2016 French Open: Fearless PredictionsMay 19, 2016
What do Victor Pecci, Martin Verkerk, and Mariano Puerta? They all reached the finals of the French Open. It would be their lone appearance in the finals of the major tournament. And they didn't fare well in the other Grand Slam events. This illustrates the unpredictability of these major championships. (If you disagree, then look at the career statistics of AndrÃ©s GÃ³mez, Michael Chang, and Thomas Muster.) The red clay courts at Roland Garros are not so different from the red clay courts at Monte Carlo Country Club and Foro Italico. It happens that playing on clay can be physically demanding, and the French Open culminates the clay court season. Most players will be tired, while some have the misfortune of getting injured before the main event. (They can prepare early for the grass court season, which can be a consolation.) This season turned out to be different.
The Rome Masters saw Andy Murray beat Novak Djokovic in straight sets. It couldn't come at a better time, as Britain's top-ranked player celebrated his birthday on the day of the finals. He parted from AmÃ©lie Mauresmo, and there were reports of reuniting with Ivan Lendl. But this doesn't mean that the Scotsman would raise the Coupe des Mousquetaires two weeks from now. Anything can happen. Let's not forget that this is the Olympic year. Here are some fearless predictions:
Men's singles. Apart from the Rome Masters, Stan Wawrinka didn't have an impressive clay-court season last year. It turned out that he peaked at a right time at Roland Garros, beating Djokovic in the finals. The Swiss denied the Serb another chance to complete a career Grand Slam. Some see the eleven-time major champion winning the French Open on his twelfth appearance, and there would be little doubt about it. Djokovic has been consistent. The same thing can be said about Wawrinka. Upsets could give Rafael Nadal a good chance of lifting the Coupe des Mousquetaires. Expect Wawrinka to defend his title successfully.
Women's singles. It won't be wise to bet against Serena Williams. She won her fourth Italian Open title, edging Madison Keys in the finals. The defending French Open champion has her off days, but it doesn't mean that the other top players (in the WTA Tour) can win more matches against her. Consistency seems to be an issue. Williams will win her fourth French Open title. It will be her 22nd Grand Slam trophy.
Men's doubles. This will be the hardest to predict. Ivan Dodig and Marcelo Melo beat Bob and Mike Bryan in last year's finals, their first major trophy as a team. But they seem vulnerable this season. The Bryan Brothers won their fourth title at Foro Italico, which would make them the slight favourites at Roland Garros. Nicolas Mahut and Pierre-Hugues Herbert, winner of three Masters 1000 tournaments this season, are the top seeds. French players tend to play nervously in front of their home fans, but Mahut and Herbert have come into their own. If they show the same form that brought them titles in Indian Wells, Miami, and Monte Carlo, then they could win the Coupe Jacques Brugnon for the first time.
Women's doubles. Martina Hingis and Sania Mirza are about to complete a non-calendar Grand Slam, and only Kristina Mladenovic and Caroline Garcia stand in their way. Bethanie Mattek-Sands and Lucie Å afÃ¡Å™ovÃ¡, the defending champions, have the edge over Team Santina. But recent results aren't encouraging. The French pair can delight their home fans if they hold their nerves.
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