Roland Garros 2018 French Open - Men's Singles - Predictions & Picks

Who will win the men's singles title at the 2018 French Open? Our research staff provides previews and predictions for this year's Roland Garros. The 2018 French Open is scheduled for May 27 through June 10 in Paris, France.


The Favorite

Rafael Nadal
WR: 2
Grand Slam: 16 titles, 10 RG wins
2018 Clay Season: 3 wins, 17-1
Outlook: The King of the Clay is enjoying another dominant season on the red clay. The Spaniard won three of the four tournaments he entered. He did the same thing last year and ended up winning his 10th Roland Garros crown. If history repeats and it often does, Nadal should win this year's French Open. But here is a word of caution. Rafael is 31 years of age and conventional wisdom tells us that fitness could be an issue. A couple of five-setters could realistically derail his chances.

The Contenders

Alexander Zverev
WR: 3
Grand Slam: 4th Rd (best result)
2018 Clay Season: 2 wins, 16-2
Outlook: When young Zverev had a breakout season on the clay last year, some experts felt it may be a flute because they believed his game is not the most suited for the clay. The German star confirmed their belief by crashing out in the first round of Roland Garros. However, Zverev has displayed his clay prowess once again this season by winning twice on the clay and giving Nadal all he could handle in Rome. Having one more season to hone his skills, Zverev's game has matured quite a bit and one should not be surprised if he seriously contends in Paris.

Novak Djokovic
WR: 18
Grand Slam: 12 titles, RG runner-up (3 times)
2018 Clay Season: 7-4, semifinalist in Rome
Outlook: The former world no. 1 player might have hit rock bottom, but he is showing signs of recovering form. Djokovic just had his best result yet this season, reaching the semifinal in Rome. Although he has never won in Paris, he is a three-time finalist there. Given a good draw, he could be a strong contender. Unfortunately, his ranking has dropped so severely that he will be facing many top players regardless of the draw. Still, one could never discount a 12-time grand slam winner.

Players to Watch

Kei Nishikori
WR: 24
Grand Slam: U.S. finalist (2014), 2-time RG quarterfinalist
2018 Clay Season: 7-4, Monte Carlo Masters finalist
Outlook: The Japanese star is always a tough out for the top players. While his record against the Big Three (Federer, Nadal and Djokovic) is poor, his record against everyone else is very solid. In this clay season alone, he has beaten Cilic, Zverev, Dimitrov and Berdych. The clay is actually Kei's most favorite surface and he has done well on the red stuff. The Japanese won twice in Barcelona and reached two Masters finals.

Dominic Thiem
WR: 8
Grand Slam: 2-time RG semifinalist
2018 Clay Season: 8-4, Madrid Open finalist
Outlook: There is a reason why the Austrian has reached the semifinals of Roland Garros for two consecutive years. Thiem is undoubtedly one of the best clay-court players. On a good day, he could beat anyone (including Nadal) on this surface. Unfortunately, he is wildly inconsistent. He could realistically beat Nadal one day and lose to Stefanos Tsitsipas the next day. This could be a big problem in a grand slam where you have to play seven matches against seven different opponents. If he could maintain consistency over the two weeks, he will have a chance at winning the title.

Marin Cilic
WR: 5
Grand Slam: U.S. Open champion, three career finals
2018 Clay Season: 4-3, semifinalist in Rome
Outlook: Cilic is the third highest-ranked grand slam winner in the current world rankings, behind only Federer and Nadal. A player of this caliber is always a threat to win a grand slam. Admittedly, clay is not remotely his best surface but Cilic is a seasoned competitor who knows how to win matches.

Dark Horses

Richard Gasquet
WR: 30
Grand Slam: 3-time semifinalist, RG quarterfinalist
2018 Clay Season: 7-5, semifinalist in Morocco
Outlook: With Tsonga out due to injury, Gasquet is once again France's best hope for a home title. At 31 years of age, the talented Frenchman knows he is running out of chances. Still, Gasquet remains one of the best players France has produced in a long time. Perhaps the supportive French crowd will be able to propel him to one final title run.

Fabio Fognini
WR: 21
Grand Slam: French Open quarterfinalist
2018 Clay Season: 4-4
Outlook: The Italian is a clay-court specialist who has underachieved in Paris. While all six of his career titles came on the clay, his best result at Roland Garros was a quarterfinal appearance way back in 2011. Still, Fognini remains a tough opponent on this surface. Many of his best matches have come against clay guru Rafael Nadal. He actually won the first set against Nadal a few weeks ago.

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