By Britwatch Team
- The Britwatch Team are joined by some special guests once more for the famed Prediction Challenge Cup
- Special Guests: Marianne Bevis (The Sport Review), Adam Addicott (UbiTennis UK), Chris Oddo (TennisNow)
- The Britwatch team fight for bragging rights
PARIS, FRANCE – Ohh La La – who will win the Britwatch Prediction Challenge Cup as the second Slam of the year rolls around – Welcome to Roland Garros 2017
Roland Garros 2017 – Predictions
|Ros (13)||Nadal (5)||Cuevas||Murray(1)||Svitolina||Kontaveit||Kerber (6)||Murray QF
Bedene R2 (1)
|Marianne (8)||Nadal (5)||Coric||Dimitrov (1)||Svitolina||Kontaveit||Radwanska (1)||Murray QF
Edmund R3 (1)
|Adam (18)||Nadal (5)||Coric||Murray (1)||Halep||Ostapenko (5)||Kerber (6)||Murray R3
Bedene R2 (1)
|Chris (14)||Djokovic||Coric||Murray (1)||Kuznetsova||Ostapenko (5)||Kerber (6)||Murray R3
Bedene R2 (1)
Evans R1 (1)
|Jake (15)||Nadal (5)||Cuevas||Kyrgios (1)||Kuznetsova||Mladenovic (1)||Kerber (6)||Murray QF
Bedene R2 (1)
Evans R1 (1)
With Andy Murray out of sorts, and Novak Djokovic looking for new inspiration with Andre Agassi, the way feels clear for Rafael Nadal to carve another piece of history for himself by claiming an historic 10th title. Pablo Cuevas has been steadily solid on clay this year, and been hitting with the much beleaguered Murray and Djokovic and so could surprise a few, and Murray will fall short of his great run to the final last year.
On the women’s side I wavered between Simona Halep and Elina Svitolina – but with the injury and already the signs of rain and stormy weather predicted for the start of the tournament, I think Halep will struggle to get over the ligament injury to her ankle at what could have been her best chance.
Anett Kontaveit has been lighting up the courts around the clay court season and could be an unseeded player to look out for while another World No. 1 Angelique Kerber will probably just want to bring down the curtains on what has been a pretty grim clay court season.
The Brits could find this a tricky Slam but with Wimbledon around the corner, expect to see them rebound on the grass. Expect Johanna Konta and Murray to travel the furthest this fortnight.
Champions: Nadal, Svitolina
To be honest, both fields are wide open. It would not surprise me if Djokovic, despite his wavering season, took off where he has such good memories, especially with Agassi in his box. I could easily see Stan Wawrinka doing what he did in 2015 especially after winning the Geneva final. Sascha Zverev and Dominic Thiem should go deep though not sure either is ready to go all the way here. However it comes down to Nadal—and after that heartbreaker last year, No10 surely will spur him on.
I was tempted to pick Garbiñe Muguruza — but she has a feisty opener in Francesca Schiavone—and Svitolina is going from strength to strength, has a decent draw, and is highly focused. She’s also one of the few with a clean bill of health: Were it not for the ankle problem, I would probably have picked Halep. Form and sentimentality force me to mention Svetlana Kuznetsova and Samantha Stosur, too.
Dark horse (unseeded): ATP Borna Coric, His best Major results have come in Paris, and he’s worked back from knee surgery impressively: first title and a win over Murray. Always impressed with his work ethic and focus, and now he’s turned 20, could begin a concerted rise.
WTA: Anett Kontaveit In truth, my heart wanted me to put Schiavone here, but the Estonian is on a roll and has taken out some big names already this clay season.[Incidentally if you’re looking for seeded dark horses, think Lucas Pouille and Kristina Mladenovic are worth a punt.
Shock exit ATP: Grigor Dimitrov—has won only three main-draw matches in Paris in six years, and none in the last three. Roll on the grass.
WTA: Agnieszka Radwanska—has struggled to return from foot injury, and for a woman who likes a lot of matches, she has managed to play little. In any case, clay is just not her thing.
Andy is still not firing on all cylinders after an up-and-down season, especially on clay, and has sometimes looked lack-lustre. He denies any lingering health problems, choosing instead to work through his recent virus.
Dan Evans managed two wins in Barcelona but first-round exits at all three clay Masters. Safe to say this is not his favourite surface, though he may have enough to beat veteran Tommy Robredo who is returning from foot surgery.
Konta has had no wins thus far at Roland Garros, and has had a dismal run through the clay swing. She is confident, and should handle her segment to third round. Given that Radwanska is the next highest seed, she just might make R4, too.
ATP Champion – Rafael Nadal
ATP Dark Horse – Borna Coric
ATP Shock Exit – Andy Murray
After claiming his tenth title in both Barcelona and Monte Carlo, it seems as if French Open crown No.10 is destined for Nadal. The ‘kind of clay’ is currently 17-1 on the surface this year and has always thrived in Paris. Furthermore, he will be eager to make up for lost time after last year’s withdrawal. The unseeded dark horse for me is Coric, a player that is still to reach his peak. This season he has endured a roller coaster run on the tour, but has notched up some impressive wins. He could play Thiem in the third round and I wouldn’t be surprised if the Croat springs a shock. Finally, I am predicting a shock exit for Murray. He has failed to reach the quarter-finals at the three Masters 1000 tournaments since April and recently admitted to motivational issues. The sooner the world No.1 returns to the grass, the better.
WTA Champion – Simona Halep
WTA Dark Horse – Jelena Ostapenko
WTA Shock Exit – Angelique Kerber
Even with an injury scare, I would rate Halep as the title favourite. It has been said that on the clay her biggest opponent is herself. Her style is suited to the surface and she has already impressed in her two most recent tournaments (winning Madrid and reaching the final in Rome). Halep’s toughest challenges are her ankle and mentality, but not her opponents. As for the dark horse, Jelena Ostapenko has the chance to do well. Regardless of her temperamental personality, the Latvian has reached the final in Charleston this season and took a set off Muguruza in Rome. Also in Ostapenko’s section is top seed Kerber, a player I think will make a shock exit. The German has only won two matches on the clay this year and faces immediate danger from round one, where she plays former top-10 player Ekaterina Makarova. When you’re unsure about how a world No.1 will fair in a first round, you have to expect the worst.
ATP/WTA Champion: Djokovic, Kuznetsova
ATP/WTA Dark Horse: Coric, Ostapenko
ATP/WTA Shock Exit: Kerber, Murray
I am firmly of the belief that either Djokovic or Nadal is going to win on the men’s side. I don’t know why, but I can’t see Murray playing well in Paris this year, and I don’t think that either Thiem or Zverev is quite ready. I think it all comes down to who wins the semi between Rafa and Nole, and because Nadal was able to snap his 7-match losing streak against Djokovic in Madrid, I’m taking the Spaniard.
On the women’s side I’m seeing a lot of unknowns. It’s impossible to predict a winner. All I know is that Kerber is going down early. That’s a no-brainer these days. Elina Svitolina has been red-hot on clay but there’s just no way I can wrap my head around her winning a major. I see a Muguruza repeat more likely than a Svitolina charge, but I’m taking Kuznetsova because she’s been in good form for a long time now, and clay, particular the Roland Garros clay, has always been a place that she shines.
When it came to dark horses I had a lot of trouble trying to find an unseeded man that could come out of nowhere and make the second week. I can see a lot of unseeded men winning a few rounds, but most will fade in round three. The same probably goes for Borna Coric, but I picked him for a deep run because I had to pick somebody.
As far as dark horse on the women’s side I went with Ostapenko because I like her draw and I like her attitude.
For shock exit I chose Kerber, and everybody else probably did as well. I mean, she is just not playing well this year — end of story. On the ATP side I decided that Murray simply doesn’t have enough good tennis under his belt to be confident right now. And if Andy’s not confident with his clay game, particularly on serve, he’s going to be very vulnerable, very early. I could see him losing to Klizan if Klizan played one of those lights-out matches.
ATP Champion – Nadal. The nine-time champion has been by far the most impressive on the red clay in 2017, having won the titles in Barcelona, Monte Carlo and Madrid and he is playing with renewed confidence this season.
ATP Dark Horse – Cuevas. A choice out of left-field, but Cuevas has started to make steady improvements at Masters 1000 level and I feel he could make a big impression on his section of the draw this fortnight.
ATP Shocker – Nick Kyrgios. Kyrgios’ draw is incredibly tough as he plays the talented Kohlschreiber in the first round. The Australian’s personal problems and lack of match wins on the clay could prevent him from going far at this year’s Roland Garros.
WTA Champion – Kuznetsova. The WTA draw is really wide open. I think most players inside the Top 30 could stake a claim for the title, but Kuznetsova is one of the few players that knows what it takes to win a French Open title.
WTA Dark Horse – Mladenovic. The French No.1 is one of the high-risers on the WTA this season. She’s feeling confident about her game and always tends to play well in front of her home crowd, expect Mladenovic to go far during the next two weeks.
WTA Shocker – Kerber. The draw could have been kinder to the World No.1 and she never really has played well on the courts in Paris. No real form or confidence in her game right now, which leads me to think she could falter early once again.
Andy Murray – Quarter-Final. Murray faces some dangerous players in his section, but I don’t feel they have the consistency to get the victory over a best of five sets match. A quarter-final showing would be a decent improvement after a considerable slump in the first half of the season.
Kyle Edmund – Round 2. Edmund loves the clay, but he could face Lyon champion Tsonga in the second round, which would be a difficult test for the Brit.
Dan Evans – R1. This is the second time Evans will play Tommy Robredo at a major. The first one came in 2013 US Open, in which the Spaniard one. I expect Robredo to win this one on his beloved clay surface.
Aljaz Bedene – R2. Bedene must be feeling great about his game and will relish the chance to play another Grand Slam main draw courtesy of his ranking.
Johanna Konta – QF. Clay isn’t Konta’s best surface, but I think she has a real shot at making the second week with the draw she’s been given.
Roland Garros 2017 takes place between 28 May to 11 June
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