• Simon, Janowicz clash in shocking Paris semifinal

    11/3/12 12:39 AM | Ricky Dimon
    Simon, Janowicz clash in shocking Paris semifinal The most surprising Masters semifinal matchup of the year will take place on Saturday in Paris. France's own Gilles Simon is going up against Jerzy Janowicz for a spot in the title match.

    Prior to this week's BNP Paribas Open, only two 2012 Masters 1000 semifinal matches featured none of the Big 4.

    Now make it four, with none more surprising than a showdown between Gilles Simon and Jerzy Janowicz. The two unseeded players will face each other for the first time in their careers on Saturday afternoon.

    Although Simon has fallen off a bit since his breakout in 2008 and 2009, his appearance in the last four of a Masters does not come completely out of the blue. He had previously reached one final (Madrid 2008), three semifinals (including this season in Monte-Carlo), and five other quarterfinals.

    Simon has been inconsistent this season, but good enough to compile a solid 43-24 record. The 20th-ranked Frenchman now owns two strong results this fall, as his Paris campaign was preceded by a runner-up finish in Bangkok. So far this week, Simon has taken out Marcos Baghdatis, Victor Hanescu, and Tomas Berdych all in straight sets.

    Janowicz, on the other hand, has come completely out of nowhere. The 21-year-old Polish phenom had only four career wins in the main draws of ATP tournaments prior to Paris. He already has four this week--over Philipp Kohlschreiber, Marin Cilic, Andy Murray, and Janko Tipsarevic. Ranked 69th in the world, Janowicz will storm past his career-high mark of No. 64.

    Will the miracle run continue? Standing at 6'8'', Janowicz has a huge serve and forehand to rely on in addition to a crafty drop-shot. He will undoubtedly be able to dictate play against a defensive opponent like Simon.

    However, the upstart has played six matches in seven days (two in qualifying last weekend). Additionally, Simon has far more experience at this stage of events and his human-backboard style of tennis could give Janowicz problems. Playing at home in France and focused solely on this tournament as opposed to London, Simon should prevail in three sets.

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jerky will make final for sure (and possible win); i feel it will be against llodra but one cannot discount it against ferrer too (the 71 wins to surpass Djoker might not happen as yet and hence Ferrer could lose to keep French hopes alive); no doubt Ferrer's best chance for the masters now; but just maybe this does not involve any of the top 8 or top 10; and ferrer has his chance amongst the best next week in London

MAGICJOHNSON76 , 11/3/12 1:43 AM

Like your prediction Ricky. JJ must be in a state of shock when he reviews the scalps he collected this week!

Today will be a big test for him and I have my doubts that he will be able to control the nerves - which kick in and affect his serve at times - to bring the wily Gilles down in front of his home crowd.

ed251137 , 11/3/12 10:06 AM

I like Ricky's analysis of this match. I agree that Simon's counterpunching skills might frustrate Jerzy. He does have a big serve and forehand. Of course the crowd will be behind Simon all the way. This kid will have a taste of what it can be like to play against the hometown favorite.

I agree with Simon pulling out the win in three sets. However, I do wonder if fatigue and/or nerves will set in. Will this kid be on such a high that nothing bothers him? I guess we will find out!

Nativenewyorker , 11/3/12 10:26 AM

One thing is for sure. He will be going for broke this afternoon.


ed251137 , 11/3/12 10:38 AM

prediction is right, but come on, if he has beaten murray and tipsarevic, he can bring down simon (and ferrer too)... bring it on!

croc , 11/3/12 12:52 PM

Congrats to Jerzy - have not been able to watch the matches but I shall look forward to seeing this new Polish player. He has done very well so far, so good luck for the final.

schatz , 11/3/12 2:30 PM

for how long can he be doing drop shots directly on the serve before other players will start to read it...

croc , 11/3/12 2:50 PM

there's the break... well played janowicz!

croc , 11/3/12 2:59 PM

Rafa, please train hard and practice returning drop shots, there's a new nuisance on Tour.....................

rafaisthebest , 11/3/12 3:14 PM

janowicz's is soooooooo focussed. reminds of nadal.

croc , 11/3/12 3:20 PM

Wow this youngster may be a surprise come 2013. He's got nothing to lose, and everything to gain! Hope he reaches the final, but my money is on Ferrer.

aegis , 11/3/12 3:26 PM

the biggest cheer of the day when janowicz hits his first double... there's the french crowd again...

croc , 11/3/12 3:32 PM

Oh leave the Frenchies's Godzilla blowing their own (and everybody else for that matter) away!

rafaisthebest , 11/3/12 4:01 PM

They were cheering with relief that Simon won a point off JJ's serve.

Simon is throwing this away by missing so many first serves. Cant afford to do that against this fearsome young player.

ed251137 , 11/3/12 4:02 PM

It's been a privilege to watch the rising of a new star in tennis. No wonder the ATP are rubbing their hands in glee.

ed251137 , 11/3/12 4:07 PM

Jersey for the win!!! Five Top 20 wins in a row!! All of the predictions out the window!


Conspirator , 11/3/12 4:10 PM

Love this guy!!!

Conspirator , 11/3/12 4:11 PM

Okay, yesterday I fell in love with Jerzy......
Today, love's out the window..........I don't want this guy anywhere near Rafa's side of the draw, ever!

rafaisthebest , 11/3/12 4:12 PM

Someone, somewhere in Poland is writing a movie script about Jerzy............

rafaisthebest , 11/3/12 4:14 PM

Just watched JJ crush Simon, is that fair? Really like him, think he's terrific but being 6' 8" gives him such a massive advantage in the power stakes.
RITB@ 3.14
Lol. U can say that again m'dear but I think he's gonna be a lot more than a "nuisance" on tour.

deuce , 11/3/12 4:22 PM

Janowicz wins again lol Simon was over powered Cant believe that Simon hit only 1 forehand winner in the whole match

tennis2011 , 11/3/12 4:27 PM

Awesome fh but too reliant on that dropper. Great to see moments like these where a player truly appreciates his success unlike the spoiled top guys. He gave some ominous stares during the match which were odd but he has great potential. Indoors is perfect for this power game. It looks like he's surpassed Raonic already but he needs to take advantage of this momentum and win the final tomorrow because you never know when this chance will come again.

chr18 , 11/3/12 4:31 PM

Don't worry RITB, Rafa and also the other top four guys, are experienced and quick enough to handle him. Didn't Murray had a match point against him earlier on? They just have to be ready for him and play very well to beat this guy. I do remember at Madrid in 2010, where Gulbis dropped shot everyone on his path right up to the SF against Rafa. It was a tough match for Rafa, even on clay, but Rafa still managed to beat him in three sets. The players will get used to Janowicz's style of play soon, just like they do with Raonic's or Tomic's.

The real test for Janowicz is to be able to play this way week in week out on a regular basis. I hope he plans his schedule well and not overplay. He looks a bit frail for his frame and I don't know whether his body can take the weekly grind without breaking down.

If we are to usher in the era of the giants, then I think I don't mind a giant playing like the way Janowicz plays. I don't feel like I want the giants to take over after Rafa/Nole/Murray are done in their tennis career, if the giants play like Raonic or Delpo or even Berdych. With this Janowicz guy, at least there's hope that giants can still move well and play an all round game.

luckystar , 11/3/12 4:32 PM

What is human backboard style of tennis?

tennis2011 , 11/3/12 4:37 PM

Reassuring words but...watching that performance am gobsmacked Andy even got a match point against JJ, or broke serve come to that.

deuce , 11/3/12 4:43 PM

Human Backboard: Difficult to precis but if you Google Tennis Human Backboard there are various interpretations. Or just think about Simon matches which he wins when you were expecting him to lose.

ed251137 , 11/3/12 4:51 PM

Didnt work today though :-((

ed251137 , 11/3/12 4:54 PM

JJ is great! Hope he has the consistency, have long awaited new young talent and we hope guys like this emerge more frequently. I wish him well in the final. Was getting tired of the big 4 and hope the big guns fall in slams next year and lower ranked players can win unlike the obvious results we have seen over the last decade. Fed then Rafa then Novak now Andy getting in the mix and the usual spoilers like Ferrer,Delpo,Big Bird and JWT

tennismania , 11/3/12 5:23 PM

Simon made an interesting comment in the post match presser when asked if he thoughts Jerzy was top 10 material. Simon said he would like to see him first playing in outside windy conditions, see if he is able to make all those down the line shots in those conditions, then he will make up his mind whether he is top 10 material or not..............

rafaisthebest , 11/3/12 6:37 PM

That's an interesting point. I was wondering earlier during the match how he plays on other surfaces.

ed251137 , 11/3/12 6:50 PM

well said, Simon.

ps link?

RickyDimon , 11/3/12 6:56 PM

@tennismania, 5:23 pm, I agree. would like to see other players winning more consistently. Nowadays it's so predictable that it's one of the top guys who will win.

scoretracker , 11/3/12 8:03 PM

Can't understand why so much angst for the taller players. Nowadays, the average player is 5' 11. Anyone over 5'11 is tall, which makes me laugh to see the anger, considering top 4 is over 6'. Could it be sour grapes for some?

scoretracker , 11/3/12 8:09 PM

Current ATP-rankings

1. Djokovic 12 500 pts
2. Murray 8 750 pts
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