The absence of Rafael Nadal, and now Jo-Wilfried Tsonga has opened up the top half of remaining men’s draw in Paris, while the bottom half is still stacked with the talented seeds. Here is a look at the round of 16 matchups, with predictions, and a preview.
Previewing and Predicting The 2016 French Open Men’s Round of 16
Novak Djokovic is the tournament favorite, with Nadal out, his path looks clear, but he does have to continue his winning streak against Roberto Bautista Agut. Djokovic hasn’t dropped a set thus far, and RBA lacks firepower, so that should be a routine affair. David Ferrer vs. Tomas Berdych is an intriguing matchup. Berdych just won on clay in Madrid, but Ferrer, a former finalist, is playing well with just one set dropped this week, and he’d love to get Berdych back. This is a great opportunity for Berdych, and after his win over Pablo Cuevas, I favor the Czech.
With Nadal and Tsonga out, one of Marcel Granollers, Dominic Thiem, David Goffin, and Ernests Gulbis will be a French Open semifinalist. Gulbis is the only one who has reached that result before, he’s played surprisingly well this week, though he was losing to Tsonga in the first set. The Latvian will be opposite David Goffin, the steady ball striker who has emerged as a dark horse, and with his consistency, Goffin should be able to prevail and reach the quarters. Thiem will face Granollers, who has reached the second week with one match win, and two wins by retirement/walkover. Coming off his big win over Alexander Zverev, Thiem should safely win in the round of 16.
Andy Murray and Stan Wawrinka are the co-favorites to reach the final, and both should win in the round of 16. Murray has had a miserable tournament, but he won in straights against Ivo Karlovic in round 3, and John Isner is a comparable player on clay, a big server who won’t be able to threaten Murray with anything else. Murray has never lost to Isner. Wawrinka will be opposite the surprising Viktor Troicki, he’s been playing himself into the tournament and after a pair of routine wins, he’s never lost to Troicki. Troicki stunned a weak Gilles Simon in the previous round, but the road should end here for the Serbian #2. Another player likely to prevail is Canadian #1 Milos Raonic, even on clay, his aggressive game should dominate the defensive Albert Ramos, with Ramos coming off a five setter against Jack Sock.
One of the biggest matches of the tournament will be the lone French hope Richard Gasquet, against Kei Nishikori. Nishikori needed five sets against Fernando Verdasco, while Gasquet dominated Nick Kyrgios. It’s a tough match to predict, though Nisihkori has won the last two meetings. Gasquet appears to be motivated by the home fans, and he seems fitter than he has been in months. Nishikori could go as far as the final if he plays inspired tennis and continues to move quickly on court, but I’m going to go with the crafty shotmaker Gasquet to advance in a tough battle.
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