With the French Open well underway, the draws for the men’s and women’s singles tournaments couldn’t be more different.
On the women’s side the top two seeds – Serena Williams and Li Na – have both fallen to unexpected defeats in the first week. However in the men’s draw the all-conquering Rafa Nadal has been joined in the third round by last year’s losing finalist David Ferrer, as well as the likes of Federer, Djokovic and Murray. Of the top eight seeds, only Stanislas Wawrinka has been eliminated.
With that in mind, a few big questions remain about the second grand slam of 2014.
Is Nadal Unstoppable
While the other three grand slams have been shared between the world’s elite, few have an answer for Nadal on clay.
The 27-year-old has won at Roland Garros in eight of the last nine years and is pushing for a fifth consecutive title this time around. Robin Söderling is the only man to beat him at the French Open ever, which is quite a feat.
Neither Robby Ginepri nor Dominic Thiem ever looked like ending the Spaniard’s remarkable run, and it looks unlikely that third-round opponent Leonardo Mayer will do so either. On current form the Argentine will by lucky to take a set.
Can Ana Ivanovic cap her return to form?
Serbian star Ivanovic is one of only three former champions left in the women’s draw, and a strong showing in Paris could cap a stunning turnaround.
A rising star of the game when she won at Roland Garros in 2008, Ivanovic endured a tough and trophy-less year in 2013. However with the top three all out, she is returning to form at the right time.
Victory this week would send out a huge statement, and with wins in Auckland and Monterrey to add to an impressive quarter-final showing in the Australian Open, anything is possible
Will any French players impress?
While a home victory seems unlikely, there are a number of French talents looking to make a splash in Paris this fortnight.
In the women’s draw, the only French seed, Alizé Cornet, was knocked out in the second round. However 21-year-old Kristina Mladenovic is still standing and carrying the hopes of a nation along with Pauline Parmentier.
On the men’s side, home hopes Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, Gilles Simon, Gaël Monfils and Richard Gasquet have all made it into the third round. However all face challenging opponents, not least Simon who goes up against number eight seed Milos Raonic.
Could one of the four upset the odds and make a run to the quarter-finals? With the backing of the home crowd, who knows.
Betting Instinct tip – Monfils and Gasquet to both win their matches on Saturday is 3.94 with GR88.com
GR88.com is offering new players a 100% welcome bonus up to £100, to mark the start of a huge sporting summer. Next up after the French Open is the FIFA World Cup in Brazil, and with it a chance to win $1,000,000 in GR88’s prediction challenge.
TOM VICTOR (editor) is the editor and co-founder of Betting Instinct. He has written for a variety of sports sites in the past, including JustFootball, Footy Matters and BeNeFoot. You can follow him on Twitter or Google+.