The last player who needed an easy draw at the French Open was Rafael Nadal, so naturally that’s what he got! Released this morning, the draw heavily favors the Spaniard to rack up a record seventh French Open title when all is said and done.
Seeded second after winning Monday in Rome. Nadal might not lose a set until the semifinals. In fact it might be an upset if he did lose a set. In his quarter he’ll contend with Florian Mayer, Milos Raonic, Juan Monaco, Nicolas Alamgro, Philipp Kohlscreiber and Janko Tipsarevic. Raonic is the best and most dangerous of the bunch, but the Canadian will first have to beat veteran clay courter Ruben Rameriz Hidalgo and possible Juan Monaco in the third round just to face Rafa.
Awaiting Nadal in the semifinals could be either David Ferrer or Andy Murray, who the two class seeds in the third quarter and both have good draws. Ferrer might have the deadly John Isner in the fourth round. Murray, who’s been slumping of late, could have a tough second rounder with Jarkko Nieminen or Igor Andreev before a potential meeting with Bernard Tomic and then either Richard Gasquet of Alexandr Dolgoplov.
For me, I think the time is right for Ferrer to finally get his first French Open semifinal, and he’ll beat Murray to get there.
In the top half, Novak Djokovic has to be happy with his early draw. Djokovic could have a rematch in the third round with Jurgen Melzer who beat him last year. Then the improving Fernando Verdasco with a potential quarterfinal opponent among Gilles Simon, Stan Wawrinka and JW Tsonga. Djokovic should get through.
In my opinion, Roger Federer’s quarter is the toughest. The Swiss might have to contend with David Nalbandian in the second and then in the quarterfinals a run in with either Juan Martin Del Potro and Tomas Berdych. Wow. Berdych v. Del Potro to possibly play Federer. That’s hard to pick but right now I think Del Potro emerges.
In the end, my semifinals look like Djokovic v. Del Potro and Nadal v. Ferrer. And I’ll take Nadal over Djokovic for the title! That’s for now, but I need to sleep on Del Potro another few days. I’m not 100% sure he can do what’s required. Regardless, it looks like a Nadal title.
Djokovic d. Del Potro
Nadal d. Ferrer
Nadal d. Djokovic
Quarterfinals by seeding:
1 Djokovic v. 5 Tsonga
3 Federer v. Berdych
6 Ferrer v. Murray
8 Tipsarevic v. Nadal
There are many good first round matches including Donald Young-Grigor Dimitrov, Janko Tipsarevic-Sam Querrey, Andreas Seppi-Nikolay Davydenko, Gilles Simon-Ryan Harrison, Nicolas Mahut-Andy Roddick, Juan Martin Del Potro-Albert Montanes and Viktor Troicki-Thomas Bellucci.
Matches start Sunday on the Tennis Channel, NBC and ESPN2.
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