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The Big W's seed report

Tennis Fool
05-24-2005, 01:08 AM
French Open men's seed report
Expect big things from first-timer Rafael Nadal
Posted: Monday May 23, 2005 2:13PM; Updated: Monday May 23, 2005 2:26PM

Rafael Nadal will win the 2005 French Open, predicts SI.com's Jon Wertheim.
Bob Martin/SI

Sports Illustrated senior writer Jon Wertheim peers into his crystal ball to predict how the men's and women's seeds will fare at this year's French Open. Scroll down to see the can't-miss first-round matches, some dark-horse candidates and his final predictions.

Top 16 seeds
1. Roger Federer: Looking for career Grand Slam and certainly appears ready after strong performance. It would have been nice if Rafael Nadal was on the opposite half of the draw, but their likely semifinal will determine the champion. Feels almost blasphemous to pick against Federer, but we'll put our Euros on the lefty. (See below.)

2. Andy Roddick: An argument for subjective seedings. If Roddick -- winner of one match at Roland Garros since 2001 -- survives the first week it will be an achievement. The draw gods treated him well, but this tournament is peppered with dozens of superior clay-court players.

3. Marat Safin: Doesn't exactly come in on a roll. But the defending Grand Slam champ can gather his mojo as quickly as he can lose it. He could well lose to Juan Carlos Ferrero in their Hamburg grudge match redux. He could also play lights-out tennis, drop his drawers and advance to the final. As always, stay tuned. It's never boring.

4. Rafael Nadal: Your '05 French Open champion. If the Kid can come within two points of beating Federer on hard courts, you have to like his odds on clay. Clay-court play has been so stellar this year, it's too hard to pick against him.

5. Gaston Gaudio: Can the defending champ catch lightning in a bottle again? Doubtful. We see him falling by the middle weekend.

6. Andre Agassi: Say this about the sentimental favorite: He sure can't be disappointed about his draw. Some tricky opponents -- Nicolas Kiefer, Guillermo Canas, even Igor Andreev in round two -- lurk, but Agassi could make a serious run.

7. Tim Henman: A surprise semifinalist in '04, Henman has some ability on clay. But against, say Juan Ignacio Chela in round three? It will be on to Wimbledon.

8. Guillermo Coria: Last year's disappointed runner-up, ought to win six matches again this year. Hasn't shown the ballast to beat either Federer or Nadal on the big stage, but perhaps he got his stage fright out of his system last year.

9. Guillermo "Willie" Canas: Argentine has tons of ability, especially on clay. But he went down early last year and is allegedly suffering from a cold. If he gets down early to Gael Monfils in round one, it will feel like an away Davis Cup tie.

10. David Nalbandian: Hasn't been 100 percent physically since reaching the semis in Paris last year. The game is there, the body perhaps isn't. Interesting first rounder against Marcos Baghdatis.

11. Joachim Johansson: Withdrew -- not that he was going to be factor on clay, anyway.

12. Nikolay Davydenko: The best seed you've never seen play. Russian has a smooth game and, though he's played a lot of tennis leading up, he ought to make some noise. Alas, he has the misfortune of meeting Coria in round four.

13. Ivan Ljubicic: He has cooled down considerably after an early hard-court run. Not nearly as dangerous on clay, and he has a tough first rounder against resurgent Mariano Puerta.

14. Carlos Moya: Yes, Moya is a former champion, but is there any doubt his best years are behind him? It wouldn't be terribly surprising if he loses to Alberto Martin off the bat. If he survives that, though, his draws opens for a few round before Federer looms.

15. Tommy Robredo: Star him on your draw sheet. Talented, fluid player who excels on clay and is due for a star turn. It's hard to see him taking down Coria but easy to see him advancing to the quarters.

16. Radek Stepanek: The new Jiri Novak. A steady unspectacular Czech, who can beat a lot of good players but isn't really a threat to exceed his seeding.

Seeds No. 17 to 32
17. Dominik Hrbaty: Former semifinalist is capable of terrific tennis, albeit in spurts.

20. David Ferrer: He has looked like a top-10 player for the past few months.

24. Feliciano Lopez: The talented, stylish lefty is due for a breakthrough.

25. Fernando Gonzalez: He is always dangerous, always fun to watch and never a threat to win the whole ball of wax.

30. Richard Gasquet: The French teenager has been gangbusters of late but has the profound misfortune of (likely) meeting Nadal in round three. A better draw, and he'd be around deep in the second week.

32. Juan Carlos Ferrero: The '03 champ has found his game -- and some confidence -- again. Look out.

Dark horse nation
Mariano Puerta: Shaved nearly 100 slots off his ranking already this year.

Juan Monaco: Monaco is our Giacomo. He hasn't paid off yet, but we'll continue to tip him.

Olivier Rochus: As always.

Fernando Verdasco: Roddick-buster is easily among top-20 clay-court players in draw.

Gustavo Kuerten: He comes in playing lousily, still recuperating from surgery and adjusting to a new coach. But any three-time champ (who beat Federer a year ago) has to make this list. Them's the rules.

First-round matches to watch
Alberto Martin vs. Moya

Jo-Wilfried Tsonga vs. Roddick

Gael Monfils vs. Canas

Ljubicic vs. Puerta

Todd Martin vs. ... oh no, wait ...

Doubles winner
Fabrice Santoro and Michael Llodra

Semifinals
Federer vs. Nadal

Coria vs. Total Surprise (say, Feliciano Lopez)

Finals
Nadal vs. Coria

Winner
Nadal

Tennis Fool
05-24-2005, 01:08 AM
A little later, but better than never.

RickDaStick
05-24-2005, 01:11 AM
Feliciano Lopez in the semis. :rolleyes: :rolleyes:

mitalidas
05-24-2005, 01:11 AM
what's new? I kinda like it, given his success rate

In 2004 he predicted Agassi for the AO title (WRONG), coria for the FO title (WRONG), roddick for Wimbledon (WRONG)

Tennis Fool
05-24-2005, 01:12 AM
I wonder if W will take Mal's place as the Hope Buster. See what he said about Verdasco :haha:

lucashg
05-24-2005, 01:29 AM
what's new? I kinda like it, given his success rate

In 2004 he predicted Agassi for the AO title (WRONG), coria for the FO title (WRONG), roddick for Wimbledon (WRONG)

He'll be wrong this year, then. :p
I hope he is right about the women's if he picked Justine. Did he?

nkhera1
05-24-2005, 01:32 AM
what's new? I kinda like it, given his success rate

In 2004 he predicted Agassi for the AO title (WRONG), coria for the FO title (WRONG), roddick for Wimbledon (WRONG)

Not trying to stick up for him, but those picks were pretty close. Agassi made it to the Semis and was a set away from the finals and the others made it to the Finals where they each chocked respectivly/were beaten depending on what you believe.

alfonsojose
05-24-2005, 01:33 AM
what's new? I kinda like it, given his success rate

In 2004 he predicted Agassi for the AO title (WRONG), coria for the FO title (WRONG), roddick for Wimbledon (WRONG)
Well, those three weren't that bad :scratch:

mitalidas
05-24-2005, 01:38 AM
Not trying to stick up for him, but those picks were pretty close. Agassi made it to the Semis and was a set away from the finals and the others made it to the Finals where they each chocked respectivly/were beaten depending on what you believe.

yeah, but is it really a stretch to be close for any of the slams? Everyone on MTF would predict that a winner of Wimbledon is likely to be among Federer, roddick, hewitt and ancic; for the FO is likely to be coria, nadal, ferrero and Federer, etc.

Of the likely contenders, he was wrong 3 of 3.
Frankly, I hope his streak continues :devil:

mitalidas
05-24-2005, 01:42 AM
Well, those three weren't that bad :scratch:

but those are not off of anyone's radars. Everyone can come up with a list that is "close" --it doesn't take genius to do that. Who on MTF hadn't come up with the list of Federer/ferrero/Nadal/moya/coria before his article?

However, it does take genius to consistently predict the right winner. I'm pointing out that Werthem did not have it together last year to make those calls (and hopefully not this year either -save Wimbledon, where he will undoubtedly choose Roger as the winner to save his own ass)

Chloe le Bopper
05-24-2005, 02:24 AM
I wonder if W will take Mal's place as the Hope Buster. See what he said about Verdasco :haha:
See what anybody said about Verdasco. :shrug:

It's very easy to criticize Wertheim for making the same mistake that most people did, isn't it? :shrug:

I don't know why people criticize him for his picks in general. If he goes for the obvious he's criticized. If he didn't go for the obvious people would pick on him for coming out of left field.

:yawn:

Rosa Luxembourg
05-24-2005, 02:26 AM
what's new? I kinda like it, given his success rate

In 2004 he predicted Agassi for the AO title (WRONG), coria for the FO title (WRONG), roddick for Wimbledon (WRONG)

US Open? Did he give up?

Skyward
05-24-2005, 02:34 AM
US Open? Did he give up?

He predicted Federer.

NYCtennisfan
05-24-2005, 03:47 AM
I thought that this was a thread about Wimbledon.

Lady
05-24-2005, 06:07 AM
I hope he is right about the women's if he picked Justine. Did he?

yes, he did!

1stly he picked her in the final against Myskina!
But she lost yesterday, so he edited his picks and put them
Schnyder vs M.Sharapova :o
Justine vs Mauresmo

Considering Justine & Maria are in the same quarter, he edited the picks one more time to pick V.Williams instead of Sharapova! :rolls:

Experimentee
05-24-2005, 01:58 PM
Theres nothing wrong with what he said. Apart from Lopez in the semis though :rolleyes:

mitalidas
05-24-2005, 02:03 PM
Theres nothing wrong with what he said. Apart from Lopez in the semis though :rolleyes:

And F-Lo just lost to Mathieu
so there goes a quarter of Wertheim's theory

Puschkin
05-24-2005, 02:05 PM
In 2004 he predicted Agassi for the AO title (WRONG), coria for the FO title (WRONG), roddick for Wimbledon (WRONG)

Whom did he pick for Australia 2005? Probably Roger, so he was wrong again, some series just continue, sorry Mr. Wertheim ;)

mitalidas
05-24-2005, 02:09 PM
Whom did he pick for Australia 2005? Probably Roger, so he was wrong again, some series just continue, sorry Mr. Wertheim ;)

he is currently 1-in-5 (correctly picked Roger for the USO --but remember, that was because he had consistently decided against picking Roger for AO, FO and W)

honestly, can't remember if he did pick Roger for AO 05, but I am quite confident he did