Welcome to Tennis Elbow, the column that looks back on the week that was in the world of tennis. This week, Charles Blouin-Gascon previews the second week of the 2017 French Open.
A week is in the books at the French Open—a week that was, if we’re being honest, not entirely devoid of surprises but not entirely full of them either, you know?
Week one at Roland-Garros, in other words, was totally fine, with plenty of great moments and most of the star power still in contention.
A couple of players, both men and women, shot their shot and missed oh so badly, while a couple others escaped catastrophe ever so slightly, but for the most part things unfolded how we expected them to. It’s just too bad Petra Kvitova lost her second match.
Much like we did before the launch of the event, here is where things stand as we enter the second week: there are 24 total players still competing in the two singles draws, sure, but can we be more specific? Who’s hot? Who’s barely alive? Who’s just happy to be here? Welcome to the Roland-Garros week 2 power rankings.
1. Rafael Nadal
The King of Clay stands alone at No. 1 after Petra Kvitova’s (understandable) early exit. On his way to the quarterfinals, the Spaniard has been utterly destructive and dominant, losing only 20 games in four matches—or 1.67 per set played. Rafael Nadal has left no doubt as to who should be considered favourite regardless of what the seedings say. He’s more or less removed the soul from the main draw’s body.
2. Dominic Thiem
3. Novak Djokovic
BUT!!!! There’s always a but, right? Actually with Nadal on clay there traditionally has almost never has been a but… But if there’s someone who may beat the Spaniard this week, then our money is on Dominic Thiem or Novak Djokovic. They’ll settle things in the quarterfinals.
Thiem-Zeballos highlights: here.
3. Bernard Giudicelli Ferrandini
Well let’s see, a week ago we had the Fédération Française de Tennis’s Bernard Giudicelli Ferrandini as mister irrelevant, the middle man in the 256-person field, the one with no real power and who kinda screwed over Maria Sharapova. But no more, because ole Bernie sure knew all along what he was doing. He’s had a Nadal at the top of his powers, the inspiring Steve Johnson story, little rain, wonderful Nick Kyrgios quotes, John Isner and Casey Dellacqua standing up against Margaret Court’s asinine comments and bigotry, Petra Kvitova’s return and Juan Martin Del Potro consoling Nicolas Almagro.
Del Potro aiding Almagro: here.
4. Simona Halep
In our preview last week, we mentioned that Simona Halep may not have a much better shot at finally adding a Grand Slam title to her mantle than this time in Paris. Not a whole lot has changed. Halep is slotted in the tougher half of the main draw, sure, but she should still emerge relatively unscathed. Should, being the key word.
10. Kristina Mladenovic
Kristina Mladenovic is quietly enjoying the very best season of her career in 2017 and, with a quarterfinal against Timea Bacsinszky followed by an ensuing semifinal that would be well within her grasp, things could get that much rosier for the 24-year-old. Much to the joy of fans packing Roland-Garros Stadium every day.
Mladenovic-Muguruza highlights: here.
12. Stanislas Wawrinka
We have Stanislas Wawrinka ranked at No. 12 here, if only because his 2017 season has been really uneventful. But if Stan the Man makes it to the weekend, we’ll take him over just about anyone else.
19. Fernando Verdasco
Is this a career renaissance for Fernando Verdasco? You’ll recall that the 33-year-old’s best Grand Slam result was a semifinal at the Australian Open way back in 2009 but if you squint your eyes very hard maybe that’s about to change? Don’t put it past him.
21. Jelena Ostapenko
They say someone’s misfortunes will be someone else’s opportunity to shine through, etc., .etc., and that’s basically what Jelena Ostapenko has done this French Open. The Latvian was slotted in the top section of the draw and, when Angelique Kerber lost her first match, Ostapenko basically stepped up and said, “I got this.” She basically does: up next is Caroline Wozniacki, and her 20th birthday set for Thursday.
Dimitrov-Carreno Busta highlights: here.
23. Pablo Carreno Busta
The Spaniard completed quite the turnaround against Milos Raonic in a marathon fourth round match, forcing us to do away with what we had already written for the Canadian. But Carreno Busta has a quarterfinal match set against Nadal next, so he’s actually done.
24. Alize Cornet
Sure, maybe Alize Cornet isn’t literally last on these but these are more figurative than anything, right? The point is that Cornet has just about squeezed all she could out of this French Open. Maybe she beats Caroline Garcia but, like, probably not.
Cornet celebrates after defeating Radwanska: here.
25. Maria Sharapova
Yeah, not a whole lot has changed for Maria Sharapova.
Follow Charles Blouin-Gascon on Twitter @RealCBG