2020 French Open: Who Could Reach the Final?

Denis Shapovalov trains ahead of the 2020 French Open

It has been perhaps the strangest season in living memory, but tennis returned in August and the quality since has been great to watch, with a thrilling US Open surely the highlight so far. The action will continue in Paris where the 2020 French Open, moved from its traditional place in the calendar to the Autumn, begins this week. There should be plenty of entertaining action for the fans, with one thousand set to be allowed in to the grounds, but who might reach the final?

2020 French Open Final Predictions

Women’s final prediction – Simona Halep vs Garbine Muguruza

It is hard to see past Simona Halep and Garbine Muguruza in the women’s draw, with the Spaniard and the Romanian surely the best two players on clay in the world. Halep is a counter-puncher, with her speed around court and her tactical awareness making her almost impossible to hit through at times. Muguruza, in contrast, is at her best when playing on the front foot, dictating to opponents and striking winners off both wings, with her serve also a powerful weapon.

Other players to watch out for at the 2020 French Open are recent US Open finalist Victoria Azarenka, who backed up her excellent stay in New York with a quarterfinal showing in Rome, and Italian Open runner-up Karolina Pliskova. That said, the Czech has struggled at the Majors and may be carrying an injury after retiring hurt in the Italian Open final. Her section of the draw also looks difficult to negotiate, with Sloane Stephens, Angelique Kerber and Petra Kvitova all dangerous opponents.

If it does come down to a final between Halep and Muguruza, expect the in-form Halep to come out on top. The diminutive Romanian arrives in Paris in superb form, having won her last 14 matches, which includes runs to the title in Prague and Rome on the clay, and she should have the speed, the skill and the guile to outmanoeuvre Muguruza, just as she did at the Italian Open two weeks ago. But do not be surprised if the match goes the distance.

Men’s final prediction – Novak Djokovic vs Dominic Thiem

It may seem like tennis blasphemy to predict a Roland Garros final not featuring Rafael Nadal, but that could well be on the cards at the 2020 French Open. The great Spaniard has not had much by way of preparation for the third Major of the year, with his only outing since the restart a run to the quarterfinals in Rome. The conditions also may not suit his style of play, with the cooler weather and damp air likely to prevent the ball from bouncing as high as is typical on the European clay.

If that robs Nadal off the effectiveness of his topspin forehand, which sends the ball rearing up off the clay, then he will be short of one of his greatest weapons. And with Dominic Thiem in his half of the draw and surely full of confidence after winning his first Major at the US Open, the Austrian could well be in the perfect position to beat Nadal in Paris for the first time. As for who is likely to make the final in the other half of the draw: look no further than Novak Djokovic.

The Serbian’s half of the draw is rather light on potential challengers. Denis Shapovalov has been playing well of late, but has only reached one Grand Slam quarterfinal and has won just one match at Roland Garros so far in his career. The perennial underachiever Grigor Dimitrov could perhaps provide Djokovic with a test in the third round, but it is hard to see the Bulgarian upending the world #1. Roberto Bautista Agut, meanwhile, who Djokovic is seeded to face in the fourth round is out of form.

Do not expect Djokovic to take this challenge lightly however. The Serbian is surely seething with himself after his disastrous exit in New York, where he was defaulted out of the US Open in the fourth round. Fortunately for the Serbian, he tends to play his tennis when the inner fire is alight. Expect him to use his frustrations in New York as fuel to propel him to a second Coupe des Mousquetaires, although he will not have things entirely his own way if he does find himself in the final against Thiem.

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