In a wide-open field, who’s going to win the men’s French Open title?-ZoomTech News

In a wide-open field, who’s going to win the men’s French Open title?-ZoomTech News

PARIS — Novak Djokovic has carried out miracles earlier than when watching defeat. In 20 of his 369 wins at Grand Slams, he has come again from 2-1 right down to win in 5 units. However behind two units to at least one, and a break down towards Francisco Cerundolo within the fourth on Monday, it appeared like this comeback could be an excessive amount of even for him.

Having powered by the primary set 6-1, Djokovic’s proper knee buckled in the beginning of the second set. He referred to as for a medical timeout, then the physio on the subsequent two changeovers.

However no matter they did, it did not look like he trusted his knee would maintain. These drop pictures we have seen him flee for had been left. A shot within the nook to his backhand was let by, with Djokovic unwilling to push off his proper leg to chase it.

It wasn’t the participant we have come to see over the previous 16 or so years, the one who has 24 Grand Slam titles and final exited the French Open at this stage in 2009.

However then on the finish of the fourth set, Djokovic’s backhands began touchdown, the proper knee seemingly strengthened after which again he got here to win his second five-setter in 40 hours. It took him 4 hours and 39 minutes to get previous Cerundolo.

He was bruised and caked in clay, having endured his longest-ever match on the French Open. It was exceptional, however the query is, can he maintain it going? And can his knee maintain up?

We have already got one foot tentatively within the post-Rafa Nadal period. The 14-time French Open winner misplaced in straight units of this event to Alexander Zverev. This guarantees to be essentially the most open competitors in Paris since Nadal began constructing his legacy in 2005. Who will win? We rank the highest contenders left.

1. Carlos Alcaraz

Since Carlos Alcaraz broke onto the scene, it has felt like he could be the inheritor obvious to Nadal’s French Open throne. However his first two Slams would come elsewhere: on the US Open in 2022 after which that epic overcome Djokovic at Wimbledon final 12 months, the place he gained the title in solely his fourth grass-court event.

This 12 months, Alcaraz reached the quarterfinal of the Australian Open, the place he misplaced to Zverev, however then gained at Indian Wells. His clay-court swing has been removed from simple, although. He was compelled to withdraw from the Monte Carlo Masters and Barcelona Open with a forearm harm. He then misplaced in Madrid to Andrey Rublev and withdrew from Rome with the identical harm.

Right here at Roland Garros, he has worn a protecting sleeve on his proper arm and mentioned, “I am a little bit bit scared about hitting each forehand 100%.”

He mentioned the identical after his simple first-round win over J.J. Wolf. If he will get to full energy, then that is absolutely a worrying signal for the opposite contenders — and he is likely to be inconceivable to cease.

Alcaraz was pushed onerous by Dutch qualifier Jesper de Jong within the second spherical and once more by Sebastian Korda within the third spherical. However it was in his conclusive victory over Felix Auger-Aliassime within the fourth spherical that he appeared like he was snug once more.

Up subsequent is Stefanos Tsitsipas within the quarterfinals, and Alcaraz is in a assured temper, saying on-court that he has the “key” to beating him, having gained all 5 of their earlier matchups.

“I do know that Stefanos is taking part in nice, however I do know tactically what I’ve to do within the match, which I am not going to say, clearly, however I do know what I’ve to do [to win] the match,” Alcaraz mentioned.

2. Novak Djokovic

It hasn’t been straightforward for the 24-time Grand Slam winner at Roland Garros. He got here into it in uncharacteristically mediocre kind — by his extremely excessive requirements. After he reached the semifinal of the Australian Open in January, his subsequent finest end was a semifinal end in Monte Carlo, which sat alongside defeats to Luca Nardi, Alejandro Tabilo and Tomas Machac on tour — the final one coming after a spectator unintentionally dropped a water bottle on his head in Geneva.

He got here into the event saying he had “low expectations, excessive hopes.” Regardless of a few exasperated appears at his field within the crowd, he made it by the opening two rounds towards Pierre-Hugues Herbert and Roberto Carballes Baena in straight units.

“There’s all the time that type of conviction and perception within me I can win a Slam,” he mentioned after the win over Carballes Baena. “That is the rationale why I am nonetheless competing at this stage. That is why I am right here.”

However then got here the brutally lengthy match towards Lorenzo Musetti within the third spherical. The five-set epic began at 10:27 p.m. native, and completed at 3:06 a.m., hugging two days — and left Djokovic triumphant but additionally exhausted.

“I actually bodily pushed myself to the very restrict to win this match,” he mentioned afterward.

He performed for even longer within the fourth spherical. On Monday, if it had been a heavyweight boxing bout, they’d have referred to as it within the fourth set and awarded Cerundolo a technical knockout. However one way or the other Djokovic rallied and did what solely he can do, clawing himself again from the precipice when so many mere mortals would have admitted defeat.

If his knee is wholesome sufficient, it appears like Djokovic is constructing right here, and that is ominous for the remainder of the sphere. He has 21 extra Slams than the remainder of the sphere put collectively, and that have alone units him aside.

Djokovic will get an additional scan on his knee on Tuesday, however is hopeful it will not hurt his bid for one more Grand Slam.

3. Jannik Sinner

After successful his first Grand Slam in January, Jannik Sinner was one of many favorites to make it two out of two in Paris. However like so lots of his contemporaries, Sinner got here to Roland Garros with questions over his health. He withdrew from his quarterfinal on the Madrid Open with a hip harm after which additionally withdrew from the Italian Open. He advised the media earlier than the event that he was feeling okay, and he backed that up with a commanding opening spherical win over Chris Eubanks.

“The hip is nice. I am very blissful. I am glad that my staff and myself, we had been working very onerous to be on courtroom as quickly as potential,” Sinner mentioned afterward. “For certain, the final form will not be at 100% but, so we attempt to construct each day.”

He had to deal with taking part in towards a partisan crowd for his second-round match with Richard Gasquet, however got here by that in straight units. Afterward, the vastly skilled Gasquet was complimentary of Sinner.

“Aside from Djokovic, he hits a tough backhand, a tough forehand,” Gasquet mentioned. “He has a superb serve, as effectively. So with Alcaraz they are going to be No. 1 and a pair of I believe for fairly a couple of years to return, as a result of they’re each excellent gamers. He performs actually very, very effectively. His timing is extraordinary. He is a really large participant.”

Sinner backed up that win over Gasquet with a snug overcome Pavel Kotov in Spherical 3. “Tennis-wise I felt fairly good right this moment on courtroom,” Sinner mentioned postmatch. “Bodily I really feel like I nonetheless have to enhance a few issues.”

Although he dropped the primary set within the fourth spherical towards Corentin Moutet, he navigated that difficult tie effectively and can now face Grigor Dimitrov within the quarterfinals.

4. Casper Ruud

The clay-court specialist reached the previous two French Open finals. In 2022, he had the misfortune of operating right into a resurgent Nadal, whereas final 12 months, it was Djokovic who toppled him.

After that defeat to Djokovic, Ruud set out his aspirations. “Hopefully I can construct on that, and sooner or later I’ll attempt to clearly purpose for a Slam title,” he mentioned. “It has been shut, however shut however no cigar, so I’ll maintain working and attempt to get it sooner or later.”

He hasn’t discovered life simple at Roland Garros. He eased by the primary spherical in straight units towards Felipe Meligeni Alves, then wanted 5 units to get previous Alejandro Davidovich Fokina.

Tomas Martin Etcheverry pushed him onerous within the third spherical, with Ruud coming by 6-4, 1-6, 6-2, 6-2. And Taylor Fritz was a tricky take a look at within the fourth spherical — the American renaming himself “Claylor” on account of his new love of clay. Ruud had a dodgy second set, however got here by in 4, powering previous Fritz to additional emphasize his title credentials.

Better of the remaining

Alexander Zverev has blended recollections on the French Open. Two years in the past, he was going toe-to-toe with Nadal within the 2022 semifinals, solely to slide awkwardly and rupture his ankle ligaments. The final outing, he reached the semifinal stage for the third 12 months operating, solely to lose in straight units to Ruud.

However this 12 months, he got here in to Roland Garros as one of many favorites after successful the Italian Open. He defeated Nadal in straight units within the first spherical after which survived an enormous scare to edge previous Tallon Griekspoor in a fifth-set tiebreak within the third spherical. On Monday within the fourth spherical, Zverev wanted 5 units once more to get previous Holger Rune. Rune pushed him to his limits, however Zverev’s expertise introduced him by.

As he performs in Paris, Zverev stays the main focus of home abuse allegations in Germany. His trial, which he does not need to be current for, started on Could 31 in Berlin.

Alex de Minaur was excellent towards Daniil Medvedev of their fourth-round match. The Aussie has by no means reached this stage of the event earlier than, however the selection in his recreation towards Medvedev was spectacular, as was his tempo to the online. Simply seconds after successful the match, he was shouting to the gang at Courtroom Suzanne Lenglen: “I like the clay. I adore it right here. I can not get sufficient.”

He’ll go into the quarterfinal quietly assured of constructing the semifinal.

Stefanos Tsitsipas would’ve made the highest contenders for the title however for the very fact he has Alcaraz in his method. Tsitsipas is loving life at Roland Garros, taking part in within the males’s doubles along with his brother, Petros, and blended doubles with associate Paula Badosa.

However he has maintained his depth within the singles, coming by his first three rounds dropping only one set, after which needing 4 to get previous Matteo Arnaldi, after shedding the opening set.

Grigor Dimitrov is flying below the radar properly however was good in his fourth-round match towards Hubert Hurkacz. He got here by in straight units and even needed to navigate Hurkacz’s weird resolution to ask him whether or not he was eager on requesting a change of umpire. That is Dimitrov’s finest run on the French Open, as he appears to win a primary Grand Slam.

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