The 2014 French Open features the best male and female players in the world, but not all of top stars will meet at Roland Garros.
No matter how well a player is performing heading into the week, there is always the threat of an early-round upset. While this is part of the reason the sport is so exciting to watch, it often ruins the later matchups that people were so excited to see when the draws were announced.
The underdog is fun to watch, but it is nothing compared to seeing two elite players go at it in a Grand Slam. You can be certain that pretty much every organizer and television executive is hoping for a final between Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic.
Before the finals, there are plenty of other dream matchups to excite fans throughout the two weeks starting on Monday.
Round 3: Andy Murray vs. Philipp Kohlschreiber
Andy Murray is still one of the most talented players in the world, but he has not reached his peak level this season. Not only has he failed to win a tournament in 2014, but he has yet to even to get to the final of any event.
The good news is he has performed well against top competition, sending Nadal to a third set before losing at Rome. Former star Chris Evert noted that he was playing as well as ever on clay:
Andy Murray playing the best clay court tennis I've ever seen him play, the problem being he can't let up for ONE second if he's to win...— Chris Evert (@ChrissieEvert) May 16, 2014
He will have to keep performing well if he is to make a deep run at Roland Garros. Things will get difficult early on with a possible third-round matchup against Philipp Kohlschreiber. The German is coming off a clay-court championship in Dusseldorf, giving him a lot of momentum going into the Grand Slam.
After going to the fourth round at this event last year, Kohlschreiber has a strong chance to make another deep run this week. At the very least, he will provide Murray with a tough challenge if the two face each other.
Round 2: John Isner vs. Nicolas Mahut
The excitement with this match might have a lot to do with whether or not you have a lot of free time to watch it. John Isner and Nicolas Mahut battled in the 2010 Wimbledon championships in a match that became the longest in tennis history.
It took 11 hours and five minutes to complete the match, which took place over the course of three days. Isner eventually won the final set 70-68.
ESPN Tennis noted the matchup immediately:
John Isner, seeded 10th, opens against French wild card Herbert. Could play Mahut in second round. #RG14— ESPNTennis (@ESPNTennis) May 23, 2014
Erik Gudris of ATN Tennis pointed out that this one could take quite a long time as well:
Par example, possible Isner v. Mahut R2. With the rain & clay, that could take weeks to finish. #RG14— Erik Gudris (@ATNtennis) May 23, 2014
Both of these players are great on the serve but tend to struggle a bit defensively. Isner has performed better lately and would be the clear favorite heading into this potential match, but you never know what could happen when these two stars meet.
Round 2: Novak Djokovic vs. Jeremy Chardy
Heading into this tournament, Djokovic is thinking about winning a championship and little else. He already showed that he is capable of defeating Nadal, something that will give him plenty of confidence going forward, as he recently explained via ATPWorldTour.com:
Winning against Nadal on clay is something that doesn't happen every day. The tournament win in Rome came at the right moment for me. For my confidence level it's definitely a booster and a positive thing.
Hopefully I can carry that confidence coming into Roland Garros…I'm healthy and obviously very motivated and inspired to play my best tennis here.
However, it will be important for the No. 2 seed to not get ahead of himself. While he will be favored in every match until the final, there are certainly players capable of pulling off an upset if Djokovic is not playing his best.
One potential tough challenge is Jeremy Chardy, who projects to face Djokovic in the second round. The French star has excelled on clay courts throughout his career and will have the support of the home crowd cheering him on.
It will likely take a perfect performance for Chardy to pull off the upset, but he will at least be able to give Djokovic a scare early on.
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