi 2x cards, thanks to GDDR6X and the doubling down on FP32 capability. AMD might offer 16GB of memory, but it's going to be paired with a 256-bit bus and clocked quite a bit lower than 19 Gbps, which may limit performance.
Another tournament another app to download. Goot-bye US Open app. Another week of typing F into google chrome before realizing the site starts with an R. The French are classy. But who was Roland Garros? Was he, a fictitious dragon who ruled over the Alps and the Bay of Biscay and all that lay in between? Or was he a French aviator and pilot during World War I? Over the next two weeks, we’ll get to the bottom of this. I know which way I’m leaning. PS that is Querrey in the photo if you're on mobile, not me Djokovic Ymer : Novak’s biggest win at the French Open is having Thiem and Nadal on the opposite side of the draw. A healthy reward for the #1 player in the world, and one that will mean a very wide open draw and a very enjoyable snackathon while he watches the other semifinal. Novak, or Snack Attack as he’s known to his close friends and family, will be hungies for this one after a very odd day of frustration against Carreño Busta at the US Open led to a disqualification. Novak won the Rome event with relative ease and is as close to a frontrunner as someone other than Nadal can be at this event. Ymer has been steadily improving but is still at the top of the challenger level when it comes to clay. This won’t be close, but it’s good to see Ymer stringing together a few seasons of appearances in the majors. Djokovic in 3. Berankas Dellien : Ricardas Berankas may be closer than he appears. After a good hardcourt mini-swing, Berankas has been absent from the clay warmups. He’s never really been the best on clay although he plays a solid baseline game, and this mostly because while he’s consistent, he struggles to hit through the court on slower surfaces. Dellien on the other hand, does his best work on clay. He’s been losing matches you’d expect him to have a better chance in and hasn’t had many bright points leading up to the break. With Djokovic in the next round and Berankis on his worst surface with minimal warmup, this is a must-win for Dellien. He’s struggled to find the finish line but he’ll have ample chances here, and his defending is similar to Munar’s in terms of lockdown baselining Dellien in 4 or he is likely headed off the tour. Galan Norrie : This is a brilliant opportunity for Daniel. He’s been hinting at a big run on clay and overcoming a lot of the gatekeepers of the challenger tour, but a lot of third set losses have plagued him, and while it’s considered a short stretch of tour, the clay events are deep with talent. Norrie has ventured to the South American swing once or twice, with relatively poor results. He can be a frustrating opponents at his peak, but his backhand doesn’t get through the court well and he’s just a bit inconsistent with results. He’ll still be a favorite here because playing in the spotlight in a major is something that takes time to adjust to, but Galan will make it close and could eke out a win since he’s still a developing player. Galan in 5. Sandgren Hurkacz : Sandgren hasn’t had a terrible time on the dirt this year, qualifying for events the last two weeks and unfortunately running into guys who are simply better than him. Almost beating Caruso is a great step, and a year ago that would make him a bit of a favorite to beat Hurkacz. Those of us who watched his matches with Rublev and Schwartzman saw a different Hurkacz from the inconsistent but promising server that’s been exhausting bettors while losing after winning the first set time and time again. Hurkacz was hitting very clean and generating winners relatively easily, and while his serve left him late against Diego, playing a returner like that in a long match will do that to you. Sandgren and Hurkacz will both be hitting a heavy ball here and looking to hold behind big serves, but one of them has had higher level success in the past few weeks, and I think Hubert, or “Hubert”, as he’s known down at the ‘ol library, has the better serve and bigger groundstrokes. Hurkacz in 3-4, and please when you look at Hurkacz picture him wearing glasses and looking up from his wooden table anytime someone coughs across the room. Garin Kohlschreiber : This is a good start for Garin, whose physical state is somewhat dependent on Tsitspas. A finals appearance on Saturday will make for a tough turnaround, but I don’t think he’ll withdraw from a major, and given Kohl’s loss to a super-hampered Fognini last week a little bit of fatigue won’t be too much of an issue. That being said, Garin’s game is largely dependent on physical effort and being a ball machine. I would say it’s split 95% that, and 5% having elegant hair. Kohlschreiber won’t just disappear and if Garin is a ghost of himself, he’ll lose, but that’ll be a big dip in level in a short period of time, and the fatigue I expect to hurt Garin’s run at the French is more of a 3rd-4th round type of struggle. Garin in 4. Humbert Polmans : Polmans name backwards is Snamlop, and that’s important because it’s now the second thing you know about his clay game. Polmans wears a hunting cap and plays a very energetic and consistent game. In normal circumstances he’d have a puncher’s chance, and the lucky losers in tour events are classic for pulling a number of upsets (like Bublik this week) but this is not the spot. Humbert played great in Hamburg and lost early enough that he’ll have a few days to travel and get ready for RG. Humbert in 3. Vesely Broady : These two will be very happy to play each other first round. Vesely has only just started to eke out wins on this clay swing and Broady has just qualified for the first time, beating Polmans and Kuhn along the way. These aren’t the type of wins that suggest he’ll beat Vesely, but Vesely’s struggles are the kind of thing that could see lower-tier players reel him in. I expect Broady’s timing to be a bit better than Vesely’s to start as he’s had a few matches on these courts, but Vesely really is a tour level player at the end of the day, so I believe both players will have some difficulty pulling away here. Someone in 5. The Vesely that lost to Vukic in a challenger loses. The Vesely that played a decent match against Humbert wins. Majchrzak Khachanov : If you got into a car accident with a basket full of the alphabet, you miiiiiiiiight get this combination of letters. Kamil just won a challenger in Prostejov, beating some quality players and Andujar in the finals. Everyone who knows Andujar knows he was raised with jaguars, and wins two titles in a row every year then disappears. Majchrzak interrupting this is a very brave feat, but also one that means this isn’t the one-way traffic that a Khachanov Majchrzak match normal would be. The problem for Kamil has been distancing himself against mid-tier opponents, and that is exactly what Khachanov big hitting and aggressive serving have done. Karen struggled against Lajovic last week, but that’s a puzzle he hasn’t solved yet, and likely won’t impact his performance here. He’s got a better shot at excelling in the big moments, and outlasting Kamil’s steady play. Khachanov in 4-5. Baustista Agut Gasquet : This is a sleeper of a great match. The way Gasquet moves around the court in between points is deceptive given how well he covers the court, and his game looks a bit more devoted to flair than it is to hitting winners. Still, his results over the past decade have been brilliant and his serving is sneaky good at times. Zero warmup matches leading into this is the polar opposite of RBA’s commitment to getting in hard yards on the surface, and that’ll be a big edge for RBA. Not his best surface (I’ll stop harping on this eventually), but RBA is playing some good ball and Gasquet is half a question mark heading into this week. Playing at home and not sporting any visual injury means Gasquet won’t just disappear, but I think rust will be a factor. RBA in 4-5. Uchiyama Balasz : Uchiyama is most famous for being the inspiration for that Nas song, but his second claim to fame is being a helluva tennis player. Many bettors had genuine panic attacks in his first round loss to PCB in last month’s US Open, and having that fresh in their minds could lead them astray here. Attila Balasz is one of the pure clay specialists on tour, and plays a very unique style of tennis. Tons of dropshots, a strangely effective but flailing backhand, and an affinity for hitting forehand winners from 10 feet behind the baseline are on display from him, as well as one of the best kick serves you’ll see. Given Uchiyama got the business from Duckworth last week, this should be a W for Balasz, who can trouble the winner of RBA/Gasquet but likely can’t win. Balasz in 3. Pella Caruso : Pella has allegedly been diagnosed with Morton’s neuroma, which is an inflamed nerve in the metatarsal region of the foot. I’ve dealt with nerve issues in the metatarsals after breaking a toe recently, and it is the strangest thing. It’s nonstop pain, even when you’re sitting down, but you can still train. Your foot feels like it’s on fire, but you can still walk and you know nothing is wrong. I’m not sure what treatment he’s getting for it, but the stop and start aspect of tennis is going to really preclude him from doing much on tour while this is an issue, and I believe that’s what is leading to his subpar results since the restart. Caruso on the other hand has become a household name lately, and although he’s done better on hardcourt than clay in the restart, this is a winnable match for him. I’m just not sold on Pella’s physical ability, and Caruso has the power to break down what is normally a rock-solid defense. Caruso in 3. Disclaimer : There’s a big tendency amongst gamblers to jump on lines because they think they have some injury info. Just keep in mind, the information the general public has is always less than what the books have. If anything, a question mark about an injury is a good reason to avoid betting on a match at all. Millman Carreño Busta : For a while I thought Millman had a knack for drawing guys he’d have a real war with, but it’s just his style. He doesn’t serve aces but he has a decent serve. He doesn’t hit winners but he swings for the fences on the forehand. He doesn’t have much of a backhand but he puts it in play in decent spots. It’s just very difficult for Millman to overwhelm anyone, and very difficult for players to create offense against what he offers. PCB didn’t look great against Nadal, but two weeks of rest will have him in good shape to compete here. I do expect him to make a decent run at this event, and this is a good test to see where his game is at after a huge payday in the USO. PCB is a professional, but I don’t put it past him to struggle to find form/motivation for a while. PCB in 4-5. Struff Tiafoe : This is the first line I’ll mention. Tiafoe comes in at +170 for this match, which is much closer than I’d set it. Tiafoe isn’t really a productive player on clay, and lost to local hero Musetti in a challenger last week. Struff blew up with a big lead in the third against Khachanov, and lost quickly in Rome as well, but he’s had some great clay results, and I expect him to come through very well here. The Tiafoe we saw at the USO may be a repeat appearance, but this would be the best win of his career on the dirt, so the line (especially after his loss to Musetti) makes me wary. Struff in 4. Altmaier Lopez : Altmeir is a challenger level player with a big claycourt game. He plays pretty exclusively on the dirt, and while Lopez is a great server, he may take an L here. Altmaier came through qualifying fairly easily, and Lopez is a wildcard for his effort level and service efficiency, but I’d rather back a qualifier in-form than a maybe of an offensive veteran on a slow surface. Altmaier in 4. Harris Popyrin : This is a nice matchup, as both of these guys wouldn’t be expect to make the 2nd round at RG very often. I’ve been big on Popyrin’s game in the past, but Harris has had the better win in recent times on clay, beating Caruso in two straight. This will largely be decided by serves, and in the interest of honesty, I haven’t watched many of their recent matches. Popyrin was better for a time, but that seems to have flipped. Someone with their hat backwards in 4. Pospisil Berretini : Oddsmakers have set the games total for this at 32, which given Pospisil’s serve is a bit low. Vasek is by no means a great clay player, and Berretini is going to make quick work of this, but I do think Pospisil will keep him on court for at least two hours. Berretini in 3. Medvedev Fucsovics : Spooky line for this one, with Medvedev (who regularly comes in at -1000 against solid opponents) only a 4 to 1 favorite here. Fucsovics hasn’t played any clay warmups and although Med lost to Humbert it was a side event and Humbert played lights out tennis. I guess the premise we’re going with here is that Medvedev’s style isn’t great on clay, but I think he’ll have a good event here as he was a bit more impatient than usual against Humbert. Medvedev in 4. Mannarino Ramos-Vinolas : If you like lefties who’ve been on tour forever and never change their game, this is the match for you. Local robot ARV has had a disappointing start to his clay season, courtesy of an unexplainably good Bublik. He’s the type of player who generally needs a bit more time to work the point, and doesn’t go for clean winners very often. A bit like a more defensive version of Delbonis, ARV will have a good chance here to get a win. Mannarino has potential to make this close because ARV hasn’t been winning and that mental state is sometimes a difficult hurdle. He’ll also be playing at home which has historically been a huge boost for French players. It’ll depend largely on the condition of ARV’s game, but it will be difficult given Mannarino’s controlled game and ARV’s defense for either player to pull away. ARV in 5. Halys Giron : These guys just aren’t that good, but they’re in a great section of the draw. Halys has been hanging around the challenger tour, but hasn’t made a great deal of impact. Giron has had a more impressive stretch of wins on tour, but none of them have come on clay. The crowd will help Halys, and I think he’s a bit more comfortable on clay, but Giron is the better player at the end of the day. Not a lot to separate these two. Giron in 5. Querrey Rublev : I don’t want you to get the wrong idea about Querrey. It’s easy to say he’s washed up or he doesn’t care or he’s only good on grass and fast hardcourt. What’s difficult to do though is to remember that he did this : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W4ICHm96chw&ab_channel=TennisWizard That is all. Rublev might be coming off a title win, and the courts will be slower, but Querrey’s work on this planet is already complete. Rublev in 4. PS an anonymous source has recently informed me that Rublev’s house in Russia is actually structured like a hamster emporium and he wears a cape and refers to himself only as Tubelev. Vetting my source now. Monteiro Basilashvili : Monteiro is somewhere fancy winning a challenger as we speak. I love this guy’s work ethic and he plays like he’s Nadal’s wild cousin who mountain climbs and just plays tennis when he’s in town. The forehand is big and he’s going against a guy who hasn’t notched a win since he came back to the tour. Commenting on legal issues isn’t great, but Basilashvili is facing some domestic assault charges back in his home country and there’s some notion that this is not great for his mental state. If they were both at their peak Nikoloz wins, but he’s in the doldrums and Monteiro is winning tons of matches. Monteiro in 3. Lajovic Mager : Another tough draw for Mager. After getting a motivated Dimitrov he goes up against Lajovic who found his chops last week in a major way in Hamburg. Mager can absolutely crush the ball but he needs some times to find these shots, and Lajovic moves his opponents exceptionally well. A few missed opportunities against Tsitsipas have afforded Lajovic a few days of rest, and he should be good to roll through this one. Lajovic in 3-4. Djere Anderson : This one of my favorite matchups in the first round. Djere is a great claycourter and plays harder than most when he gets in a rhythm, but he’s been struggling to win matches lately. Anderson’s return from injury has been similar to Nishikori’s as far as results, but not style. Nishikori has struggled to keep the ball in the court. Anderson seems to be able to play his normal game in stretches, but is hesitant to do so. It’s like watching a baby deer test it’s legs out. In a 2/3 format I think Anderson might sprint away, but here I like Djere to make this match physical and beat Anderson, who’ll be happy to go into the indoor season where things are a bit easier on the ol deer bits. Djere in 4-5. Mayot Davidovich Fokina : Mayot is not the worst, but he’s not the best. Rublev vs Fokina is probably the best 2nd round we’re going to see in this event, and barring injury we’ll get a look at it. Fokina’s loss against Lajovic looked bad since Dusan was slumping, but looking at his form the next few rounds it makes sense. It’s like playing Paire on a day where he makes no errors and serves 16 aces. You come off the court like wait, where’s christmas? ADF in 3. Shapovalov Simon : Shap had some clay wins that he hasn’t in the past. It’s nice to see the slower surface giving him time to really craft some winners. There aren’t many holes in his game, and he seems to only struggle once opponents settle onto his patterns since he tries to hit through the court on so many shots. When you see the guy shifting to where you’re going there’s a tendency to try to add some juice. Simon’s physical struggles aren’t public, but there’s something off about him. Age/fatigue/injury. I don’t know. The backhand is still beautiful and he’s still a great player, but he just can’t win lately, and this is the wrong opponent to be moving poorly against. Shap in 3. PS if you haven’t seen Shap’s rap video yet don’t see it. It’s not to be seen, like a rare butterfly or a peanut butter jelly sandwich your child hid in their closet for some reason 4 years ago. Johnson Carballes Baena : Another match I feel good about. RCB is the RBA of ARV. His ability to push the pace without really hitting for winners is a quality the best claycourters all possess. Johnson can play some clay, but usually only in the USA event that consists of hardcourt players playing each other. This will be somewhat close as Johnson is decent on serve and RCB retired from his last match. The appeal of a big check at a major is such that people will make the trip even if they’re not at their best, and this one is RCB’s if he’s healthy, but Johnson’s if he isn’t. No way to pick, but I’m pulling for RCB, as he’ll be the better round 2 against Shap. Martin Sousa : The hits keep coming. Sousa simply can’t win a match. He doesn’t seem to be playing terribly, just dealing with a huge slump. Martin will know how that feels, as he’s been taking first round losses when he finally makes his way into main tour events for a while. That changed at the start of this year though, and Martin has been a difficult out on clay in recent months. That likely will give him an edge here, and the confidence being based in results rather than in coaches puffery is likely to keep him pushing where Sousa will have doubts creeping in. Martin in 5. Barrere Dimitrov : Barrere looked like he’d be making a big impact on tour this year before the break. There are some winners and some losers in any sporting revolution, and halting his progress seems to put him in the loser category. Draws are important, and while the solid hitter could have a chance against the new Kanye, this seems to be the old Kanye. Dimitrov tried exceptionally hard to beat Shapovalov in their Rome test, and it was good to see him playing well against even if the overarching idea is that the pinnacle of the tour has kinda passed him by. Dimitrov in 4-5. Krajinovic Milojevic : Tough pull for Milojevic, who plays excellent dirt and worked very hard to qualify, notching wins against Leo Mayer and Yannick Maden. Kraj is pretty solid on clay and playing his best tennis the past few weeks. He’ll have to work hard to put Milojevic away, but he should do so. Krajinovic in 4. Bedene Rinderknech : Strasbourg is in France, and Rinderknech is French. I like it. The 25 year old has been doing excellent recently on clay, and it’s nice to see him get a wildcard. Bedene isn’t the type of player who’s unbeatable, and Rinder’s win against Marc-Andrea Huesler (who should be in this event) shows he’s able to compete at tour level. The “home crowd” issue is probably getting annoying to read about now, but there’s some real comfort zone issues with the French players that lets them play comfortably there. Bedene is still a step above, but this could be close. Bedene in 5. Laaksonen Cuevas : Henri never blinked in the qualifying, and this is a guy who does way more with way less. He trains his fitness at least as hard as anyone on tour, and while his game is pretty one-dimensional, he gets a lot out of it. He reminds me a bit of a local club champion who plays a tour pro and doesn’t just fold up and hope for their adulation. The serve is big and that’s the main weapon, and he’ll need it against Cuevas. Cuevas doesn’t give up much in the way of rallies and uses his variety to expose his opponents. Laaksonen won’t get tired, but he will have difficult ending baseline rallies, and his somewhat predictable approach is something that Cuevas is well suited to defend against. Cuevas in 4. Munar Tsitsipas : This is a sleeper for an upset, especially with Tsitsipas playing for a title tomorrow. Munar hasn’t shown the type of world-beating dominance I expected him to on clay, because frankly he is a bit small for the tour, but he has a Nadal-level (RIP my inbox) effort on the court. He is rock-solid from the baseline and has a great attitude. Some injuries have hampered his development but even with Tsitsipas playing his best tennis this won’t be a walkover. The huge edge in serving for Tsitsipas means it’ll be tough for Munar to really apply pressure, but I think it’ll be a similar affair as his match with Garin where he seems in control until he begins making errors. Tsitsipas is still prone to shanking random rally balls and returning poorly. After talking up Munar’s chances I still think Tsitsipas may win in straight sets, but it’s one of those matches where I’d never give the spread. Tsitsipas in 3 difficult sets. PS Munar, or Lil Buttons as he’s known in the tennis rap community, buttons all the buttons on his shirt and that’s cute. Monfils Bublik : Tough draw for both. Monfils has looked half motivated, as if he wants to play but can’t bring himself to until the pressure’s off or it would be an amazing comeback. It’s time to stop looking at these moments as a slump as this is pretty much how he has spent his whole career. When conditions are perfect, he thrives. These are outliers though, not his real level. Bublik won a bunch of sets of tennis this past week and had his chances against Garin. My initial thought looking at this match was that the games total of 35 seemed low. Bublik is likely to hold serve moderately well, and Monfils is likely to get drawn into the skill contest that Bublik represents with his dropshots/serve and volleys/underhand serves. I think this has potential to be the most entertaining match, and while Bublik is looking very good, Monfils has a lot of time here to play himself into a mental state where he can fight. Monfils in 5. Gomez Sonego : Gomez and Sonego will both like their chances here. Sonego’s been losing, but to quality opponents like FAA and Ruud. Gomez qualified and got a nice article written about him, but his game has been legit and he’s been right around tour level for 2-3 seasons now. Gomez actually beat Seyboth Wild in the qualifiers, which is a huge win. Sonego really hasn’t won many matches, and that’ll be in his head a bit against a qualifier who is hungry to prove himself. Gomez in 5. Thompson Albot : Our boy Radu hasn’t really been winning much since the tour’s return, which I think puts an asterisk next to the entire sport. It’s bad form for Radu not to get wins, and I believe that’s what Pospisil’s union is mainly focused on. Thompson was awfully disappointing against Coric in the USO, and is pretty bad on clay, but this again is a nice section of the draw with Fritz waiting in round two (I say that now but by the next paragraph I’ll convince myself he’s going to lose). Thompson in 4. Machac Fritz : Is it legal to cheer? Machac’s recent results don’t say he can beat a player like Fritz, but he has beaten some players who can beat some players who can beat a player like Fritz. Fritz did well against Travaglia, and likely has the edge here. Some home-cooking for the 19 year old will be a factor if he manages to grab a set, but he’ll have to get there on his own and Fritz’ hitting may be a big factor in this one. Fritz in 3-4 but I’ll be crossin my fingas. Coric Gombos : I see some people on twitter disrespecting my man Gombos. I’m lying, I don’t go near twitter, and only made an account so I can post a portrait of myself. You can view it here : https://twitter.com/blurryturtle/header_photo Gombos probably can’t win this, but he is the Gombosiest. Coric in fouric. Rodionov Chardy : Is Chardy really tryna play tennis anymore? It seems like he’d have been making a retirement announcement this year but the pandemic ruined it. Rodionov did great in the qualifiers and winning is a habit. Chardy has the skill and serving to outclass Rodionov but he just hasn’t been doing the work lately. The upset is somewhat likely in my mind. Rodionov in 4-5. Moutet Giustino : Local rapgod Corentin Moutet is a tiny little nugget of a player, who plays a big big game. Both have been winning matches lately, and this will be a tight contest. If this gets deep, I like Moutet as his experience winning 5-set matches is a big factor and his game is better after some miles are on both opponents since he thrives on his speed but plays a bit too far behind the baseline. Giustino in 4 or Moutet in 5. Kecmanovic Schwartzman : We all know Kecmanovic is a great baseliner. He’s one of the tours more competent pushers, but Diego is just a better version of him. Diego was at his best in Rome, and I expect a good run here. Schwartzman in fourtzman. I feel like there are more matches than usual. Also always nice when they don’t release the qualifier matchups until the day before the tournament. Thus ends my gripes. Wawrinka Murray : Is it okay if I think they’ll both lose? Wawrinka played one of the funnier challenger events, losing the first set in almost every single round then winning the match and the title. Murray has hinted at the old Murray at times, but fans have grown a bit sadpants when watching him struggle with mid-level tour players. Murray hasn’t played, and Wawrinka looks like he hasn’t wanted to. The edge here goes to Wawrinka, but I expect a great contest as Murray has no quit in him and Stan has shown a prolific ability to find struggle where there is none. Wawrinka in 5. Koepfer Hoang : Tough wildcard draw for Hoang, though a year ago he’d have been ecstatic. Hoang’s been winning locally, and I wouldn’t sleep on him here. He has a great serve, a big backhand, and is still developing. Home court advantage adds another wrinkle, but Koepfer will likely be physically recovered from his runs in Rome/Hamburg, and he really showed he can elevate his game and cover the court remarkably during that period. Koepfer in 4, and hopefully he’ll be the wakeup call Wawrinka needs in round 2. Gaston Janvier : Two wildcards playing each other. Good for them. Probably Gaston in 4 (he has the much cooler name/hits a bit bigger) Nishioka Auger-Alliassime : This one is interesting given FAA’s struggle to find his serving last week. Squishioka can be very frustrating in rallies, but he just hasn’t been able to win matches on clay. Clay is more of a big hitters surface, even though it’s slow. The work ethic is there, but not the offense. A disaster of a day for FAA if he loses this one; I don’t rule it out but it’s unlikely, and Bublik was in great form which explains half the loss. FAA in 3-4. Ruud Sugita : Ruud has been excellent for years, and now he is looking like a real threat against anyone outside the top ten, and a big hurdle for those inside it. Sugita is a nice guy, but Ruud in 3. Paul Duckworth : Tommy Paul’s best surface is clay? He really has shown an ability to perform and Duckworth just enjoyed a zipping in his last outing. One way trafffic, and Paul/Ruud in the second round is a great matchup. Paul in 3. Opelka Sock : Say no to Jack Sock. It is addictive when this half boy/half potato starts winning matches. I think it continues here. Opelka has played no warmups, and moving on clay for such a tall fellow is really tough. He’ll have a tough time hanging with Sock’s pace, and the easier opponent (defensively) is likely to make Sock really focus on hitting to the open court. Sock in 4. Honestly you’d tell me if there’s extra matches right? I feel like some guys are playing twice. Cilic Thiem : Cilic is going to be sick of Thiem by the end of this one, but as a fan this is the perfect early round for Thiem. After playing no warmup matches the concern is rust, and so I’m excited to see Thiem have a match where he has to work right away. Typing that makes me a bit scared, as Cilic has played some ok tennis in the warmup, beating Goffin 2, 2. Still, this sub’s affinity for Thiem’s tumbly bum won’t let him lose in the first round, and as he gets going I think we’ll see him kinda shape into a threat for the title. Thiem in 4. Zverev Novak : Novak isn’t great on clay. Trouble is, neither is Zverev. After a major finals, I don’t picture a guy like Zverev coming in with a smaller ego. I think there will be some harrowing moments in this, and if Herbert plays well in round one I like him to take at least two sets off Zverev. Zverev in 4-5, and I’m interested to see if he’s on the “slow start gradual turnup” path again, as that’s a terrible plan on clay for a guy who’s prone to frustration. Mmoh Herbert : Mmoh did well to qualify, besting Renzo Olivo. Add in that Hyeon Chung was in their draw, and you really have a lack of offense in that section. Herbert has been bad recently, losing to a number of players he’d normally beat. His game depends largely on his serving, and while he’s one of the best players at net outside the big 3 (I’d put him first/Sock second) he needs to get there to be effective. Mmoh is a defensive test, but Herbert likely won’t want to get dragged into extended rallies, so this will look a bit like a low-rent version of Garin vs Bublik. I think Herbert at home gets the job done, but it may take some patches of trial and error to crack Mmoh’s defense. Herbert in 4-5. Delbonis Londero : I was initially excited to back Londero a bunch after his USO run, as I know his best surface is clay. This is his second match against his countryman though, and it is a poor matchup for him as Delbonis has been playing decent. Delbonis his big and segments the game nicely, so the pace of the ball is fast, but the progression of rallies is slow. I don’t expect Londero to lose in straight sets, but it’s hard to back him after losing to Delbonis a few weeks ago. Delbonis in 4-5, but for betting porpoises I’d recommend avoiding this altogether. Cecchinato De Minaur : Hehe. Finally stringing wins together, Cecchinato’s reward is a maindraw against a guy who is a nightmare matchup. Cecchinato plays a classic claycourt game. Big power and deft dropshots. He needs time to produce the first of those, and De Minaur takes that away. The dropshots are cute, but De Minaur covers the net better than most on tour. He lost to Koepfer in his only warmup on clay, and Cecchinato has won a bunch of matches recently, but this is a fairly even matchup. Both are excellent frontrunners, and I think the first few sets will be very competitive. Hard to pick against De Minaur in a long contest early in the event, and Cecchinato’s defense will likely be an issue if ADM is serving well. De Minaur in 4. Paire Kwon : Paire still avoiding multiple matches, which is an excellent strategy for his longevity as a pro athlete. He basically could lose to anyone at this point, and his retirement in Hamburg appeared to be “I’m tired”. This is a bad sign, and worse still, Kwon is not a player who’ll beat him quick or represent a dominant opponent he can just tank against. This is one I’d advise listening to rather than watching, as Paire’s outbursts will be better than his play. I’m somewhat expecting Kwon to win, although this is similar to Nishioka/FAA where the more stable player lacks the weapons to just win in dominant fashion. Kwon via retirement. Coria Jung : Coria is a wall. Jung is not a wall. Why not be a wall? Coria in 4. Bonzi Ruusuvuori : Bonzi beat Karlovic which makes me sad, but I’m happy to see the challenger journeyman get a shot in a grandslam. Ruusuvuori is slowly becoming a household name, and his clay game isn’t adept but it’s a notch better than Bonzi. Fatigue may be a factor here not in hampering Bonzi’s game, but in Ruusuuvuori’s being more crisp. Ruu-uuu-u—- in 4. Sinner Goffin : One of the sketchier first round matchups, what with wildcards playing each other and Coria and Jung going at it. This happens though, and it’s our gift to watch it. Sinner is one of the more promising prospects on the tour in a long time, and with the next gen guys finally starting to come through with big results and solid play, seeing a guy who seems more mentally stable than they were early on in their career is even better. Goffin losing quickly to Cilic isn’t a great sign, and he’s always a threat to go elfmode and stifle his opponents ability to play offense, but I think Jannik’s serving will give him a small edge here. Sinner in 4. Fognini Kukushkin : Fognini had ankle surgeries, or else his recent string of poor performances and losses would be his normal string of poor performances and losses. He doesn’t seem willing to press himself yet, and this is another Paire/Kwon style matchup. Kukushkin will take any victory he gets a look at, but isn’t going to overwhelm his opponent. Fognini’s impatiance against Ruud did include a number of shots that missed by very little, and on the slower courts in Paris he may land a greater percentage of these. I expect Fognini to play a bit better, and this will be about optics. If Fognini feels like he looks bad or is in a spot where him trying would risk his ego, he’ll fold, and Kukushkin will win. This is sad to say about a professional athlete, but Fognini has the ankle situation to fall back on, so if he can’t win,he’ll just swing for the fences and inspect his racquet until it’s over. He’s very pretty tho. Kukushkin in 4, hopefully. Martinez Vukic : Martinez was the best in the qualifying, and Vukic was in the qualifying. Martinez in 3. Korda Seppi : Korda is becoming a sleeper pick on tour, and Seppi is notoriously at his worst on clay since he hits such a flat ball. I think this will stretch deep, and I am tempted to give the edge to Korda given Seppi’s recent loss to Klahn and Musetti and Korda’s win against Karatsev, who has been one of the best players in the past month on clay on the challenger tour. Korda in 4. Benchetrit Isner : Benchetrit can make this close since it’s on clay, but Isner should be able to get into tiebreakers, which makes predicting this almost as annoying as Isner bouncing the ball between his legs. The dude’s a muppet. Someone in 4 tiebreakers. Evans Nishikori : Evans hasn’t been great, and Nishikori has been worse. Nishikori has looked like he was gaining control of rallies and immediately making errors for a few weeks now, and it’s frustrating to predict his matches because there’s that sense that he will find form at some point. Evans likely gets the W here but it will take a lot of work. Evans in 4-5. Andujar Travaglia : “BEGONE,” commanded Andujar. I stood there speechless. “YOU ARE AN ILLUSION!” he bellowed, waking several colorful parrots who sat atop his head. I was not there. What he saw was only his vision of me, which had come to him in a dream commanded by the vines and souls of tropical frogs. Confident that I had gone, he hopped off his perch on the mountain peak, and began descending. Not in the usual way via legs and feet, but on the breeze of a thousand moths, while nearby shamans began making a thousand broths. Andujar is back, and I hate this matchup. Travaglia was brilliant on serve leading up to RG, and Andujar was a breath of fresh air on the challenger tour, notching win after win after win and rarely dropping a set. This is one I expect to go deep, as both players are at their best. Who will win? A man does not summon the future, lest it become the present. Shamans in 3. Diez McDonald : idc Gerasimov Nadal : So we all know what will happen if I suggest Nadal will struggle in a match. Luckily, I won’t have to here. Gerasimov’s movement isn’t good enough to trouble many players on clay, and Nadal is probably the most dominant single-surface player that tennis has ever seen. He looked pretty human last week against Diego, and his muscles were muscley, but not as muscley as usual. Where is his massive crab-arm? The winner of Travaglia/Andujar will be his first real test. Nadal in 2 somehow. PS User Kuklachert runs a very fun picking contest if you're interested in discord ... check it out here https://www.reddit.com/tennis/comments/izhabroland_garros_tipping_competition/
This tournament has to feel wide open for so many players. Osaka isn't the best on clay, but her performance at the USO had to kinda close the door in the minds of many players. I realized halfway through writing this just how many players on the WTA are really playing their best right now. This should be a wild and exciting tournament, and even if half the competitors are wearing mom-shorts by Nike, that just makes it more wild and exciting since I'm fairly confident dude-mom-shorts will come back into style after that. What am I talking about? Idk. I'm tired. Enjoy tennis. Halep Sorribes Tormo : This is the usual overpriced line for Halep as a 1 seed, and Sorribes Tormo is not that bad at all. Clay is her natural surface, and while she’s not out here winning titles, this will take some doing from Halep. Halep was pretty solid in her title win in Rome though, so she should be through in straight sets. Halep in 2. Begu Teichmann : Unfortunate spot in the draw and unfortunate matchup for both these players. Begu crushes the ball and is a threat in most minor events in every round. Teichmann lost to Svitolina, but prior to that had looked like one of the next big talents on the tour. It’ll be a difficult task for Teichmann to negate Begu’s power, but the errors are there if she extends rallies and Begu is prone to stretches of mistakes. Irina plays her best in the first round, however, so this is not one way traffic. Teichmann in 3. Bellis Pera : Bellis comes into this one slated as the underdog, and I guess that’s because Pera’s been more active. More active, but losing matches. Bellis posted a nice win against Bouchard a few months back, and I think although she won’t be fully adjusted to the surface, there’s reason to believe she will have chances in this contest. Her backhand is very solid, and Pera is prone to losing deciding sets. Bellis in 3. Korpatsch Anisimova : Tamara Korpatsch has pulled some tough draws lately but she’ll have chances here, given Anisimova’s a much better hardcourt player. The difference in states in their careers will likely be the decider, as Anisimova feels more freedom to execute bigger shots in pressure moments, and Korpatsch is still looking to establish herself on tour. Anisimova in 3, as Korpatsch has been playing a lot of clay. Yastremska Gavrilova : Wowwwwww. Remember Gavrilova? She’s dropped down the rankings to almost 800 in the world, and really hasn’t been around the tour much due to injuries. I think this is an unfortunate return for her, as defending was often her best asset and Yastremska does very well with control in a rally. Yastremska in 2. Kalinskaya Bouchard : Kalinskaya is by no means an easy out, but Bouchard has been playing some of her best tennis on clay since the tour started back up, making the finals in Istanbul and winning some matches in the Prague event as well. Bouchard in twochard. Haas Hsieh : This is a tough situation to call. Hsieh made a quick exit and hasn’t traditionally done great on clay. Haas is kinda not really at the same level, but has been winning a bunch of matches and playing a lot more. Rust could be a factor, but Hsieh is a cut above most of the qualifiers. Errors could be a factor for her, and it’s difficult to predict one of the most skillful players on tour losing, but that’s where I’d lean here. Losses to better players vs wins against easier competition. Which triumphs? Haas in 2 or Hsieh in 3. Swiatek Voundrousova : This matchup tells me there are some real generous 1st round opponents out there. Swiatek is a real force when she’s on, but she hasn’t been for a while. A real solid run at the Australian Open and some bright points at the USO made me think she’d bring it in the clay season, but between these two struggling phenoms Voundrousova has made the most strides. Voundrousova seems to be hitting the ball slowly and yet her opponents get exhausted. Swiatek’s movement will be a good benefit to her here as Marketa hits a lot of dropshots, but her general rally errors are a thorn in her side until she finds that next gear again. A win here would have her going a few rounds at least, but I don’t think it happens. Voundrousova in 3. Konta Gauff : This is a draw full of interesting matchups and it’s going to be frustrating not to get to watch some matches in full. This is one of them. After beating Jabeur with ease, Gauff played a solid contest with Muguruza. Konta on the other hand got the royal beats looking at the scoreline, but was also closer in the match than that score would indicate. In a match of mini-mugus, it’ll be interesting to see if Konta’s offense is able to hit through Gauff’s defense. On that subject, it has seemed that since her amazing Wimbledon run, Gauff’s shot selection has been largely about grinding her opponents down, and the backhand crosscourt is one of the only things it seems she feels comfortable hitting winners off. I think that hesitation is good on clay, but not the best in the first round. I’m leaning towards Konta in 3 but if you’re betting please don’t bet on this match. High profile matches are often capped very well since both are large markets, and both these players are playing well. It’s like betting on the Super Bowl. Are you watching it? Sure. Is it the worst game of the entire season to bet on? Yes. Giorgi Trevisan : Marta Marta Marta! Trevisan worked her way through qualifying nicely, and while Giorgi’s pretty competent on clay and having the best season of her career following several years of Ls and inconsistency, I think this will be a close contest. The edge goes to Giorgi but the first round against a qualifier is always rough. Giorgi in 3. Rakhimova Rogers : Wack! Rakhimova was probably the best qualifier for my money, and I was hoping she’d get a hardcourt player. Rogers has been in excellent form since the restart, and is very competent on clay. It gives her a bit more time to produce her booming groundstrokes, and her kickserve is a bit better as well. Again I think the qualifier can get off to a quick start, but Rogers should have this in 3. Tomljanovic Sakkari : Tomjlanovic just can’t win a match, and that has to be getting frustrating. Sakkari isn’t the best on clay, but she’s too good of a defender to lose this one. Sakkari in 2. Kuznetsova Pavlyuchenkova : Both of these lovely ladies have been playing great, and this just automatically should start in a third set. The funny thing about that is that in their last 10 matches, only one has gone to a third set. Kuznetsova owns the most recent win on clay, and is likely to get another one. Kuznetsova in 3. Siniakova Davis : Siniakova was the unsung hero of Strasbourg this week, finally getting some wins under her belt and playing very exciting tennis. Davis has been a strugglebus on tour, and it’ll continue here. Siniakova in 2. Puig Errani : Puig plays a big game and is prone to errors. Errani seems like she’s always in her last year on tour but wins a bunch of clay matches. This is power vs savvy, and I think Errani will continue her run. Errani in 3. This is one of those interesting matches where for the “better” player to win, they’ll have to hit the kind of levels that would indicate a deep run. It means a lot of question marks going in, but some very valuable info with the result. Zavatska Bertens : Kikei Bertekori hasn’t really won many sets of tennis since her return. There’s something limiting her play, and losses to Ostapenko and Hercog aren’t the end of the world, but they mean she only just is a favorite to get past Zavatska here. She likely will though. Bertens in 2. Svitolina Gracheva : One of the best performances of Svitolina’s career on clay netted her the title this past week in Strasbourg, and in every match it was evident that you just can’t put the ball away on her. Her speed is a great weapon, and her serving was much improved as well. She seems to be having fun on the court, and Gracheva likely won’t. She’s been playing a lot of clay and is usually good for a round of two at a major, but sometimes the draw just doesn’t work out. Svitolina in 2. Zarazua Jacquemot! : Jacquemot! is the kind of name you have to put an exclamation point on. Zarazua became the first Mexican woman to qualify in 30 years, which is pretty cool, Jacquemot! is not quite up to this level yet, but she did beat Stojanovic recently which is a tour level win. Zarazua likely is in too good a form to lose here. Zarazua in two. Blinkova Sharma : Blinkova played one of the array of awesome Sabalenka matches that went down this past week, and really excelled on the backhand wing. I think Sharma has a bright future on tour, but the fatigue likely means her offensive isn’t good enough to hit through Blinkova. Blinkova in two. Inglis Alexandrova : Alexandrova was Siniakova’s first victim on the comeback tour, but she didn’t exactly play poorly. I don’t want to be dismissive of Inglis, but she’s not yet capable of the type of effort that it takes to unsettle Alexandrova. Alexandrova in 2. Kontaveit Garcia : This is kinda unfortunate. After playing some good ball at the USO, Garcia drew Kontaveit in Rome and got the beats. That wasn’t enough though, the world also wants her to get the beats at home. Garcia’s power is great and her returning can be effective, but Kontaveit has been the most consistent performer on the women’s tour for the past few years not named Mertens. She shows up, she wins matches. The upsets are few and far between. Kontaveit in 2. Sandwich Friedsam : I swear my autocorrect did that, not me. Friedsam is a good player, and can snag you if you make errors. Sasnovich plays a really nice game, and is prone to running out of shots for sets at a time, but that’s really only against the best baseliners on tour (pushers). I think this will be a skillful affair, but Sasnovich should have control. Sasnovich in two. Bouzkova Kanepi : Bouzkova has made great improvements in her game, but she’s drawn one of the few players who just shows up for majors and wins. Kanepi’s game is somewhat known on tour, but it takes a lot of effort to slow down her power. One thing that can do this is movement, and I believe Bouzkova’s ability to move Kanepi will get her the errors she needs. Match rust is often a factor Kanepi overcomes, but I think it bites her here. Bouzkova in 3. Gasparyan Mertens : Mertens is my favorite. I’m just gonna say it. She looks like she smiles and eats pretzels and it’s lovely. I generally picture her playing a harp to a family of orphaned owls wearing top hats, and that’s the Mertens I’ll always believe in. Mertens in two, sorry Margarita. Azarenka Kovinic : A lot of this draw is players who were poised to make a move up the tour getting the absolute worst draw they could. Kovinic is doing great work and her fitness is unreal, but her style is too similar to Azarenka’s. Straightforward baseline consistency isn’t going to upset Vika, whose determination to call that bird does not seem to waver. It will come one day. Azarenka in 2. Schmiedlova Williams : Oddsmakers have had enough of Venus Williams I suppose and opened her as an underdog here. Bit confusing to me as Schmiedlova isn’t really an overwhelming talent, and Venus played well in her straight set loss against Azarenka in Rome. I think we see an “upset” here. Williams in 3. Minnen Podoroska : Great job qualfying for Podoroska. The new talent on tour is refreshing, yet somehow Greet Minnen feels like part of that wave of talent. Not a player who’s had the most success or the best statistics, but someone who seems very comfortable on the tennis court. Minnen has a good chance to win here, and I suspect it will go three. Flipkens Putintseva : Flipkens slice-heavy game will be interesting on clay, but Putintseva isn’t really trying to hit winners, so this will kinda be a waste of tiempo. Putintseva’s poweconsistency are the right recipe to beat Flipkens, and the anger issues have been distant while she’s winning. Putintseva in 2 and at least a few dinosaur noises after breaking serve. Strycova Lepchenko : Strycova isn’t bad on clay, but grass is her favorite. Lepchenko hits a heavy ball, and playing a lefty is always difficult. Her run in qualifying is somewhat unexpected since she’s a bit past her prime, but I’ll buy the stock anytime a ballbeater comes through qualfying and plays a serve and volleyer on clay. Lepchenko in 2-3. Stojanovic Krejcikova : These are two of the lesser known talents to me. I see Stojanovic play maybe once a year and she’s usually good for a win on clay before her exit. I think Krejcikova has a pretty good edge in power and experience here, and I’ll hesitantly go with that. Krejcikova in 2. Pironkova Petkovic : Pironkova! Rumours are that the next Disney Prince and Princess will both be named Pironkova and the whole movie will just be about them hitting inside out backhands at a band of evil clouds. Pironkova’s issue here is that she’s not really as good on clay as she is on hc. Her shots are rather flat and she doesn’t hit the ball as hard as she can on most of her shots. Petkovic is prone to errors in a glorious way, and simply does not play enough tennis to win on tour, but when she’s on she’s such a great athlete that she can compete with the top 20-40 tier in the world. I actually think Pironkova is a bit better than she was before she left the tour, and Petkovic not having played any clay leading up to this will be an issue for her since timing is always a concern on her shots. At the beginning of the day I had circled Pironkova, or Big Chonk Pironk as she’s known to her backgammon club, as someone to back here, but now I’m not so sure. I suspect Petkovic will either be brilliant, or awful. Awful is more frequent, so I’ll go with the hotter hand, even though Petkovic had some great hardcourt exhibition wins. Pironkova in 2. Ahn Williams : Kristie Ahn plays Serena in every event? Seems odd. Williams is going to struggle on clay, but it won’t be this round. Williams in 2. Sabalenka Pegula : Not really the easy first round Sabalenka deserves for her hard work in Strasbourg, but not a disaster. Pegula and Sabalenka on hardcourt is an even prospect, but Pegula hasn’t really won much on clay. I think given the lack of Ws and warmup matches for Pegula this will be somewhat lopsided. Sabalenka did the right thing by heading to Strasbourg. Sabalenka in 2. Kasatkina Tan : I have to say Azarenka and Kastkina’s moment was beautiful. I shed a few tears watching it. Which makes me kinda confused to see Kasatkina’s name in the draw. I’ve criticized Konta in the past for theatrics after taking a tumble, and I just didn’t expect to see Kasatkina back a week later. Spraining your ankle sucks though, and I guess if there was no permanent damage she could have iced it and recovered. Tape jobs are miraculous in professional sports, and Harmony Tan is likely a non-factor in this one. Kasatkina in 2. Hibino Kostyuk : Some people say you shouldn’t take adorable little bows after you win a tennis match. Those people have never seen Nao Hibino. I almost hope she wins this one so I can see them. Kostyuk took three sets to qualify, but she looked exceptionally good in the qualifier. It’ll be a very good contest between these two, as Kostyuk’s offense is next level stuff, and Hibino’s baseline game is in great form right now. There’s not a lot to divide these two, but Kostyuk’s match with Nara makes me think this one won’t be decided in two sets. I’ll side with the slightly more experienced player, but Kostyuk will have the higher ceiling when it’s finally her day. Hibino in 3. Diyas Jabeur : Diyas hasn’t come through in a few spots I expected her to, and although Jabeur lost as a favorite to Gauff, clay was where she really earned her place on tour. She’ll have ample opportunities to play offense against Diyas, and should find the win here. Jabeur in 2. Brady Tauson : Brady with a fun matchup here. Clara Tauson is a junior champion who really thrived in qualifying. She’s not quite ready for this matchup, but what will make it interesting is Brady with very little preparation for this event. I still see Brady’s offense being a dominant factor, but Tauson is a nice look at ze future. Brady in 2. Niculescu Collins : Zvonareva was rolling up until Monica found her game. She’s been off the tour for a while but her slices are extremely annoying to play against, and she used to find upset wins very ofte on clay. Collins has kinda struggled with some tough draws, and it’s possible she takes an L here if she has trouble with her timing. Niculescu in 3. Kuzmova Pliskova Kr : Kuzmova will have a tough time here with the big server. Krystina’s movement isn’t great, but she notches most of her wins on clay. Pliskova in 2. Zidansek Muguruza : Zidanske has suffered some odd losses for such an adept clay-courter, including one to Bouchard right at the beginning of Bouchard’s streak. Muguruza really plays her best at RG, so the random errors are unlikely to be a factor. You won’t see a player on the women’s tour come to net more instinctively well. Muguruza in two. Rybakina Cirstea : This isn’t the easy match Rybakina deserves after a long week in Strasbourg that saw her play some of her best tennis. This line of Rybakina around -390 feels similar to Medvedev and Fucsovics. Cirstea can be excellent but I picture Rybakina’s performance making her a more clear favorite. Rybakina in two. Ferro Watson : Local “google tennis when it’s time to write a tennis article” ESPN reporter Bill Connelly has indicated Fiona Ferro is one to watch at this event. One to watch lose to Rybakina in the second round? I guess looking at the draw is too much work. Ferro does have some great stretches of clay wins this year, and she should drub Watson here, despite Heather owning their H2H 2-0. Playing at home, and having nabbed a title against Kontaveit in Palermo earlier this year, her spot int he draw is unfortunate, but she’ll get at least this win. Ferro in two. Voegele Tig : Tig after not really getting much momentum the past two years won her first title on clay in Istanbul. She has a pretty interesting game and the emotion was real as she came back and snagged Bouchard who’d looked like the favorite throughout. I don’t think she’s a worldbeater just yet, but she’ll be a good favorite against Voegele, who’s has the type of quiet season Tig has just shaken off. Tig in two. Mchale Muchova : Mchale makes matches long and gritty, and wears visors. These are good attributes, and what I’m realizing as I announce she has an unlucky draw is just how many WTA players are just playing great ball right now. There are so many people in the draw you just don’t want to be playing. Muchova’s athleticism and offense are legit, and will give her the edge against Mchale who thrives more on applying pressure deep in sets. Muchova in 3. Vekic Bara : This line is the sort that makes me nervous. I’m not a big fan of backing Vekic but she played excellent at the USO an clay isn’t exactly foreign to her. Bara looked great in qualfying but doesn’t have the kind of resume that would suggest she beats Vekic, yet Vekic is only a 2:1 favorite. I’ll buy it though. A quick loss to Anisimova is all the footage we have to go on, and Bara was mercurial in her final sets against Hogenkamp. Bara in 3. Van Uytvanck Peterson : Just really not either of these two’s favorite surface. It’s lucky for them to be playing each other, and I won’t try to read too much into this as both have really lost all of their matches on clay, but lost them to players they were somewhat supposed to lose to. I suspect Uytvanck’s serving will be a minor edge in this. AVU in 3. Babos Bogdan : Bogdan comes in with the better clay resume, and Babos has been so mundane on tour that I’m a bit surprised she’s still gaining direct entry into main draws. Bogdan in 2. Samsonova Kenin : I sang Samsonova’s praises a bit too often, and there are clearly some growing pains there as she establishes herself on tour. Kenin in 2. Kvitova Dodin : Very similar plans here, and Kvitova is the one more likely to execute. Kvitova in 2. Bolsova Paolini : Bolsova has been very annoying to play the past few weeks, and would be a bit of a favorite to win this if Paolini hadn’t beaten her in 2018 in straight sets on clay. The WTA doesn’t have a ton of clay specialists, but these are two of them and there won’t be a lot to separate them. Bolsova in 3. Parry Hercog : Nice wildcard spot for Parry, who’ll earn her way on tour over the next year or so. Hercog is playing too well though, and should win in 2. Fernandez Linette : Hmm. Fernandez lost to Voegele and her being a junior still means to me clay is a tough ask. You need a bit of power to really move the ball through the court. Linette has that, and her serving is good enough to really keep Fernandez from getting in a rhythm. Linette in 2. Kerber Juvan : Juvan is definitely someone to watch on tour, but the odds on this are a bit of a puzzle to me. Listed as basically a pickem, Kerber’s quick loss to Siniakova stands out to me as the only guess as to why oddsmakers would be so low on her. I don’t think I’ve ever really seen Kerber thrive at non-majors since she won one though, and RG is a place where she definitely feels comfortable playing. Juvan will notch the win of her career if she wins here. I don’t see it. Kerber in 2. Rus Burel : Burel is another in the list of French wildcards I think go out first round. It feels like I’m missing something, but Rus should win this. Rus in tus. Paquet Cornet : Chloe Paquet is a younger version of Cornet in some aspects. Cornet is in fine form though, and I think she’ll give a great deal of trouble to Madison Keys in the next round. Cornet in 2. Keys Zhang : Tempting to discuss Keys in depth but this is really the same equation. If she keeps the ball in she wins easily. If she flings the ball all over the place the Tennis Channel announcers have to pretend to be confused. Keys or Zhang in 2. Martic Doi : Petra is one of the darkhorses for any clay event. Doi has been extra plucky lately though, and could annoy her with her movement. Martic in 3. Partmentier Kudermetova : Tough match to call. Parmentier at home plays well, and clay is where she’s most comfortable. Kudermetova is wildly inconsistent and her heroics against Pliskova at the W&S Open are probably the only bright point I’ve seen. Parmentier seems ripe for a win and the conditions suit her here. Parmentier in 3. Siegemund Mladenovic : Siegemund struggles against the top of the tour, but her battles have landed her as a low-rent RBA on the WTA side. Clay is by far her best surface and Mladenovic is always capable but I believe Siegemund’s linear attack will make it difficult for her to generate her unique offense. Siegemund in 3. Goerges Riske : Ooo. Goerges has kinda disappeared from the tour after moving all the way up to the top 20 at one point. Her return includes a quick loss to Kovinic, and now she gets a gift that will be tough to open. Riske is probably the worst suited to clay, but has been playing a lot more tennis than Goerges. This will be a hard one to watch, as both players have struggled on serve and with their consistency. Riske has won more of their encounters (thought they’re all on hardcourt), so while I’d never bet on it, she should have a slight edge here. Riske in 3. Stephens Diatchenko : It’s finally a major, so we can finally watch Sloane win a match. Hooray! And by “can watch” I mean “will be forced to by Tennis Channel’s dipshit coverage”. Diatchenko unfortunately is not really the clay opponent to hurt Stephens, and while I love to watch Sloane ball out, I won’t get my hopes up with Pliskova looming in her section. Stephens in 2. Kozlova Badosa : Paula Badosa Gilbert is a clay specialist, and Kozlova has really not played any clay leading up to this. I think this is a good spot for Badosa to make a third round if Stephens sleeps on her. Badosa in 2. **Ostapenko Brengle : “**Hulk smash!” the audio plays loudly from the TV in the other room. “I WANNA WATCH IT AGAIN”, screams a young Jelena. “Yes, ok bubchick”, said her mom, rewinding it for the 112th time. This little dude swings for the fences, and I kinda like it when it works, and I kinda hate it when it doesn’t. Brengle is the perfect test pilot to see where Jelena’s head/game will be at for this one, and with Pliskova potentially in the second round, there could be a match with zero rallies. Ostapenko in 3. Sherif Pliskova : Sherif wins the prize. The first woman to qualify from Egypt in a major. So ridiculously cool, and her game is really good quality. Against some other players in the draw, she’d have a good chance at an upset. Unfortunately, Pliskova seems focused, and thought she withdrew against Halep, her game should have her in control of this one. Pliskova in 2. PS User Kuklachert runs a very fun picking contest if you're interested in discord ... check it out here https://www.reddit.com/tennis/comments/izhabroland_garros_tipping_competition/
Nintendo's missing franchises and their chances of coming to Switch (long read)
“I want X for Switch”, “when is X coming to the Switch”, “X is perfect for the Switch!” How often have you heard or said these sentences? Quite a lot, probably, especially about Nintendo franchises. Nintendo fans really like first-party games, and they’re always asking for their favorites to come back. Problem is, even though Nintendo owns dozens of franchises, there’s only a few that are guaranteed to show up during any given console, so fans of smaller franchises are left wondering when they’ll play them again. Well, today I’ll try to mostly answer these questions. I’ll take a look at several, Nintendo-owned franchises and try to figure out what are their chances of coming to Switch. I’ll be basing myself on this such as release schedule, success of previous entries, popular demand, market niche and internal interest at Nintendo. However, keep in mind two things. One: Nintendo owns a shit-ton of IPs, and I won’t cover them all. I’ll focus on the ones that have multiple entries, and even then, I might skip a few if I feel I have no meaningful insight. And two: No matter what I or anyone else says, the chances for any of these games to come back is NOT ZERO. Nintendo is unpredictable and they’ll sometimes bring something out of the blue when you least expect it. This year alone we saw the return of Brain Age (a franchise not seen since 2012), Clubhouse Games (a sequel to a game from 2005), and Famicom Detective Club, a franchise with two games from 1988/89, which then received a remake in 1998 and then nothing until twenty two years later. Granted, it’s another remake, but it is still a modern installment in a franchise twenty two years dormant. If Famicom Detective Club can come back in 2020, so can your favorite franchise. Now, let’s begin, in alphabetical order: Art Academy Starting off with a small one. Art Academy is a series of drawing games that started on the DS in 2010 and then released pretty consistently over the following years, with three entries on 3DS and two (well, one and a half) for the WiiU between 2010 and 2016. Already this feels like a franchise with a pretty consistent release schedule, even though it hasn’t been seen for four years now. I don’t think any of the games were blockbusters, per se, but they also don’t need to be. They’re small games, probably inexpensive to produce that seem to do consistently well enough to get new sequels. There are several obstacles that present themselves to the release of a new Art Academy, but I think all of them are easily overcome. For starters, AA is the type of casual game that thrived during the DS/Wii eras, a Touch Generations game. Since the Switch released, many have noted that Nintendo may want to distance themselves from that era due to the failure of the WiiU, and there may be some truth to that, but I feel like this is starting to change. Again, this year saw the return of both Brain Age and Clubhouse Games, both casual, Touch Generations DS games. I feel like, at the start of the Switch’s life cycle, Nintendo was indeed trying to focus on core gamers, but now that they have secured that core gamer audience, they may be more comfortable releasing more casual fare. Furthermore Art Academy is developed by Headstrong Games, a British developer that doesn’t seem to do much other than AA. However, in 2017, that team was absorbed into its parent studio, Kuju Games. This move, which happened the year after the last AA game released, may have something to do with the franchsie’s MIA status. But, Kuju games is still active, having released a game just last year, and I don’t see why they couldn’t take up the mantle. Finally, some speculated a few years ago that AA was dead due to the Switch not having a stylus but, OH WAIT, Brain Age fixed that too! All in all, even though Art Academy is hardly a hot franchise, there’s very little standing in the way of its return, and little reason to doubt that it will. Chances: Good Chibi-Robo! We may have started on a positive note, but here comes a downer. Chibi-Robo is probably not coming back anytime soon. This cute little robot debuted in his self-titled Game Cube game, developed by Skip Ltd. Like most games by the developer, it was quirky and fun, and not very popular, but had its fans, and Chibi-Robo must have endeared someone at Nintendo, because he kept showing up here and there. He got two DS sequels, though the second one was Japan-only, already a red flag. In 2013, he starred in a 3DS eshop game that was very different from the main games, more of an experimental spin-off, and was not well-received. But the real final nail came in 2015, with Chibi-Robo Zip Lash! The game was announced to be a 2D platformer, and many fans identified the change in genre (from a unique adventure game to one of the most over-saturated genres in Nintendo consoles) as a total sell-out, and they were totally correct! The developers basically admitted that they did it to try and get more players (red flag). Series producer Kensuke Tanabe then said that if the game didn’t sell well, it could be the end of the franchise (RED FLAG). And then, the unfortunate but inevitable happened. Zip Lash was a critical and commercial bomb, and neither the developer nor the franchise has been seen again. Aside from the inevitable Smash Bros mentions, Chibi-Robo has only been seen on that infamous flaming tweet from 2018 (I told you someone at Nintendo really likes them). To make matters worse, there are increasing signs that Skip Ltd may be going under So, a struggling franchise makes a desperate move to gain fans, a developer expresses concerns for its future if the game bombs, said game bombs and now the developer may be going out of business? It seems the writing is on the wall. Now, even if Skip goes under, that is not necessarily the end of Chibi. Nintendo would still retain the rights, as they did for Trace Memory and Hotel Dusk after developer Cing went under. As for whether or not Nintendo would want to give the franchise a second (third? Fourth?) chance, it doesn’t look good Chances: Very bad Custom Robo From one diminutive robot to another, the Custom Robo series is and robo-battle series that began on the N64. It was Japan only, as was its N64 and GBA sequels. Afterwards, Nintendo did try to expand it, releasing a GameCube game in NA, and a DS game in NA and Europe. However, despite the fact that players of these games will attest to how good these games are, they didn’t seem to do very well, and the franchise has not been seen since 2007. There was one statement of internal interest, when a developer in 2014 said that he heard demands both inside and outside the company for a new entry, but that there were no plans for one, and he was unsure when there would be. Six years on, it seems there still aren’t. In fact, the developer itself, Noise, is also strangely MIA. Though they are officially still active, with their website being updated for 2020, they have not worked on a game since 2015. Then, in 2018, many fans watched in horror the news that Nintendo let the trademark expire. Some have pointed out that this isn’t as bad as it seems, as it refers specifically to games on optical discs, which Nintendo doesn’t make anymore, but I don’t know enough about the subject to say for certain. Regardless, it’s evident that Nintendo still owns the franchise, as Custom Robo content appears in Smash Ultimate. On the other hand, one of the series creators, Kohji Kendoh, is still thinking about it. He is working for another developer, and released a suspiciously similar game called Synaptic Drive just this year, as well as talking about Custom Robo in social media. It seems like a Mighty no9/ Yooka-Laylee/Bloodstained situation, in which the owner of an Ip is not using it, so the creator releases a spiritual successor. Bottom line, there seems to be demand for Custom Robo. A developer saw it six years ago, and the creator is seeing it now. Whether or not thinks this demand is enough to revive the franchise, is tough to say, but doesn’t look great. Not as bad as Chibi-Robo, though Chances: Bad Daigasso! Band Brothers Here’s a franchise Americans never got. Daigasso! Band Brother is a rhythm game released for the DS in 2004 and stars Barbara the Bat, who has an uncharacteristically risqué design for Nintendo. The game was Japan-only but seems to have been successful, it received a sequel in 2009 (released in Europe, but not NA), and another in 2013 for the 3DS. Despite not having received new games since then, the series is far from inactive. Barbara the Bat in particular, like Chibi-Robo, seems to have fans inside Nintendo because she pops up everywhere. She had cameos in a few other DS games, she was an AT in Brawl and a spirit in Ultimate, she was a costume in Mario Maker, she appeared in a comic strip with WarioWare’s Ashley, and the series has a Twitter account that was super active all the way up to April of this year (more on that later). In 2017, that account even tweeted a comic strip of Barbara demanding a Switch. That was probably not a tease of anything, as it’s been 3 years and nothing, but stuff has happened with the franchise even more recently. Last year, in 2019, six years after the release of the 3DS game, there were 30 songs added to the game in celebration of the series 15th anniversary. So as late as last year, Nintendo was celebrating this franchise with an in-game event. Now, the servers for the game were shut down earlier this year (hence the end of the Twitter account), and the game was removed from the eshop (as it is basically pointless without the servers), but with recent news that the 3DS has ceased production, it’s pretty clear that the game’s end is a consequence of the 3DS’ end, and not a lack of players. So if the series is alive, but can’t be on the 3DS, it has to go somewhere, no? Bottom line: the games are successful, the series is active, and the character is popular. I don’t know if Barbara the Bat’s next tour will be an international one, but I’m confident it will happen Chances: Very Good Dillon’s Rolling Western DRW is a unique western-themed tower defense game released on the 3DS eshop in 2012. It received mixed reviews, but had a dedicated fanbase, and was successful enough to spawn two sequels, one in 2013, and a post-apocalyptic themed one in 2018. With a game having released just two years ago, its reasonable to say the series is not dormant, so the prospect of a new game is always likely. The developer, Vanpool, who mostly works on smaller scale stuff like this, is both still active and still working at Nintendo. So, really the only reason to believe the series wouldn’t continue would be if the latest game bombed really hard. It’s hard to say that it did, as sales figures are unavailable, but it was a 3DS game in 2018, probably didn’t set the charts on fire. But then again, unless Nintendo had some really unrealistically high expectations, I don’t think it could have bombed hard enough to kill the franchise that fast. There’s not much more to say. There aren’t any rumblings of a return, but also no reason to be pessimistic. Chance: Above Average Earthbound Let’s make one thing perfectly clear: There will not be a Mother 4 The Creator of the series, Shigesato Itoi, has said that he would not work on a fourth installment, as he feels the story is complete. Now, normally, Nintendo could just say “screw creative integrity, let’s make a fourth game anyway!” but Shigesato Itoi directly co-owns the series’ copyright so they actually can’t. So unless Itoi changes his mind, or he dies and Nintendo decides to ignore his wishes (neither scenario is completely outside the realm of possibility), Mother 4 is not happening. So, if new Mother content is made, it’d be either a remake, or Mother 3 localization. We all know demand for this last one is overwhelming, Nintendo themselves have acknowledged it multiple times, but it still hasn’t happened, and it doesn’t seem things have changed. A remake is possible, but don’t hold your breath for it. Despite the series’ popularity, I think all we’ll see of it is the first two games in NSO. Chances: Bad Excitebike This is a hard one to pinpoint. Excitebike is one of those classic NES games that Nintendo likes to reference all the time, like Ice Climber, Balloon Fight, Wrecking Crew and Duck Hunt. Unlike those, Excitebike actually received sequels and established a franchised. There was a great entry on the N64 and three entries on the Wii, but nothing more since. I can’t imagine the Wii entries were super successful, and there really hasn’t been any word from Nintendo about any interest in reviving the series, either from developers, or the fans. The developer of the Wii games, Monster Games, is still active, and still makes racing games and extreme sports games, but hasn’t worked with Nintendo in 5 years. Now, one point I see often, and that I’d like to address, is the idea that Nintendo doesn’t want multiple games from the same genre on the same console. I can’t agree. With the exception of the WiiU, every Nintendo home console since the SNES has had multiple Nintendo-published racing games released for it. WiiU didn’t but that console is an exception to many norms. I don’t see why Mario Kart, behemoth that it is, would stop any other racing game from being made, especially when they are so very different (although the fact that MK8 has an Excitebike track doesn’t inspire confidence). No, I don’t think Mario Kart is the problem, I think is just lack of interest. And though Excitebike is not a franchise Nintendo will ever truly forget, it’s not really revving up for a comeback either. It could happen, it could not Chances: Medium Fatal Frame This horror franchise wasn’t originally a Nintendo product, being released on the PS2 by Tecmo. However, since the fourth game, each title in the series has been published and copyrighted by Nintendo, and this seemingly applies to all future entries, as the series producer said the series’ future is up to Nintendo. So, how does that future look like? Well, the last game in the series, Maiden of Black Water, was a WiiU game, which means it didn’t sell well, but not as badly as you might think. From all I could find, which is admittedly not much, sales for the game seemed to be only slightly less than previous entries, a gap more than explainable by its console. So, if the series was getting sequels before, the WiiU game’s sales wouldn’t be the reason why there wouldn’t be more. And though Nintendo of America has had to take baby steps into accepting the franchise overseas, Nintendo of Japan seemed satisfied with it, releasing four games between 2008 and 2014. So sales aren’t an evident problem, what about the developer? That developer is Tecmo Koei, who is not only active and buddies with Nintendo, their current project is none other than Nintendo’s big holiday title. There’s obvious trust there. As for interest, there is a lot. From Koei Tecmo calling it a valuable IP, to the series producer stating multiple times, including this year, that he’d like to bring it to the Switch Now, this comment pretty much confirms that a new Fatal Frame is not in development as of now, but it has a chance of happening. And remember, the last game is on WiiU, and if we know anything about those, is that they like to come to Switch. And though I don’t see Nintendo breaking their necks to make a new entry, I don’t think they’d oppose it if Tecmo pitches it to them, especially if it’s just a port. Chances: Good Fossil Fighters This game is not Pokémon, or so its fans tell me. Fossil Fighters is a DS game from 2008 where you collect various species of dinosaur and battle with other ~Dinosaur Trainers~ Fossil Fighters in RPG battles. It didn’t receive great reviews, but was successful enough to get a sequel two years later, and another one on the 3DS in 2014. Three games in six years is a pretty good release schedule, and things were looking alright, until that 3DS game came. It was primarily developed by a different studio, and it showed. The game received abysmal reviews, and fan reception was similar. Sales weren’t awful, but not great either. Since then, the series has been completely quiet. The developer, Red Entertainment, is still active, but hasn’t worked with Nintendo since the 3DS game. As for interest, there hasn’t been a peep from Nintendo about this series at all. No interviews describing vague interest in bringing it bad, no acknowledgment of fan demand, no cameos in other games (aside from Smash, which doesn’t count, Smash has everything). Even fan demand doesn’t seem too high, most of what I’ve seen is a Change.org petition which has been up for a year and has not reached its 2500 signatures goal. It looks like this series could become a fossil itself. Someday some might dig it up and revive it to use in battle, but I’m not feeling it. Still not as bad as Chibi-Robo Chances: Bad F-Zero This is the reason you’re reading this. Oh, F-Zero. If fan demand alone was the deciding factor, F-Zero would be top priority. People want F-Zero, people beg for F-zero, people who have never played, beg for F-Zero. And Nintendo knows this, they’ve acknowledged it. They themselves haven’t forgotten it. Even putting Smash aside, there was an F-Zero minigame in Nintendo Land. There are F-Zero tracks in Mario Kart. They’ve done everything but make a new F-Zero game, but why the hell not? Well, it’s important to understand that the F-Zero series declined in sales throughout its life. The best-selling game is still the first, and though the following games were fantastic, they sold less and less, and yet, strangely enough, between 2003-2004, Nintendo released THREE F-Zero games. Around the same time, they also released an anime. There are several great articles and videos about what happened to F-Zero, but the best point I’ve seen is that Nintendo tried, in 2003, to really push F-Zero, but it didn’t work. So, with their attempt failed, they let the series sleep, and just never woke it up, even as fan demand increased. In 2015, Miyamoto commented on the series, and said that, though he heard the demand, he was unsure on what to do with the series, on how to make a new game. Many fans scoffed and said he’d just need to make a modern F-Zero and that’d be great, but I think internal concern runs deeper. Just doing F-Zero failed in 2003, so why would it work now? That said, I think there is hope. Fan demand is powerful, and more and more we see a new generation of Nintendo developers pushing the company forward. These younger developers are the ones behind new IP like Splatoon and ARMS, and great reinventions of existing ones like Odyssey and BotW. It’s possible that these same younger developers could hear the fan demand, and want to take on the series without the hesitation of their older peers. It’s been 16 years, but Kid Icarus was gone for 19, wasn’t it? Stranger things have happened Chances: I want to believe Golden Sun And here’s the other one. Few Nintendo fans are as vocal and dedicated to their dormant franchise as Golden Sun games. For those who don’t know, Golden Sun was a couple of excellent GBA RPGs released in 2001 and 2002, with a DS sequel in 2010. Such erratic release schedule would make predicting the series’ future difficult at the best of times, but the DS game was seen as a disappointment by many fans and sales were unimpressive. With ten years having passed with no new game, is the series done for? Well, let’s look at it. In 2012, one of the developers gave an interview in which he straight up said that, if there was fan demand for it, there would “naturally” be a fourth game. We know that developer interview doesn’t immediately guarantee a sequel, but this is also a much more positive statement than Custom Robo and F-Zero’s “We know there’s demand, but we don’t know what to do with it”. This is “If there’s demand, it will happen.” So, is there demand? You bet your ass there is. And it feels like it is growing. There was a high-profile hoax about a fourth game in 2017 (a similar hoax happened some time before the third game, by the way). The series received notably more content in Smash Ultimate than series of similar standing (quite possibly an acknowledgment of its popularity). And last year, Cory Balrog, director of 2018’s GOTY God of War, tweeted about all the franchises he would trade for a new Golden Sun. Nintendo could hardly have asked for a higher profile endorsement within the industry. So if fan demand is there, why hasn’t it happened yet? Well, it helps to look at the development history of the series. The first game took eighteen months to develop, considered a long time for a handheld game at the time. And though the eight years between the GBA and DS games may have you believe it took a long time to greenlight a sequel, that’s not the case. Signs point to internal discussion about a sequel to the GBA games as early as 2002, with developers quoted as saying that Nintendo was asking them to make a new one. One of the series producers also said that the series takes a long time to make because of its complexity. After the DS game failed to meet expectations, its understandable that Nintendo may not have been as enthusiastic for a new game as it was before, but it seems like, even if the series is alive and well, the long hiatus would not be uncharacteristic. In that same interview quoted before, the developer even said that a new game would take a long time. In fact, if GS4 had started development shortly after that interview, if it took as long as Dark Dawn, the game would be wrapping up production around now. Then there’s the developer, Camelot. Aside from Golden Sun, they pretty much only make Mario Tennis and Mario Golf. They release schedule is also super consistent, with a new game every other year, sometimes every year. We already got a Mario Tennis on Switch two years ago so, if not for COVID, their new game would probably have released this year. All things point, then, for the next Camelot game to hit the Switch next year. Smart money would be in Mario Golf, but maybe it is finally Golden Sun. Finally, I don’t think, as others do, that Xenoblade is the reason GS is not happening. Again, I don’t see evidence to support the idea that Nintendo doesn’t want to publish more than one game in the same genre. Both the GBA and DS had more than a dozen Nintendo-published RPGs, and the Wii and 3DS got RPGs even after Xenoblade released for them. I don’t see why Xenoblade would stop a Switch Golden Sun, especially when they are very different kinds of RPGs. GS is actually closer to Octopath Traveler, whose success was enough to impress SE, why wouldn’t Nintendo want a piece? Really, I think the biggest obstacle is that Nintendo might want to prioritize the safe investment of Mario sports games over Golden Sun, but the more I research, the more I feel like GS’s chances are higher now than they were at any point in the last ten years. I feel there’s hope this sun will rise again Chances: Above average Kid Icarus Sorry to keep you waiting. Kid Icarus was an OK NES game that had a forgotten Game Boy sequel and then nobody cared about it for 19 years until it was unexpectedly revived for the 3DS in 2012. This story is a testament to the fact that, just because its been a long time, it doesn’t mean it will never happen. But in order to know if it will happen again, let’s understand how it happened in the first place. It’s important to mention that reviving Kid Icarus was not the intent behind KI: Uprising, it was the idea of its director, Masahiro Sakurai. Nintendo had given him a project and Sakurai decided to use an established franchise for it. He briefly considered Star Fox, but decided to use Kid Icarus, for which he probably had a soft spot, considering he had added Pit to Brawl some years earlier. So, there wasn’t an exec at Nintendo who woke up one day and decided to bring Kid Icarus back, they gave the director a project, and, after some deliberation, he decided to use Kid Icarus for it. That director is currently busy developing Smash Bros DLC, but even after that’s over, he probably won’t revisit Kid Icarus. He has shot down the idea of him working on a sequel or a port. His words were: "For now, my thought is that perhaps we'll see someone else besides me make another Kid Icarus in another 25 years." Yikes. That’s pretty damning. Sure, Nintendo could get someone else to make the game, but if it was only Sakurai that was interested in the series in the first place, what is the hope of that? Well, that statement is not super accurate. Before Uprising, there was actually a Kid Icarus reboot in development for the Wii. It was cancelled, and thank God for it, as it was an awfully stupid gritty reboot, but it showed that there was interest in the franchise even before Uprising. Naturally, you’d expect interest to be bigger now than before. The fact that Uprising not only grew the series’ fanbase, but the that there are Kid Icarus characters in Smash Bros, means that the franchise has a permanent place in the interest in Nintendo fans. Smash in particular means that there are 18 million people who know Pit and Palutena and would turn their heads if a new game was announced. Furthermore, Nintendo’s new CEO is interested in bringing 3DS franchises to the Switch after the success of the Switch Lite, especially now that the 3DS is officially dead, so the opening is there for it. There is definitely demand for a new Kid Icarus game, but it is too sporadic a franchise to be certain, and if it were to happen, Nintendo would have to find someone new to do it. But, in the end, the series is definitely in a better place now than it was 10 years ago. Chances: Medium Legendary Starfy Legendary Starfy was a 2D platformer for the GBA that was apparently really successful, as it received four sequels in the span of five years. Not only that but, like Barbara and Chibi-Robo, Starfy himself was quite popular. He had cameos in Mario & Luigi and Super Princess Peach, music of the series was in Donkey Konga, he is a regular Assist Trophy in Smash and was a costume in Mario Maker. Though the series took until the last game to come to the West, there were plans to bring the first four games too, as well as consideration for expanding the series to the Wii. The series was widely advertised, with animated commercials and tons of merchandise, including plush dolls, CDs, pencils, birthday balloons, casino cards and two manga series. When asked if there were plans for a sixth game, the developer answered “Yes!”, no ifs, not buts, straight-up Yes. And then… nothing. The series just stopped. And the reason why is: I have no idea. Maybe if the last game bombed spectacularly, but it doesn’t seem to be the case. Sure, Japanese sales declined with each entry, but not by that much. Maybe NA sales weren’t what Nintendo was hoping for, but surely not enough to kill such a steady franchise. The confusion only grows when we look at its developer, Tose. Now, this is interesting. You’ve probably played a Tose game without knowing. They have worked on over A THOUSAND GAMES, but they never receive credit. They merely assist with development in the shadows. As one exec puts it: "Our policy is not to have a vision. Instead, we follow our customers' visions. Most of the time we refuse to put our name on the games, not even staff names." They are a ghost developer. Even its Wikipedia page admits that the list of games on it is purely speculative. There are probably hundreds more, that we don’t know about. The only exception is the Starfy series. That series was their vision. So why did they stop? Could they have decided that it was against their vision to make a game of their vision? We can only speculate. The fact that the series’ end was so unexpected, and its developer so mysterious, means that any speculation about it is a shot in the dark. All I can say is that there’s no particular reason to expect it. Chances: Not Good Nintendogs Here’s a big one. Nintendogs was one of the biggest successes of the casual era, on par with Brain Age and Wii Fit, but unlike those, it remained a multi-million seller during the 3DS/WiiU generation. And though Nintendo may have tried, at first, to distance the Switch from that era, the return of Brain Age and Clubhouse Games indicates that other casual games would follow, and Nintendogs would be a no-brainer. There is, however, one big problem: the Switch does not have a microphone. While Brain Age on the DS also used the microphone a lot, it was not essential to it. You could easily make Brain Age without it. But not Nintendogs. Issuing voice commands to your virtual pup is integral to the experience. No microphone means no Nintendogs. But with that said, Nintendo did go to the trouble of making a Switch stylus, seemingly just for Brain Age, so maybe they could make a microphone peripheral. Sure, a microphone would be more complex to make than a stylus, but not inconceivable. They did something like that with the Wii Speak. I’m sure for that nintendogs money, Nintendo would do it. Worst case scenario, Nintendo releases Nintendogs and forces you to use the NSO app’s voice chat to talk with your dog. You know they’d do it. There’s also the fact that another developer released a nintendogs clone for the Switch last year, but I don’t think Nintendo gives a shit. Chances: Good Nintendo Wars You may know this series better as “Advance Wars” and you may also know that it is fantastic. In fact, it is one of the highest rated Nintendo franchises on Metacritic, and had a pretty consistent release schedule between 1988 and 2008. All was looking pretty god. But unfortunately the series has been dormant since the last entry on DS. Part of it may be because the series, though originally Japan-only, was never all that popular in Japan. In fact, that last game only saw a limited release as a My Nintendo reward in the region. There is, however, still demand for the series, both externally and internally. Producers from both Nintendo and developer Intelligent Systems have expressed enthusiastic support for a new entry, although they’ve also expressed some uncertainty on what they’d do with it, similar to the Custom Robo and F-Zero responses. The developer for the series is Intelligent Systems, who do a ton of stuff and will be discussed multiple times in this post. They used to release multiple games a year, but have slowed down this past game to just one or two games a year, another possible reason why Advance Wars has been deprioritized, especially in comparison with that boogeyman of Advance Wars and Smash Bros fans alike: Fire Emblem. There is real concern that Nintendo might not want to make a new Advance Wars when they could just make the similar but more popular Fire Emblem instead. That said, IS has already released a Fire Emblem and Paper Mario for Switch, and though we definitely will get at least one more FE during the Switch’s life cycle, there’s enough years left for IS to release some other games, whether they be AW or one of the three other franchises we’ll discuss in the future. Problem is, of those franchises, AW might be the most difficult to produce, and the most risky, so it could probably be lower priority. When asked about the series last year, one IS producer gave a pretty evasive answer, so things aren’t looking too good, but they aren’t hopeless either. Chances: Medium Ouendan/Elite Beat Agents This rhythm series for the DS is widely beloved by those who played it, but its life cycle was pretty limited. One game in 2005, and Americanized version in 2006, and one sequel in 2007. Nothing more since The games were critically acclaimed, but not blockbuster hits. The series creator said back in 2016 that he would love to create a new game, but nothing else has been said about it. The game’s developer iNis, doesn’t appear to be super active either. All in all, there is very little pointing to a return Chances: Bad Pilotwings The biggest obstacle to seeing this series of arcadey flight sims on the Switch is that the series has a very specific purpose: it’s a tech demo. All three games were launch titles for their systems and explicitly meant to show off each system’s new tech. The original game was made to show off the SNES’ Mode 7, the N64 game was meant to show off the console’s polygonal graphics, and Resort was meant to showcase the 3DS’ stereoscopic 3D. With the Switch’s release far behind us, and its graphics not really needing a showcase, Pilotwings chances seem low. Granted, Pilotwings doesn’t need to be a tech demo, but it could be how Nintendo views it as. There is some fan demand for it, but not as much as F-Zero or Golden Sun, and no developer has commented on the possibility of a return. Pilotwings has always been moderately successful, but not enough to justify constant releases. The only glimmer of hope is the comment from Nintendo’s CEO about wanting to bring more 3DS franchises for the Switch, but it’s quite possible that he didn’t have Pilotwings in mind when he said that Chances: Bad Punch-Out!! Another series popular enough to get a Smash character but not popular enough for consistent sequels, Punch-Out is a beloved classic with a consistent fanbase, but with a very erratic release schedule. After the SNES game in 1994, the series lay dormant for 15 years until it was revived for the Wii in 2009 and then laid to rest again. One explanation is that the series was never really popular in Japan. Neither the NES or SNES games were even available as full releases in the country, being instead, distributed as prizes or rewards. And though the Wii game got a full retail release, it sold very poorly. It’s always been a game more for Americans, so it is understandable that the Japanese developers at Nintendo aren’t super enthusiastic about it. That said, it was Nintendo who pitched the reboot in the first place, so they may want to do it again someday. The developer for the Wii game was Next Level Games, who release a game every three or two years, and they also develop Mario Strikers and Luigi’s Mansion. Having already released LM3, it’s likely they’ll release another game for the Switch some time soon. That could be Punch-Out, but it is just as likely that it could be Mario Strikers, or something else entirely. Some think that the series use of flagrant national stereotypes would impede it from coming back in today’s political climate, but frankly, I don’t think that’s as definitive a problem. Worst case scenario, they simply make a new cast, just like Super Punch Out, but less racially insensitive. Another interesting development is that Mike Tyson has been talking about wanting a new Punch-Out this year. I don’t think Nintendo cares what he says, and they definitely don’t want to associate with him again, but it is a pretty high-profile person talking about the series, which is bound to raise interest. Whether that’s enough for Nintendo to consider a new game? I don’t think so. But regardless, Punch-Out is popular enough that the door is never truly closed for it. Chances: Not Good Pushmo This acclaimed puzzle game was released for the 3DS eshop in 2012 and was successful enough to get three sequels. Although it hasn’t been seen since 2015, there doesn’t seem to be anything impeding its return. The developer is our good friend Intelligent Systems, and, of the aforementioned IS franchises still to launch on the Switch, Pushmo, being a simple, but beloved, puzzle game, seems like the safest investment. It likely could be developed alongside another major game. There is demand for it, and considering Nintendo’s eshop efforts, Pushmo would fit in perfectly alongside Snipperclips and fellow 3DS eshop puzzle star Boxboy. All in all, there’s no reason not to expect Pushmo to come back. Chances: Good continued in comments
Each Way Betting In Summary. An each way bet is a bet made up of two parts: a WIN bet and a PLACE bet.Two bets of equal amounts are made; the first on a selection (horse) to win and the second on the same selection to place.A ‘win’ obviously means that the horse finishes the race first. When you bet each way, you have two bets; one for the horse to finish first, and a second bet for the ... The only way onto the list is to be the best in the business. Period. Tennis Betting Strategy. Now that you know where to bet, we need to talk about getting you fully equipped to know who and what to bet. We’ve compiled all of the best strategy tips from our team of experts to help you master the world of betting on tennis. Each Way Betting Explained. Each way betting is something of which many novice punters are unaware. However, using each way bets can be a great way to keep your wager from being a total loss. It is a relatively straightforward hedge, although it isn’t available for all sports. In other sports, such as tennis, or football cup competitions, each way bets usually refer to a player or team making the final, whilst in golf, with the huge fields often over 100 players, bookies will sometimes pay each way bets down to as many as the top eight! Which sports does each way betting work on? Each way betting is primarily connected with horse racing and racing fields in excess of four runners. Both the number of specified places and the fractional odds applied by the bookmakers depend on the type of race and how many runners there are in the field: Less than 5 runners: WIN ONLY
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