French Open Men's singles draw preview: Nadal faces uphill task in top-heavy draw; Djokovic, Tsitsipas eye finale repeat

Published on May 20, 2022 03:40 PM IST
  • On Thursday evening, the draws for the 2022 French Open were announced and 128 players learned their fate.
Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic could face each other in the quarterfinal
Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic could face each other in the quarterfinal
ByAratrick Mondal, Kolkata

On Thursday evening, the draws for the 2022 French Open were announced, resulting in two lopsided halves. Defending champion Novak Djokovic and 13-time champion Rafael Nadal have landed in the same quarter, implying a blockbuster quarter-final meeting. And to make things spicier, a surging Carlos Alcaraz has been tucked into the same half of the draw, along with Alexander Zverev. This leaves 2021 runner-up Stefanos Tsitsipas, who found himself at the other half of the draw, with a solid possibility to make the final again.

FIRST QUARTER:

In 2015, when the two heavyweights had landed in the same quarter, Djokovic had handed Nadal his second defeat on Parisian clay in the quarterfinal. Last year, the two were part of the same half and ended up facing each other in the semi-final. The Serbian had knocked out the then-defending champion, avenging his 2020 final defeat, and handing Rafa his third loss in Paris in 108 matches at the Roland Garros. Will history repeat again?

With Nadal limping out with his recurring foot injury in Rome, Djokovic, who won the Italian Open just last week, indeed is the outright favourite in the contest. The World No.1 will begin his campaign against Yoshihito Nishioka, followed by a possible meeting with Diego Schwartzman in the fourth round.

For Nadal, with his foot injury resurfacing only nine days before the start of the French Open, it seemed the 21-time Grand Slam winner would pull out of the tournament. But he landed in Paris last Wednesday and has been practising hard to reclaim the throne. He will be beginning his campaign against Australia's Jordan Thompson, followed by a possible meeting with resurgent Stan Wawrinka in the next round. Nadal has been handed a tough draw this time around with three other seeded players in Botic van de Zandschulp, Reilly Opelka, and Félix Auger-Aliassime in his side of the quarter.

Quarterfinal: Djokovic defeats Nadal

SECOND QUARTER:

He was ranked 94 before the 2021 French Open tournament. The 19-year-old Spaniard is now a title contender heading into Roland Garros. And what makes him a strong candidate for the elusive title is that just two weeks back Alcaraz defeated Nadal and Djokovic in a space of just 24 hours before winning the Madrid Open title. And the player he beat to bag the trophy has found himself in the same quarter - Zverev.

Alcaraz will await a Sebastian Korda tie in the third round. His side of the quarter also has two-time French Open runner up Dominic Thiem.

Quarterfinal: Alcaraz defeats Zverev

THIRD QUARTER:

The only person who heaved a sigh of relief from that top-heavy draw was fourth-seeded Tsitsipas, who is now a favourite to make the final from the second half of the draw. But the Greek still has work cut out for him. He will be up against Italy's Lorenzo Musetti in the first round, who had reached the last 16 in 2021 and had even taken two sets off Djokovic. However, the 20-year-old did lose both his meetings with Tsitsipas. The 23-year-old Greek also has a Denis Shapovalov meeting on the cards in the pre-quarters. And he could possibly face Casper Ruud in the quarters, who is heading into the competition on the back of an impressive run to the semis in Rome.

Quarterfinal: Tsitsipas defeats Ruud

Stefanos Tsitsipas(Roland Garros)
Stefanos Tsitsipas(Roland Garros)

FOURTH QUARTER:

Despite the presence of Daniil Medvedev, it is his compatriot Andrey Rublev who stands as the favourite in this quarter. He already has three titles in his bag this year, one of which was on clay. And although Rublev has underperformed in Majors, with a lopsided draw in the 2022 French Open, it finally can be an opportunity for the Russian to make the quarters. Not to forget, his end of the draw has Italy's Jannik Sinner who last year had become the first men's singles player to reach the quarters on his debut since Nadal in 2005.

Quarterfinal: Rublev defeats Kecmanovic

Semi-final: Djokovic defeats Alcaraz and Tsitsipas defeats Rublev

Final: Djokovic defeats Tsitsipas

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