French Open Upset Watch: Three Matches that could Spring an Early Surprise at Roland Garros

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Rafael Nadal’s absurd dominance at the French Open has meant that it is often viewed as a predictable Slam, but Roland Garros is no stranger to shock upsets. Nadal’s loss to Robin Soderling (back in 2009) is certainly up there, and he nearly suffered the mother of all upsets when John Isner pushed him to the brink in 2011.

Many of the lower-ranked players on the tour are capable of competing with the big names on their day, but few can sustain it over five sets.

However, the following three matches could provide the tournament’s first major casualties on the men’s side.

French Open Upset Watch

Kyle Edmund (16) vs Alex De Minaur

A semi-finalist at this year’s Australian Open and the 16th seed at Roland Garros, Kyle Edmund is in the form of his life. He will be highly fancied to beat World No. 106, Alex De Minaur, but the 19-yearold Aussie won’t be a pushover. De Minaur has had an impressive breakout season, recording victories over Milos Raonic, Fernando Verdasco, Feliciano Lopez, and Benoit Paire.

He became the first teenager since Nadal to reach two consecutive ATP semifinals along the way. Although his results have been a little up and down since, he shone again in his Davis Cup debut, narrowly losing to World No. 3 Alexander Zverev in five sets. De Minaur clearly has the tools to compete with the world’s best, so don’t be surprised if he sends the British No. 1 packing earlier than expected.
Prediction: De Minaur in 4
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Tomas Berdych (17) vs Jeremy Chardy

Tomas Berdych is one of the most talented players that has never won a Grand Slam. A perennial member of the top 10 throughout his career, Berdych now finds himself seeded 17th and at 32, his luck is unlikely to change. There are signs that the Czech is now in decline and clay has never been his strongest surface.

The talented (if occasionally erratic) Chardy might just capitalise on that in front of his home crowd. The veteran left-hander is an awkward opponent when he’s firing and has pulled off some big upsets in the past. He holds wins over Andy Murray, Juan Martin Del Porto, David Nalbandian, Nikolay Davydenko and Fernando Verdasco- all of whom were ranked in the top 10 at the time.
Prediction: Chardy in 5
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Denis Shapovalov (24) vs John Millman

There’s no doubt Shapavalov has a bright future ahead of him. When he’s in full flight, his groundstrokes are a joy to watch- especially that beautiful single-handed backhand. Consistency has probably been his biggest issue of late, but he’s starting to live up to the hype. That said, the 19-year-old will face a veteran in the form of his life in John Millman.

The Aussie rocketed to a career-high World No. 58 after reaching his first ATP final in Budapest. He has also shown flashes of elite ability by taking a set off Roger Federer a few years ago and blowing two match points against Grigor Dimitrov earlier this year. Millman may not be a world-beater, but he’s definitely no slouch. His experience and composure could be the difference if Shapovalov has an off day.
Prediction: Shapovalov in 5

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