Mal: Coria will win in five

Tennis Fool
06-05-2004, 05:33 PM
Friday, June 4, 2004
Coria should win tough final

By MaliVai Washington
Special to

PARIS -- The great thing about having two players who have never won a major in the final, is that at the end of the day, a lifelong dream will be realized.

The dream of just reaching the final of a major came true for the first time on Friday for Guillermo Coria and Gaston Gaudio. It's even more special for them that it was at Roland Garros.

Unfortunately, there are two other guys, David Nalbandian and Tim Henman, who will have to wait for this dream for another year or another Grand Slam event.

In Henman's case, it's unlikely this opportunity will ever come around again at the French Open. He had a favorable draw this year and took full advantage of it. Whereas for Nalbandian, it's only a matter of time before he again finds himself in the semifinals of Roland Garros.

In the final on Sunday, you have two of the premier clay-court players in the world facing off for the ultimate prize for a clay-court player. These two grew up playing on red clay in Argentina and dreamt about this moment.

Prior to the tournament, Coria was one of my top picks to win the championship; Gaudio was not. Yet Gaudio handled the moment of his first Grand Slam semifinal impressively. He'll need to muster that type of courage and that type of performance for the final.

This match has the potential to be a great five-set thriller. We have two players with very similar styles. They're both trying to win the point from the baseline, both very quick around the court and they're both going to employ a lot of drop shots. Neither player is going to get a lot of free points with their serve. They'll each try to hit a lot from their forehand side.

Based on what I've seen the past several days, these guys are equally matched. This final will come down to things that have nothing to do with hitting a tennis ball. A match like this could come down to who gets the lucky bounce or net chord, who gets a good line call at the right time and, most important, who seizes the moment and plays the best tennis they need to produce to win.

The biggest challenge in tennis is to play at the top of your game at the most crucial moments. That is something that is very difficult -- if not impossible -- to teach. Either you have it or you don't. From what I've seen, Coria and Gaudio have it.

This final could be one of the great finals that we talk about for years to come. But give the edge to the man with the better clay-court record: Coria in five sets.

MaliVai Washington, a tennis analyst for ESPN, reached the 1996 Wimbledon final.

06-05-2004, 07:36 PM
"They'll each try to hit a lot from their forehand side"... hmm, yes, because we all know that's Gaudio's stronger wing, don't we? A little research Mal, just a little, like watching one of his matches or something similarly drastic. But it certainly does come down to the mind, it's pretty much a given that Coria is going to show up mentally but if Gaudio doesn't there is definite potential for the recent trend of GS final washouts to continue. I mean heck, if he wins this he is Top 10 - only just but he's still there. He'd most likely end up going to the Masters Cup this year. He's never come anywhere near this close to the big time before.

06-05-2004, 07:44 PM
This is a men's final which means it will not be an exciting, nail-biting five-setter. It will be a three-set annihilation. ;)

06-05-2004, 10:14 PM
I wonder why Mal keeps doing these predictions... sure, if you wanna predict a winner, go right ahead, but why the number of sets as well? It makes him look even more like an idiot if that's not the case.

06-05-2004, 11:29 PM
This is a men's final which means it will not be an exciting, nail-biting five-setter. It will be a three-set annihilation. ;)

At least this match should be a little better than that awful women's final earlier today. The quality of tennis since the quarterfinals has been pretty terrible this year at Roland Garros.

Tennis Fool
06-06-2004, 05:10 PM
Mal strikes again :lol:

06-06-2004, 07:00 PM
:haha: :haha: :haha: Mal's predictions.

06-06-2004, 07:23 PM
This is a men's final which means it will not be an exciting, nail-biting five-setter. It will be a three-set annihilation. ;)

Say that again...this time, with feeling.... :devil:

06-06-2004, 07:24 PM
Sorry Mal! haha :lol:

But who could blame the guy? Even though both had a shot at the title because of being really talented, Coria was the top clay court player this year and is proven to be one of the best on clay these past years.

06-06-2004, 07:30 PM
Wow Mal was so close

06-06-2004, 07:34 PM
Mal wasn't so far off. Pretty much everybody was picking Coria to win this thing.

And I'm happy to see that I was wrong about the men's final being boring and one-sided. For the first time in a long while, we finally got an exciting five-set final. Thanks to Gaston and Guille :worship: