It seems like the old times in Paris are back. Rafael Nadal is the hot favorite, Novak Djokovic is doing his best to catch up with him, and we’re all wondering why Andy Murray hasn’t become any better on clay surface.
Let’s take a look at the draw quarters and try to predict what direction it might be heading over the next two weeks at the Roland Garros.
It features the world No.1 Andy Murray but who dares to pick him to win the French Open? The Scot has slowed this season by shingles and an elbow injury. He seems to be out of sorts now. However, we can’t count him out either. The draw can allow him to make a run to the semis. In the round one he will face Andrey Kuznetsov (Murray has got the job in their two previous meetings). Then there is a prospect of meeting Martin Klizan, then either Nicolas Almagro or Juan Martin Del Potro, then either Isner or Berdych.
In the quarters it will probably be Kei Nishikori or Alex Zverev, both of whom will hardly be at their best by that moment. Why so? Let us explain.
The bottom section of the quarter is very tough. There are lots of strong competitors. Alexander Zverev will have to cover the most complicated path. In the opening round he’ll set a tough test against Fernando Verdasco and the Spaniard is capable of putting an end to the German’s run. If not, than in the second round it will be Pierre Hugues-Herbert who is a very decent rival on clay. After that, there is a prospect of meeting with Pablo Cuevas who know how to beat Alex. Assuming that Zverev will find enough power to get rid of all of the opponents, he’ll have to come up against Kei Nishikori in the quarters. The Japanese will play Sam Querrey or Hyeon Chung. The two can be a threat to Kei.
Summing up, it would be safe to say that in the quarters Murray will face not the most challenging opponent.
First-round matches to watch:
Zverev vs Verdasco
Querrey vs Chung Hyeon
Semifinalist: Andy Murray
In the second quarter everything is much clearer – the field belongs to Stan Wawrinka who has just lifted the title in Geneva and will now be eager to reach his fourth semifinal in the last five slams. And the draw should allow him to do so.
Among those who can bring any troubles to the Swiss is Jo-Wilfred Tsonga or Marin Cilic. Nick Kyrgios would also be dangerous if he lasts long with a bad hip.
First-round matches to watch:
Kyrgios vs Kohlschreiber
Monfils vs Dustin Brown
Semifinalist: Stan Wawrinka
In the upper half of the quarter there is a still recovering Milos Raonic who will face either Carreno Busta or Grigor Dimitrov in 1/8. The Bulgarian is steadier, while the Spaniard lacks consistency.
In the bottom half of the quarter there is Nadal, whose draw allows him to avoid the opponents he wanted to avoid: there is Nick Kyrgios, Novak Djokovic, or Dominic Thiem. Instead, there is Benoit Paire in the opening round who will have all fans behind him can trouble the Spaniard for some time. After that, there will be either Jack Sock or Bautista Agut.
Of course, Nadal is the clear-cut favorite for the title and the stakes are too high to let it go.
First-round matches to watch:
Nadal vs Paire
Jack Sock vs Jiri Vesely
Semifinalist: Rafael Nadal
Just like in Murray’s quarter, Novak Djokovic will have a chance to find some form. He will start against Marcel Granollers who haven’t won a set from the Serb in all their previous meetings.
Dominic Thiem and David Goffin will struggle for a spot in the quarter and we tend to believe the Austrian will run deeper to face Djokovic in the semis.
AS for Djokovic, it shall be the happiest new at the entire tournament. The Austrian shall be one of the contenders to win the event, but to do it he’ll need to get rid of Djokovic. Keep it in mind that Djokovic has lost only one set in their five meetings.
First-round match to watch:
Dominic Thiem vs Bernard Tomic
Semifinalist: Novak Djokovic
What does the weather have for the Roland Garros?
The weather is expected to be rather pleasant. During the second week rains are coming. Shall it be the same like the previous year, it will affect the players’ performance. The temperature is going to be high, consistently above 20 degrees.
Wawrinka defeats Murray.
Nadal defeats Djokovic
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