Roland Garros Draw, the men: Big 4 of Djokovic, Nadal, Federer & Murray favored, but who gets knocked out before the semis?

nishikori 2012 tokyo

 

FIRST QUARTER

Of course Novak Djokovic will easily reach the semifinals right? I mean he has always been right at the top, having reaching at the semis or better during 18 of the last 19 Grand Slams. Unfortunately he could draw the nine-time Grand Slam Roland Garros champ Rafa Nadal in the quarters. As Roger Federer said, it doesn’t really matter as one way or another you have to confront the best, whether early in the second week or late at the end. While that is true, both No. 1 Djokovic and No. 6 Nadal could be super nervous early on and your head was spinning around until he falls down.

Regardless, the two should reach the quarters, but there are some potholes. Djokovic could face Bernard Tomic in the third round and while the Aussie doesn’t love clay, he has a lot of tricks in his bag and push him to five sets. However, Djokovic knows how to wear him down. He should face Richard Gasquet, who has been hurt this year (again!) and while the Frenchmen has played extremely well at times on RG, he has also slips away and Djokovic will grab it in four sets.

Then he will face Nadal and of course it will be very close. Nadal was better every time at RG as he punished him with high-hopping forehands that nearly knocked him down. However, Nadal has to get there and while he has dominated at RG since 2005, he was struggled this season. But at some point in 2005, Nadal will rise again and it will occur right here.

He will face Nicolas Almagro in the second round and will out think him – again. He could face the Frenchman Adrian Mannarino in the third round who is flashy, but he is not that consistent. Now comes a tricky part: Nadal might face Jack Sock in the fourth round who hasn’t been able to upset Nadal on clay, but the American is ready to shine and he will upset Grigor Dimitrov in the first round, as the Bulgarian has been all of the place this season. The US men have a tough draw;Sam Querrey has to play against the teenager Borna Coric in the first round. The Croat Coric will out-steady Querrey, but he will lose to the veteran Tommy Robredo, who will face Sock in the third round, but then the Spaniard Robredo will fall to Sock in a marathon. Complicated enough?

Then Sock will have to go up against Nadal and will look good in the first set, but his legs will be rubber and Nadal will dash away.

Nadal and Djokovic will face off for the sixth time in Paris. Last year in the final at 2014 RG, Rafa won 3-6, 7-5, 6-2, 6-4. Without question, Djokovic has played better this year by a long shot. But until Nadal actually loses, he remains the favorite until he finally faded away. He hasn’t yet and Nadal will reach the semifinals again.

WHO CAN UPSET RAFA NADAL & REACH THE SEMIS?: NOVAK DJOKOVIC

SECOND QUARTER

Andy Murray has a tough draw, assuming the kids get through. The Brit might have to go up against the super powerful Nick Kyrgios in the third round, but believe it or not, another Brit, the qualifier Kyle Edmund may play the Aussie in the second round. One would think that Kyrgios will overpower Edmund, but the Aussie gets hurt frequently and Edmund might have to go up against the wise and older Murray. Quality wise, Kyrgios will reach the third round and he and Murray will swing away at each other. Kyrgios – who upset Federer in Madrid – is coming up fast and he has a lot of weapons, but Murray will out think him.

John Isner will play Andreas Seppi in the first round, who shocked Federer at the Australian Open, so that’s definitely going to go into the fifth set, but the American will grab an early break and win it. If he doesn’t snare a break early, then they could continue until 60-60 when someone collapses and they have to drag him off the field.

Murray knows exactly how to play against Isner so he should be able to win in four sets. In the quarters, it will be be David Ferrer, who is very steady. It would be nice to see the US Open champ Marin Cilic begin to play well again, but he is still trembling and Ferrer will grind him. Yes, Ferrer could out-last Murray, but the Scot is much more aggressive on clay these days and he will pound the heck out of him.

WHO CAN UPSET ANDY MURRAY & REACH THE SEMIS?: Nick Kyrgios

THIRD QUARTER

Kei Nishikori has been good but not great this year. Fortunately, he should be able to reach the quarters, but there will be some clay lovers, namely against Fernando Verdasco in the third round and Roberto Bautista Agut in the fourth round.   Nishikori won’t be afraid of going after Verdasco’s huge forehand, and won’t dive into a marathon rallies against Bautista Agut.

Then he will have to confront against Tomas Berdych, who believe it or not, he is now ranked No. 4. The reason is because this year he has been smarter and steadier. He will trash Fabio Fognini and Jo Tsonga (who has also been hurt all the time) who won’t know where to hide. The 25-year-old Nishikori has said that he is ready to win a Slam now. Well, first he has to beat the Big 4 consistently, which he has not. However, at least he is confident and willing to make risks. Berdych will push him into five sets, but in the end, Nishikori will steal the show and reach the semis.

WHO CAN UPSET KEI NISHIKORI & REACH THE SEMIS?: Tomas Berdych

FOURTH QUARTER

Roger Federer has been around forever, in fact, he had great years, so while the other Big 4 have tougher draws, that does not mean that the Swiss could go down somewhere because everyone wants a piece of him. The 33 year old could lose a couple sets against Alejandro Falla (remember Wimbledon) and Marcel Granollers (a big servers) but in three out of five sets on clay, it’s not going to happen. Even if Ivo Karlovic reaches the third round, even after he is nailing ace after ace, he cannot chop his backhand that gives Federer trouble. But in the fourth round, that can be tricky because he could face Gael Monfils, who crushed him at the Davis Cup. But what is Monfils doing this year? Not much. Yes, the Frenchman has played a couple of great matches in RG, reaching to the semis twice, but he lost to Federer and he wasn’t really there. At least this time he should be fresh as it will only be the fourth round and he won’t be exhausted. Monfils should have to face Pablo Cuevas, which will be very difficult as he can run and run for hours. Monfils loves Paris and he can edge over Cuevas, but while Federer has been up and down this year, he did just reach the Rome final and he is playing better. That is why Federer will stop Monfils in five terrific sets. After that, Federer will play his good buddy Stan Wawrinka in the quarters, which he just wasted in Rome. Once again, Federer will get into his head and will win easily, reaching the semis.

WHO CAN UPSET ROGER FEDERER & REACH THE SEMIS?: Gael Monfils

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