The French Open draw came out today and a lot has shifted due to Roger Federer’s withdrawal from the year’s second Grand Slam. Novak Djokovic and Rafa Nadal now look set to face off in the semi-final now that Nadal has slid up to the 4th seed instead of the 5 seed. Also, this marks for Andy Murray the first time that he has been the 2 seed at the French Open after he smashed of Niovak Djokovic in the Internazionali BNL d’Italia final 6-3, 6-3. If Murray wants another match-up with Djokovic he’ll have to get through a potential match-up with the defending champion Stan Wawrinka in the semi-finals. Beside the top seeds there are some interesting potential match ups waiting to happen so lets take a detailed look at each each quarter of the draw.
#1 Novak Djokovic’s Quarter of the Draw
Obviously, Novak Djokovic is the overarching favorite to get out of this side of the draw and end up in the semi-finals. Djokovic will be eager to win his fourth straight Grand Slam, which would make him the first man to do so since Rod Laver. The potential king killers in this side of the draw are players like the slumping Tomas Berdych who just fired his coach, clay court specialist and aging David Ferrer and Bernard Tomic who hasn’t won a match in his last five tries. Djokovic’s aforementioned loss to Murray in Rome was alarming, but he shouldn’t have any trouble navigating through this quarter of the draw.
Semifinalist Prediction: Novak Djokovic
#4 Rafa Nadal’s Quarter of the Draw
Fabio Fogini and Rafa Nadal have split their last six match-ups with Fogini scoring a huge upset at last year’s US Open so their plausible 3rd round matchup could be one of the more entertaining matches of the early rounds. Two up and comers, (12) David Goffin and (12) Domnic Thiem, also reside in this side of the draw and are looking to keep their strong seasons going. Goffin had a phenominal hard court season while Theim has been on a roll culminating in a finals appearance in Nice this week. The ever-madening and often-injured (6) Tsonga rounds out this tough quarter of the draw but I don’t expect Nadal to lose anyone not named Novak.
Semifinalist Prediction: Rafa Nadal
#3 Stan Wawrinka’s Quarter of the Draw
When has a defending champion ever flown under the radar as much as Stan currently is coming into the French Open? Wawrinka won in Dubai back in February but since then has failed to get past the quarters in any tournament. Three ranked Frenchman, Lucas Pouille, Giles Simon and Jeremy Chardy will crash and burn per usual, while I have my eye on a Milos Raonic and Stan Wawrinka rematch of the Australian Open, where Raonic gutted out a victory to reach his first ever Grand Slam semifinal. I think Raonic will replicate this result with another five set victory over Wawrinka to reach his second straight Grand Slam semifinal.
Semifinalist Prediction: Milos Raonic
#2 Andy Murray’s Quarter of the Draw
Andy Murray will be on a high after beatin Djokovic in the final in Rome last week and he doesn’t appear to have most daunting draw either. The two other top 10 seeds, (5) Kei NIshikori and (9) Richard Gasquet, has a combined 4-13 record against Murray with only one of those wins, Nishikori at the 2014 World Tour Finals, coming in the last 6 years. The wild card of this quarter of the draw is Nick Kyrgios who will most likely meet Kei Nishikori in the 4th round. They’ve already met twice this year and Nishikori has triumphed both times. Kyrgios is either going to crash and burn of dominate Nishikori. There’s no in-between. I have a feeling Kyrgios will end up facing Murray in the quarterfinals where Murray will show him he has a long way to go to start challenging for Grand Slam titles.
Semifinalist Prediction: Andy Murray