Lower than eight months after efficiently organising the 2020 version on the Stade Roland Garros, amid the hardest of circumstances, French Open is again and this time, has thrown up a battle of the generations within the males’s singles class. The Huge Three – defending champion Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer – have discovered themselves in the identical half of the draw for the primary time in a Grand slam occasion, whereas potential Subsequent Gen threats in Stefanos Tsitsipas, Alexander Zverev, and two-time runners-up Dominic Thiem – have been clubbed collectively within the second half of the draw which was launched on Thursday night.
But, the inevitable query stays – can Nadal beat the percentages, as soon as once more, to carry an unprecedented 14th on la terre battue?
He hasn’t had a good clay season to date – failing to achieve the quarters in Monte-Carlo Masters, shedding at residence (Serbia Open) within the semis, was dominated by Nadal within the Italian Open remaining and now awaits his destiny in Belgrade Open remaining. But, Djokovic emerges as an outright favourite to achieve the semis within the first quarter, along with his path seeming like a stroll within the park. He faces Tennys Sandgren in his opening match, and the opposite seeds within the quarter are – Ugo Humbert, David Goffin, Alex de Minaur, Mario Berrettini, Felix Auger-Alisassime, Taylor Fritz.
The one potential risk that he faces en path to the semis is from Federer, who stands on the opposite finish of the identical quarter. Though the 2 have been inseparable of their eight conferences on clay which features a victory every in French Open as effectively, the Serb has gained 4 of their final 5 ATP conferences.
As unconvincing because it sounds, the 13-time French Open champion has been seeded third, one beneath Daniil Medvedev, who hasn’t gained a single match on Parisian Clay in his 4 appearances, and that has handed him in all probability the hardest attract his French Open profession. However Nadal, who’s 100-2 at Roland Garros, stays unfazed and has his eyes somewhat set on the potential Djokovic conflict within the semis. “I see it as fully regular. I’m not frightened about it. I’ve lots of work in entrance of me to play a possible match versus Djokovic [in the semi-final],” he mentioned on Friday.
Nadal will start his marketing campaign towards Alexei Popyrin, whom he had convincingly defeated within the Madrid Open third spherical. He might face both Hugo Gaston or Richard Gasquet within the subsequent spherical, Lorenzo Sonega within the third, Jannik Sinner within the fourth and Andrey Rublev within the quarters. The Russian had defeated Nadal in Monte Carlo earlier this clay season.
The third-quarter throws a possible US Open remaining repeat from the 2020 season. Thiem had held nerves to outlast the big-serving Zverev in 2020 remaining, which produced the primary Grand Slam winner outdoors the Huge Three since 2014.
However for the reason that remaining, the 2 Subsequent Gen stars have incurred a contrasting path. Thiem misplaced within the French Open quarters that fall and failed to achieve the quarters within the Australian Open. Within the clay season, he misplaced to Zverev in straight units in Madrid, Sonego in Italian Open, and Cameron Norrie within the Lyon Open. Zverev, then again, beat Nadal, Thiem, and Berrettini in Madrid Open en path to his fourth Masters 1000 title.
Zverev, who begins his marketing campaign towards a qualifier, has a a lot safer street to the quarters than Thiem, who faces Pablo Andujar in his opener and has attainable threats from Fabio Fognini within the third spherical and Casper Ruud within the fourth.
The one Nadal risk who might doubtlessly attain the semis with out an oz. of hindrance is Stefanos Tsitsipas, who finds himself within the remaining quarter of French Open 2021. The Greek heads to Stade Roland Garros on the again of a powerful clay season the place he gained the Monte-Caro Masters, virtually beat Nadal within the Barcelona remaining, and pushed Djokovic to his restrict within the Italian Open quarters. He’ll start his marketing campaign towards Jeremy Chardy, and will face Pablo Carreno Busta within the quarters.
The one different top-seeded participant in the identical draw, Medvedev, who considers clay “the worst floor on this planet”, has an 11-20 file on the floor and Zero-Four in French Open.
Semifinal prediction: Nadal beats Djokovic, Zverev beats Tsitsipas
Remaining prediction: Nadal beats Zverev