On Sunday, September 27th, the top stars of the ATP will take to the clay courts of Roland Garros for the French Open. This is the second Grand Slam being held in the post-covid tennis season and it’s expected to be just as exciting as usual.
Two of the men’s three biggest names Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal have entered the tournament and are on an epic collision course in the Finals. Will Djokovic or Nadal claim another Grand Slam title or can a rising star like Dominic Thiem upset them both?
Novak Djokovic has an easy path to the Quarterfinals and the Semifinals as he doesn’t have to face Thiem or Nadal until the Finals.
Novak Djokovic (+210)
There are some perks to being the men’s #1 ranked tennis player, that’s having not only an easy Quarter, but also a very winnable top half of the Draw.
I fully expect a motivated Djokovic in this tournament especially after having been disqualified from the US Open where he had a cakewalk to his 18th career Grand Slam title. Now, Djokovic will look to get #18 in France where he will have to beat either Thiem or Nadal in the Finals.
Before then, I expect Djokovic to run through this Quarter. He has very little standing in his way other than a possible Quarterfinal matchup against Berrettini.
Djokovic has made it to the Quarterfinals in 10 straight French Open appearances. He’s gone onto the Semifinals seven times, the Finals four times, and has won this Grand Slam once back in 2016. Last year, Djokovic lost in the Semi Finals.
Matteo Berrettini (+6600)
Italy’s 7th ranked Berrettini is one of the only potential hurdles for Djokovic in this Quarter. And, let’s be honest, it’s more of a speed bump than anything else.
Berrettini failed to make it to the Quarterfinals in three of his four tournaments this year, but did reach the QF in the Rome Masters, which is the tune-up event for the French Open. He lost to Casper Rudd in this tournament.
Berrettini is 3-2 for his career in the French Open and made it to the 4th round last year.
Roberto Bautista-Agut (+8000)
Agut is considered to be the second best player in this Quarter despite having odds larger than Berretini. The 10th ranked Spaniard was bounced out of four tournaments this year prior to the Quarterfinals. He did make it to the Semifinals of the Cincinnati Masters.
Agut didn’t participate in any clay court tournaments prior to the French Open. He also has never made it to the Quarterfinals of this Grand Slam. Last year, Agut was eliminated in the 3rd round.
This is deemed the “easiest” Quarter as it doesn’t have Nadal, Thiem or Djokovic. It’s wide open as to who will come out of this part of the Men’s Draw.
Stefanos Tsitsipas (+2800)
Unlike other ATP top ranked players, the #5 Tsitsipas has played in seven tournaments this season. Stefanos won at Marseille, went to the Finals in Dubai, and was eliminated in the Semifinals of the Cincinnati Masters. Tsitsipas has been bounced from the other two 2020 Grand Slams in the Round of 32.
The Greek tennis star made it to the 4th round of the French Open last year, but will need to up his game if he’s going to advance beyond that mark this year.
Daniil Medvedev (+4000)
The 4th ranked Medvedev can breathe a sigh of relief knowing that he doesn’t have to face one of the top three players in this tournament until the Semifinals.
In 2020 so far, Medvedev has made it to the Quarterfinals and beyond in three straight tournaments. At the US Open, Medvedev made it to the Semifinals where he lost to the eventual winner Dominick Thiem.
Last year, Medvedev was bounced in the 1st round. He will need to show a marked improvement on the clay courts in order to advance further. For his career, Medvedev is 0-3 at Roland Garros.
Denis Shapovalov (+6600)
The 9th ranked Shapovalov has played in eight tournaments this year and is coming off a strong performance in Rome where he made it to the Semifinals. He preceded that result with a Quarterfinal appearance at the US Open.
Shapovalov has never made it past the 2nd round of the French Open and will have his work cut out for him this year. He’s on a collision course with Grigor Dimitrov in the 3rd Round.
Who Wins Quarter 2?
This Quarter is wide open. All three of the men listed above inspire little confidence based on their track records at Roland Garros.
Since we have to pick a winner, I’m going with Tsitsipas. There’s not much standing in his way and I have a hard time thinking Medvedev won’t get bounced early.
Quarter 2 Winner: Stefanos Tsitsipas
Quarter 3 Preview: Tough Road for Thiem
Thiem won his first career Grand Slam at the US Open, but the odds are against him winning a second title as he has a difficult Draw.
Dominic Thiem (+400)
With Djokovic out of his way due to a DQ, Thiem steamrolled the competition at the US Open to win his first Grand Slam. He also made it to the Finals of the Australian Open this year as well.
Speaking of Finals appearances, Thiem has made it to the French Open Finals the last two years. Prior to that, he was in the Semifinals two years in a row. Thiem has a 24-6 career record at Roland Garros and is arguably the second best clay court player behind Nadal.
This Quarter is Thiem’s to lose. But, he will certainly be tested as there are some strong clay court players in this part of the Draw including his first round matchup against Marin Cilic.
Diego Schwartzman (+6600)
One of the sleepers in this Quarter is the 12th ranked Schwartzman who has played really well on clay courts this year.
Diego made it to the Finals of the Rome Masters this month and lost to Djokovic. In three other clay tournaments, he made it to the Semifinals twice and the Finals once.
Last year, Diego was bounced in the 2nd round of the French Open. However, he did make it to the QF in 2018.
Stan Wawrinka (+6600)
Wawrinka is a three time Grand Slam winner who won the French Open in 2015. He has three Semifinal and two Finals appearances in the last five years. In 2019, Wawrinka made it to the Quarterfinals. He’s 42-14 all-time at Roland Garros.
I have some reservations about Wawrinka this year as he’s only played in one tournament since the sport returned from hiatus. Stan was bounced in the Round of 64 at Rome earlier this month. He will face Andy Murray in the opening round.
Even with two solid clay court players in his way, Thiem should plow through this Draw and make it to the Semifinals. He’s showed great form in 2020 both before and after the hiatus. I expect him to really challenge Nadal in the Semis.
Quarter 3 Winner: Dominic Thiem
Quarter 4 Preview: The French Open King Nadal
The greatest French Open player, and overall betting favorite, Rafael Nadal has an easy shot to the Semifinals.
Rafael Nadal (+110)
Nadal is the “King of Clay” as he’s won the French Open 12 times in his career including three years in a row. There’s nobody better at Roland Garros or on clay than Nadal.
With that said, I do have some concerns regarding Nadal. He’s only played in one tournament since February and that was the Rome Masters where he made it to the Quarterfinals and lost to Schwartzman.
Fortunately for Nadal, even if he needs a week to round into form, he will get it. This Quarter looks good for Nadal to be untested before the 4th round. He could see John Isner at that point.
Following Isner, the next toughest opposition would be Alexander Zverev who he would face for the right to go to the Semifinals.
Alexander Zverev (+4000)
The 6th ranked Zverev has had a decent 2020 season so far. In the two Grand Slams already held this year, Zverev made it to the Semifinals of the Australian Open and lost to Thiem in the Finals of the US Open.
At the French Open, Zverev has made it to the Quarterfinals two straight years. He’s 10-4 all-time at Roland Garros and I expect him to make it to the QF this year as well.
Who Wins Quarter 4?
Even if Nadal is rusty or not at his usual dominant clay court standards, I still believe he can get past the field in this Quarter. Nadal is 5-1 all-time against Zverev and I see the “King of Clay” winning another match against the rising German.
Quarter 4 Winner: Rafael Nadal
French Open Semifinals Predictions
The following are my predicted French Open Semifinal matchups:
Top Half: Novak Djokovic vs Stefanos Tsitsipas
Djokovic will cruise to the Semifinals where he could meet Tsitsipas in a compelling matchup. However, keep in mind, Stefanos’ Quarter is wide open.
Nevertheless, if these two meet, the advantage goes to the “Djoker.” Novak is 3-2 against Tsitsipas and is 1-0 against the Greek star in clay court matches. They’ve never played each other in a Grand Slam.
Top Half Semifinal Winner: Novak Djokovic
Bottom Half: Dominic Thiem vs Rafael Nadal
This is an epic showdown between the two best clay court players in the sport today. They’ve played against each other 14 times with Nadal holding a 9-5 advantage.
The two have faced off six times in Grand Slams where Nadal is 5-1. At the French Open, Nadal is a perfect 4-0 against Thiem including going 2-0 against Thiem in the Finals.
With that said, I’m going with the upset here as I believe 2020 is the year that Thiem cements himself as the 4th best player in the world and a challenger to the French Open throne.
I do not like what I’ve seen from Nadal this year so far. His performance in Rome was very disappointing whereas Thiem is on a role this year.
Bottom Half Semifinal Winner: Dominic Thiem
Who Will Win the 2020 Men’s French Open?
Despite my admiration for what Thiem has done this year, and all the talk of how he will dethrone the “King of Clay” Rafael Nadal, I believe Novak Djokovic will win the French Open as long as he doesn’t hit a judge with a tennis ball again.
I believe we will see a motivated Djokovic who will cruise all the way to the Finals. Thiem will have to fight his way out of Quarter 3 and then upset Nadal just to make it to the Finals where he will have to face the sport’s #1 ranked player. That’s too much to ask of the 27 year old.
Djokovic looked great in Rome and showed the ATP that he’s ready for the clay courts of Roland Garros.
French Open Winner: Novak Djokovic (+210)
As a longtime freelance writer, avid sports fan, former athlete, and experienced sports bettor, Rick Rockwell has risen up the ranks at GamblingSites.org to become the self-professed "King of the Blog" in his first year with the site. ...
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