Skip to content

French Open ATP Preview: Alcaraz and Djokovic Could Collide in Semis

14-time Champion Nadal Missing 2023 Event

Andy Murray Latest Big Name To Withdraw

Even before the first point of the main draw was played, there was quite the buzz created when Novak Djokovic and Carlos Alcaraz landed in the same half of the draw.

When looking at the tennis news, 14-time French Open champion Rafael Nadal announced that he would be unable to play in the tournament he has dominated. Andy Murray, the 2016 finalist at Roland Garros, also pulled out.

French Open ATP Preview: Alcaraz and Djokovic Could Collide in Semis
Tiziana FABI, Filippo MONTEFORTE / AFP

If Djokovic stumbles or fails to get by Alcaraz, it would mark the first time since 2004 that there would be a men’s singles final at Roland Garros without Djokovic, Nadal or Roger Federer.

One of the most interesting first-round matches features crafty veteran Fabio Fognini meeting up with No. 10 seed Fliex Auger-Aliassime. Also keep an eye on the David Goffin-Hubert Hurkacz matchup. The always entertaining Gael Monfils of France could meet Holger Rune in the second round. However, Monfils is an underdog in his opening match according to the tennis betting lines. Fellow French star Richard Gasquet has a chance to face American Taylor Fritz in the second round.

When looking at the tennis picks, Alcaraz and Djokovic are favorites in the French Open outrights.

First Quarter: Plenty of Challenges for Alcaraz

Alcaraz didn’t plan it that way, but he did get some extra restf.

Alcaraz had won three of his previous four tournaments with nine wins over top-20 players heading into the Italian Open.

After a routine win over No. 72 Albert Ramos-Vinolas, his run ended with a straight-set victory over 135th-ranked Fabian Marozsan in the Round of 32. Even with that loss, he ascended to the No. 1 spot in the ATP rankings.

Alcaraz, who turned 20 on May 5, missed the Australian Open so the last time he played in a Grand Slam came when he won the 2022 US Open. Now he is favored at +120 to capture his second career Grand Slam singles title. Those making tennis predictions won’t be going against the talented Alcaraz.

No. 17 seed Lorenzo Musetti won the last meeting versus Alcaraz, taking the third set 6-4 in the 2022 Hamburg title match.

If Alcaraz meets with No. 14 seed Cameron Norrie, it would be the third meeting of 2023 between the two. Alcaraz won in back-to-back tournaments in February in Buenos Aires and Rio de Janeiro. However, Alcaraz had to win 7-5 in the third set in the most recent meeting.

No. 10 seed Felix Auger Aliassime won the first three matches against Alcaraz and that included a victory in the 2021 US Open quarterfinals. However, Alcaraz won 6-4, 6-4 at Indian Wells in March.

Alcaraz is 4-0 on the ATP tour against No. 5 seed Stefanos Tsitsipas and that included a marathon five-set showdown at the US Open in 2021.

If Tsitsipas has to meet up with hard-serving American John Isner, keep in mind that the two have split two Grand Slam matches.

It has been a strange year so far for Tsitsipas. He has an appearance in the Australian Open final, but has also lost to the No. 65 and 87 players in the world.

Tsitsipas has made it to at least the fourth round in each of his last four French Open appearances. Tsitsipas comes in at +800 according to the sportsbook to win his first French Open title.

  • Quarterfinal Prediction: Alcaraz vs Tsitispas

Second Quarter: Will Djokovic’s Elbow Hold Up?

Before Djokovic can think about a semifinal showdown with Alcaraz, he has some work to do.

He lost to Alejandro Davidovich Fokina 6-3, 6-7, 6-1 at Monte Carlo in 2022 and that could be a third-round match.

Djokovic has also split the last four meetings with No. 19 seed Roberto Bautista Agut. Three of those matchups did come in 2019, however.

The highest seed that Djokovic could meet up with in the quarterfinals would be No. 7 Andrev Rublev. They met in Australia in January and it was no contest with Djokovic winning 6-1, 6-2, 6-4 in the quarterfinals.

Djokovic is 5-0 against No. 13 seed Hubert Hurkacz and that included a straight-set win in Dubai in March.

Djokovic tumbled from No. 1 to No. 3 in the ATP rankings after his loss to Holger Rune in the Italian Open quarterfinals. That left him susceptible to being on the same half of the bracket as Alcaraz and that is exactly what has happened. He is also dealing with an elbow issue.

It has been a bit of a grind since Djokovic won the Australian Open while dropping only one set.

Djokovic is 2-3 against players ranked in the top 25 in his last four tournaments. It was quite a change from the way he started the year as Djokovic won his first 15 matches.

Djokovic has reached the finals in Roland Garros six times, but only has two titles to show for it. Three of those losses have come to Nadal and that is one player he won’t have to worry about. The other loss came to Stan Wawrinka and there is a chance Djokovic could see him in the quarterfinals.

According to the Las Vegas odds, Djokovic is priced at +175 to win his 23rd Grand Slam singles title.

Wawrinka, who along with Djokovic is the only former champion in the field, could face Rublev in the fourth round. They have split four matches. Just one of those have come since the start of the 2021 season.

  • Quarterfinal Prediction: Djokovic vs Rublev

Third Quarter: Ruud and Rune To Meet Again?

Could top-10 players Casper Ruud and Rune be on a collision course to meet at Roland Garros for the second year in a row?

Ruud won in four sets in the 2022 French Open quarterfinals with Rune taking the rematch at the recent Italian Open.

Ruud (+1600 to win the French Open) reached the French Open final in 2022 and followed that up with runs to the title matches at the US Open and Tour Finals.

No. 8 Rune might have to deal with the crowd pulling for the opposition with five players from France on his side of the bracket. The biggest name is potential second-round opponent Gael Monfils. Monfils is just 1-7 this season. Gasquet is another unseeded French player of note.

There would also be some Americans to deal with, most notably No. 9 seed Fritz. The last time they met, it was Fritz emerging with the 6-3, 6-4 win in Miami.

Rune made plenty of news with his win over Djokovic in Rome. He would also eliminate No. 4 ranked Ruud before falling to Daniil Medvedev in the Italian Open final.

Rune’s first final in 2023 came in Monte Carlo thanks to wins over Medvedev and fellow top-10 player Jannik Sinner. He won the following week in a smaller event in Munich without having to face a top-25 ranked player.

Rune’s best finish at a Grand Slam was a run to the quarterfinals at the 2022 French Open. Combine that with what he did in Rome and it is understandable why is priced at +700 to win at Roland Garros.

The last three meetings between Ruud and American Tommy Paul have come in Grand Slam events. Ruud won all three even though Ruud has been extended to five sets in two of those matches.

Keep on eye on a potential showdown between Ruud and No. 21 seed Jan-Lennard Struff since Struff is 3-0 in the series. When they met Monte Carlo in April, Struff won 6-1, 7-6.

  • Quarterfinal Prediction: Rune vs Ruud

Fourth Quarter: Another Alcaraz-Tsitsipas Showdown?

No. 8 seed Jannik Sinner could be facing a hot player early in the draw as 28th-seeded Grigor Dimitrov just beat Fritz in a third-set tiebreaker in Geneva to reach his first ATP final in five years.

Keep an eye on the live betting odds if that match happens.

When Sinner and Dimitrov met in Miami in March, Sinner won in straight sets. No. 22 seed Alexander Zverev is another tough draw for Sinner considering that Zverev is 3-1 against Sinner and a three-set win at Monte Carlo in 2022 is Zverev’s third straight win against Sinner.

Sinner is also 1-1 against No. 12 seed Frances Tiafoe. The two haven’t met since 2021.

With all the attention on the possibility of Alcaraz and Djokovic meeting in the semifinals, it is easy to forget about No. 2 seed Daniil Medvedev.

Medvedev and No. 15 seed Borna Coric hadn’t met since 201 before Medvedev’s rather routine 6-3, 6-2 win at the Monte Carlo event in March.

Medvedev is 6-0 against Sinner (2-0 this year). Both matches in 2023 were rather competitive so it could make for an intriguing quarterfinal.

  • Quarterfinal Prediction: Sinner vs Medvedev

Way Too Early Predictions for Semifinals, Final

  • Top Half Semifinal Prediction: Alcaraz vs Djokovic
  • Bottom Half Semifinal Prediction: Rune vs Medvedev
  • Final: Alcaraz vs Medvedev

Featured Picks

Related News