2022 French Open Men's Singles Section-by-Section Preview

Section 1


Seeds: 1) Novak Djokovic, 15) Diego Schwartzman, 18) Grigor Dimitrov, 31) Jenson Brooksby

Who's Hot?

Novak Djokovic - As everybody knows, the 34-year-old Djokovic’s year got off to a crazy/controversial/rocky start as he was deported from Australia prior to the year’s first Major due to his unvaccinated status. His 2022 on the court didn’t start well either. He was stunned in the Dubai quarterfinals by Jirí Vesely, he was unable to enter the United States and missed the year’s first two Masters 1000 events, and lost his first clay match of the year in Monte Carlo to Alejandro Davidovich Fokina. However, we can safely write off his early on-court struggles as rust-related, because Novak Djokovic looks like, well, Novak Djokovic, once again. From there, he reached the finals of the Serbia Open, losing to Andrey Rublev in three sets, and battled red-hot Carlos Alcaraz in the semifinals before losing 7-5 in the third set tiebreaker in Madrid. In Rome, Djokovic won his first title of the year and did it without dropping a set despite playing a formidable field of Aslan Karatsev, Stan Wawrinka, Félix Auger-Aliassime, Casper Ruud and Stefanos Tsitsipas. The living legend is back in good form, likely hungry for vengeance after how his year started, and, rightfully, the betting favorite to defend his French Open title.

Alex Molcan - Not the strongest “hot” choice (which will be a common theme throughout this article), but the 24-year-old from Slovakia has made finals on the clay this year in both Marrakesh and Lyon, losing both in three sets.

Who's Not?

Borna Ćorić - Once one of the most promising young players on tour, Ćorić’s career has been hampered by injury as of late. He comes to Paris with a 0-4 record (including a Challenger loss) on the clay in 2022.

Biggest Storyline - Novak Djokovic’s Grand Slam Return

Novak Djokovic’s return to the Grand Slam level is a big storyline for a couple of reasons. First, he struggled with fitness late in matches early in his return to tour. Of course, with the Grand Slams being best of five, that is something to keep an eye on. Secondly, looking at the bigger picture, Djokovic is attempting to get back even with Rafael Nadal for the all-time Grand Slam record (21), and is also trying to become the first man in the Open Era to win all four Grand Slams three times each.

Best Round One Matchup: Pablo Cuevas vs. Jenson Brooksby - There aren’t many inspiring matches in the first round of this section, so I’ll go with the always-entertaining young American Jenson Brooksby against a true clay specialist Pablo Cuevas (58.9% win rate on Clay, 40.5% on all other surfaces).

Best Potential Matchup: Novak Djokovic vs. Jenson Brooksby (Round Three) - Again, not a ton of great options in this section, but Brooksby could be an interesting early test for Djokovic’s fitness. The American did take the first set of their US Open encounter last year 6-1, before falling in four sets.

Player to Watch: Diego Schwartzman - The veteran from Argentina comes to the French Open off of a clay season that featured early success (Quarterfinals in Monte Carlo, Semifinals in Barcelona), but late struggles (2-2 in Madrid and Rome). He remains a player to watch as he has made the Quarterfinals in Paris three of the last four years (including a Semifinal appearance in 2020).

Section Winner: Novak Djokovic - Djokovic has to be the pick here. He’s regained his form, he’s hungry for success, and he has a pretty easy draw, in this section at least. Expect him to cruise through these four matches before he is faced with the potential gauntlet of Rafael Nadal, Carlos Alcaraz (or Alexander Zverev), and Stefanos Tsitsipas in the final three rounds.

 

Section 2


Seeds: 5) Rafael Nadal, 9) Félix Auger-Aliassime, 17) Reilly Opelka, 26) Botic van de Zandschulp

Who's Hot?

Reilly Opelka - I’m really grasping at straws here because I’d rather not leave this section blank, so I’ll go with Opelka. The big man is just 6-4 on the clay this season, but those six wins make up a Title in Houston (his first ever on clay) and a Semifinal appearance in Geneva.

Who's Not?

Rafael Nadal - The King of Clay comes to Paris without a title on the surface for the first time since 2004. He started the season with a blistering 20-0 record, but the rib fracture that he suffered in Indian Wells completely stunted his momentum. He was forced to miss Monte Carlo and Barcelona and then suffered losses in Madrid (to Carlos Alcaraz, in a match where he was actually the underdog) and Rome (to Denis Shapovalov, in a third set where Nadal completely ran out of gas/was suffering physically). It feels rude to even put Nadal here, but when his career clay record is 467-45, and he is 3-2 this year, it has to be done.

Aslan Karatsev - The Russian shocked the tennis world with his run all the way to the Semifinals at the 2021 Australian Open, but the 28-year-old has now fallen back to reality. Since winning a pre-Australian Open tournament in Sydney early this year, he has lost 12 of his last 17 matches.

Biggest Storyline - Rafael Nadal’s Left Foot

Rafael Nadal claims that he is “not injured,” but rather is a “player living with an injury.” That injury that he is living with is chronic pain in his left foot. It is an “injury” that has ailed him since his youth, however it has not stopped him from winning a record 21 Grand Slams, including 13 here at Roland Garros. Even as a diehard Nadal fan, I’ll admit that this injury/non-injury seems to appear more often when the soon to be 36-year-old is struggling with his form. Considering the foot was seemingly the reason for Nadal’s third set struggles in his early Rome loss to Denis Shapovalov, there is definitely cause for concern at the year’s second major, especially considering he’ll need to win seven best-of-five matches. Since the Rome loss, Nadal has slid from a heavy betting favorite to third behind Novak Djokovic and Carlos Alcaraz. The biggest storyline for the early stages of the entire tournament, let alone this section, will be how Nadal is holding up physically.

Best Round One Matchup: Alexei Popyrin vs. Fabio Fognini - Just like in Section 1, there aren’t many intriguing round one matches. So, I’ll go with the mercurial Fabio Fognini against young Australian Alexi Popryin, who nearly stole a set from Rafael Nadal in the First Round of last year’s French Open.

Best Potential Matchup: Rafael Nadal vs. Félix Auger-Aliassime (Round Four) - Of course, a Nadal vs. Auger-Aliassime fourth round match would be intriguing enough as a battle between two top-ten seeds, but it would also be the Toni Nadal Bowl. Toni Nadal, obviously Nadal’s uncle and coach from his youth until 2017, is now working with Auger-Aliassime. I believe that Toni already said he would not sit in Auger-Aliassime’s box if this matchup were to happen, but it would still make for an incredible storyline. An honorable mention in this section is the potential Round Two match between Nadal and Stan Wawrinka, which would be a rematch of the 2017 French Open Final.

Player to Watch: Félix Auger-Aliassime - The young Canadian has just a 28-27 career record on clay but, with Toni Nadal’s presence certainly helping, he has been steadily improving. He comes to Paris with four straight Quarterfinal appearances (Barcelona, Estoril, Madrid and Rome), and should at least win his first career match at the French Open.

Section Winner: Rafael Nadal - While I do have longer-term concerns about Nadal’s body holding up to win seven straight matches, I have no doubt that, barring a major injury flare up, he can roll through the first four. Auger-Aliassime is the only player in the section that I could see even taking a set off of a fully healthy Nadal.

 

Section 3


Seeds: 3) Alexander Zverev, 13) Taylor Fritz, 23) John Isner, 25) Alejandro Davidovich Fokina

Who's Hot?

Alexander Zverev - The three-seed had a very impressive run through the pre-French Open clay court season. Other than a surprising Round One loss at home in Germany at the BMW Open, Zverev was extremely consistent. He didn’t win a title, but in the three Masters 1000 events, Zverev made two Semifinals (losing to Stefanos Tsitsipas in both) and one Final (losing to Carlos Alcaraz).

Who's Not?

Dušan Lajović - Clay is the veteran Serbian’s best surface, but in 2022 he is just 4-7 on the dirt.

Biggest Storyline - Alexander Zverev Without Pressure

With all of the attention on the two all-time greats (Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal), the newest young phenom (Carlos Alcaraz), and the top player with no other top players in his half of the draw (Stefanos Tsitsipas), Zverev will be able to play the tournament with a real lack of pressure and expectations. Throughout his young career, Zverev has definitely struggled when the pressure is on, so this could be exactly what he needs to finally break through at a Grand Slam.

Best Round One Matchup: John Isner vs. Quentin Halys - Again, not many exciting Round One matchups, so I’ll go with a potential upset of a seeded player. I’ve got the 37-year-old Isner on upset alert as he faces France’s Quentin Halys, who has had a lot of success on the Challenger tour this year.

Best Potential Matchup: Alexander Zverev vs. Taylor Fritz (Round Four) - Taylor Fritz, the 2022 Indian Wells Champion, has only played nine matches since winning the biggest title of his career. However, if he is fully fit and plays himself into form, he could be a real threat to Zverev, even on clay, in the fourth round. Zverev leads the head-to-head between the two 4-2.

Player to Watch: Alejandro Davidovich Fokina - The Spaniard made his first career Grand Slam Quarterfinal last year at the French Open. He is definitely a threat to repeat that run this year, and he already showed his strength on clay this season with a run to the Final in Monte Carlo.

Section Winner: Alexander Zverev - While he still hasn’t won his first major, Zverev seems to have shaken off his early struggles at the Grand Slams, as he’s made the second week at nine straight. He didn’t get a great draw here in this section, but I expect the 2021 Semifinalist to make at least the quarters in Paris for the fourth time in five years.

 

Section 4


Seeds: 6) Carlos Alcaraz, 10) Cameron Norrie, 21) Karen Khachanov, 27) Sebastian Korda

Who's Hot?

Carlos Alcaraz - Late in 2021 on the Inconclusive Evidence Podcast, I made the “bold prediction” that Alcaraz would finish 2022 in the top ten. Apparently I was way too conservative as he is legitimately playing like the best player in the world. He is 27-3 this year, and on the clay he won titles in both Barcelona and Madrid (where he beat Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic and Alexander Zverev in three consecutive days). He enters the tournament as easily the hottest player in the draw.

Cameron Norrie - The late-blooming 26-year-old has become one of the most consistent players on tour. He made his top ten debut in April, and he comes to Paris fresh off of his first career clay court Title last week in Lyon.

Who's Not?

Dominic Thiem - Thiem won the 2020 US Open for his maiden Grand Slam title, and his career hasn’t been the same since. A major wrist injury, COVID, a finger injury, and multiple setbacks have knocked Thiem out of top 150 in the ATP Rankings. The Austrian hasn’t won a match since May 12, 2021 (nine straight losses).

Lloyd Harris - Harris had a very strong 2021 season highlighted by a US Open Quarterfinal appearance and 29 match wins. However, 2022 has been rough for the South African as he is just 6-12 with a 2-5 record on the clay.

Biggest Storyline - Carlos Alcaraz With Pressure

While this is the first time in a while that Alexander Zverev is playing without any pressure, it will also be the first Grand Slam that we see Carlos Alcaraz play with pressure and expectations. Oddsmakers have him as the second favorite (he was even briefly first before Novak Djokovic’s Rome victory), and he truly has a chance to be the first male teenager since Rafael Nadal to win a Grand Slam. Most, myself included, expect the pressure to really hit the teenager in the later stages of the tournament, but it will be very interesting to see him navigate these early rounds as such a heavy favorite.

Best Round One Matchup: Dominic Thiem vs. Hugo Dellien - If Dominic Thiem wants to break his brutal losing streak, it won’t be easy. His round one opponent, Bolivia’s Hugo Dellien, has played a ton of matches already in 2022, almost exclusively on clay, and is a slight (-111 on FanDuel) favorite.

Best Potential Matchup: Carlos Alcaraz vs. Sebastian Korda (Round Three) - Carlos Alcaraz is 15-1 on Clay in 2022. He has beat Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic, Alexander Zverev, Stefanos Tsitsipas, Alex de Minaur, Matteo Berrettini, Diego Schwartzman, and Cameron Norrie, among others. His one loss on the clay was to Sebastian Korda. Korda won their Round of 32 encounter in Monte Carlo 7-6, 6-7, 6-3.

Player to Watch: Dominic Thiem - Despite all the reasons for apprehension that I previously mentioned, Thiem remains the most interesting unseeded player in the draw. While it is obviously unlikely, maybe Thiem could find some good form and set up a blockbuster Round Four match with Carlos Alcaraz. After all, Thiem is a two-time Finalist and four-time Semifinalist at the French Open, so if there was anywhere for him to bounce-back it would be here.

Section Winner: Carlos Alcaraz - While he didn’t get the kindest of draws, it is just impossible to pick against Alcaraz in this section. While I do feel like his relative lack of experience in Grand Slams is being overlooked by some people picking him to win the whole thing, I do not think that will be an issue in the first four rounds.

 

Section 5


Seeds: 8) Casper Ruud, 12) Hubert Hurkacz, 24) Frances Tiafoe, 32) Lorenzo Sonego

Who's Hot?

Casper Ruud - One of the best clay court players in the world, Ruud comes to the French Open off of a Semifinal-run in Rome, and a Title last week in Geneva. He is 15-5, with two titles, on clay in 2022.

Who's Not?

Ugo Humbert - 2022 has been a disaster for the 23-year-old from France. Humbert, who looked like a rising star at times the past couple of years, is just 4-11 this season in ATP main draw matches.

Lorenzo Sonego - Like Humbet, Lorenzo Sonego has shown flashes of talent over the past few seasons. However, in 2022 the Italian is just 10-12 which includes a 2-4 record during the European Clay Court swing.

Jo-Wilfried Tsonga - The 37-year-old from France is set to retire from tennis after Roland Garros. Tsonga had a great career, he made the 2008 Australian Open Final and a handful of other Grand Slam Semifinals, but the later stages of his career have been a sad mix of injury and poor form. He comes to Paris on six-match losing streak (including Challengers)

Biggest Storyline - Casper Ruud’s Big Chance

Despite making a Masters 1000 final on the Miami hard courts early this year, Casper Ruud has become the poster boy for the term “Clay Specialist.” While he isn’t a bad hard court player, Ruud’s win rate of above 70% on clay completely dwarfs his 43-40 record on other surfaces. He has pushed his way into the top 10 thanks, in large part, to the fact that he has won seven of his eight career titles on ATP 250 clay court events. That success is great, but it is time for him to make a breakthrough at the sports’ lone clay court Grand Slam. Ruud has never made a Grand Slam Quarterfinal, but he has a golden opportunity with all of the true contenders, other than Stefanos Tsitsipas, on the other half of the draw.

Best Round One Matchup: Casper Ruud vs. Jo-Wilfried Tsonga - Ruud’s potential run to his first career Quarterfinal will start with the opportunity to end Jo-Wilfried Tsonga career. Expect Ruud to win easily, and also expect the home crowd to give Tsonga, in my opinion the best French player of his generation, a great sendoff.

Best Potential Matchup: Casper Ruud vs. Frances Tiafoe (Round Four) - This really isn’t a very exciting section, but Frances Tiafoe is one of the most exciting players in men’s tennis. He loves the big stage, especially the Grand Slams, and would be a fun contrast to Ruud (who my podcast co-host Jack Ravitz calls the “human rain delay,” because of his “boring” style). That being said, Tiafoe is 0-6 in his career at the French Open, so this may be a longshot.

Player to Watch: David Goffin - Injuries and age have pushed David Goffin far away from his peak form, but the 31-year-old really impressed me in his loss to Rafael Nadal in Madrid. Despite losing the match 3-6, 7-5, 6-7 (and blowing a couple of match points), that was the best I’ve seen Goffin play in a while and, especially in this pretty open section, makes me look at him as a bit of a sleeper.

Section Winner: David Goffin - I went completely chalk with Djokovic, Nadal, Zverev, and Alcaraz in the top half, so I need to shake it up. I can’t trust Ruud in a Grand Slam yet, and I don’t feel inspired by the other seeded players in the section (Tiafoe, Sonego and 12-seed Hubert Hurkacz), so I’ll take a chance with David Goffin and hope that he can bring back the level he was at a few weeks ago against Nadal.

 

Section 6


Seeds: 4) Stefanos Tsitsipas, 14) Denis Shapovalov, 19) Alex de Minaur, 29) Dan Evans

Who's Hot?

Stefanos Tsitsipas - Clay has proven to be Stefanos Tsitsipas’ best surface. On the clay this year, the 2021 French Open Runner-Up defended his Title in Monte-Carlo and made a Quarterfinal (Barcelona), Semifinal (Madrid) and Final (Rome), losing only to Carlos Alcaraz, Alexander Zverev and Novak Djokovic (no shame in that). He is 37-8 over the past two years on clay, and is a massive favorite to get back to the Final with all of the other heavy hitters in the other half of the draw.

Holger Rune - The Danish teenager has been overshadowed by fellow 19-year-old Carlos Alcaraz, but Rune has already broken into the Top 40. He’s had some success on the clay so far in 2022 with a Title in Munich and a Semifinal-run last week in Lyon.

Who's Not?

Dan Evans - The 29-seed has never been a strong clay court player, but he is just 3-6 on the surface so far in 2022.

Hugo Gaston - The 21-year-old from France is just 4-8 so far this year in ATP main draw matches, including just 1-1 on clay, and has even struggled in Challengers and qualifying matches.

Mikael Ymer - The 23-year-old hasn’t won a match at any level since February 4th of this year (six-straight losses, including qualifying).

Biggest Storyline - A Youthful Section

Section 6 in the draw is highlighted by some of the sport’s best young talent. Stefanos Tsitsipas, the 23-year-old superstar is obviously the headliner, but the section also includes 23-year-olds Denis Shapovalov and Alex de Minaur (seeded 14th and 19th, respectively), 20-year-old Lorenzo Musetti and 19-year-old Holger Rune. If Tsitsipas, the heavy favorite, isn’t able to get out of the section, it’ll be a surprise if the quarterfinalist isn’t one of the other youngsters. Ironically, Tsitsipas and Musetti and Shapovalov and Rune are playing each other in the first round.

Best Round One Matchup: Stefanos Tsitsipas vs. Lorenzo Musetti - Speaking of that, the Tsitsipas/Musetti matchup gets the edge over Shapovalov/Rune because I’d take Tsitsipas over Shapovalov and Musetti over Rune. Regardless, both seeded players should be on high alert in round one. If you’re a fan of single-handed backhands, this matchup between Tsitsipas and Musetti will be one to watch.

Best Potential Matchup: Stefanos Tsitsipas vs. Denis Shapovalov (Round Four) - I actually think Musetti vs. Tsitsipas Round One is the best possible matchup in this section, but Shapovalov vs. Tsitsipas Round Four isn’t a bad number two. This would be a pressure packed battle between similar players that are both 23-years-old, both very temperamental, both prone to code violations, and both hit one-handed backhands (Shapovalov from the left-side, however). If this matchup happens, expect some fireworks.

Player to Watch: Lorenzo Musetti - While he got the unfortunate draw of Tsitsipas in Round One, I really think the young Italian has a chance to pull off the upset. If he is able to do it, Musetti’s ceiling in this tournament is sky-high. Remember, he led Novak Djokovic two-sets-to-love in Round Four of last year’s French Open before losing the next two sets 1-6, 0-6 and then cowardly retiring down 0-4. Maybe he can complete the major upset this year.

Section Winner: Stefanos Tsitsipas - While I think Musetti is a real threat, I love the idea of Tsitsipas getting tested early. I think he’ll survive an upset scare, in what could honestly be his most challenging match until the Final, and then continue to get stronger on his way to the Quarterfinals.

 

Section 7


Seeds: 7) Andrey Rublev, 11) Jannik Sinner, 22) Nikoloz Basilashvili, 30) Tommy Paul

Who's Hot?

Jannik Sinner - The “hot” options in this section are incredibly slim, so I’m forced to go with Sinner who is just 8-3 on the clay this season without any appearances beyond the Quarterfinals. However, he did pick up some nice clay wins over Andrey Rublev, Alex de Minaur and Tommy Paul, while only losing to top-ranked players in Alexander Zverev, Félix Auger-Aliassime, and Stefanos Tsitsipas.

Who's Not?

Tommy Paul - I thought the American was a sleeper to have a surprisingly good clay season, but unfortunately for the 25-year-old, he lost five of his seven pre-French Open matches on the dirt.

Adrian Mannarino - It’s been an awful clay court season for the French veteran. He’s 1-2 in ATP main draw matches, and lost in the first round of qualifying for all three Masters 1000 events.

Biggest Storyline - Dark Horse “Contenders”

There is a clear group of five men that have a legitimate chance to win this tournament (Djokovic, Nadal, Alcaraz, Zverev, and Tsitsipas), but 7-seed Andrey Rublev and 11-seed Jannik Sinner would be towards the top of the second-tier. Rublev has become a much-improved clay court player (he won a title at Belgrade earlier this year), and Sinner is 7-0 in his career at Roland Garros against players not named Rafael Nadal.

Best Round One Matchup: Tommy Paul vs. Cristian Garín - I still like Tommy Paul as a player who can have success on clay, and he’ll face off in the first round against Cristian Garín who is very strong on the surface.

Best Potential Matchup: Jannik Sinner vs. Andrey Rublev (Round Four) - Neither Rublev (Four Quarterfinals) or Sinner (Two Quarterfinals) have made a Grand Slam Semifinal, but they both have a huge chance here. They are each other's stiffest competition in this section by far, and then the winner will be heavily favored in the Quarterfinals over whomever comes out of Section 8. Sinner won their match earlier this year on the Monte Carlo clay 5-7, 6-1, 6-3.

Player to Watch: Cristian Garín - As alluded to before, Garín is one of the tour’s true clay specialists. He has a career 65-38 record (63.1% win rate) and five titles on clay, while he is 25-42 (37.3% win rate) and without a title on hard and grass courts. In his first three French Open’s he has improved year-to-year from Round Two, to Round Three to Round Four. He is a sleeper to progress further once again and reach his first Grand Slam Quarterfinal.

Section Winner: Jannik Sinner - I do think that Rublev or Garín would be a very tough challenge, but I like Sinner’s draw a lot. He should ease through his first three matches and be the fresher player in Round Four. His perfect record at the French Open against players other than Nadal includes wins over Alexander Zverev and David Goffin, and he actually outplayed Nadal in the first set of both straight-set losses in 2020 and 2021.

 

Section 8


Seeds: 2) Daniil Medvedev, 16) Pablo Carreño Busta, 20) Marin Cilić, 28) Miomir Kecmanović

Who's Hot?

Laslo Djere - I mean, there’s just nobody to pick from in this section. Djere hasn’t been “hot” by any means, but he at least made a semifinal earlier this year on the clay in Marrakesh. He also boasts a career clay court record of 68-43 (61.3%), compared to 17-50 (34.0%) on grass and hard courts. He is 7-6 on clay this year.

Who's Not?

Daniil Medvedev - Medvedev never looked quite right after blowing a two-sets-to-love lead over Rafael Nadal in the Australian Open Final. Despite reaching the World #1 ranking a few weeks later, he still suffered another loss to Nadal in Acapulco, earlier than expected defeats in Indian Wells and Miami, and then announced that he would miss one or two months due to hernia surgery. He returned after six-weeks away this past week in Geneva and lost his opening match 2-6, 6-7 to Richard Gasquet.

Alexander Bublik - Bublik has proven to be one of the tour’s more interesting characters, but he is actually very talented. However, that talent has not translated well to the clay this season, as he has lost five of his six matches.

Biggest Storyline - Daniil Medvedev’s Clay Woes

This is one of the more lopsided draws in recent Grand Slam history in large part due to Daniil Medvedev’s lack of success on clay. While he is the number two seed, he probably isn’t even in the top 15 contenders for the title. Him being in this spot prevented Alexander Zverev moving up to number two and Rafael Nadal moving up to number four, so they are both stuck in the top half with Novak Djokovic and Carlos Alcaraz. In 2021, Medvedev won his first career match at the French Open (on his fifth attempt) and actually made it all the way to the Quarterfinals. He is just 15-22 lifetime on clay, so a repeat performance of last year would be a real surprise, especially given his current form. This means Section 8 is easily the most “open” section in the draw.

Best Round One Matchup: Gilles Simon vs. Pablo Carreño Busta - For the last time, there really aren’t a ton of intriguing Round One matchups. I’ll go with Pablo Carreño Busta, a two-time Quarterfinalist at Roland Garros, against the 37-year-old Wild Card Gilles Simon. The Frenchman is making his final appearance at his home Grand Slam as he intends to retire at the end of the year.

Best Potential Matchup: Pablo Carreño Busta vs. Daniil Medvedev (Round Four) - I’d be surprised if he makes it this far, but the best theoretical matchup in this section has to include the second-seeded Medvedev. He has a career 5-2 record head-to-head against Carreño Busta, but they have never played before on clay.

Player to Watch: Miomir Kecmanović - I’ve always liked Kecmanović as one of the more under-the-radar good young players. The 22-year-old has had some success on clay (22-20 record, with his lone title coming on the surface), and reached the Quarterfinals in Belgrade and the Semifinals in Munich this year. With Medvedev in his half of the section, I think Kecmanović has a great chance to make his first career Grand Slam Quarterfinal.

Section Winner: Pablo Carreño Busta - The 30-year-old Spainiard is quietly one of the more consistent Grand Slam performers in the sport. He has made the second week at four of the last seven majors and, outside of Wimbledon (where he is curiously 0-6), has only lost in the first round once since 2016. Admittedly, the standards for consistency outside of the true top players are low, but Carreño-Busta has at least made the Quarterfinals twice in Paris and the Semifinals twice at the US Open. This experience in best-of-five matches is enough for me to overlook some recent poor form and take a shot at him winning this very weak section.

 

As always, I’ll go on-the-record with my full, official predictions for both the men’s and women’s draws on the website later today! Also, be sure to check back here for more articles, and to listen to The Inconclusive Evidence Podcast for updates and analysis throughout the tournament.

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