It’s opening day at Roland Garros, and the draw has laid forth some very intriguing propositions for the upcoming tournament. Before the first of the upsets begin, let’s take a quick look at what could happen.
Note – blogging will be a bit brief this first week at GTT, since we’re on the road and unable to follow the action as closely as we should. But please, use GTT to chat, rant, and hash things out! Maybe there will even be some opportunities to celebrate! And we’ll join in when we can!
What we need to know: Nadal and Murray in the top half, Federer and Djokovic in the bottom.
The intrigue: Oh, so much – at least on paper. (Because everyone’s really just expecting a Nole vs. Rafa, best of five final, right?) But let’s play along. In Nadal’s quarter, we have him playing John Isner in the first round. Is the upset of the season in store? Probably not, but it gives a certain frisson to the earliest round. Rafa may also meet Nikolay Davydenko in the 3rd round, Fernando Verdasco in the 4th, and Robin Soderling in a Round of 16 rematch.
There are some fun first round match-ups in the Nadal quarter, including Querrey vs. Kohlschreiber and Monaco vs. Verdasco. Also look out for Gilles Simon and Mardy Fish to make a push.
Andy Murray is Nadal’s slotted semifinal opponent, and the Scot’s been given a fairly straight-forward looking path to the second week. He could hit a bump vs. Milos Raonic in the third round and it would be fun to see him play either Alexandr Dolgopolov or Ryan Sweeting in the fourth. Jurgen Melzer and Nicolas Almagro are possible opponents in the quarters.
Roger Federer has his own first round intrigue to begin with, facing Feliciano Lopez in his first round. The Spaniard took Roger to three sets earlier this month. Janko Tipsarevic is his seeded third round opponent, and Wawrinka or Tsonga could be across the net in the Round of 16. Gael Monfils and David Ferrer, at the top of Roger’s section, may play in the Round of 16, the winner meeting Roger in the quarters. David Ferrer is one tough customer on clay, no? Roger fans, try to save up some positive vibes for that match up!
Djokovic sits at the bottom of the draw like some kind of ticking time bomb. I get the feeling that this whole tournament is now about: can he beat Rafa in the final of Roland Garros? It’s actually a really exciting thing, whether you’re dying for Rafa to shut Nole down or hoping for a transfer of the crown. But the silly thing about tennis is that everyone has to earn their spot in the final, and even the unstoppable Novak Djokovic must be a little nervous about possibly meeting Juan Martin del Potro in the third round. (Del Po pulled the short stick, getting Karlovic in the first round.) From there, he could meet a resurgent Reechard Gasquet in the fourth (Richard plays Stepanek in a fun first rounder) Berdych is his seeded quarterfinal opponent – and not exactly a push over.
There are so many twists and turns here – from Clijsters’s return to Sharapova’s resurgence, to dark horses like Francesca Schiavone and Kvitova, to Caroline Wozniacki having yet another “best chance to win a major.” We’re looking at Wozniacki vs. Stosur and Zvonareva vs. Schiavone in the top half quarterfinals and LI Na vs. Azrenka and Sharapova vs. Clijsters in the bottom half quarterfinals. Unfortunately, I’m catching a bus to Bilbao in ten minutes and will have to consider this all later. But please, comment below on what you think the major storylines are going to be for the ladies!
So here it stands. Two weeks of incredible tennis, upsets, triumphs, drop shots and 20+ shot rallies ahead of us. Allez!