Australian Open 2017: French Open Predictions After Men, Women's Finals Results

Steve Silverman@@profootballboyFeatured ColumnistJanuary 29, 2017

Can Australian Open champion Serena Williams do it again in the French Open?
Can Australian Open champion Serena Williams do it again in the French Open?Dita Alangkara/Associated Press

The Australian Open is in the books, and it was a wonderful show, with Venus and Serena Williams in the women's final followed by the showdown between Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer in the men's bracket.

Both championship matches had that "turn back the clock" feeling, and champions Serena and Federer finished on a tremendous high with their sweeps through the first Grand Slam event of the year.

Serena triumphed over sister Venus in straight sets, 6-4, 6-4, before Federer finished off Nadal with a memorable 6-4, 3-6, 6-1, 3-6, 6-3 victory.

The second Grand Slam of the year takes place in late May and early June at the French Open, and nobody would be surprised if Serena was once again in a position to win yet another elite tournament.

Meanwhile, Federer may be all-time record holder when it comes to men's Grand Slam titles, but the red clay of Roland Garros has never been his ideal surface. He has won the French Open championship just once in his career.

When healthy, that's where Nadal has played his best tennis. However, there are no guarantees how well his wrist will hold up between now and then.

There's also the little matter of Andy Murray and Novak Djokovic. The pair were the top two seeds in the Australian Open and are the two top-ranked players in the world. The Scot was beaten in the fourth round of the tournament by Mischa Zverev, while the Serb was shockingly eliminated by Denis Istomin in the second round.

That's not likely to happen again. Both men should be able to return to top form by the time they get to Paris, and it would be somewhat shocking if one of those superstars didn't make the championship round at the French Open.

In addition to Federer, Nadal, Murray and Djokovic, Stan Wawrinka has to be considered as a legitimate championship contender. Milos Raonic of Canada has all the tools needed to make a long run in Paris as well.

Wawrinka was the fourth seed in the Australian Open, while Raonic was the third seed.

If Nick Kyrgios can harness his talent, he could be a French Open threat.
If Nick Kyrgios can harness his talent, he could be a French Open threat.Aaron Favila/Associated Press

Nick Kyrgios has to be considered a wild-card player because he has immense physical ability and is capable of playing the most artistic match of nearly anyone on the tour. However, he appears to have mood swings that impact his effort level. 

While the Australian appears to have the talent to beat any of the top players when he is focused throughout a match, he has never displayed the consistency to keep his effort turned on in every enocunter.

Serena will regain the No. 1 ranking in the world with her Australian Open victory, but she will get a major challenge from Angelique Kerber, who was the top-ranked player before the tournament began.

The German did not appear to handle the pressure of being No. 1 very well, as she was beaten in straight sets by CoCo Vandeweghe in the fourth round in Melbourne. However, when Kerber is on her game, she is capable of playing at a championship level.

It's difficult to think that 36-year-old Venus Williams could once again raise her level of play high enough to get to the championship round in two consecutive Grand Slam tournaments. However, players like Great Britain's Johanna Konta and Spain's Garbine Muguruza are capable of climbing the ladder and giving the best players a run for their money at Roland Garros.

Look for Novak Djokovic to return to top form at the French Open.
Look for Novak Djokovic to return to top form at the French Open.Mark Baker/Associated Press

Predictions:

Look for a renewed effort from Murray and Djokovic in the French Open. If Murray is the top seed in the tournament, it would not be a shock to see him play possible fourth seed Stan Wawrinka in the semifinals.

That could be a tough five-set match, but the Scot's relentless approach should help him come away with the victory.

Djokovic, who should land the second seed, will play with a chip on his shoulder after getting embarrassed in Australia. We're predicted he'll be placed in the same bracket as Nadal, and he'll beat his rival on the Spaniard's favorite surface. 

The Serb will then go on to assert his dominance over Murray in the championship round.

Serena had a tremendous chance to win all four Grand Slam events in 2015, but that dream died hard in the semifinals of the U.S. Open when she unexpectedly lost to Italy's Roberta Vinci.

The American is still a great player, but it doesn't seem likely she will make another run at all four titles in one year.

Serena will get stopped in the quarterfinal round in the French Open. We see Kerber playing to top form and beating Muguruza in the final round. 

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