A host of ATP superstars are in poor form heading into the 2017 French Open, while new faces look set to reach new heights in Paris. Here is your Roland Garros stock watch.
5: Hyeon Chung
Chung is 22-9 on the season and at age 21 has made the top 100. He reached the quarters in Barcelona and the Semis in Munich, claiming wins over accomplished players like Philipp Kohlschreiber, Gael Monfils, and Alexander Zverev. Chung opens with veteran American Sam Querrey, Kei Nishikori would be his third round opponent, it’s not an easy draw, but as unseeded player he could make a surprise run to the second week.
4: Aljaz Bedene
Bedene is a remarkable 33-9 on the season and has now reached the ATP top 70. He’ll open with a winnable match against Ryan Harrison, and this spring he reached the final in Budapest on clay after a ridiculous winning streak at the challenger tour level. Jack Sock and Roberto Bautista Agut are the best players in his section, he’s an underdog, but those are players he can beat.
3: Pablo Carreno Busta
A new member of the ATP top 20, the 25 year old Spaniard is 23-13 on the season, and opens as the favorite against Florian Mayer in round 1. PCB won a clay court title in Estoril this spring, and has demonstrated he’s one of the ATP’s best on clay. With a struggling Grigor Dimitrov his primary opposition in his effort to reach week 2, PCB should make it past the third round of a Grand Slam for the first time ever, with a shot at making the quarterfinals.
2: Dominic Thiem
29-12 on the season and a new member of the ATP top 10, Thiem has a clay title this season and performed up to a very high level this spring, reaching two semifinals and a clay final, his last three losses only coming at the hands of Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal. Thiem should make the second week, where the steady David Goffin, and Djokovic await, it won’t be easy, but he could breakthrough to a final in Paris.
1: Alexander Zverev
Zverev is 27-9 on the season, he took home the Rome Masters, and has three titles this season, including another clay court title in Munich. Zverev’s path to a potential final includes Pablo Cuevas, Kei Nishikori, Andy Murray, and Stan Wawrinka/Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, it’s far from an easy draw but this young German should go well beyond his previous slam showings and reach the second week at a minimum.
5: Kei Nishikori
Nishikori wasn’t healthy in Madrid, and was ousted earlier than expected in both Rome and Geneva. Nishikori hasn’t advanced past the quarterfinals in Paris, and the world number 7 probably won’t go beyond the round of 16, ending Japanese hopes.
4: Gael Monfils
Monfils has lost his last three matches and has no wins on clay this season. He hasn’t been healthy and hasn’t played much tennis this spring. A one time French Open semifinalist, Monfils looks set for a disappointing result in Paris, and may not be able to produce the trademark tennis that have made fans worldwide fall in love with his game.
3: Nick Kyrgios
Kyrgios was just stunned by journeyman Nicolas Kicker in Lyon and won just two matches in Madrid. His French Open prep was interrupted by the death of his grandfather, and clay is already his worst surface. The young Aussie is a dangerous player but he’s unlikely to improve upon his best ever result in Paris (third round).
2: Grigor Dimitrov
Dimitrov is a miserable 2-4 this clay court season, after showing tremendous promise early in the season, he’s returned to struggling, pedestrian form. The world #12 should under perform and fail to reach the second week, despite normally being a solid clay court player.
1: Andy Murray
The world #1 is just 4-4 on clay this year after going 18-3 last season, and 17-1 in 2015 on the surface. He’s defending a final in Paris and he’s not even playing top 20 tennis right now. Murray could turn it on and find himself, but at the moment he should be an afterthought in terms of challenging for the French Open title, and could suffer an early defeat.
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