Roland Garros Men’s Round of 16 Predictions Including Dominic Thiem vs Kei Nishikori


The Roland Garros Round of 16 kicks off with matches featuring former #1 Novak Djokovic, and genuine ATP stars Kei Nishikori and Dominic Thiem squaring off for a spot in the quarterfinals. Our panel of Steen Kirby, Brett Margolies, and Manuel Traquete offer up their previews, with predictions.

David Goffin vs Marco Cecchinato

Steen: Cecchinato is one of the stories of this tournament. The Italian has gone from facing serious accusations of match fixing to becoming a solid ATP player, especially on clay. That said, Goffin beat Cecchinato not long ago in Rome (also on clay), and though he had a stressful last round encounter, he did survive against Monfils and I’ll back him again. Goffin in 4

Brett: What a great opportunity for David Goffin to reach the quarterfinals. He came up when he had to in his 3rd round win over Gael Monfils saving four match points. I think this is too good of an opportunity for the Belgian to pass up. Goffin in 3

Manuel: On paper, it’s a very one-sided match with Goffin emerging as a clear favorite to make his second last eight appearance at the Parisian Slam, but Cecchinato did take a set when the two faced last month in Rome and will undoubtedly be motivated on the back of the best run of his career so far. Still, Goffin should be a class above here. Goffin in 3

Novak Djokovic vs Fernando Verdasco

Steen: Djokovic dropped his first set of the tournament against Roberto Bautista Agut in the previous round, while Verdasco has cruised since being pushed to 5 in round 1. It’s nice to see the aging Verdasco getting his RG swan song this year and he’s made a memorable run. That said, Djokovic, even at 80% of his best, should be good enough to get over the line here. Djokovic in 4

Brett: Djokovic had some trouble against Bautista Agut but ended up winning comfortably. I think Verdasco will present some of the same issues, but Djokovic looks like he’s starting to play to the level we’ve all expected him to be at consistently. Djokovic in 4

Manuel: Verdasco is always a dangerous opponent on his day, and Djokovic’s recent struggles make it even more tempting to pick an upset here, but the reality is that the Serb is still by far the more consistent player of the two and the favorite to progress. Djokovic in 5

Dominic Thiem vs Kei Nishikori

Steen: Nishikori is returning to the form that saw him reach a slam final previously, but Thiem is playing incredibly well right now, and this is the surface best suited for him to win a slam. The Austrian hasn’t lost a match in a couple of weeks and I’ll back him to continue his red hot form. Thiem in 3

Brett: Kei Nishikori hasn’t had any trouble with Dominic Thiem is their two previous meetings. As much as Thiem says playing the week before slams doesn’t affect him, I think it will in a physical match like this. Nishikori looks to be injury free at the moment and playing well. Nishikori in 5

Manuel: Perhaps the most anticipated matchup of this round. Thiem has made the last 4 at Roland Garros the past two years, and will be looking to go one step further this time around, but in his way he’ll have Nishikori, who was a top 5 player before injury derailed him and is showing signs of recovering that form. Both players reached the final of a clay Masters this year and have shown the ability to beat anyone on their day on this surface. Nishikori in 4

Alexander Zverev vs Karen Khachanov

Steen: The signs are ominious for Zverev, the #2 seed has endured consecutive five setters against lesser opposition, and now faces a motivated and fresher Khachanov. Everyone is taking their best shot the young German this tournament, and if he does survive into the semifinals (or better) it will be a major sign of improvement for his career. Zverev is the better player, but I’m just not confident in his mindset in slams, and thus I’ll back the upset. Khachanov in 5

Brett: Alexander Zverev has survived back to back five set matches. You have to wonder if fatigue will catch up to him eventually. I think Pouille would’ve troubled him more, but credit to Khachanov he’s had a nice run so far. I think he’ll keep it close, but Zverev gets to the quarterfinals of a slam for the first time in his career. Zverev in 4

Manuel: Two of the best young players on tour. Zverev has had by far the more successful career of the two so far, but in this tournament it’s Khachanov who has impressed more, backing up his R4 run of 2017 with relatively smooth progress to the same stage this year, while Zverev can consider himself pretty lucky he’s not back in Germany yet. Of course tomorrow is a new day and as the clearly better overall player Zverev is the favorite, but Khachanov should fancy his chances of an upset. Khachanov in 4

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