By Ryan Sallman
The first week of the French Open is officially in the books and the tournament is halfway through the round of 16. There have already been several upsets, heartbreaks, and triumphs. Here are some of the headlines to look forward to in week two.
Top 4 Still Remain
On the men’s side of the draw, things have gone pretty much as planned. The top four seeds still alive and primed to meet in teh semi-finals. Top seeded Andy Murray had a bit of trouble closing out Martin Klizan in the second round but has since righted the ship. He defeated the dangerous Juan Martin Del Potro in straight sets in round three. Novak Djokovic faced a very game Diego Schwartzman in the third round but was able to come back from a 1-2 set deficit and win 6-1 in the fifth. Third seeded Stan Wawrinka has cruised through the first three rounds. He is set to take on a more difficult opponent in Gael Monfils in the fourth round. Fourth seeded Rafael Nadal has also made it through week one without dropping a set.
Nadal Red Hot
Speaking of Nadal, the king of clay has absolutely crushed his opponents thus far. Through his four matches he’s played, he hasn’t even come close to dropping a set. In fact, nobody has won more than four games in a set against him. He will play Pablo Carreno Busta (20) in the quarterfinals before a much more difficult test in the semi-final against either Novak Djokovic or Dominic Thiem. Nadal looks like he’s playing in peak condition and is many experts favorite to win.
Mixed Results For Young Players
Going into this year’s French Open, there was a group of talented young players looking to make some noise. Two of those players (Jack Sock and Alexander Zverev) lost in the first round rather unceremoniously. Australian Nick Kyrgios (18) lost in the second round to South African Kevin Anderson, and France’s Lucas Pouille was taken down by Albert Ramos-Vinolas in the third. This means Dominic Thiem (6), at 23, is the youngest seeded player left in the draw. He has an incredibly tough road to the finals having to go through Djokovic. If he does beat the former champion he most likely has Nadal in the semis. If he is able to pull it off it could be a coming of age moment.
The Last Of The Americans
Venus William was the last American left in both the Men’s and Women’s side. Her fourth round loss to Timea Bacsinszky eliminated any hope of someone from the United States not named Serena Williams from winning the French Open for the first time since the 90s. On the Men’s side, John Isner and Steve Johnson were the last remaining Americans. Both were knocked out in the third round. Johnson lost to Dominic Thiem (6) and Isner lost to the unseeded Karen Khachanov of Russia.
Women’s Draw Wide Open
While the men’s side is for the most part falling in place as expected, the women’s side is complete anarchy. Top seeded Angeligue Kerber was knocked out on day one. Since then, all but three of the top ten seeds have lost, and no player with a major title is left in the draw. This means there is a huge opportunity for the remaining seeds (Svitolina 5, Halep 3, Pliskova 2). Unfortunately for them they are all on the bottom half of the draw as opposed to the weaker top half.
One of the players looking to benefit from the less than stellar top half of the draw is Caroline Wozniacki. Prior to this year Wozniacki had made it to the French Open quarterfinals just once and lost in the third round or earlier in all of her other appearances. The 11th seeded Wozniacki will face off against unseeded Jelena Ostapenko in her quarterfinal match where she will be a heavy favorite.
As the tournament gets into the later rounds the matches continue to heat up. Stay tuned for history in the making with Nadal chasing his tenth title on the men’s side and a new grand slam champion on the women’s side. The second week is sure to be just as entertaining as the first as the clay court season comes to a close with the conclusion of Roland Garros.