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ATP Form Tracker: Roland Garros 2015 Players in a Slump

After taking a look at the names who should impress at Roland Garros 2015, here is an in-depth look at some players who are likely to crash and burn in the first week of the tournament. Of note, I skipped past struggling top 10 players Stan Wawrinka, and Rafael Nadal, because enough has been written and said about their poor play this season. I have Nadal losing to Djokovic in the quarters, and Wawrinka losing once again to Guillermo Garcia-Lopez in round 3.

ATP Form Tracker: Roland Garros 2015 Players in a Slump


5: Ernests Gulbis

Gulbis is under the pressure of defending semifinal points after his great run here last year, and he’s devoid of any confidence or rhythm with his game, an issue that has dogged him all season and resulted in a 2-12 ATP main draw record, one of the worst on tour. He’s still a seed, but it’s not a deserved one, and in general his game pretty much fallen apart since the clay court season last year. He’s a known headcase, and that has exacerbated his poor play, as in many of his losses, he’s simply beaten himself with errors and sloppy play, not because his opponents put up a magical show.

He did manage to win a match in Nice, where he was the defending champion before bowing out, so perhaps that bodes well, and he doesn’t have an overly difficult draw as it’s likely he’ll face a qualifier in his first two matches, and the other seed in the section is the injured Gilles Simon, who I discuss below. Thus, if Gulbis even plays up to half of his level last year, he could reach the second week, but in my mind I already forsee a dumpster fire five, or even three set, loss to either Igor Sijsling in round 1, or Kimmer Coppejans in round 2. Neither player is known to be mentally strong, but they may just need to play within themselves to defeat Gulbis, who has made the mistake of not returning to challenger tour to regain confidence, as it continues to cost him in ranking, and his struggles are feeding upon themselves. The forehand wing especially has been a grease fire for him.

4: Tommy Robredo

Robredo has reached the quarterfinals in Paris multiple times over the years, and he’s a veteran competitor who performs well in Grand Slams, normally rising to the occasion. However, the Spaniard has struggled to stay healthy since the start of the season, and injuries suffered in both Auckland, and Estoril resulted in him playing just two European spring clay court tournaments in preparation for the French. Rust should be a facotr, and he’s aging, so though he is likely to get past round 1 against Andrey Golubev, I see the young gun Borna Coric spiraling him into defeat in the second round, and it’s unlikely that Robredo will reach the second week of a slam this time. Expectations have to be tapered.

3: Gilles Simon

Simon injured his back in Nice, and according to reports has been struggling to serve and move as a result. He’s a player who has struggled with injuries over the years, and though he famously won multiple matches at the Australian Open while carrying an injury, the possibly has to be considered that he could lose in the first round to the young French talent Lucas Pouille, and if not there, to power hitter Martin Klizan or Francis Tiafoe, another young talent in round 2. Simon is a top 15 seed and home favorite with a decent draw, and if healthy, he could well reach the second week, but a streaky clay court season, mixed with health concerns, and probably a bit of rust are likely too much to overcome, as the French crowd likely will not be able to cheer on the counterpuncher later on in the tournament.

2: Marin Cilic

Cilic is a top 10 seed, but he’s played nothing like the top 10 form that saw him win the US Open last fall. The Croat has been rusty and inconsistent since suffering an injury at the end of last season, and besides a quarterfinal result in Monte Carlo, he has done very little on clay this spring that suggests the French Open will be kind to him. The talent is there of course, but losing matches to Victor Estrella, and Santiago Giraldo, no disrespect intended to them, in recent weeks isn’t the mark of a top 10 player, and if talented but mentally weak Dutchman Robin Haase  can show some of the form that resulted in a victory over Stan Wawrinka in Indian Wells, Cilic could be the biggest casualty of the first round seed wise. I personally think he’ll find a way to survive that one but Jiri Vesely or Leonardo Mayer will also have a chance to end his hopes of reaching the quarterfinals, and David Ferrer almost certainly will do so if all others fail. Long term Cilic is likely to be fine, but right now he’s on shaky footing, and his aggressive game is not looking sharp.

1: Feliciano Lopez

The other top 15 seed likely to be an early casualty is Spaniard Feliciano Lopez. The serve and volleying lefty has never been a world beater on clay, unlike many of his national counterparts, and this Spring in particular has not been kind to him, as his serve, and spin volley style of play is simply not suited for clay, and opponents are figuring that out. Lopez will still be a threat on grass coming up of course, but I’m sure he’s pretty much ready to get the clay court season over and done with for the year and take his talents to a better surface. The in-form Teymuraz Gabashvili could boot him in the opening round, and if not look for the Juan Monaco/Federico Delbonis winner to do so, both players far superior on clay. Lopez is just 4-5 this spring, and he’s failed to win consecutive matches, even with his top 15 ranking giving him favorable seeding.

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