TennisReporters.net top 32 men: No. 15-11

Casper Ruud

15 Karen Khachanov
The big Russian started very strong, reaching the semis at the Aussie Open, smashing the ball, and finally losing against Stefanos Tsitsipas. He has a huge forehand, and his first serve is massive, but he isn’t that fast when he is running, and he doesn’t like to come into the net, often. At Miami, he did upset Stefanos Tsitsipas in the round of 16, which means that he can lock in, at times, but in the semis, the other Russian,  Daniil Medvedev, wore him down. He had a up and down year, winning a few more terrific wins, but in the fall, he did very little. He did win the ATP 1000 Paris, five years ago, so if he wants to do it again, he must slice it more, and attack when he is returning.

14 Grigor Dimitrov
In 2017, the Bulgarian won four events, especially at the ATP Finals in London, beating a variety of players, against David Goffin. He has a tremendous variety, especially with his cool one-handed backhand. He is peach  good at in the net, and his forehand can a lot of spin. However, he is 32- years-old, which is OK, but he has to change something that is new. He knows that, he lost against Alexander Zverev beat him three times in a row, at the end of the summer.  The positive thing is that while he can get dejected, during the matches, but he will continue on, and decide to whither to go. In November, he refreshed, and he reached the final in Paris, indoors. He beat two prime players, with Daniil Medvedev and Tsitsipas. He looked uncanny, but in the final, Djokovic once again banged him. He could win another title,a big one, but he must capital the moment.

13 Tommy Paul
The American improved a lot, this year, as when he started in 2021, he was OK, but his forehand and his backhand wasn’t rugged enough. However, last year and this year, he began to change, with his first serve, when he found the corners, and his return was more efficient. He reached the semis at the Aussie Open, beating Ben Shelton, but then Djokovic pounded him. Each week, he was really trying, being core, but also,  he would forget which way to go. The positive is that he reached the final in Acapulco, beating Taylor Fritz, and the in the semis in Toronto, when he almost shocked against Carlos Alcaraz in the quarters.  Yet after that, he started to miss some cheap shots, and he lost against Shelton twice, especially at the U.S. Open. Paul is more satisfied, but he knows that if he wants to get into the top 5 next year, he has to shove himself closer to the net, and also, to hit it, early. As he said going into at the 2024 Aussie Open: “I’m really excited,” said Paul. “It’s like every person’s dream when they start playing tennis to play the big matches at the Slams.It’s important to me. Since I was young, that’s all we’ve been hearing, since like 14 years old. The coaches have been telling us, ‘We need new Americans. It’s kind of engraved in my head.” Then go do it.

12 Alex de Minaur
The Aussie had some terrific matches, as he plays a lot, taking down against some ultrafine players, but also, he did lost when he tripped it up, when Djokovic bullied him at the Aussie Open. Yet in Acapulco, in March, he won it, beating Holger Rune and Paul. That was a immense jump. He did very little on the clay, but on the grass, his backhand returned, and his forehand was merciless. He reached the final in London/Queen’s, and belief it or not, he beat Rune again. Then in the final, against Carlos Alcaraz, the Spaniard served into the corners, and also, he has more multifariousness. With de Minaur, you don’t really know if he can be so intense, but he did for some weeks in the summer, when he looked fantastic in Los Cabos, and Toronto, reaching both finals, upsetting with Taylor Fritz and Daniil Medvedev.  And then, in the U.S. Open, there,  Medvedev turned the tables and beat the Aussie in four, easy sets. De Minaur is pretty young, and he educated  a lot this year, but in the  fall, he did not do that much. Next year,  he wants to get into the top 5, then he has to clean it up, each month.

11 Casper Ruud
Another 24-year-old had an sole year, as the Norway was ranked No. 3, and in the first three months, he won very few matches. Finally, he started to be much more proper, and thoughtful, when he won Estoril, Portugal. That is not a huge event, but he had to beat anyone, so he did. He was finally satisfied, and to watch him, he can meld it into the corners, or in the middle, eye-full. He reached the final at Roland Garros, and he was much more suitable, beating Rune and Zverev. In the final, he hit some daydreamer shots, and it was somewhat close, but once again, the No. 1 Djokovic  has a better backhand, and returning, too.  After that, he began to bust, and clearly, in the final, his legs must been tired.  He really is a first-rate player, and if you recall it, in 2022, he reached four grand events in Miami, Roland Garros, the U.S. Open, and the ATP Finals. He is right again, so in January, he will be refreshed, and then he has to be a couple new shots, with his athletic first serve, and at the top of the net.

No. 1 Novak Djokovic wins and wins

Novak Djokovic

Novak Djokovic can win  so many tournaments next year. He is older, for sure, as he is 36-years-old, but in 2023, he beat everyone, especially in the fall. The young players have improved a good amount, and yes, they can upset the Serbian, but they have to jump on him, early. Or Djokovic can be patient, and really chance it up.

In the ATP Finals last week, he beat Carlos Alcaraz and Jannik Sinner, in the semis and in the final, and he didn’t lose a set. He was essentially perfect.

As his coach, Goran Ivanisevic said:  “I think Carlos didn’t play his best tennis. Still you need to beat him,” he said. “Nole lift his game. He came ready. He knew how to play unbelievable matches this year.  Carlos already won two Grand Slams and he’s future of tennis. Jannik really step up this year. He showed the world and himself that he’s ready next year to win Grand Slams, and he’s not afraid of anybody.

I think they going to both of them practice hard. The season is over. I think next year’s going to be very, very competitive and interesting year.”

Yes, during the year, he lost some so-so matches, and he lost. But Djokovic kept  moving forward, striding, and still learning. He has now won 98 singels titles, which is phenomenal, not only when he has won 23 Grand Slams, but he has won many various events, in Asia, Australia, the United States, Canada, Europe, ext.  The huge hitter has also won in the hardcourts, on the clay, in the grass, outside and inside. But he is smarter on court, and perhaps, off the court.  

“I knew as soon as [Novak] got into the semifinal, he’s going to win the tournament. The mentality changed,” the Croatian Ivanisevic said.  “The new Novak Djokovic arrived on the court from Saturday. When real Novak Djokovic arrives on the court, then the moment is nobody that can play with him.”

When he won the Australian Open for the first time in 2008, Djokovic ran so fast, and he was super steady, but while his backhand was absurd, his forehand, his return and at the net needed to enrich. However, even though he had some difficult seasons, he still drove himself, and he added with different strokes.

 “It’s very tough to improve with him (smiling). But he wants to improve,” the one-time 2001 Wimbledon champion. Ivanisevic said. “ That’s the good thing and bad thing for me as a coach and the rest of the team. He improved a lot his volleys, his game at the net, and his position at the net. Now when he comes to the net – okay, today  he missed some easy volleys [against [Sinner]  – but generally this week and this year he plays some amazing volleys.  His position at the net is a lot better. Is very tough to pass him. Before he was very easy to pass. Now he knows what he’s doing at the net. He’s comfortable at the net. Final of U.S. Open he played two, three most important volleys in the final against [beating Daniil Medvedev]. He’s not afraid to come to the net. He’s hitting the forehands much, much harder. He’s going for the shots. Serving, second serve, sometimes he’s hitting over 200. He’s just going for it.”

Yes he did, and he still wants to be perfect, at the net. In January, Djokovic can win another Australian Open. Clearly he will be the favorite. But eventually,  the older you get, it is hard to sprint very fast. However, in 2024, he could do it again. He will make a huge effort.

Will anyone win a Slam next year? Maybe. Clearly, Alcaraz is very young and he is improving, so he could win one Slam, or two. You can throw in with Sinner, who had a terrific fall, but he has yet to win Slam, so in December, he must be thinking about how to return, deeper, and also, at the tough, nets.
 The American men had a solid year, overall, but no one reached into the final at the Slams. OK, maybe next year. Five of them are in the top 25 with Taylor Fritz, Tommy Paul,  Frances Tiafoe , Ben Shelton  and Sebastian Korda. They are still pretty young, so they could rise, higher, but to beat Djokovic, or the rest of the top eight players, they will have to be much  deeper, about exactly what to do. Please.

‘Americans’ triumph at Laver Cup

Felix Auger-Aliassime
Mal Taam/MALTphoto

After the Laver Cup, will the Americans, the Canadians and the South Americans win some huge events, this fall? It is hard to tell. Yes, the “‘Americans” won it, beating Europe, and they played very well, but that is different to beat they excellent competitors, such as Novak Djokovic, Carlos Alcaraz and Holger Rune.

The United States with Taylor Fritz , Frances Tiafoe, Tommy Paul and Ben Shelton all played in Vancouver, and they had some fun matches, but they have not won an ATP Master 1000 this year, or even and ATP 500 in 2023. So yes, they are all in the top 20, so they are good, but to win a big title during the entire of the year is questionable. That is for sure.

Also, how about the Canadian Felix Auger-Aliassime, who had reached into the top 10. But, this year, he began to slip, after March, and he lost very early. Perhaps he can reset.

Argentine Francisco Cerundolo can look pretty decent, and on the grass, he won Eastbourne, but after that, when he faces against the great players, he still cannot hit harder enough.

However, the 20-year-old Shelton, who reached into the semis at the US Open, that the reason was because when he arrived there, the doubles had helped him. After the Australian Open when he reached into the quarters, he was happy, but then he had a lot of work to do. It look him seven months to understand what he really needed to put in some very smart matches, when he is hitting the ball, both side to side, and then he will learn it, gradually. He did, and now he is ranked No. 19.

“Well, back-to-back singles matches, I had some success in doubles, and so that’s definitely something that gave me some confidence, going into this event. That’s singles and doubles, confidence that I could put points on the board for the team and that I had been pretty fine-tuned in doubles throughout the year,” he said. “In terms of singles, sometimes it only takes one. Still trying to find my way out on tour. I don’t think I’m perfect at all or found my game exactly the way I want to, but it’s a lot of new experiences, different places and surfaces I have never played on, but being here in North America, indoor hard court with a huge crowd, it feels like home to me.”

The next huge event will be in Rolex Shanghai Masters ATP 1000, which will start October  4,  and all of the top players have to do it, unless you can pull out, such as Djokovic, who did it last week. But perhaps one of them can grab it, like Shelton, Auger-Aliassime, or Cerundolo. That would be damn surprising, but they have to confirm it.

Down in Guadalajara, Maria Sakkari won the title. She is  a very quick player, and she can also sprint for a hours, but in 2023, she looked very decent, but at some other tournaments, she missed a lot of basic shots. However, when they arrived in Mexico, she decided that it was OK, to win or lose, but to be happy, rather than being so frustrated.  The No. 6 player Sakkari said:

“I play tennis for a living. That’s pretty cool. I didn’t give myself a chance to enjoy it in the past. I told myself, you owe it to yourself to have fun. And this is what happened this week.”

In the final, she beat American Caroline Dolehide who was ranked out of the top 100 last week,  but now she is  No. 38. What a huge event.

US Open picks: Friday, Sept. 1

Caroline Wozniaki
Ron Cioffi/TR

Caroline Wozniacki  over Jennifer Brady
The former No. 1 Wozniacki played pretty well when she knocked off Petra Kvitova. Her backhand has always been excellent, and her returns were terrific. However, her forehand is pretty good, but not great, which is why she has only won more than one at a Grand Slam. Can she do it again? That would be a huge challenge.

Brady was very good for a long time , but in 2021, she got hurt, physically, and she could not play in the WTA for two years. That is very long. Before that, she made it in the semis at the 2020 U.S. Open,and in 2021, she reached into the 2022 Aussie Open. Yes, she was darn good. However, Brady still is trying to get back, physically and mentally. She does really like to crush the ball, but Wozniacki is more in control. The Dane will win it in two tough sets.
 
Karolina Muchova over Taylor Townsend
The Czech can look so good, when she is sprinting, and slap it back. Over the past three months, she reached the final at Roland Garros and Cincinnati. She didn’t win it, but she is right there. Muchova appears to be healthy again, so the American Townsend has to play great to upset her. She is quite good in the doubles, but in the singles, she has improved this year, but she has not beaten a lot of top 10 players. Yes, the veteran wants to show the fans that she is legitmatety very good, but to watch it, she is going have to play great. She will at times, but really, Muchova is a better player. She will win it in two basic sets.

Tommy Paul over Alejandro Davidovich Fokina
This should be a terrific, wild match. The American Paul beat him in Miami in straight sets, but the Spaniard wants to play much better at the U.S. Open. At the Australian Open on the hardcourts, again, Paul edged him 6-4 in the fifth set. Davidovich Fokina pushed himself back, and Paul attacked him, with some excellent shots. His forehand is a little bit better, but Davidovich Fokina has a more consistent backhand. Paul is more comfortable at the net, while Davidovich Fokina likes to add some different shots.
They will have another long five sets, and once again, Paul will beat him again, 7-5.

Taylor Fritz over Jakub Mensik
The 17-year-old Mensik qualified, and he has played almost every week, going to a bunch of small events. However, the teenager can be pretty steady, and also, he is tall, so when he gets a chance, he can swing hard and try for a winner.  He beat a number of juniors, but this time, he has to play substantially better to upset Fritz, who has gone deep in a lot of events. Fritz once won Indian Wells, but he has yet to go into the second week at the U.S. Open. The San Diego native really wants to, so he has to be super consistent.  As he said, the American Andy Roddick won the title in 2003, but that was it. Will it be this time?

“We’ve all been hearing about who’s going to be the next American (after) Andy Roddick 20 years ago our entire careers. We all want it so bad,” said Fritz. “Hopefully it’ll be one of us soon.”
He will win it over Mensik in straight sets.

The finals in Canada: Jessica Pegula, Jannik Sinner, Alex de Minaur

Jannik Sinner
Mal Taam/MALTphoto

The American Jessica Pegula has been around the block, for a very long time, but finally, she is very intense, and when the match is almost done, then you have to really go for it. Or, if she is very steady, during the points, when she is feeling it, then she can hit it harder, and really mix it up.

Over the past few days, in Montreal, it looked like that  Pegula could fold, but she has been so confident. She edged two of the fine players, taking down her good friend,  Coco Gauff  6-2, 5-7, 7-5, and on Saturday, she out-lasted Iga Swiatek 6-2, 6-7, 6-4. Those were two huge events, as she has yet to reach into the semis is the Grand Slams, but at the 2023 U.S. Open, maybe she will finally do it for the first time.

However, right now, it is the most important event. “It’s just kind of trying to execute it at the right times and as best as possible,” she said.

Unfortunately, in Montreal, it was raining  at night, so they had to cancel between Elena Rybakina and  Liudmila Samsonova. They will play on Sunday.

The Aussie Alex de Minaur also said that he really can go further. He beat the former 2021 US Open champion Daniil Medvedev, and then he blasted Alejandro
Davidovich Fokina in the semis. Over the past few years ago, he would miss a lot of shots. He could back off, and he could become frustrated. Now he understands what really works. If he is way down on the court, he can continue to battle.

“I’m not going to give up at any stage.  Yeah, just at those stages, I managed to put the ball in the court, play a couple good points,” de Minaur  said. “And then, all of a sudden, I got my chance and was able to turn that around.  So it’s often how tennis goes. It’s huge momentum swings. So you always got to stay in the present.”

He is currently ranked No. 18, and he does say that this year, he will finally reach into the top 10. The 24-year-old has won seven titles, but none in the ATP 1000s, or at the Grand Slams. But at least he won two ATP 500s, including in early March when he won Acapulco, on the hardcourts. He also reached the finals in London/Queen’s Club and a week ago, in Los Cabos, Mexico.

As he said, very soon, he wants to get into the tough top 10.

“Yeah, 100%. That’s been the goal for me for a couple years,” de Minaur said. “It’s no secret that, I haven’t really been content where I am, and I’m always trying to find my way to push more.  I’ve always felt that I’ve got the level to break into that top 10. But it probably wasn’t until end of last year where I was able to get my first win against a top 5, which was Daniil in Paris, that I really was able to have that breakthrough moment of really believing in myself. And I think from that moment onwards, it’s been a completely different — it’s been a change. I’m feeling a lot better. I’ve had a great year.”

He will face against the Italian, Jannik Sinner, who beat Tommy Paul 6-4, 6-4. It was close. but Sinner  missed a few odd shots, but he continued to throw with some gigantic shots. In the final, Sinner will take down de Minaur in three, massive sets.

Andy Murray wins in Washington

Andy Murray

Andy Murray won in the second round in Washington.

The three-time Grand Slam champion beat Brandon Nakashima. He is hoping to be seated at the US Open, in the top 32, but he does have an opportunity in the next three weeks. He almost retired, due to his massive  injuries four years ago, but now, since he came back, it took him a long time to recover, as he lost a lot of matches. But he kept trying, moving faster, and with some new shots. He also really liked to do in the rallies, backhand to backhand, crosscourt, or down the line. His forehand is very good, all over the place, when it is flat, or when he can spin it, a little bit.  But when he was losing a lot, maybe he was down in the dumps. A lot of players, men and women, have to stop playing for months. Perhaps they were very sad.

“I was in that place, and most of the athletes that I would speak to that are thinking about having this operation are in a pretty bad place, like physically and probably have been in a lot of pain for quite a long time. I spoke to Bob Bryan [the former player] quite a lot about it, which was helpful, probably wish I had had the opportunity to speak to more athletes about it and what that process was like and what the operation, the rehab and I’m able to give  a bit of positivity to those athletes in that situation now,” Murray said. “It is possible to get back to competing and doing the sport that you love after having this surgery.”

Everyone who gets hurt and he or she will return, such as Kei Nishikori and Jennifer Brady, who has been out a long time, and again, the troubling surgeries. At times, they can look 100 percent, on court, but other players can become injured again, and then they have to re-set there bodies. It is very difficult.

“I think it definitely takes time like for the body to get used to playing like multiple matches again at the highest level. There will definitely be some aches and pains,” Murray said.  “That can sometimes be quite hard to deal with mentally, because you forget what it is like to play like the highest level of sport isn’t easy.  You don’t play a match and wake up next day and feel perfect, but when you’ve been out a long time with an injury, understanding what that pain means, like if you wake up the day after playing a match and your back is sore, is that pain because of an injury? Like do I need to back off here? Should I be playing today? Or is it just part of playing and your body getting used to playing, the matches again and competing. Like playing in front of the big crowds again when you have been away from it for a long time, that is different. There is a different pressure and a different intensity to that.”

Murray will have to face Taylor Fritz on Thursday night. The American looks pretty clean, and finally, he looked pretty solid, recently winning Atlanta. Before that, he was not played great this year. However, on the hardcourt, he is more thoughtful. “I did a lot of big emphasis on like the cardio and fitness and just normal training and was able to play last week. Last week was extremely hot, as well, in Atlanta. I think that I’m in just a much better place, for sure,” Fritz said.

In Canada, in Montreal  at the ATP 1000, Fritz crushed Murray 6-1, 6-3. But that was a while ago, so at night in Washington, they will some very long rallies, and change it where he has to. Move forward.

MORE NOTES
Elina Svitolina is once again, on fire, as she crushed Daria Kasatkina in Washington. At Wimbledon, she reached into the semis at Wimbledon. That is pretty darn good.

“I have a lot of experience. You know, now coming back to the tour, starting from zero, I have experience still of playing many years on the high level, and I try just to analyze what I did well and take the best from that years and just build on that.”

Just coming back, Brady was gone for almost two years, another big injury, and on Wednesday, against Madison Keys, she lost very fast . Again, Brady will take it so long to play well again. … In Los Cabos, Tommy Paul took a tough match, but he won over Felipe  Alves.  Now he will go up against Alex de Minaur. That is a draw. Pick em.

Taylor Fritz in Atlanta: ‘He needs to be stronger, more explosive’

Taylor Fritz
Mal Taam/MALTphoto

The American men are now playing the hellacious hard courts. The grass is finally finished, and while there are some other players who went back again on the clay, for the next three weeks, but many other people want to grab and go in the United States.

None of the guys have won Toronto or Montreal, or Cincinnati, or the U.S. Open. Yes, they have won some of the ATP 250s in the summer, but they could not win the ATP 1000s. Well good luck, once again.

Here they are, ready to hop again, such as Taylor Fritz, Frances Tiafoe, Tommy Paul, Sebastian Korda, the top 30 players. Fritz is playing in Atlanta this week, but they other players decided not to. However, the rising Christopher Eubanks is there, as he is ranked in the top 31. That is really good, considering that last year, he was out of the top 100. He has improved a lot.

Since Fritz reached the semis in Monte Carlo in early April, he lost against  Andrey Rublev on clay, and he didn’t win hardly at all after that. On the tough grass, at Wimbledon, he lost in the second round, darn  early. But while he was struggling, he knew that he needed to really train, very hard. His fine coach, Michael Russell, also played on the tour for many years. There were some tough moments, but he just kept going, and he added some new shots. Really, as Russell said, each week, you can be intense and drive, again. Here is what he said on ATPTour.com: “We’re looking to have a good hard-court season coming up. He trained really hard after Wimbledon, and I think that’s given him a lot of motivation,” Russell said.

“On the grass the margins are so fine; a few of the matches he lost were so close. It can come down to a couple of tie-breaks and a couple of shots. But in general, I feel that he’s been playing well and his fitness is getting better, which is the main thing. He needs to be stronger, more explosive.”

At least Fritz won the 2022 Indian Wells, an ATP Masters 1000, but again, in 2023 in the summer, he didn’t win enough with some key matches. At the U.S. Open, another American in the first round, against the new, young  player, Brandon Holt. One was happy, and the other was sad.

Fritz will face against Wu Yibing on Thursday. Also, in Atlanta, J.J. Wolf will face against Maxime Cressy. That could be a very close match, a wild, three-set encounter.

Novak Djokovic: the Wimbledon favorite

Novak Djokovic
Mal Taam/MALTphoto

When Wimbledon starts, Novak Djokovic and Carlos Alcaraz will be the favorites, but it is possible that the American men Taylor Fritz, Frances Tiafoe, Tommy Paul and Sebastian Korda can go deep into the second week.
 
The former champ John McEnroe said, “I think Taylor is a confident kid. He’s worked really hard on his movement and fitness, which is the reason to me he’s in the top 10,” McEnroe said. “He hits a great ball. I don’t think he’s actually that comfortable on grass. I think Tiafoe is a better volleyer and more skilled at net, athletically better. That would help him on the grass. Taylor hits a better ball and is a bigger guy. His serve is probably a little bit more dependable.”

Neither of them have reached very far at Wimbledon, although they are pretty young. They have to be more consistent and attack pretty early. In order to win point after point, they can construct their strokes. And, of course, they have to be totally locked in, all the time.

“Both of them would be in the quarters of Alcaraz or Djokovic, which would make it more difficult. I think at this time those two and maybe [Sebastian] Korda are the guys. Tommy Paul looks like he’s fallen off at the moment a little bit,” McEnroe said. “Hopefully he’ll get it back. I think there’s going to be guys soon, Americans, that are going to make the breakthrough within a year or two hopefully. I think that’s going to be big.”

Yes it will, as the U.S. men have not won a Grand Slam since 2003 at the US Open with Andy Roddick won it. It might be 20-years-ago in September that they cannot win another Slam again. But before that, in England, you can actually play longer in the rallies. They don’t have to slide all the time, and they can actually return, more. In the 1990s, there were some really quick rallies, and with millions of aces.

“The people that can add that adaptability and finish points at net successfully, like an Alcaraz, for example, who is a really good volleyer, Novak learned it, so did Rafa [Nadal],” McEnroe said. “I believe that’s why Tiafoe has a shot because he’s skilled at net. That will help you get over the hump at Wimbledon. Yes, it’s more homogenized. Yes, it’s more like hard courts. The bounce is higher, but there’s still a nuance that only a few get it.


“Look at [Casper] Ruud, for example. He’s regarding this as he’s showing up, hoping for the best. He could be out in the first round or two. [Stefanos] Tsitsipas doesn’t seem to be comfortable at all, can’t figure out how to play on the grass. There’s an opening. There’s many guys that don’t even understand it, or girls for that matter. That’s why it’s pretty narrowed down who can actually win it. That’s why Novak can afford not to play any tournament because he’s so confident, he understands what it takes, he doesn’t feel the need to play any warmup matches and he still wins it almost every year.”

Yes, he is the now 23-Grand-Slam champion. Djokovic really thinks that he can win another major once again. However, he can lose here and there, so at Wimbledon, he can become lost during a match, and he will fall down. Or maybe Alcaraz will rise, now.

As he said: “Novak is the main favorite to win Wimbledon, but I will try to play at this level to have chances to beat him or make the final. I saw a statistic that Novak has won more matches at Wimbledon than the other top 20 players (combined),” the Spaniard Alcaraz said. “What can you say about that you know? Novak is the main favorite to win Wimbledon. That’s obvious. But I will try to play at this level, to have chances to beat him or make the final at Wimbledon.”

The picks at Roland Garros: Thursday, June 1

Emma Navarro
Ron Cioffi/TR

Bianca Andreescu over Emma Navarro
Who would have known that Andreescu has already playing excellent again? Two month ago, she could barely walk, because she received a tear in her leg and it looked like that she would be off for months, but somehow, she fixed, it. She is almost 100 percent and two days ago, she flipped Victoria Azarenka in three sets. Her forehand is gigantic, as has her hard backhand. Over the past eight months, the American Navarro is rising fast. It took her a while to improve her forehand, and when she returns. She really like sports, overall, so she will charge into the net, on occasion. If she continues playing well, she could actually end the year in the top 30, but the is a big if. Andreescu may not win Roland Garros, but she definitely wants to go into the second week. Therefore, she will win it in two stagy sets.

Lauren Davis over Lesia Tsurenko
The American has been playing for so many years, all the time, week after week. She is 29- -years-old, and eventually she will age, but right now she just wants to play and finally reach into they second week at a Grand Slam. As she said, “Anything, please!”

Davis would really like to go for it, so while she is not that tall, she can hit the ball, harder, and really fusion it up. The Ukrainian Tsurenko can be very valid, and she can also hit it deep, in the singles and the doubles.The veteran can hit it pretty short, and her forehand is decent, but not fantastic. She certainly can play, but she can throw in some different shots in Paris? I would think, no, so Davis will where her down, and win it in three lengthy sets.

Frances Tiafoe over Aslan Karatsev
The Russian went bonkers in Madrid, when he qualified, and he stunned to beat Daniil Medvedev in the round of 16. He managed into the semis, and he looked terrific, but he lost, eventually. He has won three small titles, but that is good enough. He has a monstrous forehand, and his backhand can be solid, but he can also back off.

Tiafoe seems to be feeling pretty good, on the court, as he has lost some unmatched matches. The American can mash his forehand, as well as his backhand, too. The former US Open semifinals Tiafoe can be fierce, and he can also hit extreme shots, when he is returning with a second serve. He is a very nice person, off the court, but on court, he can be disturbed. This time, though, he will were Karatsev in five sizable sets.

Nicolas Jarry over Tommy Paul
The Chilean all of a sudden started to be more aggressive, and much more patient. In Geneva, he won it, upsetting Casper Ruud, Alexander Zverev and Grigor Dimitrov on clay. That was a huge event, so he was totally sealed. He did win another two more, somewhat small, but this time, he had to beat the very good players. Apparently, he made some new tactics.
 
The American Paul had a solid year in 2022, and this year, he pulled off a good amount of wins, especially in the hard courts. He is a huge hitter, reached the semis at the Australian Open, and he also got into the final in Acapulco. He was getting better, each month, but after that he started to slip. Yes, the No. 17 will reflect on the court, and what he is really doing, but he also has to center more. Paul can make a astronomical effort, but Jarry is on fire and he will win it in four intense sets.

Matt’s yesterday picks

Correct: Jessica Pegula over Camila Giorgi
Correct: Andrey Rublev over Corentin Moutet
Correct: Novak Djokovic over Marton Fucsovics
Leylah Fernandez  over Clara Tauson

Matt’s picks from Roland Garros

10 out of 16, 62.5% correct

The Picks in Miami: Tuesday, March 28

Jessica Pegula
Rick Limpert

Carlos Alcaraz over Tommy Paul
Once again, the Spaniard is improving each day, with his gigantic forehand, his wild backhand, and his wonderful play at the net. Yes, he has almost the deep shots, but he can trip himself. The American Paul won two days ago, and now he will leave at least No. 18, the highest ever. He is so much smarter, and he believes that when he is on, he can upset everyone. That is possible, but Alcaraz will go for it, early, and attach close to the lines. The Spaniard will win in three tough sets.

Stefanos Tsitsipas over Karen Khachanov
Is it a real toss up? I would think so, given that Tsitsipas has had a a very good year, but not fantastic. Yes, he won Brisbane in early January, and then he reached the final at the Australian Open, but he could not trip up Novak Djokovic. After that, the  Greek began to skid, and while he can hit a lot of topspin, at times, it is too short. Perhaps his shoulder is pretty sore. Khachanov is a tall, powerful player, and his serves are very hard. He can swing pretty darn ruthless, and the Russian can also attempt to drive very vast. However, Khachanov can fall back, mentally, and while Tsitsipasis can be up and down, still, he will be more valid. Tsitsipasis will win it in two tiebreaks.

Jessica Pegula over Anastasia Potapova
The last time they have played each other was 10 days ago at Indian Wells, and the American won it 7-5 in the third set. That was jolly close. Pegula was more steady at the end, and she also mixed it a lot, and with depth, too. The Russian Potapova is also pretty heady, and she did have a terrific week, when she won in Linz, but other than that, she can break down. Also, she forgets what she is doing. Yes the 21-year-old Potapova has a lot of potential, but she is not even close to reach into the top 5 this year. Perhaps we are wrong, but she had to prove it. Pegula will edge her once again, this time in two long sets.

QUICK PICKS
Mannarino over Eubanks
Can you believe that the American Christopher Eubanks won it late at night, and now he will finally be in the top 100 for the first time. He knows that he has to play immediately and face the veteran Adrian Mannarino. That will be a very nice show, but the Frenchman over will win it in straight sets.

Francisco Cerundolo over Lorenzo Sonego
Lorenzo Sonego just upset Frances Tiafoe when it was late at Miami. On Tuesday, he will face  Francisco Cerundolo who also upset Felix Auger-Aliassime. Everyone wants to throw in the famous upsets. Take Cerundolo to over win it in straits sets.

Injury report
That was a brutal match with Bianca Andreescu, who went down on the ground and she possibly broke her leg. She was screaming with in a lot of pain. It is too bad because the Canadian was playing terrific again, and now she might not play for months. We do not know, yet. Ekaterina Alexandrova has moved on moving ahead.

Monday picks

Correct: Sorana Cirstea over Marketa Vondrousova
Frances Tiafoe over Lorenzo Sonego
Gregoire Barrere over Christopher Eubanks

Matt’s Miami picks

11 out of 18: 61.1% correct