French Open 2015 Draw: Complete Seedings and Bracket Analysis

Lindsay Gibbs@linzsports Featured ColumnistMay 22, 2015

French Open 2015 Draw: Complete Seedings and Bracket Analysis

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    The moment we've all been waiting for has finally arrived: The French Open draw is out, and the countdown to play on Sunday has begun.

    This year, there are bigger storylines than ever taking place in the men's and women's fields. Can Rafael Nadal overcome the nerves and subpar play that defined his clay season and recapture his Roland Garros magic? Will Novak Djokovic finally win the Slam title that has eluded him?

    Will Maria Sharapova win her third French Open title in four years, or will Serena Williams get her 20th Slam and get that much closer to Steffi Graf's 22? Can Petra Kvitova win a major that's not Wimbledon?

    I don't know the answers to any of those questions, but I do know that the next two weeks is going to be a blast. There is nothing like Grand Slam tennis!

    Here's a complete look at the Roland Garros draw, with predictions to boot.

Top Seeds

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    Francois Mori/Associated Press

    Click the links to read the men's and women's complete draws. 

    Men

    1. Novak Djokovic
    2. Roger Federer
    3. Andy Murray
    4. Tomas Berdych
    5. Kei Nishikori
    6. Rafael Nadal
    7. David Ferrer
    8. Stan Wawrinka
    9. Marin Cilic
    10. Grigor Dimitrov
    11. Feliciano Lopez
    12. Gilles Simon
    13. Gael Monfils
    14. Jo-Wilfried Tsonga
    15. Kevin Anderson
    16. John Isner

    Women

    1. Serena Williams
    2. Maria Sharapova
    3. Simona Halep
    4. Petra Kvitova
    5. Caroline Wozniacki
    6. Eugenie Bouchard
    7. Ana Ivanovic
    8. Carla Suarez Navarro
    9. Ekaterina Makarova
    10. Andrea Petkovic
    11. Angelique Kerber
    12. Karolina Pliskova
    13. Lucie Safarova
    14. Agnieszka Radwanska
    15. Venus Williams
    16. Madison Keys

Men's Favorites with an Easy Draw

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    Alessandra Tarantino/Associated Press

    Roger Federer (No. 2)

    Simply put, the bottom half of the draw is the place to be if you're a man in Paris. The two best clay-courters of this season (Andy Murray and Novak Djokovic, believe it or not) are in the top half along with the King of Clay himself, Rafael Nadal.

    That leaves Federer in a pretty happy place. The first seed Federer could face is Ivo Karlovic (No. 25) in the third round, followed by perhaps his biggest test, Gael Monfils (No. 13) in the fourth. He could then potentially face Stan Wawrinka (No. 8) in the quarters and Tomas Berdych (No. 4) in the semis.

    Tomas Berdych (No. 4)

    This draw is also a golden opportunity for Berdych. The Czech could face Fabio Fognini (No. 28) in the third round, Jo-Wilfried Tsonga (No. 14) in the fourth round and Kei Nishikori (No. 5) in the quarters, before getting Federer in the semis. That's no gimme, but it's certainly manageable if Berdych is on his game.

    Kei Nishikori (No. 5)

    Nishikori has proven his prowess on clay and gotten his ranking up to No. 5 in the world, and now it's time to show what he's really capable of at the French Open. The Japanese superstar's first seeded test is Fernando Verdasco (No. 32) in the third round, potentially followed by Feliciano Lopez (No. 11) in the fourth and Berdych in the quarters. Opportunity abounds for the U.S. Open finalist.

Men's Favorites with a Tough Draw

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    Paul White/Associated Press

    Rafael Nadal (No. 6)

    Any time you have a guy who has won this Slam nine out of the last 10 years as a No. 6 seed, you know there could be trouble. And trouble there is. Nadal—who has famously only lost once at Roland Garros, to Robin Soderling in 2009—is slated to play Adrian Mannarino (No. 30) in the third round. He then could face the always-dangerous Grigor Dimitrov (No. 10) in the fourth round. 

    But the real threat comes in the quarterfinals, where Nadal could meet Novak Djokovic (No. 1). Ouch. Andy Murray (No. 3), who is unbeaten on clay this season with two titles, looms in the semis.

    Novak Djokovic (No. 1)

    Djokovic going for his Career Slam once again here at the French Open is certainly one of the biggest stories this year, but as you can tell, it's not going to be easy. Djokovic is slated to play the enigmatic Aussie Bernard Tomic (No. 27) in the third round. He could then face Frenchman Richard Gasquet (No. 20) or big-hitting Kevin Anderson (No. 15) in the fourth.

    Then, as we've already mentioned, Mr. Roland Garros himself, Rafael Nadal, could be waiting in the quarterfinals.

    Andy Murray (No. 3)

    It seems rather laughable to consider Andy Murray a favorite at the French Open, but considering he beat Rafael Nadal in the Madrid final for the biggest (albeit only second) clay-court title of his career just a few weeks ago, it's a reality.

    The Brit has one of the toughest early-round draws. In the second round he could face flashy Canadian Vasek Pospisil, followed by the big-stage-loving 20-year-old Nick Kyrgios (No. 29) in the third round. John Isner (No. 16) looms in the fourth round, and former French Open finalist David Ferrer (No. 7) is his slated quarterfinal opponent.

    Then, of course, Nadal or Djokovic would likely stand in the way of his first French Open final.

Women's Favorites with an Easy Draw

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    Mike Hewitt/Getty Images

    Simona Halep (No. 3)

    Last year's impressive finalist doesn't have an unmanageable draw this year, which is a good thing considering she still hasn't quite dialed into her top form this clay season.

    The first seed Halep could face is Alize Cornet (No. 29) in the third round. While there's nothing simple about Frenchwoman Cornet, particularly in France, this is a match that Halep should be able to win.

    In the fourth round, Halep could face a slumping Agnieszka Radwanska (No. 14) or up-and-coming Elina Svitolina (No. 19). Former French Open champion Ana Ivanovic (No. 7) is her slated quarterfinal opponent, and then we could get a very intriguing rematch of last year's final against Maria Sharapova (No. 2) in the semis. If Halep's form can live up to its seeding, that should be a fun one.

    Petra Kvitova (No. 4)

    It's been a while since Petra Kvitova has felt like a legitimate contender at a Slam outside of Wimbledon, but after her run to the Madrid title earlier this month that included a win over Serena Williams, she's back in the picture.

    Her draw looks pretty good, too, primarily because she's in the quarter with the struggling Canadian Eugenie Bouchard (No. 6). Kvitova could face Irina-Camelia Begu (No. 30) in the third round and big-hitting American Madison Keys (No. 16) in the fourth. If Bouchard loses early as expected, then Kvitova would get Karolina Pliskova (No. 12) or Svetlana Kuznetsova (No. 18) in the quarters.

Women's Favorites with a Tough Draw

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    Mike Hewitt/Getty Images

    Serena Williams (No. 1)

    If Serena Williams is going to get her 20th Slam in two weeks' time, she's going to have to be at her best from the start. Serena's first big task is against former No. 1 and two-time Australian Open champion Victoria Azarenka (No. 27) in the third round. Azarenka's ranking is still low due to time missed for injuries, and so it's unfortunate that matchup is slated so soon.

    Then Serena could get her sister Venus Williams (No. 15) in the fourth round, her good friend Caroline Wozniacki (No. 5) in the quarters and then Petra Kvitova (No. 4) in the semis. That's brutal.

    Maria Sharapova (No. 2)

    Sharapova's draw isn't as deadly as her rival Serena's, but it's far from a cakewalk. She opens up against dangerous floater Kaia Kanepi, and then in the third round, Sharapova could face former French Open finalist Samantha Stosur (No. 26).

    Lucie Safarova (No. 13) or Sabine Lisicki (No. 20) could await in the fourth. Two of the most impressive clay-courters this season—Carla Suarez Navarro (No. 8) and Angelique Kerber (No. 11)—are in her quarter as well.

    The Russian has never defended a Slam title, and it's going to be tough to break that streak this year.

Outlook for the American Men

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    Mike Hewitt/Getty Images

    John Isner (No. 16) is once again the highest-ranking American man headed into this tournament, and thusly he has the best shot at making the second week. The Greensboro, North Carolina, native opens up against Italian Andreas Seppi and then could face hometown favorite Jeremy Chardy in the second round. David Goffin (No. 17) is his slated third-round opponent.

    If Isner lives up to his seeding and makes it to the round of 16, Andy Murray (No. 3) could be his foe. It would be a surprise if Isner got past Murray, but he certainly has the game to get that far.

    Donald Young is in Isner's section as well. He opens up against Santiago Giraldo, then he could face Goffin in the second before potentially meeting his fellow American in the third.

    Sam Querrey is in an interesting part of the draw. He faces the impressive 18-year-old Borna Coric in the first round, followed by a potential meeting with Tommy Robredo (No. 18) in the second. Grigor Dimitrov (No. 10) could loom in the third. That's a tough section but far from impossible to navigate. In the fourth round, though, Rafael Nadal (No. 6) could await. That's a much tougher ask.

    Jack Sock, who won a clay-court event in Houston to begin the clay season, has a very tough draw, facing Grigor Dimitrov (No. 10) in the first round. Australian Open sportsman Tim Smyczek opens up against Kevin Anderson (No. 15).

    All of those players are in the loaded top half of the draw. The only Americans in the more-open bottom half are Steve Johnson and wild card Frances Tiafoe. 

    Johnson has a nice path to the third round against Stan Wawrinka (No. 8) if he can get past the always tricky Guillermo Garcia-Lopez in his opener. In his debut at the main draw of the French Open, Tiafoe faces Martin Klizan.

Outlook for the American Women

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    Mic Smith/Associated Press

    If you've paid attention to tennis at all over the past couple of years, it's no surprise that overall, the outlook for the American women is much brighter than the outlook for the American men. We've already covered Serena Williams, so we're devoting this section to the non-Serena Americans. Unfortunately, despite a plethora of talent, the draw was not kind to American women.

    Serena's sister Venus Williams (No. 15) is the second-seeded American (how crazy is it that they're still the top two Americans after all of these years?), but big sister didn't get any draw help. Venus faces fellow American Sloane Stephens in the first round, wild-and-crazy Czech Barbora Strycova (No. 22) in the third and then could get her sister in the fourth round.

    There are five other Americans in that quarter of the draw (before the qualifiers are placed, that is). Shelby Rogers opens up against Andrea Petkovic (No. 10), a winnable match considering Petkovic has been (once again) struggling with injury lately.

    Alison Riske faces Sara Errani (No. 17) in the first, while Coco Vandeweghe drew a beatable Julia Goerges. Irina Falconi faces a French wild card, and Christina McHale gets a qualifier. It wouldn't be a surprise to see at least five Americans from that quarter into the second round.

    Elsewhere in that half, there's another All-American first-round matchup as Madison Keys (No. 16) faces Varvara Lepchenko, a former French Open fourth-rounder who is ranked No. 34 in the world, just outside the bubble for the top 32 seeds. Provided she gets through Lepchenko, Keys gets the surging Timea Bacsinszky (No. 23) in the third and then Petra Kvitova (No. 4) in the fourth round.

    Also in the quarter with Lepchenko and Keys is Bethanie Mattek-Sands, who faces Irina-Camelia Begu (No. 30) in the first and then is on track to face Kvitova in the third round.

    There are only four American women in the bottom half of the draw: wild-card winner Louisa Chirico, who faces Ekaterina Makarova (No. 9) in the first; Lauren Davis, who drew Mirjana Lucic-Baroni; Nicole Gibbs, who could face Alexandra Dulgheru; and Australian Open breakthrough player Madison Brengle, who kicks off her campaign against the daunting Sam Stosur (No. 26).

Must-See First-Round Matches

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    Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

    Men

    • Grigor Dimitrov (No. 10) vs. Jack Sock
    • Sam Querrey vs. Borna Coric
    • Nicolas Almagro vs. Alexandr Dolgopolov
    • Nick Kyrgios (No. 28) vs. Denis Istomin

    Women

    • Venus Williams (No. 15) vs. Sloane Stephens
    • Sara Errani (No. 17) vs. Alison Riske
    • Varvara Lepchenko vs. Madison Keys
    • Eugenie Bouchard (No. 6) vs. Kristina Mladenovic
    • Carla Suarez Navarro (No. 8) vs. Monica Niculescu
    • Maria Sharapova (No. 2) vs. Kaia Kanepi

Wild Cards to Watch

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    Nick Kyrgios (No. 29)

    If you're not used to it yet, you should be prepared to locate Nick Kyrgios's name in the draw for years to come. The 20-year-old Aussie has continued to build on his momentum this clay season, making his first ATP final on the clay in Estoril last month and then upsetting Roger Federer in Madrid.

    Although he pulled out of Nice this week citing injury, and despite the fact that he's in the loaded top half of the draw, he could still be a force to be reckoned with at Roland Garros.

    Kyrgios opens up against Denis Istomin, gets a qualifier in the second round and then could potentially ruin Andy Murray's trip to Paris in the third round. Kyrgios has a huge serve, backhand and forehand, but perhaps most importantly, he's fearless under pressure and loves performing on big stages.

    Caroline Garcia (No. 31)

    There's nothing quite like a French player making waves at the French Open, and this year, 21-year-old Caroline Garcia has the chance to do just that. 

    Garcia has two WTA finals already this year, and her draw is pretty favorable. She opens up with the floundering Croat Donna Vekic, followed by an equally manageable second round against Bojana Jovanovski or Lesia Tsurenko. Then in the third round, Garcia could face Ana Ivanovic (No. 7), whom she has already defeated there times this season, including once on clay.

    Ekaterina Makarova (No. 9) would then be the highest seed she could face in the fourth round, and the French Open is by far the Russian's worst Slam.

    If Simona Halep (No. 3) loses before she makes it to the quarterfinals, Garcia's French Open run could really be one for the ages. Watch out.

Predictions for the Men's Tournament

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    Claudio Onorati/Associated Press

    Quarterfinals

    Novak Djokovic (No. 1) vs. Rafael Nadal (No. 6)

    Andy Murray (No. 3) vs. David Ferrer (No. 7)

    Kei Nishikori (No. 5) vs. Philipp Kohlschreiber (No. 22)

    Roger Federer (No. 2) vs. Stan Wawrinka (No. 8)

    Semifinals

    Djokovic vs. Ferrer

    Nishikori vs. Wawrinka

    Final

    Djokovic vs. Nishikori

    Winner

    Djokovic

Predictions for the Women's Tournament

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    Mike Hewitt/Getty Images

    Quarterfinals

    Serena Williams (No. 1) vs. Caroline Wozniacki (No. 5)

    Petra Kvitova (No. 4) vs. Svetlana Kuznetsova (No. 18)

    Simona Halep (No. 3) vs. Caroline Garcia (No. 31)

    Maria Sharapova (No. 2) vs. Carla Suarez Navarro (No. 8)

    Semifinals

    Williams vs. Kvitova

    Halep vs. Suarez Navarro

    Final

    Williams vs. Halep

    Winner

    Williams

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