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Rafa Nadal (Reuters / Christian Hartmann)

Rafa Nadal (Reuters / Christian Hartmann)

Week one of the French Open is complete and as always there are many things to discuss. Here are three things of importance.

Americans falter on the red dirt

This is no real surprise, especially on the men’s side. It is no secret that clay is the surface most Americans struggle on and this year was no different. As the tournament enters its second there are no more Americans in the draw on the both men’s and women’s side. 11 men entered the French Open draw and only two made it out of the first round, Steve Johnson and John Isner.

The women started with 16 players in the draw and although they had a better showing in the first round than the men, only Venus Williams made it into the fourth round, where she lost to Swiss player Timea Bacsinszky. Timea beat Venus in the same round at last year’s French Open.

Of all the losses, the most surprising on the men’s side was Jack Sock. Many believed Sock could make some noise this year, given how well he’d been playing this year. However, Jack meagerly went out in the first round against Jiri Vesely of the Czech Republic in three straight sets. After the match, Jack told reporters on his lost, “Pretty huge disappointment, especially on a surface I really enjoy playing. Great memories here.”  Jack will have to wait until next year for a chance to leave the French Open with a good memory.

Women’s trophy is still up for grabs

Once world number one Angelique Kerber was knocked out in the first round, it was almost a certainty that the women’s draw would be unpredictable. Though the top players didn’t immediately fall, as of this moment seven of the top ten seeds have lost. Those seeds include defending champion Garbine Muguruza, seven-time grand slam champion Venus Williams and former French Open champion Svetlana Kuznetsova.

With the exit of top players and former champions there is something that is a guarantee: there will be a first time champion next Saturday. Odds maker favorite Simona Halep is still alive and is looking like she can take home the trophy. Also, still around is former world number one Caroline Wozniacki. Though clay isn’t Caroline’s most productive surface, she has fought her way to the quarterfinals and can possibly fight her way to the title.

The last player worth mentioning is France’s Kristina “Kiki” Mladenovic. Kiki was the odds maker fourth choice at taking home the title. With players going out, specifically the reigning champion whom Kiki took out, her chances have increased. Kiki has all the weapons and more important the home court advantage. It is quite possible that come Saturday Kiki is the last woman standing.

Rafa looks unbeatable

On the men’s side, all the familiar faces are still there. Seven of the top ten seeds are still alive in the tournament. Among those seven include the four top seeds Andy Murray, Novak Djokovic, Stan Wawrinka and Rafael Nadal. Despite the top four being around, it hasn’t been smooth sailing for the top two seeds Murray and Djokovic. 

In the three matches Murray played, two of those matches went four sets. Though Murray was in no real danger of losing, it shows that Andy is still working out the kinks to his game. Djokovic has also showed his vulnerability. In the third round Novak needed to fight his way through a five-set match against Argentine’s Diego Schwartzman. Diego and Djokovic split the first two sets then Diego won the third set, mounting a two-set lead. In the fourth and fifth set Diego, an injury hampered him and Novak took control in win the sets handily.

Someone who has yet to struggle is, nine-time French Open champion and heavy favorite, Rafael Nadal. Rafa has been in dominant fashion mercilessly wiping his opponents off the court. In his second match against Nikoloz Basilashvili, of the country Georgia, Rafa lost one game, crushing Basilashvili 6-0, 6-1, 6-0. In his third-round match Rafa went on another roll defeating his fellow Spaniard, Roberto Bautista Agut, 6-1, 6-2, 6-2. That brings his combined total loss of games in his last two matches to six.  Rafa is separating himself for the field and is showing his hunger to win this record breaking tenth French Open

The second week of the French Open is shaping up to be very intriguing. Though Rafa continues to be the heavy favorite, players such as Murray, Novak and the only player to beat Rafa on clay this season Dominic Thiem, will have something to say about it. On the women’s side a new grand slam champion will be crowned. As to who will win, is anyone’s guess. Only way to know is to stay tuned.

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Ricardo is the lead Tennis Analyst here at DoubleGSports.com
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