If you filled in your Roland Garros drawsheets this morning, you probably had an easy time at the top of the men’s: Nadal, Nadal, Nadal, Nadal, Nadal, uh, Nadal.
There’s nothing for the 4-time champ (or Rafanatics) to lose sleep over, especially with clay-averse Andy Murray the big gun in his half. Rafa will shrug off Dr. Ivo or Hewitt in the 3rd round and get a workout against Ferrer in the 16s. Verdasco, Davydenko, Wawrinka and Almagro are top contenders to face him in the quarters. If Murray doesn’t make it through to the semis, Rafa’s possible opponents include Simon, Gonzo, Safin or Gaudio (who is 3-3 against Rafa on clay – HA!)
Federer and Djokovic are in the other half of the draw, and seem destined to meet in the semis. Del Potro or Monaco are Novak’s potential challengers in the quarters and Roddick, with a forgiving draw, could meet Federer in the other one. Roger will be looking out for Acasuso in the second round and Haas, Berdych, Blake or Chardy in the 16s.
Here’s a quick rundown:
MEN’S SINGLES DRAW – FRENCH OPEN
Semis by seeding: Nadal vs. Murray and Federer vs. Djokovic
Possible Round of 16 matches (by quarter):
Nadal vs. Ferrer
Davydenko (or Wawrinka) vs. Verdasco (or Almagro)
Murray vs. Cilic (or Gaudio – I love him!)
Gonzalez (or Safin) vs. Simon
Del Potro vs. Tsonga (or Monaco)
Robredo vs. Djokovic
Roddick vs. Monfils (or who-the-heck-knows if Gael pulls out)
Blake (or Haas or Berdych) vs. Federer (or, God forbid, Acasuso)
Food for thought from this week’s SI mailbag: The same five guys – Nadal, Federer, Djokovic, del Potro and Verdasco – have made it into the quarters of the last four mandated Masters (doesn’t include Monte Carlo.) Will the added pressure and a best-of-five format change anything?
Click here for the French Open TV schedule