2017 French Open Recap

The French Open produced two astonishing results. In the women’s draw it was little known Latvian Jeļena Ostapenko who not only claimed her first tour title but did so in claiming a Grand Slam. A phenomenal achievement in itself.

On the men’s side, it was a familiar face once again. Rafael Nadal was so far ahead of the rest all tournament and claimed an incredible 10th French Open crown. It’s a feat that I’m sure many agree, will never be beaten. Many saw Stan Wawrinka as a tricky opponent in the final, he is a former winner in his own right, but Rafa made it look too easy en-route to claiming title number 10.


Who Impressed

Rafael Nadal – Made the rest of the men’s draw look amateurish. Didn’t drop a single set and only dropped 35 games for the entire tournament. Without doubt the best clay courter of all time. A sensational effort given his struggles with injuries in recent years.

Dominic Thiem – I’ll forgive Dominic for his poor showing in the semi-final as he was playing Nadal. Up until the then he had not dropped a set and thrashed defending champion Novak Djokovic in the quarter-finals. I’d be very surprised if we didn’t see him one day holding up the trophy at Roland Garros.

Jeļena Ostapenko – Not many players win their first title by being victorious in a grand slam. Ostapenko was super impressive all tournament. She constantly entertained the crowd with some amazing shotmaking and aggressive tennis. Has only just turned 20 so has a huge future ahead of her. I think she will only be better on the quicker surfaces.

Timea Bacsinszky – A great run by the 30th seed to make the semi-finals. Was bundled out in 3 tight sets by the eventual winner in Ostapenko but she should take confidence from this result moving into the grass-court season.

Petra Kvitová – It was fantastic to see Kvitová back on the big stage. Whilst she only made it to the second round, it was remarkable effort less than a year after being stabbed during an invasion at her home in The Czech Republic. She will only get better and her favourite tournament in Wimbledon lies just around the corner.

Who Disappointed

Novak Djokovic – On paper a quarter-final appearance at a grand slam doesn’t look particularly bad but the way he was defeated by Dominic Thiem was very un-Djokovic like. He seems to have been in a significant slump over the last 12 months and may find it difficult to drag himself out with the return to form of Federer and Nadal.

Alexander Zverev – Won the lead-up tournament in Rome and many had him as a genuine contender only to be knocked out in the first round. As disappointing as the result was for Zverev, he has plenty of upside and I expect him to bounce back well leading into Wimbledon.

Angelique Kerber – Similar to Novak Djokovic, Kerber has found herself in a significant form slump after such a terrific year in 2016. The number 1 seed was convincingly dispatched by Ekaterina Makarova first up and I like many expected much more from her. To cut Kerber some slack, clay is her least favourite tournament and I expect her to fare far better at Wimbledon.

Johanna Konta – The number 7 seed was once again defeated in the first round at Roland Garros. She is still yet to progress beyond the first round at the French Open and will no doubt be looking forward to a change of scenery at her home tournament at Wimbledon.

Where to Next…

The tour moves into the grass-court season and on to Wimbledon in just under 4 weeks time. The grass season is a short one but not without some big tournaments at Queens, Halle, Birmingham and Eastbourne.

The return of Roger Federer in the men’s game will be much anticipated as he shapes as one of the big favourites for Wimbledon after his superb start to the year.

Men’s French Open Final Preview

(3) Stan Wawrinka (SUI) vs (4) Rafael Nadal (ESP)

A huge final awaits us tonight between two powerhouses of the men’s game. Stan The Man and The King of Clay. Neither are strangers to the last match at Roland Garros with both being ex-champions in Paris.

Nadal is gunning for an unprecedented 10th French Open title and is in scintillating form. He hasn’t dropped a set all tournament and has looked a class above everyone else. Stan Wawrinka is aiming for his second French Open title and fourth major title overall. He has also been in great form despite needing 5 sets to dispatch world number 1 Andy Murray. Interestingly, if Wawrinka is victorious tonight, he will surpass Murray for Grand Slam titles despite not being included in the ‘big 4’.

Whist Nadal is the heavy favourite, Wawrinka is extremely comfortably on the clay and most likely won’t let himself get bullied around the court by Rafa. I expect an extremely physical battle between the two in what shapes up as a dream final on this surface.

How Stan Wawrinka will win…

Wawrinka undoubtedly faces the toughest task in tennis in facing off against Rafa in a French Open Final. Wawrinka will have to run with a similar game plan to what Robin Söderling adapted to hand Nadal his first French Open defeat in 2009 in going all out attack.

It goes without saying that Wawrinka will have to play at his absolute best. He will have to try and overpower Nadal and force him to hit shorter groundstrokes to open up the court. If Nadal is hitting hard, deep shots, it could spell trouble for Wawrinka. It’s important that Stan becomes the aggressor otherwise he will just get pushed all over the court by Rafa. I expect him to try and overpower Rafa from the back of the court, force short returns then put away any short opportunities for a winner.

How Rafael Nadal will win…

The key to Rafa winning I believe is simply to avoid hitting the ball too short. Rafa is at his most dangerous when he hits through the ball and it dips down deep in his opponent’s court. In the past few years he has got himself into trouble against opponents by dropping the ball short. If he avoids doing this, he can just play his natural clay-court game and he should be too good for Wawrinka.


I believe that Wawrinka is the only player in the world currently capable of beating Nadal in a French Open final. He loves the big grand slam finals and is undefeated when reaching the final of a major.

However I can’t see Nadal being denied of a 10th French Open title. He is without doubt the best clay courter of all time and seems to have rediscovered his best form this year. I expect Wawrinka to go down swinging but Rafa will be too strong.

Nadal in 4 sets.

Ladies’ French Open Final Preview

Jeļena Ostapenko (LAT) vs (3) Simona Halep (ROM)

There wouldn’t have been many who would’ve picked 47th ranked to be part of the French Open final a fortnight ago. It’s been an incredible run by the unseeded 19 year old who has taken several big scalps including the likes of Puig, Stosur and Wozniacki.

Her opponent is number 3 seed Simona Halep who was one of the hot favourites for the title with the absence of Serena Williams and Maria Sharapova. Halep has been in great form having dropped just the two sets en-route to the final.

These two have never met before and Ostapenko has never won a tour level title. For Halep, this is the second time she has made the French Open final and she will be looking to go one better than she did in 2014. It’s a fascinating match-up as regardless of the result, we will have a new first-time major winner.

How Jeļena Ostapenko will win…

Ostapenko loves playing an aggressive style of tennis and she will be looking to pick off any short balls from Halep and put them away for winners. She is solid on both wings but it will be crucial for her to keep her error count down. Halep will make her hit plenty of shots so she will need to pick the right shots to go after.

How Simona Halep will win…

I expect Halep to play her natural counterpunching game and expect her to use her excellent court speed to run down plenty of shots and force Ostapenko to hit errors. The clay court will suit this game-style as Ostapenko may find it difficult to get past Halep from the back of the court. Halep generally makes few errors so she will be happy to keep the points lengthy and be patient – a tactic which often works on this surface.


Halep fell short here in 2014 in 3 tight sets to Maria Sharapova in a match that lasted over 3 hours. Ostapenko has picked the biggest stage to partake in her first tour final. She comes into the final with little expectation but may find it difficult not to let the pressure get to her. She has had a great run throughout the tournament but arguably comes up against the form player in the final.

Halep particularly enjoys playing on the clay and has played in several big grand slam matches in the past. I expect her to be too strong for Ostapenko and claim her first grand slam title.

Halep in straight sets.

Browny’s Tips – French Open Day 5

Safe Bets

Stan Wawrinka @ $1.15 – The 2015 champ should be too good for Alexandr Dolgopolov. I expect Wawrinka to be to solid all around the court.

Tomáš Berdych @ $1.24 – Berdych should be too solid for Karen Khachanov.

Carla Suárez Navarro @ $1.44 – Suárez Navarro should account for 64th ranked Sorana Cirstea from Romania.

Worth a Punt

Paolo Lorenzi @ $3.24 – Lorenzi is a solid clay court player and very consistent from the back of the court. If he returns serve well, he could prove trouble for big American John Isner.

Jérémy Chardy @ $4.20 – Plays Japan’s Kei Nishikori who looked a bit rusty against in his first round match against Kokkinakis. Chardy has twice made the round of 16 here and will be in front of a patriotic home crowd. Could be a chance of an upset.

Renzo Olivo @ $4 .00 – Olivio was extremely solid in defeating Tsonga in the first round. Plays Kyle Edmund of Great Britain and if he repeats his form from the first round, Edmund could be in a spot of bother.



Browny’s Tips – French Open Day 4

Safe Bets

Roberto Bautista Agut @ $1.13 – I expect Bautista Agut to be too strong for Mikhail Kukushkin who has never made it beyond the 2nd round at Roland Garros. Bautista Agut has won the single meeting between these players.

Petra Kvitová @ $1.42 – Kvitová should be too good for American Bethanie Mattek-Sands. Kvitová currently ranked 101 spots higher than the American.

Garbiñe Muguruza @ $1.50 – I can’t see the defending champ having too much trouble against Anett Kontaveit. I expect Muguruza to progress to the third round.

Worth a Punt

Ivo Karlovic @ $2.22 – Karlovic plays Argentine Horacio Zeballos. These two had an epic match which went to 22-20 in the Australian Open earlier this year. Karlovic will be strong on serve and is a very patient player who’s happy to wait to the tiebreaks to do the damage. I see this as a 50/50.

Tommy Robredo @ $5.30 – I give Robredo a big chance against Grigor Dimitrov in this second round matchup. Dimitrov doesn’t play clay particularly well whilst it is Robredo’s favourite surface. Robredo is a 5-time quarter finalist here at Roland Garros whilst Dimitrov has never made it beyond the 3rd round. Good value for Robredo here.

Viktor Troicki @ $2.21 – Interestingly Troicki is the outsider with the bookies for this match despite being ranked over 30 spots higher than Nikoloz Basilashvili. I’d be surprised if Troicki didn’t win this one considering how easily he won his first round match.

Sara Errani @ $2.87 – A tough second round matchup for 13th seed Kristina Mladenovic. Errani was a finalist here in 2012 and has a good record at Roland Garros.



Browny’s Tips – French Open Day 3

Safe Bets

Tomáš Berdych @ $1.17 – I expect the big Czech to be too strong for German Jan-Lennard Struff. Berdych is a constant player and rarely gets eliminated in the first few rounds of a major.

John Isner @ $1.22 – Isner should have too much experience and his serve should prove too troublesome for Jordan Thompson. 

Simona Halep @ $1.14 – Halep is currently the favourite to win the French Open with the bookies and I expect her to make a strong start against 89th ranked Jana Čepelová.

Worth a Punt

Philipp Kohlschreiber @ $2.63 – Danger game first up for Nick Kyrgios. He is coming into the French Open under an injury cloud and this is probably his weakest surface. Kohlschreiber is a fierce competitor and very comfortable on clay.

Guido Pella @ $4.10 – Tricky match first up for Juan Martin del Potro. Delpo has had a few injury worries coming into the French and it was rumoured that he may withdraw. Could be a danger game for him.

Thanasi Kokkinakis @ $17.00 – Massively long odds for the Aussie but his opponent Kei Nishikori has been struggling with a wrist injury and didn’t look at his best in the lead-up tournaments. Clay suits Kokkinakis and he could trouble Nishikori. If you don’t want to go H2H, Kokkinakis is also paying $4 to win a set which could also be worth a small wager.

Yanina Wickmayer @ $3.30 – Could be a close one against Russian Daria Kasatkina. Potential value here for Wickmayer

Tsvetana Pironkova @ $5.40 – Interestingly long odds for Pironkova. She enjoyed a run to the quarter finals here last year. She plays German Mona Barthel and there are only 27 ranking spots separating the two (50 v 77). Good outside value for Pironkova I think.



Browny’s Tips – French Open Day 2

Safe Bets

Jack Sock @ $1.35 – Sock should overcome Jiří Veselý. These courts suit Sock and I see him progressing to the second round.

Feliciano Lopez @ $1.45 – The veteran Spaniard should have too much experience and too much class for American Bjorn Fratangelo.

Richard Gasquet @ $1.10 – I can’t see the Frenchman having any trouble against 127th ranked Arthur De Greef, especially in front of his home crowd.

Karolína Plíšková @ $1.13 – Can’t see her having too much trouble here against Zheng Saisai from China. Zheng has never made it beyond the first round here at Roland Garros.

Lucie Šafářová @ $1.30 – The 2015 finalist should be too strong for 97th ranked Verónica Cepede Royg.

Worth a Punt

Andrey Rublev @ $6.00 – Touted as one of the ‘next-gen’ stars, Rublev takes Argentine Diego Schwartzman. Rublev won the Junior Singles title at Roland Garros in 2014 so he is clearly comfortable on this surface.

Mikhail Youzhny @ $2.40 – I give Youzhny a reasonable chance against Rogério Dutra da Silva of Brazil. The Brazilian has never made it mast the first round at Roland Garros and Youzhny is a former quarter-finalist. Not much difference in their current rankings either.

Ernests Gulbis @ $9.30 – A lot depends on which Gulbis turns up to this match but a danger game for Marin Čilić. Gulbis famously beat Roger Federer here on his run to the semi-finals a few years back.

Ajla Tomljanović @ $8.50 – Very long odds for Tomljanović against Kiki Bertens of The Netherlands. I see some value for the Aussie here and she knows how to on clay – she reached the fourth round here in 2014. Bertens has never progressed beyond the second.



Browny’s Tips – French Open Day 1

Safe Bets

Albert Ramos Viñolas @ $1.17 – Ramos Viñolas should be too strong for 93rd ranked Romanian Marius Copil.

Angelique Kerber @ $1.43 – Although Kerber hasn’t been in the best form, I think she should be too good for Ekaterina Makarova.

Venus Williams @ $1.36 – Williams has been in decent form in recent weeks and should account for Wang Qiang.

Worth a Punt

Guillermo García López @ $3.03 – García López reached the fourth round here in 2014 and is a tricky first round opponent for 26th seed Gilles Müller. Müller doesn’t have the best record at Roland Garros and the clay will negate his big serve.

Stéphane Robert @ $12 – Frenchman Robert goes into his first round match against Grigor Dimitrov as a big underdog but Dimitrov doesn’t play his best tennis on clay and I think his odds are too short. Robert at $12 could be worth a small wager.

Alex De Minaur @ $5.20 – Young Aussie De Minaur plays 46th ranked Dutchman Robin Haase. I think De Minaur is a slight chance in this one.

Roberta Vinci @ $2.19 – Vinci plays Puerto Rican Monica Puig and I am surprised she is not the favourite with the bookies. Vinci s the higher ranked player of the two.



French Open 2017 Preview – Men’s Singles

The second Grand Slam tournament of the year comes at a fascinating time for the men’s game. Just when you think that a new generation of young guns are destined to break the stranglehold of the big 4, Federer and Nadal send a reminder that they are still the kings of the sport. Between them, they have won 4 of the 5 Masters tournaments so far this year.

However Federer has opted to skip the clay season to focus on the upcoming grass-court season. World Number 1 Andy Murray has struggled for form this year as has Novak Djokovic. Youngsters Alexander Zverev and Dominic Thiem have threatened to break through but it appears that this year’s French Open is Rafeal Nadal’s to lose. He is gunning for an incredible 10th crown at Roland Garros and is the red hot favourite.

Let’s have a look at some of the top seeds and how I think the tournament might pan out…


The Top Seeds

  1. Andy Murray (GBR) – Murray has really struggled since claiming the number 1 ranking late last year. Has a modest 16-7 win loss record this year so far and doesn’t bring a great deal of form into this year’s tournament. Clay is probably his least favourite surface but he did make the final here last year. Also, crucially, is not in the same half of the draw as Rafael Nadal.
  2. Novak Djokovic (SRB) – Similarly to Andy Murray, the defending champion hasn’t been in the best form this season. He has recently teamed up with Andre Agassi and he has also shown some decent form during the clay season so far. Was defeated in the final of the Rome Masters by Alexander Zverev but did show glimpses of dominance during that tournament. On a collision course with Nadal in the semis and if he can beat Rafa, I think he will take out the title.
  3. Stan Wawrinka (SUI) – The 2015 Champion playing on probably his best surface. Loves the big Grand Slam matches and has had the perfect build-up with victory in the Geneva Open. One of the few in the draw who has the ability to beat any opponent. Would not have to meet either Djokovic or Nadal until the final which helps his cause slightly I believe.
  4. Rafael Nadal (ESP) – The ‘King of Clay’ is aiming to take out the Roland Garros title for an incredible 10th time. He seems to have put any injury worries behind him and is in terrific form having won 2 out of the 3 lead-up Masters tournaments. Plays so well on clay and is difficult to see anyone beating him at this year’s tournament.
  5. Milos Raonic (CAN) – Hasn’t done badly at Roland Garros in the past but I don’t believe the clay courts suit his power game. Was runner up at Istanbul at the beginning of the clay court season so he isn’t playing badly, but can’t see him being a genuine contender at this year’s event.
  6. Dominic Thiem (AUT) – The only man to have defeated Rafael Nadal on clay this year. An incredibly strong athlete who plays his best tennis on clay. In my opinion has the temperament and the game to be a grand slam winner. If he is to win the title this year, he will have to most likely beat 3 of the top 4 seeds to take it out. Certainly a chance but has a big challenge ahead of him.
  7. Marin Čilić (CRO) – The French Open historically has been the weakest of the majors for Čilić. He has never progressed beyond the fourth round but has a reasonable chance of bettering this with a top 8 seeding. Unfortunately for him I can’t see him matching it with some of the higher seeds on this surface at the business end of the tournament.
  8. Kei Nishikori (JPN) – Has been a bit out of sorts of late with some indifferent form and injury worries. Normally would be a contender on this surface with his athleticism and consistency but given his recent form and injury issues I can’t see him being a contender here this year.
  9. Alexander Zverev (GER) – In sensational form coming into this tournament. Comprehensively defeated Novak Djokovic to take out the title at the Rome Masters and has shot into the top 10 for the first time. Arguably is on the better side of the draw and could make a big impact at this year’s tournament. Definitely one to watch.
  10. David Goffin (BEL) – Has been very consistent over the past few seasons and rounds out the top 10 seeds at the French Open. Has an extremely consistent game and moves extremely well on all surfaces. Doesn’t historically perform well against the top players though. Can easily see him getting to the second week but would be surprised if we see him beyond the quarters.

Top Aussies

Nick Kyrgios – Seeded 18th this year. Has the ability to beat anyone on his day but I think that clay is probably the surface that suits him the least. Has not been handed the worst draw but may find it tough to get to the second week.

Bernard Tomic – Is unseeded this year and has previously stated that he doesn’t particularly enjoy playing on clay. He faces a very tough ask in playing Dominic Thiem in the first round and sadly I think it will be a short tournament for him this year.


My Tips

Winner: Rafael Nadal

I struggle to see anyone beating Rafa this year. He is playing some brilliant tennis once again and looks extremely ominous on the clay. Has had a busy schedule in the lead-up to the tournament so will be interesting to see how his body holds up. However I think he’s primed to take home the title for a 10th time.

Runner-up: Stan Wawrinka

A previous winner at Roland Garros and I expect him to go very deep into the draw. Is undefeated in Grand Slam finals however I can’t see him getting the better of Nadal should the two meet in the final.

Dark Horse: Alexander Zverev

Cannot ignore his rise into the top 10 and the form he showed in the Rome Masters. Clearly he has the ability and belief to match it with the world’s best on this surface. Is on the easier side of the draw in my opinion and with some luck he could go all the way.

French Open 2017 Preview – Women’s Singles

This year’s women’s draw is one of the most open Grand Slam tournaments that I can recall in recent history. Serena Williams is the most notable absentee from the tournament, which potentially opens things up for a number of other competitors. Just a fortnight ago, Maria Sharapova was favourite with the bookies before she was sensationally denied a wildcard entry into this year’s event.

As such, at this year’s event there are a handful of players who can realistically take home the title and we could well have a first-time major winner. Let’s have a look at some of the top competitors…


The Top Seeds

  1. Angelique Kerber (GER) – Has returned to the number 1 ranking after losing it post the Australian Open but this is arguably due to the absence of Serena Williams. Doesn’t have a great record at Roland Garros and her form this year is certainly not as good as it was last year. Still not without a chance and the top seeding helps her.
  2. Karolína Plíšková (CZE) – Has rocketed into grand slam contention on the back of a brilliant season last year. However she does not have a good record at the French Open and the slow courts don’t particularly suit her power game. Her footwork can also be her achilles heel at times and that may not help her cause on the clay.
  3. Simona Halep (ROM) – The 2014 finalist, arguably has the best chance of claiming her first grand slam victory right here. I believe this surface really suits her game and she firms as a big chance to take out the title.
  4. Garbiñe Muguruza (ESP) – The defending champion crucially takes the final top 4 seeding with the absence of Serena Williams. Prior to last year she made two straight quarter-finals here so she has had good success even prior to last year. Grew up in Venezuela no doubt playing a lot of her junior tennis on clay so these courts definitely suit her. Huge chance of going back-to-back but has a tough match first up against 2010 champion Francesca Schiavone.
  5. Elina Svitolina (UKR) – Has a reasonable record at Roland Garros (fourth round last year and quarter-finalist in 2015) and with some of the absentees, she could go deep into the tournament. Produces her best tennis on Clay and has had a strong season so far. One to watch.
  6. Dominika Cibulková (SVK) – Showed a return to form last year and has been playing some consistent tennis so far this season. Made the semis here back in 2009 and the quarters in 2012. Also is a grand slam finalist (Australian Open 2014) so knows what it takes to contend in the second week of a major.
  7. Johanna Konta (GBR) – Clay is probably Konta’s weakest surface. She has never progressed past the first round at the French Open. However she did make the final of the Rome Masters just last week and brings some promising form to this year’s tournament. The crucial 7th seeding gives her a good chance of getting to the second week.
  8. Svetlana Kuznetsova (RUS) – Former Champion here at Roland Garros back in 2009. Kuznetsova has been playing consistent tennis now for the past few seasons and has a great record here on clay. Is definitely an outside chance of repeating her 2009 heroics.
  9. Agnieszka Radwańska (POL) – Has dropped down the rankings this year as a result of injury. Missed both the Madrid and Rome lead-up tournaments and I think she might be a bit underdone this year, especially on a surface that requires supreme fitness.
  10. Venus Williams (USA) – Won the lead up tournament in Rome. Continues to defy her age and play great tennis. Has been OK at the French Open in recent years but had some very good results over a decade ago. Certainly an outside chance.

Top Aussies

Sam Stosur – Seeded 23rd this year and generally performs well on clay. Was a semi-finalist here last year and narrowly missed out on the title in 2009. Is in good form and feels comfortable on this surface. The open draw this year along with her form leading into the tournament give her a good chance of at least making the second week.

Daria Gavrilova – Right on Stosur’s tail and is the 24th seed this year. Also has some good form leading into the tournament. Would be surprised if she doesn’t record her best result at the French Open this year. Her previous best was the second round in 2015.


My Tips

Winner: Garbiñe Muguruza

She beat the best last year to take the title and has an even clearer run to the title this year. Enjoys playing on the clay and knows what it takes to win at Roland Garros. My tip to go back-to back.

Runner-up: Simona Halep

Has a good record here at Roland Garros and think she is a big chance of going all the way to take out the title. I just think that Muguruza might be too strong for her should they meet in a final.

Dark Horse: Svetlana Kuznetsova

Kuznetsova continues to remain a contender at the top level of the women’s game. She has had a great start to the year and has historically performed extremely well at the French Open. With this year’s draw being wide open, I think it gives Kuznetsova her best chance of winning a major in almost a decade.