ATP French Open: Preview and Predictions

There have been some noteable withdrawals from mens draw in Andy Murray and Juan Martin del Potro, but it should still be a very interesting tournament.  Lets take a look at the draw…

FIRST QUARTER – N.Djokovic (1) v J.Tipsarevic (8)
Janko Tipsarevic

Madrid and Rome were not the ideal preparations for Novak Djokovic as he suffered losses to Grigor Dimitrov and Tomas Berdych as he failed to progress past the quarter-finals of either tournament.  Djokovic could at least get a chance for revenge with Dimitrov as he is on course for a third round showdown with the Bulgarian.  Djokovic opens his Roland Garros campaign against David Goffin, who will lose a large chunk of ranking points having made the 4th round last year.  If Djokovic and Dimitrov did meet in round three, I could quite confidently say that I think Djokovic would progress as Dimitrov just does not have the fitness for best of five set matches.  The section vying for Djokovic’s round of 16 opponent is pretty drab with Alexandr Dolgopolov and Philipp Kohlschreiber the two highest ranked players.

There was a possibility that we could have had a Ferrer-Tipsarevic quarter, but thankfully the tennis gods have spared up.  Still, we are stuck with Janko Tipsarevic as a top eight seed, who has won just two matches through five clay court tournaments.  He plays Nicolas Mahut, who is not much cop on clay and could offer up a rare win for Tipsarevic; however getting past Fernando Verdasco (or even Marc Gicquel) in round two will be his stumbling block.  This section could be be blown out of the stratosphere after the first two rounds as John Isner is going to struggle to get past Carlo Berlocq in round one, having lost four of his last five matches on clay and Mikhail Youzhny has a very tough starter against Madrid semi-finalist, Pablo Andujar.  Step forward, Tommy Haas who has a superb chance of making the quarter-finals…


1st Round Predictions: Djokovic to beat Goffin in 3 sets, Dodig to beat Pella in 5 sets, Berlocq to beat Isner in 5 sets, Andujar to beat Youzhny in 4 sets and Tipsarevic to beat Mahut in 4 sets

Moo’s Quarter-Final Prediction – Djokovic v Haas


SECOND QUARTER – R.Nadal (3) v R.Gasquet (7)

Richard Gasquet

The speculation coming into Roland Garros was about Rafael Nadal‘s seeding, but having triumphed in Rome and Madrid, he claimed a top four spot and he would have got it anyway with Andy Murray‘s withdrawal.  The big news from the draw is that he is on course for a sensational semi-final duel with Novak Djokovic.  Nadal takes on Daniel Brands first up and is projected to meet Fabio Fognini in the third round.   There is a possiblity that Nadal could meet Lukas Rosol in the third round if the Czech player can summon the form that saw him take the title in Bucharest earlier this year… that would be tasty indeed.  Kei Nishikori and Benoit Paire will be battling to meet Rafa in round four, but none stand a hope in knocking the Spaniard of his perch.

Richard Gasquet has never done particularly well in front of a Parisian crowd, but if he wants to break from tradition, he has a reasonable draw to do it.  His first match will be against Sergiy Stakhovsky and his first seed is likely to be Florian Mayer.  The real challenge will come in round four where Gasquet is expected to meet Stanislas Wawrinka.  The Swiss number two had a terrific run winning Oeiras (d. Ferrer) and making the final in Madrid (d. Tsonga and Berdych).  I have heard rumours he is struggling with an injury, but I am going to give him the benefit of the doubt as he has yet to withdraw! Jerzy Janowicz will be a danger in this section of the draw, but could easily come unstuck in his first round match against Albert Ramos, who beat him earlier this year in Barcelona.

1st Round Predictions: Nadal to beat Brands in 3 sets, Paire to beat Baghdatis in 4 sets, Nishikori to beat Levine in 4 sets, Wawrinka to beat De Bakker in 3 sets, Zeballos to beat Pospisil in 5 sets, Ramos to beat Janowicz in 5 sets and Gasquet to beat Stakhovsky in 3 sets

Moo’s Quarter-Final Prediction – Nadal v Wawrinka


THIRD QUARTER – T.Berdych (5) v D.Ferrer (4)

Tomas Berdych

The draw from hell has been handed to Tomas Berdych, who could play two of the most dangerous floaters back-to-back.  In round one, Berdych will meet Gael Monfils, who has looked back to better form, making the final in Nice.  If he gets past Monfils, Berdych will take on Ernests Gulbis, who despite a few petulant moments, has drawn on a really consistent few months and put in a stunning performance to threaten Nadal in Rome.  I think Gulbis has what it takes and will have a great run at Roland Garros.  It is a risk, particularly his ability to perform over a best of five set match, but it is a risk I am prepared to take.  Nicolas Almagro and Andreas Seppi are the two other seeds in this section; I predict Seppi will fall to Leonardo Mayer in round one, meanwhile Almagro who has not been at his best on the clay, should make at least the 4th round.

David Ferrer fell twice to Rafael Nadal in his last two tournaments of Madrid and Rome.  Both matches though went three sets and showed a marked improvement on the earth shatteringly bad drubbing he suffered to Nadal in Acapulco.  Ferrer will take on Marinko Matosevic in the first round before a potential third round encounter with fellow Spaniard, Marcel Granollers.  His 4th round opponent comes from a section that could throw up a really interesting third rounder between Milos Raonic and Kevin Anderson.  Both have had consistent years, but if they do meet in the 3rd round, I would give the edge to Anderson.


1st Round Predictions: Berdych to beat Monfils in 4 sets, Sijsling to beat Melzer in 3 sets, L. Mayer to beat Seppi in 4 sets, Raonic to beat Malisse in 3 sets, Granollers to beat Lopez in 4 sets, Sousa to beat Soeda in 3 sets and Ferrer to beat Matosevic in 3 sets

Moo’s Quarter-Final Prediction: Gulbis v Ferrer


FOURTH QUARTER – J.W.Tsonga (6) v R.Federer (2)
Roger Federer

Roger Federer must have had a huge grin on his face when he saw his draw because it is an absolute gem.  His first two round will feature qualifiers, the first of those against Pablo Carreno-Busta, the most dangerous of all the qualifiers following a few notable runs through the clay court season.  In round three, Federer could meet Julien Benneteau, who has beaten him this year but that was on a fast indoor hard court and clay is not Benneteau’s surface.  A Rome rematch with Gilles Simon is on the cards in the 4th round with Sam Querrey, the other seed in this section, unlikely to offer much resistance.

The first test for Federer is not likely to come until the quarter-finals where Jo-Wilfried Tsonga will be the favourite to meet Fed.  Tsonga plays Aljaz Bedene in the first round before a potential third round encounter with fellow Frenchman, Jeremy ChardyJuan Monaco and Marin Cilic are also in this section and pose a threat as Tsonga’s 4th round opponent.  Cilic has not had particularly strong results on the clay, meanwhile Monaco has done pretty well, making the final this week in Dusseldorf and overturning a horror start to 2013.


1st Round Predictions: Tsonga to beat Bedene in 3 sets, Monaco to beat Gimeno-Traver in 4 sets, Troicki to beat Blake in 5 sets, Cilic to beat Petzschner in 4 sets, Simon to beat Hewitt in 4 sets, Querrey to beat Lacko in 5 sets, Berankis to beat Benneteau in 5 sets, Kamke to beat Lorenzi in 5 sets and Federer to beat Carreno-Busta in 3 tight sets

Moo’s Quarter-Final Prediction – Tsonga v Federer 



Moo’s Final Prediction – N.Djokovic d. R.Federer
On the women’s side I have gone pretty much with the form book in the latter stages, but on the mens side I am taking a bit of a risk and am going for Novak Djokovic to complete the career Grand Slam, beating Nadal and Federer in the semi-finals and final respectively.  I really hope we get to see a Nadal-Djokovic semi-final because whatever the result, it will be an unmissable match.  Federer really does have the perfect draw and anything other than a final appearance will have been an opportunity missed.  I can’t really explain why I am going for Djokovic, more of an instinct.  As well, having seen their Monte-Carlo match, we know that Djokovic can certainly rival Nadal on the clay…

You can view my full predictions for the mens draw at Roland Garros from Saturday.  I will be updating the draw throughout the two weeks so you can keep an eye on how my predictions are doing.

6 thoughts on “ATP French Open: Preview and Predictions

  1. Bold predictions for the final! I can understand Djokovic although I'm still inclined towards Nadal.But if Tsonga makes arrives on time to meet Federer I'd give the edge to Tsonga-I have doubts about Federer's fitness/concentration. He's definitely showed signs that his body is not catching up with his mind and he's trying to compensate for it with even faster points but inevitably in 5 setters he's doomed against Tsonga. Tsonga has shown more than once that he's a Fed-slayer in GS's for quite some time now.

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  2. Well Fed should definitely win the first set for sure also because Tsonga's 1st set winning record is appalling and if he steals the second he's up 2-0…being the clever guy that he is it's possible.

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