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2023 French Open: Ranking the Top Five Men’s Matches

Novak Djokovic in action at the ATP Rome Open.

With history made after Novak Djokovic’s 23rd Grand Slam victory, this year’s French Open comes to an end after some great tennis. We here at LWOT have compiled a list of the best five matches of the men’s tournament.

5. Lorenzo Sonego d. Andrey Rublev 5-7 0-6 6-3 7-6 (5) 6-3 – third round

Kicking off the list is a classic two-sets down comeback by Lorenzo Sonego. The Italian had to serve to stay in the match twice during the fourth set and came out clutch to take the fourth-set tiebreak. With his big forehand ever improving throughout the match, Sonego ultimately hit 37 winners to move into the second week. The crowd also played a role in this match, with fans on Suzzane-Lenglen rallying behind the Italian with the hopes of watching an exciting five-set match. Ultimately, the fans got what they wanted.

4. Holger Rune d. Fransisco Cerundolo 7-6 (3) 3-6 6-4 1-6 7-6 (7) – fourth round

Earlier this season, Rune heartbreakingly lost to Rublev in a fifth set tiebreaker in Melbourne. Falling 11-9 in the breaker on a let cord, surely the memories of that match came back to Rune as he had to pull through another fifth set breaker against Cerundolo. Rune struggled physically at times during the match, yet showed huge amounts of determination to make it back to the quarterfinals. Both players brought everything to this match, with the best shotmaking appearing late in the fifth set. While both players made a lot of sloppy unforced errors, much of it was due to wanting to finish rallies after such a long match.

3. Novak Djokovic d. Carlos Alcaraz 6-3 5-7 6-1 6-1 – semifinal

The blockbuster battle of the French Open, this match would surely be #1 had Alcaraz stayed healthy for the duration of the match. The shotmaking was off the charts in the first and second set, with Alcaraz’s backward running forehand reaching the top spot of shots hit this tournament. While many could ask what this match could have been, Djokovic’s win was a testament to his strategy on court: physically wearing out opponents to battle through matches. Even though it was unfortunate to see Alcaraz cramping, Djokovic deserved the win for his superior physical and mental strength. Hoping for more Grand Slam matches between these two stars.
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2. Daniel Altmaier d. Jannik Sinner 6-7 (0) 7-6 (7) 1-6 7-6 (4) 7-5 – second round

Questions were lingering over Sinner’s form this tournament, and despite his early loss, Sinner truly played well in this second-round epic. Altmaier had never beaten a Top 10 opponent and seemed to lack the game required to do so. However, he stayed consistent and resilient through this 5h26 epic, bringing his absolute best when it mattered. In the fourth set, the German was able to defend an overhead smash from Sinner match point down, and won an 18-shot rally to help him draw level at 5-5. In the fifth set, Altmaier was unable to close out the match at 5-4, and it seemed all hope was lost with the Italian full of momentum. Yet, Altmaier persevered some more, breaking right back and serving out an incredible win.

Honorable Mentions

Novak Djokovic d. Karen Khachanov 4-6 7-6 (0) 6-2 6-4 – quarterfinals

One of Djokovic’s toughest tests this tournament, the Serb noticeably started slow, allowing Khachanov to dictate play. With the Russian serving well to keep him alive in the second set, Djokovic went into his “GOAT mode” and dominated the second set tiebreak. In fact, Djokovic hit zero unforced errors in that tiebreak and hit zero errors in all of his tiebreaks this tournament. Djokovic was thrilling to watch in the third set, as he hit 19 winners to one unforced error in the third set. Khachanov definitely could have won this match had he played any other opponent.

Taylor Fritz vs Arthur Rinderknech 2-6 6-4 6-3 6-4 – second round

The epitome of the French Open came full circle in this match, as Taylor Fritz ground out an incredibly difficult win against Rinderknech and the crowd. Summing up a disappointing tournament for the French, Rinderknech was the last French player standing in the tournament. With the crowd firmly behind Rinderknech, Fritz served well and stayed mentally tough to win. Of course, the highlight of this match was the ending, with dramatic boos and Fritz expressing his thoughts to the crowd.

Novak Djokovic vs Casper Ruud 7-6 (1) 6-3 7-5 – final

Despite the straight-sets scoreline, this was a high-quality final. The first set wasn’t great from Novak, yet he found a new gear serving down 5-6. The Serb then dominated the first set tiebreak, enthralling the French crowd. From there, Djokovic brought his A-game. The Serb displayed lots of aggression on his groundstrokes, blowing Ruud off the court. The Norwegian played a solid match, yet it wasn’t enough.
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1. Gaël Monfils d. Sebastian Baez 3-6 6-3 7-5 1-6 7-5 – first round

This year’s top French Open match goes way back to Day 3. With a delayed night session due to Medvedev’s shocking five-set loss, Monfils ended his match in front of a half-full French crowd, with fans exhausted from the long day of tennis. Yet, the crowd was as loud as ever, backing behind Monfils as he fought back from 0-4 down in the fifth. He didn’t play his best in the first 80% of the match, yet his comeback in the fifth was truly vintage Monfils. Fans witnessed amazing shot after shot, with the French crowd frankly going wild. The end of the match featured insane passing shots showcasing the Frenchman’s athleticism. Meanwhile, this all happened as Monfils’ physical state deteriorated throughout the set. Ultimately, his win was absolutely deserved; if it was his last win in Paris, it truly was a good one.


Main Photo Credit: Susan Mullane-USA TODAY Sports


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