Our panel of Steen Kirby, Stefano Berlincioni, and Manuel Traquete take a look at the best French Open matches ahead today on the men’s side, and offer their predictions. For predictions of Day 5 women’s matches, click here.
David Ferrer vs. Juan Monaco
Steen: I would pick Monaco given how poor Ferrer has been this year, and the comparable head to head, but I’m not convinced the Argentine is entirely healthy, and his wrist is an issue of concern still. Monaco has the peak ability to defeat a B level Ferrer, but I’m going to go with Daveed to grind a win out. Ferrer in 5
Stefano: Ferrer arrived at Roland Garros in far from the best form but had a convincing win in first round while Monaco struggled for 4 sets against Istomin who was carrying some sort of injury. H2H are quite close but Ferrer’s pedigree at Roland Garros is way better and I can’t see a surprise here. Ferrer in 4
Manuel: Two players with similar styles, who have a split H2H (4-4, 3-3 on clay). Ferrer has been on a downward spiral for a while, losing to several lower ranked players and finally falling out of the top 10, for the first time since 2010. Monaco, on the other hand, is showing some signs of revival after injury; he missed a great chance to make semis in Rome when he had to withdraw from his QF against Pouille after beating world #4 Stan Wawrinka in R16. He’ll be looking to make amends for that here in Paris and he certainly has a chance at an upset here, in a match that will be dominated by long, grinding rallies. Monaco in 5
Bernard Tomic vs. Borna Coric
Steen: Tomic has a h2h win over Coric and he just won his first match of the season on clay, however I have no confidence that he’ll win this match. He’s been caught in a downward spiral over the past few months, and Coric has to sense a chance to reach the third round as a teenager. With his solid clay court play, he should prevail. Coric in 3
Stefano: Tomic’s path before Roland Garros has been ugly and during first round he was often laughing/tanking: only a very poor Brian Baker saved him from an early loss. Motivation and claycourt skills are all on Coric’s side. Coric in 3
Manuel: Tomic hates clay, he said so himself. Beating Brian Baker, with all the injuries that have systematically destroyed his career, is one thing but against someone who’s in such good physical shape and retrieves as many balls as Coric, Tomic won’t be liking his chances at all. Coric in 3
Paul-Henri Mathieu vs. Roberto Bautista Agut
Steen: The baselining veteran PHM is coming off of a five setter, he’s a passionate player who inspires French fans, but fatigue should be a factor. RBA plays a similar baseline rallying style, and he should be fresher, allowing him to counterpunch longer. Bautista Agut in 4
Stefano: Frenchmen in France, especially at Roland Garros, are tough opponents but Mathieu’s fitness is always a question mark and he already comes from 5 sets in first round. I think the Spaniard should be too much solid over the course of a five setter. Bautista Agut in 4
Manuel: Mathieu is a tour veteran who somehow remains relevant at the highest level despite all the injuries and a level that is far from what he showed in his peak. Bautista Agut is probably one of the seeded players he’d most fancy taking on in front of his home crowd, but even so the Spaniard should be too fit and consistent for Mathieu to have much of a chance. Bautista Agut in 4
Dominic Thiem vs. Guillermo Garcia-Lopez
Steen: GGL is a solid enough player and he could take advantage of Thiem if he shows any signs of fatigue, but otherwise the Austrian young gun has been excellent on clay this season, and has won eight of his last nine matches on the surface. A win here should make it nine of ten, as Thiem is a dark horse threat this tournament, in round 1 he came back from a set down. Thiem in 4
Stefano: Garcia-Lopez has been running into tough opponents in Paris, and he has history of beating top 20 players but Thiem’s level this year has been just too good and he’s nearly in the top 10: this tournament could solidify a top 10 ranking and if Thiem avoids feeling the pressure he should be able to win this round quite comfortably. Thiem in 4
Manuel: Thiem has already racked up a barely believable 37 match wins this year, playing almost every week and showing little to no signs of fatigue. Garcia-Lopez, on the other hand, is having a relatively disappointing season, with no real noteworthy results, but he’s always a potentially tough outing for higher ranked players, let’s not forget he beat Wawrinka in this very tournament just 2 years ago. Ultimately though, Thiem should have too much. Thiem in 4
Jiri Vesely vs. Nicolas Almagro
Steen: Almagro beat Vesely on clay last year, and he’s the better clay courter in this match. Vesely has had excellent ability for some time, but he hasn’t always played his best tennis. The win against Djokovic showed shades of his real game, but Almagro comes off a big win against Philipp Kohlschreiber, and the veteran is hungry to reach the second week Almagro in 4
Stefano: I honestly don’t think highly of Vesely, and after the stunning win over Djokovic his results were quite bad. Almagro is playing one of his last French Opens, is in decent form and I think he can outpower the Czech.
Almagro in 4
Manuel: Almagro has been showing signs that he might get back to the top 20 at some point and he will be looking to work towards that goal here in Paris. After negotiating a very tough 1st round match with Kohlschreiber, Almagro gets Vesely, the man who defeated Djokovic in Monte Carlo. As unreliable as Almagro can be these days, he should still make it through here. Almagro in 4
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