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French Open 2017: Predictions, Dark Horses and News Preview

The French Open, often referred to as Roland Garros, is a major tennis tournament held over two weeks between late May and early June at the Stade Roland Garros in Paris, France. French Open 2017 Predictions, Dark Horses and News Preview.

With the Roland Garros 2017 set to kick off on Sunday in Paris, SI’s tennis experts and writers Jon Wertheim, Richard Deitsch, Stanley Kay and Jamie Lisanti discuss this year’s top storylines and predict the winners.

French Open 2017

French Open 2017

What qualifier or other player do you see being a dark horse this year?

Jon Wertheim: Maria Sharapova would have been the obvious answer but we’ll have to wait for Wimbledon for that….Lucie Safarova was a finalist two years ago. Mostly on account of injury and illness she has fallen and will likely not be seeded. Similarly Genie Bouchard was a top five player not all that long ago. She’s taken her share of losses since but—as she showed in Madrid against the aforementioned Sharapova—she is still capable of top shelf tennis.

As for the men, does Juan Martin del Potro qualify as a dark horse. No? Okay, we’ll take a pair of Pablo Honeys—Carreno Busta of Spain and Cuevas of Uruguay—instead.

Richard Deitsch: Roberto Bautista Agut has played quality matches in Munich, Rome and Madrid, even if those runs ultimately ended against higher seeds. He took the first set from Novak last year in the fourth round before losing in four including 7-5 in the final set. If his draw is good, I could see a nice second week result.

What did you learn from the clay-court lead-in tournaments?

JW: I suppose hard-core fans knew it already, but Rafa Nadal is really good at tennis, especially when the surface underfoot is clay. And—even at age 31, even without a French title since 2014, even coming off a dismal 2016—he is the pick to win for the TENTH time. We also, of course, learned that Novak Djokovic will come to defend his title (and, abstractly, more much) with a new apparel sponsor (Lacoste) and new aide-de-camp (Andre Agassi). Dominic Thiem is ready to take the proverbial next step. Presumably young Sascha Zverev is as well. On the women’s side we learned that the field is wide open. If you want to make God laugh, make a women’s tennis draw.

RD: That Alexander Zverev’s time might be now. After beating Novak Djokovic for the Italian Open title, he’s up to No. 10 in the rankings. I’d bet big that he tops a higher seed during the French. Elina Svitolina has to be considered one of the co-favorites given her recent run. If you know who will win the women’s French Open, let me know, please.

Make one bold prediction for the tournament

JW: Riding her recent hot streak and the hometown crowd, Kristina Mladenovic is your women’s champion.​

RD: Andre Agassi will receive interview requests.

SK: Andy Murray will be the victim of an early upset.

JL:  Nick Kyrgios will post his best-ever result at a Slam and make the semifinals.

Who will win the men’s title?

JW: Nadal. On clay. In a best-of-five format. With a few extra days of rest after Rome and some fear after the loss Thiem (his lone defeat of the four clay events he entered) means he will have the right calibration of confidence and motivation. Djokovic defending his title (and, by extension, his honor) would be a hell of a story, especially with the 1999 champ cheering from the box. After those two, it’s a long staircase down to other contenders.

RD: Djokovic. He looked very good in Rome with wins over Juan Martin del Potro and Dominic Thiem and I think the addition of Andre Agassi is going to help him both 1. Mentally; 2. Creating a storyline away from his tennis.

Who will win the women’s title?

JW: Simona Halep is probably the logical choice – discuss: when was the last time a zero-time Slam winner had this much pre-tournament buzz? The mystifying Garbine Muguruza is the defending champ. But—in the spirit of a hot take—we’ll take Mladenovic.

RD: Pick anyone from the Top 8 out of a hat and your choice will be as good as mine. I’ll take Simona Halep, back with coach Darren Cahill, who had been playing like a major champion this month prior to rolling her right ankle in the eighth game of the first set in the Italian Open final against Elina Svitolina.

Source : SI