How will the Next Gen fare at the French Open?
When every Grand Slam begins, the topic of the “Next Gen” is always one of the most discussed topics. As the French Open starts this Sunday, the most debated questions, once the draw is set, are always: will any of the “Next Gen” make the second week of the tournament? Will any of them break the “Big Four” domination and win the tournament?
Here is the preview for some of the top “Next Gen” players that are competing in next week’s French Open…
The young Greek is the leader in the 2019 “Race to Milan” and has been impressive on the clay. He has reached at least the semi finals of the last three tournaments he has entered on clay- won the final in Estoril, lost to Djokovic in the final in Madrid, and lost to Nadal in the semifinal in Rome.
He is projected to play Frances Tiafoe in the third round, in which he has a 2-0 head-to-head advantage. After that, it is either Stan Wawrinka or Marin Cilic awaiting in the fourth round, both players of which are struggling to find good form on the clay this year. Roger Federer will be most likely awaiting in the quarterfinals- a certainly winnable match for Tsitsipas. But Federer will be looking for revenge after what happened in Melbourne in January.
Prediction: Quarterfinals Exit
It is hard to believe Auger-Aliassime is only 18 years old and is already a seeded player at a Grand Slam. What is more surprising is that this is his only second Grand Slam main draw appearance!
His first round opponent will be Jordan Thompson, who has lost in the first round here at Paris in the last two years, and Auger-Aliassime should get through with relative ease. The biggest test will be in the third round, as Juan Martin del Potro is his projected opponent. It will be a tough match for both players. But del Potro, at this point, is far more experienced in a five set match and at Grand Slam Level. The Argentine should go through if they do meet, but it will be a learning experience for Auger-Aliassime.
Prediction: Third Round Exit
Shapovalov has had a mediocre season at best. He has had failed to capture back-to-back wins since Miami in March, and has a 1-4 win-loss on clay this season.
The young Canadian is scheduled to face Jan-Lennard Struff in the first round, who is having a decent clay season and reached his career high ranking of 44 this week. Their head-to-head is tied 1-1, but Struff beat Shapovalov just last month in Monte Carlo, so it will be a tough first round encounter for the Canadian. It will also, most likely, be a early exit for him at Paris this year as well.
Prediction: First Round Exit
Zverev is not technically not a “Next Gen” player anymore. But he is only still 22 years old and the youngest top ten in the world right now.
2019 has been a poor season in comparison to his season last year. His highlight of this season has really been this week in Geneva, where he had a good run. But in all fairness, he did not have to play any top players to test where his real level.
The first couple of rounds in Paris should be comfortable for the German. His biggest test would have been Nick Kyrgios in a potential third round, but he withdrew earlier due to “illness”. Fabio Fognini or Roberto Bautista Agut in the fourth round will be a tough match-up for the German who has struggled to breakthrough at Grand Slam level.
Prediction: Fourth Round Exit
The American has yet to win a match here at the French Open, and is coming in this year as the 32nd seed. He has a relatively good draw for him to advance into the latter rounds of the tournament.
It should be a comfortable first two rounds for Tiafoe in Paris. He plays Filip Krajinovic in the first round, and a possible qualifier in the second. The third round, as stated above, will most likely be Stefanos Tsitsipas, and at this point of their young careers, Tsitsipas is the slightly better player.
Prediction: Third Round Exit