Roland Garros 2013: Top Stars in Biggest Danger of French Open Upset

Mike HoagCorrespondent IIMay 28, 2013

PARIS, FRANCE - MAY 27:  Rafael Nadal of Spain holds his head during his Men's Singles match against Daniel Brands of Germany during day two of the French Open at Roland Garros on May 27, 2013 in Paris, France.  (Photo by Getty Images/Getty Images)
Getty Images/Getty Images

Tomas Berdych fell victim to the first 2013 French Open upset after being shockingly dispatched in five sets by unseeded Frenchmen Gael Monfils at Roland Garros.

With rain hampering play on Day 3 in France, any number of top players could be next.

Take a look at a couple of top stars who could be susceptible to shocking early-to-mid-round exits in Paris.


Rafael Nadal

Rafael Nadal struggled momentarily during his opening-round win over German Daniel Brands. He recovered after dropping the first set—only the 15th set he has lost at Roland Garros—and falling to 0-3 in the second to decisively win in four sets. Still, there is some uncertainty in the air about Rafa’s game.

Another primary concern for the Spanish giant is his ability to navigate through stormy weather. Damp conditions on clay courts are an equalizer that could take away his competitive advantage on the surface.

If the king of clay struggles early again against a stronger opponent, he may not be able to dig himself out of that deficit as a result of the weather. However, poor conditions resulted in last year’s postponement of his finals match against Novak Djokovic, and that didn’t halt his capture of the title.


Roger Federer

Roger Federer is coming into Roland Garros without winning a title for the first time since 2000. Will he regain top form following an embarrassing loss to Nadal on clay at the Italian Open? Another upset on clay at the Madrid Open by the 14th-seeded Kei Nishikori also rings painfully loud in the front of our minds.

At 31 years old, Federer is slowly becoming more and more mortal on the court with every passing tournament. Young and hungry up-and-comers like Monfils are readying themselves to replace him and other top stars atop the world rankings.

One upset may not be enough to usurp Federer from his mantle, but he is certainly on the defensive. His favorable draw could have him looking past opponents, making him susceptible to an untimely upset in the opening rounds.


Victoria Azarenka

Everyone is talking about the recent dominance by top seed Serena Williams. Williams, who owns Victoria Azarenka decisively in Grand Slam tournaments (7-0), wouldn’t meet the No. 3-seeded Azarenka until the finals after being placed in an opposite bracket half.

That is, of course, assuming the 23-year-old Belarusian star makes it that far. Azarenka has never advanced past the quarterfinals and has been dismissed three times in the tournament’s first round. Her French Open record is just 14-7.

While Azarenka has surely stepped up her game in recent years, she hasn’t proven to be able to succeed on the clay courts at Roland Garros.