French Open 2011: Power Ranking Top 10 Men in Field
The seedings at Roland Garros are one thing, and the bookies' odds are another—but you can't always tell who'll succeed at a Grand Slam based on statistics.
So, here are my predictions for how the field will pan out on the men's side of the draw, picking the 10 most likely men to win.
10. Sam Querrey
I expect Sam Querrey to make a good run this year. He has a tough first match against Philipp Kohlschreiber, but he has the ability to power through the draw.
9. David Ferrer
The TV commentators have been calling him the "nearly man," and he has generally lived up to it. An impressive first-round win against Jarko Nieminen bodes well.
8. Jo-Wilfried Tsonga
The Frenchman is on home soil (well, home clay) and has made it into the seedings, ranked at No. 17.
France has high hopes for him.
7. Tomas Berdych
Berdych's first-round matchup against Stephane Robert, a Frenchman, will be a tricky one, but the second round should prove easier for the No. 6 seed.
He made the semifinals last year.
6. Juan Martin Del Potro
It might be an optimistic prediction, but I really rate the big Argentinian.
He's been horribly unlucky with injuries since his wonderful U.S. Open win, but he's returning to Roland Garros, and I expect him to prove doubters wrong.
5. Robin Soderling
Last year's runner-up enters the tournament as the No 5 seed and is in the same half of the draw as Rafael Nadal, the man who beat him in 2010.
Still, he'll hope to make good progress. There's no reason why he shouldn't do as well as he did 12 months ago.
4. Roger Federer
Who'd have thought I'd have ranked Federer as low as No. 4?
His form is not looking good, though, and clay has always been his least favorite surface.
He'll put in some amazing performances, of course, and look like he's going to challenge, but I don't see him reaching the final.
3. Andy Murray
With a topsy-turvy 2011 for Murray so far, he served for the match in Rome against Novak Djokovic last week, but he just couldn't find his killer instinct.
He'll be fired up to show he has what it takes to be a genuine champion.
2. Novak Djokovic
His unbeaten streak is spectacular.
Astounding as he's been though, I just don't see Rafael Nadal letting go of his beloved French Open title that easily.
1. Rafael Nadal
If Nadal retains his trophy this year, it'll be one of his most impressive victories ever, as his rivals have stepped up their game on clay to push him ever harder. He'll need to stay fit, stay focused and avoid the heat viruses he seems to be prone to.
Only then can we expect to see him biting that trophy.