French Open Preview

rolandNadal’s Quarter

Winner: Rafael Nadal – as if anyone else has a chance. Nadal is completely dominant on clay, and now he has something to motivate him even more – a loss to Roger Federer on his beloved dirt just last week.

Contenders: Fernando Verdasco – Can he repeat his performance at the first grand slam of the year, and push Nadal to another level again? It’ll be a lot harder on clay. Verdasco is 0-9 against Nadal, you’d have to think his luck is going to change eventually… or maybe not…

Sleeper:
Stanislas Wawrinka – Okay, he’s not much of a sleeper considering he’s the 17 seed, but he’s the type of guy who can beat everyone in the rankings below him, but no one ahead of him. He made the semis of Monte Carlo, where he lost to Novak Djokovic. He should be able to pull off the upset of Nikolay Davydenko, but does he have what it takes to beat Verdasco?

Sam Querrey – An American and the word: sleeper don’t go together on dirt, right? This time around, I’m arguing they do. Querrey can beat Ernests Gulbis in the first round, and then has to beat Nicolas Almagro, a clay specialist. Almagro’s had a very poor year, however, and Querrey actually owns a victory against him this year.

Early Exit: Ivo Karlovic – Of course the dirt is his worst surface, and Lleyton Hewitt may be just the man to defeat him in the opening round.
Nikolay Davydenko – Who knows what’s going on when it comes to Davydenko? He may not be healthy, he may not be in the right frame of mind, he also may just not come prepared.

Best potential match:
Nadal vs. Verdasco – rematch of the epic five-setter at the Australian Open.
Davydenko vs. Wawrinka – two men who can pretty much beat everyone in the rankings below them, but no one ahead of them. This match should be a marathon if Davydenko is healthy. Continue reading

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