Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 30 May 2020

Wawrinka, Tsonga and five players who could spring a surprise at 2017 French Open

Rafael Nadal is the overwhelming favourite to win his 10th French Open title when the tournament begins next week. Here, Ahmed Rizvi looks at five players who could spring a surprise at Roland Garros.

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Stan Wawrinka

Given his early exits from Monte Carlo, Madrid and Rome, the 2015 French Open champion will probably not inspire much confidence among the fans. But beware — Wawrinka has a knack of showing up and winning grand slams when few people expect him to. He heads to Paris having retained his Geneva Open title, too. Ignore him at your peril.

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Alexander Zverev

The youngest member of the top 10, Zverev defeated the likes of Fabio Fognini, Milos Raonic, John Isner and Novak Djokovic on his way to his first Masters 1000 title in Rome last Sunday. The German also reached the last eight in Madrid, so confidence is high. But he has a tough first round against Spaniard Fernando Verdasco.

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Jo-Wilfried Tsonga

A first-round loser in Monte-Carlo, Tsonga pulled out of his second round match in Madrid because of a shoulder injury, which also forced him to skip Rome. But he has come back to win the Lyon Open title and, let us not forget, he has reached the semi-finals at Roland Garros twice in the past four years.

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David Goffin

A quarter-finalist at Roland Garros in 2016, Goffin defeated Dominic Thiem and Novak Djokovic in Monte Carlo and then put up a great show against Nadal in the Madrid quarter-final. If he can bring that form to Paris, he might just improve on his 2016 French Open showing.

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Fabio Fognini

You have got to wonder why a man of his talents has such a pedestrian record at grand slams — 16 first round exits and a lone quarter-final in 36 majors. At the same time, you just cannot ignore him, not after the way he has played in recent weeks, especially his match against Nadal in Madrid and his victory over Andy Murray in Rome.

arizvi@thenational.ae

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Updated: May 27, 2017 04:00 AM

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