4. Andy Murray – After losing four matches in a row on hard courts (starting with drubbing he took in the Australian Open final), Murray has, surprisingly, found his game on the red clay. It's not nearly enough game to beat Nadal in his backyard, but he has a good shot at getting to that match up.
5. Robin Soderling – I've never liked this guy and I can't even tell you why. I just don't like him. Be that as it may, he'll probably live up to his seeding. But he hasn't beaten anyone ranked higher than him all year AND he lost both his matches to Juan Martin Del Potro (who will probably have Soderling's number five ranking by the time the US Open rolls around). No one even mentions him as a serious threat to win a major anymore.
8. Jurgen Melzer – How you can be ranked eighth in the world with a record of 12-10 is beyond me. He comes dragging into Paris with a three-match losing streak. His only hope is his very soft draw. Even with that, he'll probably bow out to Nicolas Almagro in the fourth round.
There are very few contenders and even fewer interesting players in the draw after the top eight. Here are a few to keep an eye on.
Sam Querrey (24) – Speaking of Americans, Querrey and Mardy Fish (who's more a grass court player) are our best hopes to even get to the second week here (men and women). Xenophobes from the US might want to stick to watching baseball until July.
|Juan Martin Del Potro|
Milos Raonic (26) – I suppose considering how Americans condescend to Canadians, it will be the final straw of humiliation when Canada has the highest ranked men's tennis player in North America. And it's coming soon. This guy has rocketed from a ranking of 158 in December to 28 now. He hasn't played great during the clay season, but since this is his first French Open (and only his third major overall) if he plays up to his seed it will be a good tournament for him.
Nadal d. Murray
Djokovic d. Ferrer
Djokovic d. Nadal (Five sets)