In the men’s net it is difficult to imagine that at least something (perhaps an injury) can stop Rafael Nadal on the way to the 11th title … He has already won three of the four clay trophies he has entered this year. Moreover, in Paris against the Spaniard you need to take three, not two sets. This is probably quite unusual when you start performing at the Grand Slam and you will hardly be able to exceed someone’s expectations. This is the situation with Nadal this year. Rafa is super incredible on the ground, although he can be defeated under a number of circumstances. This time, the draw gave Nadal a comfortable first week, where he can conserve energy and get even better shape for the final matches.
In the absence of Roger Federer, Alexander Zverev earned his second seed in Paris, although he has yet to prove, first of all to himself, how strong he is on clay in five-set format. He is only 21 years old, his number in the rating is not an accident, but also not a merit of excellent performances at the “majors”. He lost to Roland Garros in the first round last season.
Marin Cilic is a finalist in two of the last three majors, but he is unlikely to reach the final again in Paris. He’s a good, but not great, clay player. With Grigor Dimitrov the same story every time. Great player and nice personality. He has the whole palette of strokes, which we have known for a long time. But does he have the full palette of emotions to survive all seven rounds? Now he has great opportunities to prove it.
Juan Martin del Potro is one of the very few players who is able to defeat Rafael Nadal (but hardly in five sets). The Argentine is only for the second time since 2012 performing at Roland Garros. It’s great to see him again at this level and with a well-deserved place in the ranking (No. 5). But it is completely unclear whether he is ready to win in Grand Slam, especially on a clay surface. The two-time semi-finalist and the only tennis player to beat Nadal on clay in these two years is Dominic Tim . The victory over the Spaniard in Madrid could ignite the fire of self-confidence in him. However, the decision to play the week ahead of Roland Garros in Lyon may eventually fail him.
To see the number “22” opposite the rating of Novak Djokovic – it causes some kind of dissonance. For the first time since 2006, he left the top twenty. The greatest tennis puzzle ever. Novak showed rays of hope in Rome, where he reached the semifinals and competed on a level with Rafael Nadal. But, like Maria Sharapova, in my opinion, he is not ready to replenish the collection with another title at the majors.
> Alexander Dolgopolov is withdrawn from the French Open
Among the soil specialists Diego Schwarzman , who should be applauded, for his physical data (height of only 170 cm), he received the 16th seed. Unfortunately, the Argentine is too close in the net to Rafael Nadal. Roberto Bautista Agut is Roberto Bautista Agut, a tennis player in the 12th-20th echelon, an unpleasant opponent, but not enough threat to fight for the title. Pablo Carreno Busta , last year’s quarterfinalist, is slowly becoming the player who beats those he should and loses to those he shouldn’t.
Trying to get in shape after injuries Nick Kyrios and Stan Wawrinka. If Kyrios plays, he can add interest to the first week of the tournament. But to get the status of a real contender for the trophy – wait for the grass season. Wawrinka is one of the five tennis giants of our time. In every sense he has been out of tennis for the past year. But he has already won in Paris and was in the final last year. It all comes down to his health, and the first round against Guillermo García-Lopez is a tough start.
Among the first round matches that deserve your attention: Tiafoe – Querry (Francis can defeat one of the seeded), Johnson – Mannarino (the fifth set seems inevitable), Edmund de Minor (the best racket in Great Britain and a rising Australian star), Zverev – Berankis (Sasha will have to work), Isner – Rubin (it’s like a series of Virgo versus Arnold from “Master not of all trades “).
The grid favors the semifinals of Nadal against del Potro and Tim against Zverev. Nadal defeats Tim in the final.
The 47th racket of the world won the prize among girls last year. This year, even with Serena Williams’ participation, the tournament looks even more volatile.
If the Tennis Gods owe anyone, it is Simone Halep . She was “bridesmaid” three times, including at Roland Garros last season. Just like on the last Helmet, a feeling creeps in, they say, her time has come. But her stats in the finals (six defeats out of the last seven) and the back injury she suffered in Rome make her nervous. Simone needs to be stronger than 128 players – rivals and herself.
Caroline Wozniacki – the winner of the last “Major” and, as we can safely say, the face of the WTA (in the absence of Serena Williams and the low results of Maria Sharapova). But the ground has never been its strongest surface. Although it will be interesting to see how she handles, performing for the first time on the Helmet, having one Grand Slam title in the collection for the first time.
With Garbinier Mugurusa , the mystery continues. Able to win, as I already did in 2016. Able to lose early, as she has done too often. Won the title in Monterrey and then lost three of their last five matches. Garbinier either feels little pressure or is out of the fight. This is how we live.
Elina Svitolina came to Paris after winning in Rome, where she beat Simone Halep in the final, which took place in one wicket. But on Helmets, Svitolina still needs to prove to us (and to herself) that she is, say, a player in the university league, and not in the school one. The further, the more there is a feeling that her breakthrough is a question of “when” and not “if”. We will say that it is “when” it is now.
Last year’s winner of the tournament Elena Ostapenko should rightfully give her due that she remained on the horizon of the tennis tour. The reigning champion will either exude confidence or burn out at the thought that an early defeat will lead to a loss of a lot of points.
With Karolina Plishkova it will be interesting to see if YouTube can do her. – a moment from the Roman tournament, some influence in Paris. What we know for sure: the Czech woman would like to see the Hawk-Eye on clay courts. I like its strength, but these typical flat and strong hits on the ground are far from “on the brink”. Another Czech, Petra Kitova , showed amazing results in the spring, including in Madrid, winning the largest clay title before Roland Garros. Yes, the results on the ground are unstable, but tennis is difficult to resist such sketches.
Let’s return to Maria Sharapova . The two-time champion is showing clear signs of emerging from stagnation. The question of self-confidence is a rare problem for Sharapova, but will it last for two weeks? It has already been said about Novak Djokovic – both of them are definitely returning, but they are not ready for triumph in the Major.
What should be the expectations of Serena Williams from her performances at Roland Garros. Minimal (do you think this is beer pong?). Not the kind of cover Serena wants. She is almost 37. She is returning after a difficult birth. Realistically, in Paris, the American can assess her capabilities and get a chance to write down several victories to her asset before Wimbledon, where her prospects look much better. But again, this is Serena Williams. So, if the 453rd racket of the world is capable of winning the Grand Slam title, then in this case it should not surprise us.
Already at the start of the tournament it is worth looking at the matches of Kenin and Osaka (two rising stars), Wozniacki and Collins (a tough first round for both), Mugurus and Kuznetsova (the two former champions will converge in the first match), Serena Williams and Christina Pliskova (not ideal for Serena to enter the game against a powerfully serving left-hander), Mladenovic and Petkovic (both desperately need victories). It’s hard to decide on the choice of a sensation in the first round, but one can imagine how Kuznetsova will create problems for Muguruse.
Who will win the women’s title? Who knows? I would like to give preference to Simone Halep, the seed leader. But this choice would rather be related to the feeling that fate owes her a debt, and not because she is in such good shape. Many girls look unstable, and even more so on the ground. Therefore, I will opt for Elina Svitolina, who has never played in the semi-finals at the majors, but is able to get there. In the semi-finals Svitolina can play with Kvitova, Halep with Mugurusa, and in the final in Paris the outcome of the Roman final will be repeated. ”