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French Open 2013: Biggest Winners from Week 1 at Roland Garros

May 31, 2013; Paris, France; Rafael Nadal (ESP) reacts during his match against Martin Klizan (SVK) on day six of the 2013 French Open at Roland Garros.   Mandatory Credit: Susan Mullane-USA TODAY Sports
Susan Mullane-USA TODAY Sports
Donald WoodFeatured ColumnistJune 3, 2013

The 2013 French Open has been full of exciting action and unpredictable finishes, but there were several clear winners from the first week of competition on the clay courts of Roland Garros.

All of the following tennis stars have been playing well and enter the second week of competition as clear favorites to contend for a chance at participating in the 2013 French Open final.

 

Rafael Nadal

There is no better player on the clay courts of Roland Garros than Rafael Nadal, and with a great start to the 2013 tournament, the likelihood that the seven-time French Open champion will contend for another title is through the roof.

After beating Daniel Brands 4-6, 7-6 (7-4), 6-4, 6-3 in the first round, Martin Klizan 4-6, 6-3, 6-3, 6-3 in the second and taking down 27th-ranked Fabio Fognini 7-6 (7-5), 6-4, 6-4 in the third, it’s clear that Nadal’s knee issues have subsided and the Spanish star is ready to win.

World No. 1 Novak Djokovic is in Nadal’s portion of the draw and looks destined to meet the Spaniard in the semifinals, but as the defending champion and arguably the greatest clay player in history, Nadal is still the favorite to win the entire tournament.

 

Victoria Azarenka

While the world No. 3 women’s tennis player Victoria Azarenka doesn’t get the mainstream attention that Serena Williams, Caroline Wozniacki and Maria Sharapova have over the years, she is a force to be reckoned with at Roland Garros.

Not only did Azarenka beat Elena Vesnina 6-1, 6-4 in the first round, the Belarusian star dominated Annika Beck 6-4, 5-3 in the second and beat 31st-ranked Alize Cornet 4-6, 6-3, 6-1 in the third round.

Azarenka has never won a French Open title in her career, but coming off a huge Australian Open Grand Slam victory, the young star is looking to ride that momentum and experience to a stunning victory at Roland Garros.

 

David Ferrer

While most tennis fans talk about Rafael Nadal or Roger Federer, the star playing the best tennis of his life right now is Spanish sensation David Ferrer.

Do not count him out as the ultimate French Open championship sleeper.

Ferrer has won each of his first four matches in straight sets, beating Marinko Matosevic 6-4, 6-3, 6-4 in the first round, Albert Montanes 6-2, 6-1, 6-3 in the second and Feliciano Lopez 6-1, 7-5, 6-4 in the third, making him a clear favorite to win it all.

Add in Ferrer’s 6-3, 6-1, 6-1 victory over 23rd-ranked Kevin Anderson in Round 4 and there is little doubt that the Spanish star has his serve working perfectly and is fast enough on the baseline to stop any attempt at beating him.

 

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