Carlos Alcaraz, Iga Świątek are favored at Roland Garros

Carlos Alcaraz

The 19-year-old Carlos Alcaraz has been on fire this year. He has beat the best players, such as Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal, and he is very powerful and intens

He can really bash the ball. He rarely gets nervous and he has hit some amazing drop shots. Alcaraz won his first round in Paris at Roland Garros.

His rapid rise to stardom is impressive, to say the least, winning the Rio Open, Miami Open, Barcelona Open and Madrid. Alcaraz, who was +400 a month ago is as short as +200 to win at Roland-Garros.

Alcaraz can sprint, and he smiles when he hits a winner. However, he has yet to win a Grand Slam, so the pressure is on.

Both Djokovic and Nadal also won easily on Monday. The Serb grabbed this Grand Slam twice, while the steely player Nadal has snagged it 13 times, definitely the best clay courter of all time.

Djokovic had a difficult year with being rejected from entering Australia because he wasn’t vaccinated and couldn’t play the AO. The No. 1 finally rose in Rome, winning the event, when his famous backhand was incredibly steady. He can smack his very good forehand, and he can return quite deep.

He and Nadal have played each other 57 times. Djokovic leads their head-to-head 29 wins to 28 losses, but Nadal has won many matches on clay. They might have face off in the quarterfinals at Roland Garros. Nadal is a slight favored, but Djokovic believes he can out-hit him, especially as Nadal continues to deal with his injured foot. 

There are other male players who have a shot to go super deep such as Daniil Medvedev, who won the 2021 US Open; Stefanos Tsitsipas, who reached the final at Roland Garros; Alexander Zverev, who has won a few big titles in the ATP 1000s; as well as Andrey Rublev, Casper Ruud and Jannik Sinner.

Can Świątek be stopped?
Among the women, the No. 1 Iga Świątek has now won 29 wins in a row. She is playing as good as she can, crushing anyone. She is, to be blunt, playing almost perfectly. The 20-year-old Świątek is a serious favorite at Roland Garros, which she did in 2020, when she won it. She is fearless and in the first round she won it 6-2, 6-0. She is a staying aggressive, with more initiative, going forward and attacking immediately.

Spaniard Paula Badosa has improved a lot this year, not only because she is very talented, but she is more match savvy. She has yet to win Slam, but the No. 3 in doing the hard work to make that happen.

Barbora Krejcikova is ranked No. 2, but she became hurt in February. So, French teen Diane Parry’s three-set upset of Krejcikova is not a huge surprise.

The Greek Maria Sakkari is so full-tilt, and she can play hour after hour. She can be shaky, but this year she came more tactful. She did reach the semis at Roland Garros, so she must be thinking that if she gets there, she can race into the final. 

Here are a few other women who can go deep, such as Simona Halep, who won it in 2018; the 20-year-old Amanda Anisimova, who just knocked off the four-time Grand Slam champion Naomi Osaka; the former No. 2, Aryna Sabalenka and the tough American Danielle Collins. Others are good young players who reached the 2021 US Open final are Emma Raducanu and Leylah Fernandez. Also players who have a good chance of reaching the second week with Jessica Pegula, Jelena Ostapenko, Belinda Bencic and Coco Gauff.