Panelists' Predictions 2016 French Open Men's Day 7 Matches Including Zverev-Thiem

With nine-time champion Rafael Nadal out of the 2016 French Open, the top half of the men’s draw has opened up, and the remaining players are looking to take advantage and reach the second week where they have a better chance of doing damage with Rafa absent. Steen Kirby, Yesh Ginsburg, and Sam Barker are on hand to preview and predict the best that Saturday has to offer. Day 7 matches on the women’s side can be found here.

Panelists’ Predictions 2016 French Open Men’s Day 7

Borna Coric vs. Roberto Bautista Agut

Steen: RBA won both clay court meetings, and this is going to be a tough match for Coric. The Spaniard has yet to drop a set, and while the young Croatian has played well, I have to go with the experience RBA to prevail in this contest. Bautista Agut in 4 sets

Yesh: Borna Coric might be in the middle of his break-out Slam, but Bautista-Agut brought himself to the third tier of tennis elites a few years ago. Coric definitely has the bigger upset upside, but he’s not quite there yet. This should be a great match. Coric in 5

Sam: If Borna Coric wants to be talked about alongside the likes of Sascha Zverev and Dominic Thiem then these are the kinds of matches he needs to be winning. This match will be a considerable test though, with the Spaniard looking as solid as ever. The young Croat may have won their last meeting but Bautista Agut holds all the cards on clay – his preferred and best surface.  Bautista Agut in 4

Pablo Cuevas vs. Tomas Berdych

Steen: Cuevas has advanced into round 3 by dropping just a set, Berdych did likewise and now we have a great clay court battle set to commence. Berdych is the accomplished and talented top 10 player, while Cuevas is the battling dirtballer who grinds for every point. Berdych could roll through this match, but I’m going to stick with Cuevas to win on clay and add some spice to the second week. Cuevas in 5

Yesh: Tomas Berdych is a huge talent who has underachieved his entire career. With no Nadal and Federer in this tournament, this might be the best chance of his career. Berdych in 3

Sam: The most difficult match to predict, this could be a real test of both player’s stamina and fitness. Berdych came into this tournament off the back of a double bagel defeat dished out by David Goffin and is likely to be suffering mentally. Cuevas’s form has dipped on clay but will certainly believe he can reach his first Grand Slam fourth round. Experience at this level may be the deciding factor. Berdych in 5

Alexander Zverev vs. Dominic Thiem

Steen: Thiem dropped sets but beat Zverev twice this year on clay. Zverev has lost a couple of sets against weaker competition, while Thiem rolled past a relatively solid Guillermo Garcia-Lopez. With Nadal out, all signs point to a Thiem victory, and then another win in the next round to put the Austrian in the quarterfinals. Thiem in 4

Yesh: This is another battle between two up-and-comers in a section of the draw that is suddenly wide-open. We may see one of these two post their maiden Slam QF or even SF here. Thiem in 4

Sam: Few doubt that one day these two will be contesting Grand Slam finals but for now the future stars of global tennis are packed into one exciting third round package. Neither will want a lengthy encounter given their long run to the final of Nice last week but unfortunately that is a very plausible prospect. Both players have had to slug it out to even get this far but Thiem looks like he may have the legs over five sets. Thiem in 4

David Goffin vs. Nicolas Almagro

Steen: Almagro is 3-0 against Goffin and he’s played well this tournament, but Goffin has had two routine wins of his own, and these factors set up a thrilling contest. The aging Almagro will likely be outlasted by Goffin, but this match could go either way. Goffin in 5

Yesh: Almagro was once one of the top players in the world but never quite recovered after an extended injury absence. This is his chance to bring his confidence, and his ranking, back to where it was five years ago. The problem is that he is up against probably the most in-form player on tour. Goffin in 4

Sam: For me David Goffin is the dark horse of this competition – even more so now that Rafael Nadal is out of the picture. On top of that, Almagro typically struggles against technically gifted players, and there is no doubting that Goffin has technical ability in abundance. Almagro may have won their only previous meeting on clay but that was three years ago and Goffin is now a much tougher nut to crack. Goffin in 3

Ernests Gulbis vs. Jo-Wilfried Tsonga

Steen: Gulbis has had a surprisingly easy path to the third round and hasn’t dropped a set this tournament. Tsonga comes off a five set war against Marcos Baghdatis, and appears to be somewhat vulnerable. Gulbis has the power and skill to push Tsonga, but I doubt he’ll be able to keep his game together consistently enough to win, thus Tsonga is the favorite. Tsonga in 4

Yesh: Both of these athletes are supremely talented but have never quite put it all together. This will be a battle of wills and nerves and it will come down to who doesn’t crack. In Paris, I’m betting it will be Tsonga. Tsonga in 4

Sam: All the signs seem to suggest a routine victory for Jo-Wilfried Tsonga. Form, crowd support, rankings and their head to head are all favourable towards the Frenchman. The problem is that you never know with the unpredictable Latvian. His unorthodox technique has the potential to disrupt Tsonga who may be jaded from his marathon encounter with Marcos Baghdatis. Tsonga in 4

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