So we have reached the year’s second Grand Slam. The only one to be played on clay and dominated by Nadal with just 1 defeat since 2005. Soderling beat him in the semi final in 2009 allowing Federer to take his only title at Roland Garros.
The draw is split into 4 sections with 1 of the top 4 seeds in each section.
Top seed Djokovic has Melzer, Verdasco, Simon, Wawrinla and Tsonga In his section. Djokovic is obviously expected to reach the quarter finals. He will most likely meet Hewitt in the second round and probably Melzer in round 3.
Verdasco should get past his likely 2nd round opponent Muller and then could meet Davydenko to fight it out for the right to play Djokovic in the 4th round.
The other half of this section could be the more interesting. Brian Baker will perhaps meet Simon in the second round. I think that could be a good match up for the American.
Tsonga could have a tough 3rd round match with either Bellucci or Fognini and won’t be able to have an off day against either. The winner of that match will most likely meet Wawrinka in round 4.
Most likely quarter final is Djokovic v Tsonga.
Federer will probably meet Nalbandian in round 2. If Roddick can’t make it to the third round with Mahut and possibly Dancevic standing in his way then there is little hope for him. If he does manage it he will play Federer next and the way he has been playing that will be as far as he goes.
The potential second round match ups are too exciting with perhaps Ferrero v Cilic.
Feliciano Lopez is in this section but unless he stumbles against Stepanek he will most likely face Federer in round 4.
Bardych won’t have much trouble with Llodra and Anderson won’t be beating him over 5 sets. That could set up a round 4 clash with either Cilic or Del Potro with Cilic being favourite.
Most likely quarter final is Federer v Berdych.
Murray’s section contains many potential problems for the Scot. He really shouldn’t have a difficulty with Nieminen but he can sometimes find problems where there didn’t ought to be any. If Gasquet makes it past Dolgopolov as I expect him to then the Frenchman will be Murray’s 4th round opponent. Murray wouldn’t be favourite for me in that one.
Ferrer should be save enough up to the 3rd round where his likely opponent will be Youzhny although Haase may have something to say about that. Haase served exceptionally well this week but he will need more than that against the Russian.
John Isner has established himself as a very competent clay courter but he has seemed to lack interest in recent weeks. You would assume he is interested in doing well over the next fortnight. He is likely to meet Spaniard Granollers in round 3 with the winner likely to play Ferrer for a place in the quarter final.
Most likely quarter final is Ferrer v Gasquet.
Nadal will naturally be many people’s favourite to win the title but his section of the draw is loaded with clay court talent. Tipsarevic, Kohlschreiber, Almagro and Monaco have all shown excellent recent form. Florian Mayer, Raonic and Benneteau can also give opponents all sorts of problems although I’m not sure how fit Benneteau is after his recent injuries.
Nadal is likely to meet Mayer in the 3rd round with the winner likely to be taking on Monaco or Raonic. My money is on Monaco in that one. Either way its hard to see Nadal failing to make the quarter final.
Tipsarevic is a good bet to reach the 4th round although Chardy and perhaps Benneteau won’t make life easy for him. I would expect Almagro to meet Kohlschreiber in the 3rd round with the winner playing Tipsarevic.
Almagro’s form seems to have peaked this week and he will be going into this tournament full of confidence.
Most likely quarter final is Nadal v Almagro.