The French Open Draw: Men

20 May

The French Open men’s draw is somewhat easier to analyze than the women’s. For starters – not everyone can win. It’ll almost certainly be one of the top 4, Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic, Roger Federer or Andy Murray. They’re almost like the English Premier League Big 4 at the moment. Nadal and Djokovic consistently on top form, not unlike Chelsea and Man U, Federer would be Liverpool, older, wiser, solid, but lacking in spark and motivation. Murray is Arsenal. Highly inconsistent, can beat any one on a good day, and fun to watch. Enough of my abstract analogy – the point is, one of the four will win. All there really is to consider, is who in each quarter of the draw might prevent each of them from reaching the semi’s and how will the semi’s and final pan out…

Nadal’s Quarter:

Nadal has quite an interesting section of the draw. In the 3rd he could face Nikolay Davydenko, which on paper should be a good match up, but when you consider the Russian’s recent form, it’s unlikely that he will truly bother Nadal. In the 4th he could face fellow Spaniard Fernando Verdasco. Their friendship is likely to be mentioned as a factor making it an interesting match up, most likely this will not affect the outcome, Nadal has never really struggled with closing out matches, as other players might against a friend. On the other hand, (quite literally) the fact that Verdasco is a lefty might make the match interesting, probably not in terms of who wins, but at least will serve as an indicator of the kind of form Nadal is in. If his form isn’t at a desirable level it will often show in that he struggles a little bit in matches against left-handed, lower quality players. In the quarter’s, he could come up against the man who halted him two years ago, Robin Soderling. While this is likely to be a good match, I think the odds are highly in favour of Nadal winning. He is the superior clay courter, the French is his home court to a large extent. This match is more likely to resemble last year’s rout in the final, than the surprise Soderling win of 2009.

Murray’s Quarter:

Murray is not a brilliant clay court player. Despite this, the fact that he has a fairly easy part of the draw means that he is likely to still reach the semi finals relatively unscathed. A match against young up-and-comer Milos Raonic in the 3rd round ought to be interesting. It is unlikely that the young Canadian will have much effect on the clay with his hard-hitting game though. Murray will progress to face 8th seed, Jurgen Melzer, in the quarter finals. While Murray is the inferior clay court player, he should be able to take advantage of the Austrian player’s inconsistent game, and reach the semi finals.

Federer’s Quarter:

His first round match will be a telling encounter against another Spanish lefty. While it should serve as in interesting measure of Federer’s form, it is unlikely that Feliciano Lopez will challenge him for a win. While many will feel that the likely 3rd round encounter between Federer and Janko Tipsarevic will be a test for Federer, I think that Federer will continue on to the 4th round with relative ease. A fourth round match against Jo-Wilfried Tsonga or Stanislas Wawrinka will make for good viewing, but is still a match Federer should by all accounts win. As is the quarter final, which according to seedings, should be against David Ferrer.

Djokovic’s Quarter:

With the unbeaten run Djokovic is on, it is unlikely that anyone will be able to mount a challenge of note against him at least until the semi’s. Matchups he is likely to face include the always dangerous Juan Martin Del Potro, hometown favourite, Richard Gasquet and Tomas Berdych, who is capable of beating anyone on a good day. Of these, only Del Potro ought to be able to get more than a set off him, and will be an intriguing encounter that I for one won’t miss.

Semi Final 1: Nadal vs Murray

Despite Nadal having a few tough matches, he ought to get through, as should Murray, largely by virtue of his significantly easy draw.

Semi Final 2: Federer vs Djokovic

Federer is still the 3rd ranked player in the world, and hellishly dangerous. As such, he ought to  make it thru his quarter home safe. While Djokovic is likely to have a particularly tough match in the 3rd round against Del Potro, he is currently the best player in the world, and other than that match should make the semi’s relatively unhindered.

Final: Nadal vs Djokovic

Don’t bet against Nadal on clay. Murray is not as capable on clay as he would like. So I have to pick Nadal for that half of the draw. On the other side, I would love to see yet another, maybe final Federer vs Nadal classic, but I honestly don’t think the king has what it takes at the moment to challenge Djokovic on current form. It’s my opinion that Djokovic will struggle more against Del Potro in the 3rd, than against Federer in the semi’s.

Winner: Nadal

Don’t bet against Nadal on clay.


13 Responses to “The French Open Draw: Men”

  1. Omair May 21, 2011 at 1:31 AM #

    Very true in that that its really easy to analyse men’s draw (where the top players have been playing cnsistently for a long time now) as compared to the women’s draw ( where the top players have no consistency at all).

    You are right in that the one holding the trophy will be one of the top 4 seeds, but who will depend on the day they are having on the semi-final day. FOr federer, i guess he has the toughest quarter, in that he faces lopez in the opener, who is really a good clay courter and ferrer, as possible opponent in the quarters. I really hope that Federer can make it all the way to the trophy, though that is highly unlikely but still you never know (btw, by now you would have guessed that i am a die hard fan of Fed-express).

    As for Djoker, i dont know why there is such a hype of the 3rd round match against delpo. Nole is great in shape and in form (though i dont need to say that) and del po is coming off an injury. It should really not bother Nole playing delpo in the 3rd round.

    For semi-finals, i really hope that fed-express puts an end to the amazing run djoker has so far amassed. He has what it takes, only if he can keep his unforced errors in control. Federer can beat both Nole and Nadal , provided he keeps his unforced errors low. We ll see how it comes out.

    Anyways, thanks schroeds for providing a forum for raising our opinion as well.

    keep up the good work.

    • schroeds May 21, 2011 at 1:39 AM #

      You are right – I might be making JM del Potro out to be a greater threat than he really is.

      Probably because I think it would be a more interesting tournament if Djoko was an early loser. Might even have another Nadal vs Fed final. Which as a bit of a die hard Fed fan too, I would really enjoy!

      But on recent form, I think the good money would be on Nadal vs Djoko final.

      • Omair May 21, 2011 at 1:59 AM #

        Well! its not you making up delpo. All over the news they are making up delpo, not considering that he is just coming back fro injury and doesnt have enough match practice which djoker has. and yup you are right, good money would be on nadal and djoker.

        and just like you said djoker loosing early would make the draw interesting. I am really kind of hoping that too. I really want Fed to go all the way to the trophy to prove the critics wrong who have already written him off.

  2. Scott May 22, 2011 at 11:02 AM #

    del Potro has one of the highest pain thresholds on the circuit and is capable of beating anyone at his peak. He was third favourite for the tournament just a couple of weeks ago. First couple of rounds will tell us what his movement is like.

  3. snaily May 22, 2011 at 3:16 PM #

    “If his form isn’t at a desirable level it will often show in that he struggles a little bit in matches against left handed, lower quality players.”
    Very interesting observation there; something I hadn’t really noticed before.

    Nicely written.. sharing on Twitter!

  4. shafana hussain May 24, 2011 at 8:30 AM #

    hey.. you really did a good job.. nice analysis.. anything can happen.. anyone can win.. but i really wish federer will win but considering the current form of nole and nadal-the king of clay, it will be tough.. but do write more about tennis.. you are good at writing and i ll do comment back.. miles to go man!!.. keep up the good work:)..

  5. the fan child May 26, 2011 at 9:29 PM #

    Here are my top 5 moments so far.

    1. Schiavone back on Center Court.
    2. Sharapova fighting back today vs. Garcia.
    3. The superb performance of the Frenchmen (Tsonga, Monf, Gasquet (and Simon/Chardy), which add to the atmosphere.
    4. Nole being Nole.
    5. The drama during the Lisicki-Zvonareva match.

    More to come!

    • schroeds May 26, 2011 at 9:35 PM #

      The Sharapova match was awesome – might just be my new number 1; Caroline Garcia is a great talent, and Sharapova really showed her mettle. Great to watch!

  6. singingfolife May 27, 2011 at 1:37 AM #

    I see the final the same way only with Djoko taking the win. His gonads have grown exponentially and Rafa’s opponents on the way will put many chinks in his armor. Djoko’s game is clean and smart and is the only grand slam winner who knows he can beat anyone. Beating Rafa in Spain was the last challenge confirming his kingship.

  7. djokovic May 29, 2011 at 9:55 PM #

    Djokovic 41 . ……….

  8. djoks June 11, 2011 at 7:17 PM #

    go djoks go 🙂


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