Expert picks will be running on a daily basis throughout the French Open, and they begin with pre-tournament predictions for the quarterfinals through the final. Join the fun throughout the next two weeks and test your knowledge against the experts for a chance to become one of the featured guest pickers.
Roger Federer over Ernests Gulbis 7-6(4), 6-3, 4-6, 6-3. Gulbis' draw should allow him to reach the quarters, but I'm not sure if he is ready for a slam semifinal, especially in Federer's quarter of the draw.
Mikhail Youzhny over Tomas Berdych 4-6, 6-4, 7-6(6), 5-7, 8-6. Andy Murray's quarter is wide open, and I think either Youzhny or Berdych will be the one taking advantage. This is one could go either way.
David Ferrer over Novak Djokovic 6-4, 6-7(5), 7-5, 6-2. I am almost certain Ferrer will reach the semifinals. I'm not so sure of his quarterfinal opponent, but if it's Djokovic, the Spaniard should not have too much trouble on clay.
Rafael Nadal over Nicolas Almagro 6-3, 7-6(4), 6-2. Almagro is on fire and he might have enough to make a return trip to the quarterfinals, but he is not going to take a set off Nadal like he did in Madrid.
Federer over Youzhny 6-3, 4-6, 6-4, 6-3. This should be mostly routine. In fact, whoever advances out of Federer's tough quarter will almost certainly be favored over whoever advances out of Murray's wide-open quarter.
Nadal over Ferrer 6-7(5), 6-3, 6-4, 6-3. Ferrer will be the first to take a set off Nadal at this year's French Open, but I don't think he is ready to put a serious scare into the four-time champion.
Nadal over Federer 6-4, 6-7(4), 6-4, 6-2. The Madrid final was straights, and there is a good chance this one will be the same. Nonetheless, Federer has confidence from last year's title and he should be able to make this relatively competitive.
Tomas Berdych over Jo-Wilfried Tsonga 7-5, 6-4, 6-2. This is supposed to be Andy Murray's section of the draw, but the Scot drew (of all people) Richard Gasquet, who is actually playing good tennis right now. It wouldn't surprise me if Gasquet clipped Muzza in the opener. I picked Berdych over Tsonga, but that's mostly because there is a noted lack of good clay-courters in this section.
David Ferrer over Novak Djokovic 6-7(7), 6-4, 6-3, 3-6, 9-7. I expect this to be a real barnstormer of a match. Djokovic is a good clay courter, even an accomplished one, despite his struggles against Nadal on the surface...but I think Ferrer's going to edge this one in 5 tough ones. The Spaniard is on fire this spring.
Rafael Nadal over Nicolas Almagro 7-5, 6-2, 6-2. Almagro has been outstanding this year - he even took a set from Nadal in Madrid...but this ain't Madrid. Nadal is in scary form right now...I doubt Almagro is even going to get a set off his countryman.
Federer over Berdych 4-6, 7-5, 6-2, 6-4. If this match comes to fruition, it could be a lot closer than people think. Berdych can trouble Federer, especially since Fed's form hasn't been questionable this spring. Still, it's a best of 5 match, and Berdych isn't known for his resolve. Federer should advance to yet another final in Paris.
Nadal over Ferrer 7-6(7), 6-4, 7-5. Unfortunately for Ferrer, the script for this has been written again and again and again. He is not going to beat Nadal on clay. He'll make the match competitive. It might be entertaining and even feature some great shot-making, but at the end of the day, there is only one winner.
Nadal over Federer 6-4, 6-3, 7-5. Just as it is with Ferrer, the script for this has been written and refined many times over the years. Unfortunately, the match is probably not going to be pretty - Fed/Nadal matches on clay rarely are. It will be tense, but that's because of who is playing, not because of how they play. Anything other than a Nadal victory would be a complete upset.
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