Key questions for Week 2 of the French Open males’s draw

For many gamers, making it into the second week of a Grand Slam is a aim worthy of props and a digital trophy. For the elite gamers, it is a springboard to potential glory. Both method, making the second week has develop into an vital milestone.

As prime seed Novak Djokovic mentioned after his third-round win Saturday on the 2019 French Open: “Reaching a second week of a Slam is a hit … [but] it should get solely harder from right here. However I stay up for it.”

Draw evaluation firstly of the match is a murky enterprise, however by the second week, most of the caveats have melted away. Let us take a look at among the key questions looming within the coming days at Roland Garros:

Most tough path ahead

Stefanos Tsitsipas’ two-day, four-set win over ATP No. 60 Filip Krajinovic on Saturday vaulted him to a stay rating of No. four — leapfrogging over Subsequent Gen star Alexander Zverev and Dominic Thiem. However the “Greek Freak,” seeded No. 6, has his work lower out.

Subsequent up: furiously resurgent Stan Wawrinka, a former champion at Roland Garros. If the seedings maintain up, Tsitsipas would then conflict with Parisian idol and No. Three seed Roger Federer, then No. 2 seed Rafael Nadal — all for the privilege of dueling within the ultimate with the winner of the previous three majors, No. 1 Novak Djokovic.

Tsitsipas’ electrical recreation suits no area of interest: He’s as fast as any gifted counterpuncher, explosive as any exponent of the massive energy recreation. But it surely’s tough to think about the 20-year-old having sufficient gasoline within the tank to make all of it the best way.

Least more likely to survive

They might simply as properly name the French Open the Massive Canine match, given how properly the highest seeds historically carry out. All eight of them are within the fourth spherical for a sixth straight yr. The opposite three majors have not even had the highest eight seeds survive to Spherical Three since Roland Garros in 2015. That is dangerous information for Juan Ignacio Londero, the unseeded 25-year-old from Argentina.

Certain, Grand Slam occasions usually flip up a “shock quarterfinalist.” Which may occur once more, what with unseeded, mercurial Benoit Paire, Leonardo Mayer and Jan-Lennard Struff nonetheless within the draw.

Londero, ranked No. 78, had a terrific draw following his upset of No. 15 seed Nikoloz Basilashvili. He beat French wild card Corentin Moutet in his most up-to-date match, however his luck has run out: He performs Nadal subsequent.

Novak Djokovic faces a form draw on the French Open. Christophe Ena / AP Picture

Best path ahead

The celebrities are properly aligned for Djokovic to win his fourth successive main, thereby finishing a second “Djoker Slam.” Djokovic locations within the prime 5 in simply two classes within the match’s “Infosys Slam Leaderboard” stat tracker. However they’re two key areas: receiving factors received and break factors transformed. That is why Djokovic hasn’t misplaced a set — and has yielded as many as 4 video games simply twice.

On prime of that, Djokovic’s draw is variety.

He subsequent meets No. 45-ranked Struff, who was roughed up by No. 13 seed Borna Coric earlier than profitable 11-9 within the fifth.

Then it is most likely on to No. 5 Zverev. The 22-year-old German is using a seven-match profitable streak after his triumph at Geneva ATP 250 the week earlier than Roland Garros. However he has performed an terrible lot of tennis to recover from his current tough patch, together with two five-set wins in Paris over noncontenders. His stamina might be questionable.

Most shocking contender

It is a shut contest among the many unseeded, however we’ll go together with Paire due to the X issue — make that two X elements. Paire is French, and the native gamers all the time really feel intense strain in addition to enthusiastic help. Paire additionally has a status as a hothead who hasn’t lived as much as his potential. That is his first foray into the second week in Paris.

Paire’s draw has been pleasant. He has proven spectacular self-control, and his mercurial recreation has been sharp. He has belted extra winners than anybody to date, and he ranks fourth in first-serve factors received. Kei Nishikori, Paire’s subsequent opponent, is bodily fragile at the most effective of occasions. Seeded No. 7, the Japanese star had a knock-down, drag-out five-setter in his prior match. If Paire will get by Nishikori and into the quarterfinals, he might bother Nadal together with his drop photographs, tempo modifications and booming serve.

Elite participant with probably the most to realize

Certain, Djokovic is on the cusp of an enormous achievement. And a 12th French Open title for the oft-injured No. 2 seed can be an epic accomplishment. A win by Federer would add one other chapter to his legend.

2 Associated

Then there’s Juan Martin del Potro. The No. eight seed defeated Nadal and Federer in successive matches on the tender age of 20 to win the 2009 U.S. Open, However simply months later, his profession grew to become an infinite saga of surgical procedures and accidents. He performed all 4 majors once more final yr for the primary time since 2012.

Del Potro fought by way of one other knee damage scare in his second-round win over Yoshihito Nishioka. He advised reporters later, “In any case I’ve gone by way of, my emotions in my knee, I needed to be cautious and combat mentally throughout these video games. … It was costing me to maneuver and to play, however for those who’re robust mentally, the fervour, the will to play and to compete, is what takes over.”

That is his historical past — and character — in a nutshell. Time is operating out for the 30-year-old 6-foot-6 slugger from Argentina. He’ll subsequent face No. 10 seed Karen Khachanov, with both Thiem or Gael Monfils after that.

Sentimental favourite

The French have had an impressive match to date. Is it an omen? Monfils and Jo-Wilfried Tsonga have lengthy been the most certainly to develop into the primary male French singles champion since Yannick Noah in 1983. Tsonga is out of the image, however “La Monf” is having fun with a profession resurgence. Seeded No. 14, Monfils has compiled an 18-6 report this yr, with a title win in Rotterdam.

Monfils’ subsequent opponent is No. four seed and defending finalist Thiem, who performs with the same mindset, organising store properly again of the baseline and forcing lengthy rallies. Monfils is extra athletic than Thiem, however the Austrian clay skilled is extra constant.

Monfils leads all gamers in receiving factors received, and he ranks fifth in break level conversion. The good unknown is the impact of the house crowd. The French love the spectacular will get and leaping blasts Monfils produces, however he must keep away from getting too jacked up and enjoying to the followers. Two wins and Monfils would face Djokovic within the semis.

Elite participant with probably the most to lose

It appears loopy to say that “King of Clay” Nadal, 11 occasions the champion, 89-2 for his profession, has something to lose. However he’s a sufferer of his personal success. A Nadal loss in Paris has develop into virtually unthinkable.

There is a greater image, although.

Nadal will flip 33 on Monday. He has ceaselessly been injured, however with 17 Grand Slam titles, Nadal remains to be inside putting distance of Federer’s report 20. However a loss on what quantities to his house courtroom may put the kibosh on his possibilities of catching Federer.

Then there’s this little matter of his rivalry with Djokovic, who leads their sequence by a slim 28-26 margin. The lads are seeded to satisfy within the ultimate, with Nadal holding a 2-Zero edge. They’ve break up their previous two matches, with Djokovic hammering Nadal within the Australian Open and Nadal avenging the loss simply two weeks in the past in Rome.

With unseeded Londero subsequent, then both unseeded Paire or Nishikori, Nadal has an excellent shot at making the semis.

“I’m wholesome [again],” Nadal advised the gang after his earlier win. “And when I’m wholesome, I am blissful enjoying.”

Finest fourth-round matchups

Tsitsipas vs. Wawrinka (first assembly)

Will the revitalized former champion’s energy offset the pace and mobility of the person trying to be the youngest quarterfinalist since del Potro a decade in the past?

Mayer vs. Federer (Federer leads Three-Zero)

Can Federer’s stamina maintain up by way of what may be a grueling check in opposition to a gifted, highly effective ball striker?

Fabio Fognini vs. Zverev (Zverev leads 2-1)

Will Fognini’s win over Zverev in Monte Carlo a number of weeks in the past give the inventive Italian the arrogance to once more climate the punishing serve and groundstrokes of his extra highly effective rival?

Khachanov vs. del Potro (Del Potro leads Three-Zero)

Is there a method the Russian can outhit del Potro, as a result of that is precisely what this one might be about.

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