French Open Men’s Draw Preview: Djokovic Lands With Alcaraz; Sinner, Rune Bottom Half Picks

French Open Men’s Draw Preview: Djokovic Lands With Alcaraz; Sinner, Rune Bottom Half Picks
By: Tennis X Posted On: May 25, 2023 View: 25

The big reveal from the French Open men’s draw which was released earlier today was that 2-time champion Novak Djokovic has landed on the same side as Carlos Alcaraz, setting up a potential semifinal showdown between the last two Grand Slam champions.

Djokovic, who just turned 36, has a lot at stake at the French Open. He’s bidding for a third title which would give him a third career Slam clearing Rafael Nadal. And of course a record-setting 23 Grand Slam title overall.

But the Serb didn’t even make a semifinal in his three clay warm-up events and enters under an injury cloud with his right elbow.

Alcaraz should be fresh after an early shock exit from Rome. He’ll be a top seed and a tournament favorite at a Grand Slam for the first time in his career.

Former finalist and Australian Open runner-up Stefanos Tsitsipas is also among the favorites along with new star Holger Rune and the suddenly clay-adept Daniil Medvedev who just his first clay title at the Rome Masters.

And 2022 Casper Ruud is slowly rounding into some form.

With 14-time champion Rafael Nadal watching from home, someone will likely take home a first French Open title!

The top 16 seeds are: 1 Carlos Alcaraz, 2 Daniil Medvedev, 3 Novak Djokovic, 4 Casper Ruud, 5 Stefanos Tsitsipas, 6 Holger Rune, 7 Andrey Rublev, 8 Jannik Sinner, 9 Taylor Fritz, 10 Felix Auger Aliassime, 11 Karen Khachanov, 12 Frances Tiafoe, 13 Hubert Hurkacz, 14 Cameron Norrie, 15 Borna Coric, 16 Tommy Paul.

CARLOS ALCARAZ QUARTER
Seeds: 1 Alcaraz, 5 Tsitsipas, 10 Auger Aliassime, 14 Norrie, 17 Musetti, 24 Korda, 26 Shapovalov, 32 Zapata Miralles
Floaters: Cressy, Nakashima, McDonald, Isner, Schwartzman, Shevchenko, Fognini, Paire
Notable openers: Brandon Nakashima-Denis Shapovalov, Lorenzo Musetti-Mikael Ymer, Mackenzie Mcdonald-Sebastian Korda, Jiri Vesely-Stefanos Tsitsipas
Projected 3R matches: 1 Alcaraz – 26 Shapovalov, 17 Musetti – 14 Norrie, 10 Auger Aliassime – 24 Korda, 32 Zapata Miralles – 5 Tsitsipas
Notes: A tough section for Carlos Alcaraz in his debut as a top seed at a Grand Slam. The 20-year-old could face Cristopher O’Connell who is no slouch, then either Denis Shapovalov or Brandon Nakashima followed by Cameron Norrie or Lorenzo Musetti in the fourth and former finalist Stefanos Tsisipas in the quarters. Felix Auger-Aliassime, who pushed Nadal to five sets last year, could make some noise and Americans Maxime Cressy and the returning John Isner are always dangerous with their serves.

NOVAK DJOKOVIC QUARTER
Seeds: 3 Djokovic, 7 Rublev, 11 Khachanov, 13 Hurkacz, 19 Bautista Agut, 20 Evans, 29 Davidovich Fokina, 30 Shelton
Floaters: Griekspoor, Mannarino, Sonego, Humbert, Djere, Ramos Vinolas, Cecchinato, Wawrinka, Van Assche, Kokkinakis, Goffin, Kovacevic, Fils
Notable openers: Novak Djokovic-Aleksandar Kovacevic, Roberto Bautista Agut-Yibing Wu, Karen Khachanov-Constant Lestienne, Stan Wawrinka-Albert Ramos Vinolas, Ben Shelton-Lorenzo Sonego, Adrian Mannarino-Ugo Humbert
Projected 3R matches: 3 Djokovic – 29 Davidovich Fokina, 19 Bautista Agut – 13 Hurkacz, 11 Khachanov – 20 Evans, 30 Shelton – 7 Rublev
Notes: The lone two former champions in the field — Novak Djokovic and Stan Wawrinka — are in the same quarter, but only Djokovic has true designs on another title. The Serb has a decent pathway to the final four with no real major threats. Andrey Rublev could be tough but that’s in the quarters, otherwise it’s Spaniard Alejandro Davidovich Fokina and Roberto Bautista Agut. The Monte Carlo champion Rublev could be tested by Laslo Djere, Lorenzo Sonego and possible countryman Karen Khachanov.

CASPER RUUD QUARTER
Seeds: 4 Ruud, 6 Rune, 9 Fritz, 16 Paul, 21 Struff, 23 Cerundolo, 25 Van De Zandschulp, 31 Kecmanovic,
Floaters: Lehecka, Baez, Gasquet, Lajovic, Bublik, Jarry, Giron, Zhang
Notable openers: Holger Rune-Christopher Eubanks, Francisco Cerundolo-Jaume Munar, Jiri Lehecka-Jan Lennard Struff, Zhizhen Zhang-Dusan Lajovic, Q-Casper Ruud,
Projected 3R matches: 6 Rune – 31 Kecmanovic, 23 Cerundolo – 9 Fritz, 16 Paul – 21 Struff, 25 Van De Zandschulp – 4 Ruud
Notes: A year ago Holger Rune was ranked No. 40, now he’s among the favorites in Paris. The 20-year-old has a decent draw with the powerful but clay-challenger Chris Eubanks, then against the aging Gael Monfils before Miomir Kecmanovic. Taylor Fritz or more likely Francisco Cerundolo could be there in the fourth round before another showdown with Casper Ruud. Ruud has a great draw to the final eight, perhaps the best of the top 8 seeds.

DANIIL MEDVEDEV QUARTER
Seeds: 8 Sinner, 12 Tiafoe, 15 Coric, 18 De Minaur, 22 Zverev, 27 Nishioka, 28 Dimitrov
Floaters: Ruusuvuori, Wolf, Draper, Molcan, Etcheverry, Ivashka, Huesler, Thiem, Gaston
Notable openers: Jannik Sinner-Alexandre Muller, Emil Ruusuvuori-Gregoire Barrere, Filip Krajinovic-Frances Tiafoe, Borna Coric-Federico Coria, Dominic Thiem-Pedro Cachin, Jack Draper-Tomas Martin Etcheverry, Ilya Ivashka-Alex De Minaur, Yoshihito Nishioka-JJ Wolf,
Projected 3R matches: 8 Sinner – 28 Dimitrov, 22 Zverev – 12 Tiafoe, 15 Coric – 18 De Minaur, 27 Nishioka – 2 Medvedev
Notes: Daniil Medvedev had lost his first four French Open matches, but this year comes in with a renewed belief on the clay. The Russian will like his draw with no major obstacles as Alexander Zverev, Jannik Sinner and Grigor Dimitrov are all on the top section of the quarter. Among those three, Sinner is the favorite to meet Medvedev and breakthrough for make his first Slam semifinal.

The projected quarterfinals:
1 Alcaraz – 5 Tsitsipas
3 Djokovic – 7 Rublev
6 Rune – 4 Ruud
8 Sinner – 2 Medvedev

The projected R16 looks like:
1 Alcaraz – 14 Norrie
10 Auger Aliassime – 5 Tsitsipas
3 Djokovic – 13 Hurkacz
11 Khachanov – 7 Rublev
6 Rune – 9 Fritz
16 Paul – 4 Ruud
8 Sinner – 12 Tiafoe
15 Coric – 2 Medvedev

Former champions: Djokovic (2), Wawrinka
Former finalists: Tsitsipas, Ruud, Thiem (2)

Last year, (5) Rafael Nadal defeated (8) Casper Ruud 6-3, 6-3, 6-0.

LAST 10 ROLAND GARROS CHAMPIONS/FINALS
2022 Rafael Nadal d Casper Ruud 6-3, 6-3, 6-0
2021 Novak Djokovic d Stefanos Tsitsipas 6-7(6), 2-6, 6-3, 6-2, 6-4
2020 Rafael Nadal d Novak Djokovic 6-0, 6-2, 7-5
2019 Rafael Nadal d Dominic Thiem 6-3, 5-7, 6-1, 6-1
2018 Rafael Nadal d Dominic Thiem 6-4, 6-3, 6-2
2017 Rafael Nadal d Stan Wawrinka 6-2, 6-3, 6-1
2016 Novak Djokovic d Andy Murray 3-6, 6-1, 6-,2 6-4
2015 Stan Wawrinka d Novak Djokovic 4-6, 6-4, 6-3, 6-4
2014 Rafael Nadal d Novak Djokovic 3-6, 7-5, 6-2, 6-4
2013 Rafael Nadal d David Ferrer 6-3, 6-2, 6-3


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SG1 Says:

Not a fan of Tsitsipas but will he ever have a better chance than this? Nadal out. Djokovic far from 100%. Alcaraz still on a bit of a learning curve with clay. Not totally sold on Sinner or Medvedev on clay. Tsitsipas can beat anyone in this field (he almost beat a prime Novak.)

Ruud had his run to the final last year. Don’t see him duplicating that. Rune has a shot. He’s playing well. Assuming that they are on opposite sides, a Rune-Tsitsipas final would be my guess for the final.

Top story: French Open Men's Draw Preview: Djokovic Lands With Alcaraz; Sinner, Rune Bottom Half Picks

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