By Britwatch Team

  • The Britwatch Team weigh in with their French Open picks
  • We predict the winners, dark horses, early exits and how the Brits will do on both sides of the draw

PARIS, FRANCE- With the French Open fast approaching, the Britwatch tennis team gives their predictions ahead of the second grand slam of the season.

 

Britwatch Tennis: Full Draws and Schedules

 

Ros (6.5) Niall (3) Jake (4) Glenys (3)
ATP Champion Djokovic Djokovic Murray Murray
ATP Dark Horse Raonic/Thiem Nishikori Kyrgios Nishikori
ATP Shocker Wawrinka Berdych Wawrinka Lopez
ATP Brits Murray – F

Bedene – R3

Edmund – R2

Murray – QF

Bedene – R2

Edmund – R2

Murray – Title

Bedene – R2

Edmund – R2

Murray – Title

Bedene – R2

Edmund – R2

WTA Champion S Williams S Williams S Williams S Williams
WTA Dark Horse Keys Kuznetsova Kuznetsova Radwanska
WTA Shocker Azarenka/Radwanska Radwanska Kerber Halep
WTA Brits Konta – R3

Watson – R2

Broady – R1

Robson – R1

Konta – R4

Watson – R2

Broady – R2

Robson – R1

Konta – R4

Watson – R2

Broady – R1

Robson – R2

Konta – R3

Watson – R3

Broady – R1

Robson – R1

Ros Satar

ATP

Champion: Novak Djokovic

Although I think he wants it too much, I can see that this is probably his best chance to complete the set. His path to the semis is not bad, but he could have another real battle on his hands if Rafael Nadal makes it that far too, and I fully expect a Djokovic / Andy Murray final but expect the last day to be a war of attrition.

Dark Horse: Milos Raonic / Dominic Thiem 

I am torn between the two based on their flirting with breaking the monopoly at the top sporadically over the years. But maybe the real dark horse will be Dominic Thiem – his confidence on clay has grown and if he gets past Nadal (and well he might) he could be a real contender to upset the odds.

Shocker: Defending champion Wawrinka has been a little slow to start and while this is not his first time at trying to defend his title, he just has not had that edge although he does seem to be finding form in Geneva, but one has to question playing deep just before a Slam with starts on Sunday – even if it is around the corner.

How far will the Brits go?

Andy Murray: Final

I think he is ready for his best ever run at the French Open – but I can’t see Djokovic being quite as grumpy as he was in Rome this time around.

Aljaz Bedene: Round 3

He may edge Federico Delbonis for a spot in the third round and most likely a meeting with Djokovic. The pair have split their wins but it has been a while since they met but Bedene got the last win in the bag, on clay.

Kyle Edmund: Round 2

Starting against a qualifier, he is most likely to face John Isner. Although he possess a hefty serve himself, it would be a bit of a surprise to see him edge past the American, who has not shown himself to be as allergic to clay as some of his compatriots.

WTA

Champion: Serena Williams

It is hard not to put her in the frame as she seems to have that hunger back, has picked up her first tournament win this year, and perhaps Steffi Graf’s record of 22 titles is looking like it might be equalled once more. Let’s settle for equalling it for now.

Dark Horse: Madison Keys. For once not falling apart at the seams and finding her groove on clay. And because really we should expect the likes of Simona Halep, or even Agnieszka Radwanska as the second seed, for heaven’s sake!

Shocker: Victoria Azarenka or Agnieszka Radwanska – with Azarenka struggling with a back injury and Radwanska struggling seemingly with dirt in general, I would not be surprised to see either of these two hitting the fields of this green and pleasant land to a bit of practice on the grass nice and early.

How far will the Brits go?

Johanna Konta: Round 3

It is a tough one for the British No. 1 as she is likely to run into an in-form, and more importantly intact Keys while Konta has just two wins under her belt on the dirt coming in to the French Open.

Heather Watson: Round 2

Watson starts against Nicole Gibbs and as always while on paper this should be manageable for Watson, we can strap in and expect a good old fashioned battle for the win, but she is likely to face wily Svetlana Kuznetsova and the former French Open champion is likely to keep Watson on Olympic tenterhooks for a while longer.

Naomi Broady: Round 1

Broady comes into the main draw, and meets Coco Vandeweghe who has the edge on her rankings wise, although Broady has had a lot more clay under her feet.

Laura Robson: Round 1 – Although this is one of those matches that actually could go either way. Andrea Petkovic comes in to the French Open with a pretty lacklustre season behind her and oh, if only Robson was fit. She is getting there with match play but this just feels as a few tournaments too soon for the former British no. 1.

Niall Clarke

ATP

Champion: Novak Djokovic

Surely this is the year, right? As usual the world number one enters a grand slam as the favourite, but this is the one he has yet to win. Last year it needed an on fire Stan Wawrinka to stop him, this year it is hard to see that being repeated.

Dark Horse: Kei Nishikori

Originally Gael Monfils was the choice for a dark horse, but with his withdrawal, Nishikori takes his place. The Japanese is a very good hand on the clay and has tested Djokovic on the surface this year. The fifth seed has also avoided being drawn with Rafael Nadal and the top seed, so he may just be the one to make the final out of the bottom half.

Shocker: Tomas Berdych

Poor form heading into the French Open and clay not being his best surface may result in an early exit for Berdych. The Czech was recently double bageled by David Goffin (ouch!) and has some dangerous players in his section.

How far will the Brits go?

Andy Murray: Quarter finals

Murray has been given a fairly good draw to the quarter finals but there he has been given possibly the hardest of the 5-8 seeded players. Nishikori is in decent form and could give the Brit plenty of trouble. The second seed could face Wawrinka in the semi finals if he gets past Nishikori, and he has not taken a set off the Swiss in nearly four years.

Aljaz Bedene: Round 2 

Any qualifier can land in the first round for Bedene (luckily Karen Khachanov did not qualify) so it is difficult to predict if he makes it past the opener. Presuming he does, Federico Delbonis and Pablo Carreno-Busta are good clay courters and may see the Brit out in the second round.

Kyle Edmund: Round 2

Like Bedene, Edmund faces a qualifier in the first round which is always a lottery. If the Yorkshireman makes it through he could face John Isner in the second. The American is certainly beatable here but the safe prediction is a round two exit for Edmund.

WTA

Champion: Serena Williams

Now the world number one has broken her title duck for the year, she will come into Roland Garros with confidence and form (not that she needs it!). The WTA side is very unpredictable. Top seeds can catch fire and go all the way or lose early, but one player unlikely to be upset in the early stages is Serena, and once again she is the safest choice despite having Victoria Azarenka in her quarter.

Dark Horse: Svetlana Kuznetsova

The Russian has found a bit of form recently and is a former champion here, so this Roland Garros could prove very positive for her. Kuznetsova has been drawn in the good half of the draw with Garbine Muguruza and Agnieszka Radwanksa the top seeds, and if she catches fire then watch out!

Shocker: Agnieszka Radwanska

There are some dangerous players in the second seed’s section. Clay is not her best surface, and if Caroline Garcia can get over her French Open jitters, then there could possibly be an upset in the second round. That couple with dangerous seeds such as Barbora Strycova, Sloane Stephens and Sara Errani (who is not in form but still a former finalist), Radwanska could be a contender for the early exit.

How far will the Brits go?

Johanna Konta: Round 4

It is not a bad draw for the British number one and she could capitalise with a good run here. Madison Keys is very hit or miss so their potential third round meeting is hard to predict, but presuming the Brit comes through she may find Angelique Kerber too big of a task.

Heather Watson: Round 2

Nicole Gibbs is a solid player but she’s one that Watson should beat in the opening round. Kuznetsova might be a bridge too far, but you never know which Sveta will show up.

Naomi Broady: Round 2

CoCo Vandeweghe is another big server but she is more dangerous on the grass. It is a very winnable round one for Broady and Annika Beck in the second is not a bad draw either. Beck however is a solid player coming in off a good run in Nurnberg, so will be favourite to beat Broady in the second round.

Laura Robson: Round 1 

It is good to see Robson back on tour and playing again after years a injury troubles. Andrea Petkovic is a good test to see where the Brit’s level is at, but unfortunately for Robson it might be too big of a test to pass at this stage of her comeback.

Jake Davies

ATP

Champion: Andy Murray
I think this is Andy Murray’s best chance of winning Roland Garros and coming one step closer to completely his career grand slam. Over the past 12 months he’s made tremendous strides on the clay and now plays with confidence on this surface, which is something we couldn’t say two years prior. Furthermore he’s avoided Djokovic and Nadal until the final, which has made Murray’s path to the final look even better.

Dark Horse: Nick Kyrgios
Kyrgios is a star of tomorrow that’s beginning to make his mark on the ATP tour like he did in the juniors game, which propelled him to junior grand slam glory in 2013 at the Australian Open. Now starting to show improvements on clay I can see him making the second week and potentially drawing Murray in the quarter-final.

Shocker: Stan Wawrinka
Wawrinka has demonstrated some signs of form by making the final of Geneva, but he faces some stern tests in the best of five format in the early rounds in Roland Garros. I have a feeling that Rotterdam champion Martin Klizan could be the man that knocks out the defending champion in the second round. As we saw last year at Roland Garros that Wawrinka has a game big enough to challenge the very best, but the problematic theme to his game is that we just don’t know which Wawrinka will show up for the fortnight.

 

How far will the Brits go?

Andy Murray: Title
Before the draw came out I was apprehensive of whether Murray could build from his win over Djokovic in Rome, but having seen his draw I believe this could be the year that Murray wins at Roland Garros.

Aljaz Bedene: Round 2
Bedene faces the prospect of a potential third round meeting with Djokovic, but will also have a tough battle in second round if he manages to make it that far. He could face either Federico Delbonis, a player who has posted some great numbers on the clay this year and in previous years. His other potential R2 opponent is Pablo-Carreno-Busta, who applies himself well on the clay, but doesn’t have great weaponry, which could be benefit Bedene greatly if they were to meet.

Kyle Edmund: Round 2
Edmund faces Nikoloz Basilashvili in the first round. He’s a qualifier that plays at an extremely fast pace and possesses a good backhand. Edmund will feel confident in this match up as he enjoys playing on the clay and also accomplished his first ever grand slam main draw victory over Stephane Robert last year. That was his first 5-set match win as well. Edmund may then face John Isner in the next round- it will be interesting to see how well his serve holds up against one of the biggest serves in Men’s tennis.

 

WTA

Champion: Serena Williams

With all the uncertainty surrounding the top seeds, the only certainty in Women’s tennis is never to count out Serena. It had been nine months since she last won a WTA title until she claimed the Rome title last week and I believe that she’s head and shoulders above the rest of the field.

Dark Horse: Svetlana Kuznetsova

Kuznetsova is one of the rare active players with a Roland Garros title, so she knows exactly what it takes to win in Paris, which makes her even more dangerous. She was easily beaten by Serena Williams in Rome in under an hour, but with the draw she has, Kuznetsova could be a considerable contender to reach the final of Roland Garros.

Shocker: Angelique Kerber

I’m a great admirer of Angelique Kerber’s tennis, but when I read the draw on Friday morning I immediately felt that her first round with Kiki Bertens had upset written all over it. Bertens is having a great year, one of her best years and she’s translated her surprise success at Fed Cup level onto the main tour. She has an unconventional but effective first serve, which I think could cause Kerber problems in their first round match up.

How far will the Brits go?

Johanna Konta: Round 4

Konta’s draw isn’t particularly easy, but I can see her draw opening up in that section if Angelique Kerber has an early exit. Firstly Konta plays Julia Goerges, then potentially Monica Puig and perhaps Madison Keys in Round 3. All three players are established names on the tour, but all three also can give matches away, which Konta will be looking to exploit in Paris.

Heather Watson: Round 2

Heather Watson has a tough opener against America’s Nicole Gibbs, who’s had a breakout season on the WTA, but I still expect Watson to come through that match. I feel her Roland Garros journey will end in the second round as she faces 2009 champion Svetlana Kuznetsova.

Naomi Broady: Round 1

I actually believe that Broady’s first round draw isn’t incredibly bad as Coco Vandeweghe really isn’t comfortable on the clay, but on the clay Naomi’s serve gets nullified by the fact that the clay allows her big serve to sit up on the surface, which puts her at a disadvantage. Vandeweghe’s know-how on the WTA may push her through that match up.

Laura Robson: Round 2

Robson plays a former Roland Garros semi-finalist Petkovic in the first round. Many would argue a player of that calibre is a bit too stern a test in Robson’s comeback from wrist surgery, but Petkovic has had a horrid few months and has barely won matches on the WTA tour. In the second round Robson could draw volatile Yulia Putintseva, who actually picked up one of her biggest WTA wins by beating the Brit in Dubai 2013- a match that made Putinsteva known to many tennis fans around the world.

 

 

 

 

Glenys Furness

ATP

Champion: Andy Murray

He had the better of Djokovic in Rome, over five sets will be more difficult, but playing as he did there he has a shot at winning his third slam. He will need to make the same kind of start as in Rome, as Murray has never won against the Serb after dropping the first set.

Dark Horse: Kei Nishikori

For my Dark Horse I’m going with Nishikori. He could pull a surprise and reach the final and lift the title to take his first grand slam. He would have to get through Murray in the QF though, and this will be a tough ask.

Shocker: Feliciano Lopez

Really slipped down on form lately. I can’t see things improving here. Playing a Lucky Loser I think he will reach the second round.

How far will the Brits go?

Andy Murray: Champion

Aljaz Bedene: Round 2

Like Edmund, Bedene has a qualifier in the first round, so that shouldn’t be too much of a problem.

Kyle Edmund: Round 2

Edmund should get through against the qualifier if he is over the injury that forced him out of Nice

 

 

WTA

Champion: Serena Williams

Although she is short on trophies this year, the win in Rome will have given her confidence that she can still win the big ones. It is always difficult to look beyond Serena when it concerns a Grand Slam.

Dark Horse: Agnieszka Radwanska

She is getting close to Slam potential and there is no reason why it won’t be here, getting to the final will be a tough challenge but if she gets there she should have a chance unless the other side of the net is occupied by Serena Williams

Shocker: Simona Halep

I don’t think Halep will do very well here this year. Her Form has been indifferent throughout so far.

How far will the Brits go?

Johanna Konta: Round 3 

She is playing Julia Georges in the first round, the Brit should win the first round comfortably

Heather Watson: Round 3 

Playing Nicole Gibbs in R1 is very winnable for the British number 2.

Naomi Broady: Round 1

Another tough match up this one with Coco Vandeweghe, Broady will make this close but ultimately lose.

Laura Robson: Round 1

Tough first round for Robson with her protected ranking. Andrea Petkovic will come out on top here.

 

 

The French Open takes place May 22 – June 5

 

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