French Open 2014 Draw: Complete Seedings and Bracket Analysis
The draw has been set. The clay has been combed. All of the top players are in Paris. It's time for the French Open to begin.
This year, the tournament feels a bit more up in the air than usual. Rafael Nadal still had the best clay season out of anyone, but it wasn't up to his lofty standards. The Spaniard only won one title, and lost in two straight quarterfinals to lower-ranked countrymen. Novak Djokovic beat him in the final of the Rome Masters last week to set up plenty of intrigue between the top two players in the world.
On the women's side, Serena Williams is the favorite as always, but there are plenty of other contenders. Maria Sharapova continues her revival on clay, Simona Halep is looking to finally make a big move at a major and Ana Ivanovic has been turning the clock back to 2008, the year she won this tournament.
There are 32 seeds in the men's and women's draw. You can see a full list of all 32 seeds here, and the top 16 are listed below.
1. Rafael Nadal
2. Novak Djokovic
3. Stanislas Wawrinka
4. Roger Federer
5. David Ferrer
6. Tomas Berdych
7. Andy Murray
8. Milos Raonic
9. Kei Nishikori
10. John Isner
11. Grigor Dimitrov
12. Richard Gasquet
13. Jo-Wilfried Tsonga
14. Fabio Fognini
15. Mikhail Youzhny
16. Tommy Haas
1. Serena Williams
2. Li Na
3. Agnieszka Radwanska
4. Simona Halep
5. Petra Kvitova
6. Jelena Jankovic
7. Maria Sharapova
8. Angelique Kerber
9. Dominika Cibulkova
10. Sara Errani
11. Ana Ivanovic
12. Flavia Pennetta
13. Caroline Wozniacki
14. Carla Suarez Navarro
15. Sloane Stephens
16. Sabine Lisicki
Men's Favorites with an Easy Draw
Rafael Nadal (No. 1)
Nadal is coming into this French Open with a few more question marks than usual surrounding him, but his draw should give him a bit of room to breathe.
The eight-time champion starts out against American wild card Robby Ginepri, and then could play Frenchmen Paul-Henri Mathieu in the second round.
Things get a bit tricky in the fourth round and quarterfinals, as he could have to face the two Spaniards who beat him during clay season, Nicolas Almagro (No. 21) and David Ferrer (No. 5). However, it's highly unlikely that either man could take out Rafa twice in one season on clay.
He's projected to play Andy Murray (No. 7) or Stanislas Wawrinka (No. 3) in the semifinals.
Roger Federer (No. 4)
The Swiss snuck into the No. 4 ranking, and that gave him a very nice quarter all to himself. His form is questionable—he hasn't won a match since Monte Carlo in April—but with the birth of his twin boys in the rearview mirror, he should be freed up to continue his run of good form in 2014.
Federer's first seed would be Dmitry Tursunov (No. 31) in the third round. Then he could potentially face Mikhail Youzhny (No. 15) or Ernests Gulbis (No. 18) in the fourth round, with Tomas Berdych (No. 6) awaiting in the quarterfinals. He's in Djokovic's half, which is a much better matchup for him than Nadal. All in all, the 2009 French Open winner has a nice draw.
Andy Murray (No. 7)
It's quite a stretch calling Murray a favorite at the French Open, but the two-time major winner should at least get a mention. His ranking has dropped out of the top four since his back injury last fall, but he got a pretty nice draw anyways. He would face Wawrinka in the quarterfinals and Nadal in the semis if he were to get that far.
Other potential landmines are Philipp Kohlschreiber (No. 28) in the third round and Richard Gasquet (No. 12) in the fourth.
Men's Favorites with a Tough Draw
Novak Djokovic (No. 2)
Djokovic is riding high after his victory over Nadal in Rome, but his smile might fade a bit when he sees his draw. It's not formidable, but there are certainly challenges.
He could play Frenchmen Jeremy Chardy (who beat Federer in Rome) in the second round. The comeback-bound Marin Cilic (No. 25) awaits in the third round, as does last year's semifinalist Jo-Wilfried Tsonga (No. 13) in the fourth round. Then in the quarterfinals he could face Milos Raonic (No. 8), who pushed him to the brink in the Rome semifinals.
Federer, the only man to beat Djokovic on clay this year, awaits in the semifinals.
Stanislas Wawrinka (No. 3)
Wawrinka stunned the world by winning the Australian Open earlier this year, and he continued his good form by winning the Monte Carlo Rolex Masters on clay last month. But a run at the French Open crown is going to be tough for the No. 1 Swiss. He could face Fabio Fognini (No. 14) or Gael Monfils (No. 23) in the fourth round. Monfils has made the semis here before, while Fognini loves clay and is playing the best tennis of his career.
But the most brutal part of his draw is that he could face Andy Murray (No. 7) in the quarterfinals. Murray's not at his best on clay, but he's a tough quarterfinal opponent for a No. 3 seed to get.
David Ferrer (No. 5)
Last year David Ferrer made it to his fist Grand Slam final here in Paris, but his road back there is pretty rough. He could face the surging Bulgarian Grigor Dimitrov (No. 11) in the fourth round, and then he'd have to face the King of Clay in the quarterfinals, which would be a rematch of last year's final. Ferrer already took out Nadal once this clay season, but lightning rarely strikes twice.
Women's Favorites with an Easy Draw
Li Na (No. 2)
It's always nice to have the No. 2 seed and be guaranteed an entire half of the draw without Serena Williams, and Li Na has certainly benefited. This year's Australian Open winner will be trying to claim her second French Open title, and her draw leaves the door open.
Li's first seed is Andrea Petkovic (No. 28) in the third round. Then she could potentially face Caroline Wozniacki (No. 13) or Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova (No. 24) in the fourth. Serbian Jelena Jankovic (No. 6) could bring some resistance in the quarterfinals, as could Simona Halep (No. 4) in the semis, but that's to be expected in the second week of a major. All in all, Paris has been kind to Li so far.
Agnieszka Radwanska (No. 3)
The Polish ninja hasn't always been at her best on clay, but with her draw this year there is certainly hope to make it to the semifinals, where she would meet Serena Williams. The first seed she faces could be Elena Vesnina (No. 32) in the third round, and then she has Alize Cornet (No. 20) or Carla Suarez Navarro (No. 14) in the fourth. Angelique Kerber (No. 8) is her slated quarterfinal opponent.
Simona Halep (No. 4)
Casual tennis fans might not know Simona Halep yet, but the 22-year-old has skyrocketed up the rankings this year and now seems poised to do damage in a major. She has a pretty easy path to the fourth round, with the only seed standing in her way being Klara Koukalova (No. 30). In the fourth round she'd face Sloane Stephens (No. 15), who has been struggling mightily lately.
In the quarterfinals, either Petra Kvitova (No. 5) or Ana Ivanovic (No. 11) might be waiting. That would be tough, but still certainly winnable for the tricky and powerful Romanian. She's in Li Na's half of the draw.
Women's Favorites with a Tough Draw
Serena Williams (No. 1)
Serena never met a draw that wasn't favorable on paper, and this year's Roland Garros draw is no exception. However, it is loaded with names that could trouble her if she has an off day.
Serena faces her good friend Alize Lim in the first round, talented up-and-comer Garbine Muguruza in the second round and then could get sister Venus (No. 29) in the third. Last year's Wimbledon finalist Sabine Lisicki (No. 16) could be waiting in the fourth, and she could see Maria Sharapova (No. 7) or Australian Open finalist Dominika Cibulkova (No. 9) in the quarterfinals.
If she makes it through her quarter, the sailing gets smoother. Agnieszka Radwanska (No. 3) is her semifinal opponent, with Li Na (No. 2) potentially in the final.
Maria Sharapova (No. 7)
The biggest draw loser this year by far is Maria Sharapova, who is getting punished for having her ranking drop down to No. 7. Last year's finalist and 2012's winner is slated to meet her nemesis Serena in the quarterfinals. That's just mean considering how good Sharapova has looked during clay season.
Petra Kvitova (No. 5)
The 2011 Wimbledon champion isn't particularly known for her clay-court prowess, but she did make the semifinals of the French Open back in 2012. She has an awful draw this year, though. She could face two former French Open winners before the quarterfinals, with Svetlana Kuznetsova (No. 27) looming in the third round and Ana Ivanovic (No. 11) looming in the fourth. Her quarterfinal opponent would be Simona Halep (No. 4), and she's in Li Na's half.
Outlook for the American Men
How do you say "not good" in French?
Once again, the American men haven't had a successful clay season, and their hopes at the French are slim-to-none. John Isner (No. 10) is the only seeded player, and while he has a nice draw, he hasn't found his form this clay season.
Still, keep an eye on the gentle giant. Isner plays little-known Frenchmen Pierre-Hugues Herbert in the first round, and then could get his old Wimbledon buddy Nicolas Mahut in the second. His first seed could be Tommy Robredo (No. 17) in the third, and then he'd face Tomas Berdych (No. 6) in the fourth round. He's in Federer's quarter and Djokovic's half. It could be a lot worse.
Elsewhere, Robby Ginepri got a terrible gift for winning the USTA French Open wild card: A date with Rafael Nadal in the first round. Twenty-one-year-old Jack Sock got a seeded Spaniard as well, Nicolas Almagro (No. 21). The winner of that match could face American Steve Johnson.
Sam Querrey has had a very disappointing season, but could possibly win a match or two in Paris. He faces Filippo Volandri from Italy in the first round, then could get Dmitry Tursunov (No. 31) in the second. Then he'd face Federer, though, so it's not looking like a second week is in the cards.
The only other Americans in the draw are Bradley Klahn, Donald Young and Michael Russell. Klahn faces Frenchmen Axel Michon in the first round and potentially Kevin Anderson (No. 19) in the second. Young faces off against Dudi Sela in the first, while Russell gets Alejandro Gonzalez of Colombia.
Ryan Harrison failed to qualify for the main draw.
Outlook for the American Women
As usual, the outlook for the American women is slightly brighter than it is for the men, even if you take the favorite Serena Williams out of the picture.
The American audiences will certainly have their eyes on Sloane Stephens (No. 15). Stephens has made the fourth round here the past two years and hasn't lost before the fourth round at a major in almost two years. However, she hasn't looked good this year, and her attitude has often been questioned.
Still, Stephens has hope in Paris for another solid run. Jana Cepelova, who took out Serena in Charleston and made the final, awaits in Round 2. In Round 3 she could face Russian Ekaterina Makarova (No. 22), or fellow Americans Shelby Rogers or Coco Vandeweghe. Simona Halep (No. 4) would be her fourth-round opponent.
Venus Williams (No. 29) has a brutal draw, facing Belinda Bencic in the first round. Bencic is a talented teenager from Switzerland who made the semifinals in Charleston as a qualifier this year. If Venus makes it through the first two rounds, her sister would await in the third round.
Madison Keys has a chance at an early upset when she takes on Sara Errani (No. 10). Errani made the finals in 2012 and the semifinals last year, but has fallen off a bit this year and was injured in the Rome final last week. Keys certainly has the power to rattle Errani, and could inherit a great draw if she plays her first round well.
Christina McHale has been on the rise this spring, and she faces Elena Vesnina (No. 32) in a winnable first-round encounter before possibly facing 2010 champion Francesca Schiavone in the second round. Schiavone is far from her best these days, so McHale could find herself in Round 3, where she'd meet Radwanska (No. 3).
In her Grand Slam debut, former Junior No. 1 Taylor Townsend faces off against fellow American Vania King. The winner gets Frenchwoman Alize Cornet (No. 20) in what would be a feisty but opportunity-filled affair.
Varvara Lepchenko made the fourth round here in 2012, but she faces tricky Czech Petra Cetkovska in the first round and could get Angelique Kerber (No. 8) in the second. Newly-converted American Anna Tatishvili faces Kurumi Nara in the first and Jelena Jankovic (No. 6) in the second, while Alison Riske could see Li Na (No. 2) for trouble in the second round as well.
Must-See Early-Round Matches
Men's First Round
Grigor Dimitrov (No. 11) vs. Ivo Karlovic
Richard Gasquet (No. 12) vs. Bernard Tomic
Fernando Verdasco (No. 24) vs. Michael Llodra
Women's First Round
Venus Williams (No. 29) vs. Belinda Bencic
Ana Ivanovic (No. 11) vs. Caroline Garcia
Sara Errani (No. 10) vs. Madison Keys
Wild Cards to Watch
Kei Nishikori (No. 9)
Nishikori has had a great year so far, climbing to a career-high ranking and becoming the first Japanese man to make the top 10. He looked great on clay in Madrid, leading Nadal by a set and a break in the final before his back gave out and he had to retire.
Nishikori's first seed would be Alexandr Dolgopolov (No. 20) in the third round. Then he'd battle fellow youngster Milos Raonic (No. 8) for a spot in the quarterfinals, where Djokovic would await. If healthy, he could do some real damage in Paris.
Ana Ivanovic (No. 11)
The 2008 French Open champion has been on fire in 2014, and her clay season in particular has impressed. The Serb has found her ball toss and her forehand, the two things that have been troubling her for six years, and she's impressed by taking out Serena Williams at the Australian Open and Maria Sharapova in the Rome Masters just last week.
Ivanovic has a tough first-round match against the surging young Frenchwoman Caroline Garcia, but she avoided the land mines by landing in the opposite half of the draw of Serena and Sharapova.
Still, nothing can be taken for granted for the former No. 1. She could face Lucie Safarova (No. 23) in the third round and Petra Kvitova (No. 5) in the fourth. Simona Halep (No. 4), who beat Ivanovic handily in Madrid, awaits in the quarters. But keep an eye on Ivanovic—if she makes it through her first few matches and gains some confidence, she could recapture the old magic.
Predictions for the Men's Tournament
Rafael Nadal (No. 1) vs. Grigor Dimitrov (No. 11)
Stanislas Wawrinka (No. 3) vs. Andy Murray (No. 7)
Roger Federer (No. 4) vs. Tomas Berdych (No. 6)
Novak Djokovic (No. 2) vs Kei Nishikori (No. 9)
Nadal vs. Wawrinka
Djokovic vs. Federer
Nadal d. Djokovic
Predictions for the Women's Tournament
Serena Williams (No. 1) vs. Maria Sharapova (No. 7)
Agnieszka Radwanska (No. 3) vs. Flavia Pennetta
Simona Halep (No. 4) vs. Ana Ivanovic (No. 11)
Li Na (No. 2) vs. Jelena Jankovic (No. 6)
Williams vs. Radwanska
Halep vs. Jankovic
Williams d. Halep