Friday, May 22, 2015

Winners And Losers From The Men's Draw At Roland Garros


Novak Djokovic- No when said completing the career Grand Slam should be easy.  Djokovic may have to beat all the other members of the Big Four to win the title, beginning with Nadal in the quarters, followed by Murray in the semis.   If he has to play Nadal the quarters isn't necessarily a bad time to do it, but facing an in form Murray right after playing Nadal certainly isn't ideal.  We may be making too much of a Djokovic/Nadal quarterfinal given Nadal's recent poor form, but there's at least the possibility Nadal shows flashes of his old self.  Djokovic should be able to work his way through the draw, and there's no guarantee it will end up being as tough as it could be on paper, but he surely wasn't thrilled when the draw was revealed. 

Rafael Nadal-  Based on the combination of his draw and current form, it's almost impossible to see Nadal winning the French Open.  (Not a sentence anyone thought they would ever see).  If Nadal had Federer's draw, it's possible he could slowly gain confidence and work his way to the finals based on will alone.  However, having to beat Djokovic and Murray back to back as well as both are playing makes Nadal's path to the finals extremely difficult.  He also has a tricky second round matchup against Alexandr Dolgopolov.  Don't expect Nadal to go down without a fight, but Nadal's draw isn't doing his French Open chances any favors.

Grigor Dimitrov/Jack Sock- These two have the misfortune of opening against each other first round in perhaps the most interesting first round matchup.  Sock just missed being seeded, and had he not missed the early part of the year likely would have had a good chance of being ranked high enough.  Given Dimitrov's recent slump and Sock's fine form this match is pretty much a toss up, but neither is happy with this tricky first round matchup.  On the bright side, the winner has a good chance to reach the Round of 16 where they could face Nadal.


Roger Federer-  Anytime Novak Djokovic, Rafael Nadal and Andy Murray land in the other half, your draw can't be too bad.  Federer finds himself in a half with Nishikori, Berdych and Wawrinka, and has a great chance to reach the finals.  He could face the always dangerous Gael Monfils in the Round of 16, who he has already lost to on clay this year.  But assuming he can get past the talented Frenchman, seeing Federer playing on the final Sunday won't be a surprise.

Kei Nishikori- Nishikori lost to Djokovic and Murray on the clay court swing, and no one else.  With both of them and Nadal on the other half, Nishikori has to love his draw.  He could play Berdych in the quarters (against whom he has a 3-1 career edge), and should be able to ride his favorable draw into the tournament's latter stages. 

Ernests Gulbis- Based on his incredibly easy draw, Gulbis has a chance to equal his win total (2) for the entire year at the French Open alone.  He opens with Igor Sijsling, who is now out of the top 150 in the world.  Next, he could play Nicolas Mahut or Kimmer Coppejans (who doesn't even have a picture on the ATP Website), both of whom are outside of the top 100.  The seed he is scheduled to face in the third round is Gilles Simon, who is battling a back injury.  If he reaches the round of 16, he could face Wawrinka, who himself has been up and down and may be vulnerable to an upset.  If Federer falls to Monfils, then all the sudden Gulbis' path to the. . .ok, we've taken this too far, but Gulbis really does have a great draw and an actual chance of winning a few matches.

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