French Open 2012 Scores: Underdogs Who Will Continue to Shock
We know who the big guys are going into the French Open. Guys like Roger Federer, Novak Djovokic, Rafael Nadal and Andy Murray are expected to be playing the last weekend of the tournament. But who are the underdogs to watch out for to possibly make it into the second week?
Here's a look at some guys who may surprise some tennis experts and fans at Rolland Garros.
Juan Carlos Ferrero
Juan Carlos Ferrero, nicknamed "The Mosquito," is a very experienced clay court player. He used to be the king of Spain before Nadal came onto the scene. Ferrero is one of the best movers on tour, especially on clay. The red dirt of Paris has a very special place in Ferrero's heart. It was only his first Grand Slam victory, even though he was in the 2003 U.S. Open final, eventually losing to Andy Roddick.
Ferrero will now play No. 21 Marin Cilic in the next round. He's very capable of knocking off Cilic with his movement. Cilic has a big game, but Ferrero can cover the red clay almost as good as anyone on tour.
The Spaniard was once a top player in the tennis world. He won his first French Open in 2003 before the era of Roger Federer. He was the next big player on clay after Brazilian Gustavo Kuerten. Watching him move was a thing of beauty. Now, about a decade older, does Ferrero have one last run in him?
Marin Cilic, the No. 21 seed in the French Open, is a player to watch out for. He's made a name for himself in the tennis world the last few years. He likes to punish his opponents with big ground strokes. His section looks pretty interesting, with his next opponent being Juan Carlos Ferrero. The young Croatian has been as high as No. 9 in the world.
He made the semifinals at the Australian Open in 2010. An intriguing matchup can occur in the third round with Cilic going against Juan Martin Del Potro. Del Potro and Cilic have very similar games. Both aren't the best movers, but they can make opponents track down every ball. The two met earlier this year in Miami, with Del Potro winning.
Cilic is someone who could see the second week of play. He has the match experience and the game to pull out some upsets.
Gilles Simon has the game that can see the second week as well. The young Frenchman has a tough first-round opponent in American Ryan Harrison, but I see him advancing due to match experience and being on clay. Simon has a game with tons of variety. He can go from offense to defense in unique fashion.
Simon comes into the French Open at seed No. 11. He has been as high as No. 6 in the world. In grand slams, however, he has never gotten out of the quarterfinals. In every grand slam except his quarterfinal appearance at the Australian Open, Simon has only seen the fourth round.
Simon's backhand is his best shot. He uses it to hit some tricky angles against his opponents. Simon is usually overlooked for his return game. He's underrated and has been overshadowed by the top players in the game. When Simon takes the ball early, he can be very dangerous. He has now also built a net game, which could do him wonders for the future.
Fernando Verdasco is as dangerous as they come on a hard court. Still, the Spaniard should get some recognition for a deep run into this year's French Open. Verdasco has been as high as No. 7 in the world. Currently, he is seeded No. 14 in this year's event and comes in with a ranking of No. 16.
Verdasco has one of the biggest forehands in the game. He has an all-around game, with a big serve and a tricky left-handed game similar to Nadal's. However, Verdasco has only seen the fourth round of action at Rolland Garros. His best performances have come at the Australian Open and US Open, in which he was a semifinalist and quarterfinalist, respectively.
Everyone remembers Verdasco as being part one of the longest matches in Australian Open history. His match with Nadal in the 2009 Australian Open semifinals was a complete war. It was one of the hardest-hitting encounters you will see.
Verdasco has worked with Hall of Fame American Andre Agassi and his team with fitness and improving his game. The 28-year-old Spaniard could make it deep in the second week.
Wawrinka is best remembered for winning gold with fellow Swiss Roger Federer at the 2008 summer Olympics. He's a top-20 player and is seeded No. 18 in the French Open. Wawrinka has a massive one-handed backhand and is an underrated mover as well. He's believed to have one of the best one-handed backhands in the game today along with Richard Gasquet.
Wawrinka's game is suited best for the hard courts and clay courts. He prefers being an offensive baseline type of player. The Swiss has seen quarterfinal appearances in both the US Open and the Australian Open.
The 27-year-old could see himself back to a fourth-round appearance in the French Open once again. He has the game that could do well on this type of surface, and he's improved his mental toughness.