French Open 2013: Power Ranking Men's Final Four
Jo-Wilfried Tsonga carries a wave of momentum and the hopes of the host nation into the semifinals of the 2013 French Open, but I still can't rank his title chances ahead of those of Novak Djokovic or Rafael Nadal.
Then, of course, we also have to consider fourth-seeded David Ferrer, and I'll consider him first, as he is fourth in this power ranking. At least Ferrer should be used to being an afterthought.
So, with the men's semifinals on tap for June 7, let's take a look at how the final four stack up against each other.
No. 4: David Ferrer
David Ferrer has been a fantastic and consistent player for years now. Yet, it's almost impossible to find someone who expects him to win the majors as they roll around. He just doesn't stack up with the likes of the players ahead of him.
This certainly doesn't mean he will never take the next step, but it does mean that I'm not going to pick him to win one until he does.
Ferrer will face Tsonga in the semifinals, and the numbers certainly say he should win.
The two players have battled each other four times. Ferrer has won three of those, which includes their most recent meeting and their only meeting on clay.
Still, I think Tsonga will triumph this time around, and I'll explain a little bit more about why in the next section.
No. 3: Jo-Wilfried Tsonga
Sixth-seeded Jo-Wilfried Tsonga is putting himself in position to become the first Frenchman to win the French Open since Yannick Noah accomplished the feat in 1983. There is no doubt that he will benefit from the support of the home fans.
Still, this isn't the main reason to pick him over Ferrer.
Tsonga is playing great tennis right now. He is overpowering opponents with his serve and is solid on his returns. This is how he has rolled to the semis without losing a set, and that includes knocking off Roger Federer in upset fashion.
Tsonga is finding his groove, and I wouldn't be shocked to see him claim the title. However, I still can't rank him ahead of either of our next two stars.
No. 2: Novak Djokovic
Novak Djokovic entered as the No. 1 seed, but it still wouldn't have been accurate to call him the favorite. With Rafael Nadal's seven titles at Roland Garros, Nadal had to be considered the man to beat. Nothing that has transpired at this French Open should change that perception.
Nole has looked fantastic, and he beat Nadal the last time the two met, which happened to be on clay.
However, Nadal had won the pair's previous three meetings—all of which had come on clay. That includes Nadal's four-set triumph over Djokovic at last year's French Open.
Djokovic isn't completely overwhelmed against Rafa on clay. He has shown he can gain momentum against him. However, I'm still skeptical that he can turn that into a victory over five sets at Roland Garros.
No. 1: Rafael Nadal
Rafael Nadal returned from a seven-month layoff with a knee injury, and all he's done since is go 41-2. In his eight tournaments leading up to the French Open, he has made the final in all of them.
Who will win the title?
Also, Nadal is an amazing 57-1 at Roland Garros for his career, winning the last three titles at Roland Garros and seven of the past eight.
This doesn't mean we can just hand Rafa the title, though. His booming forehand has been a little inconsistent in this run, and as we mentioned, Nole beat him on clay the last time these two met.
But let's not get carried away with the concerns. In his last two matches, both straight-set victories, he's lost just 14 games. Nadal is primed to win his eighth French Open in the last nine years.
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