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Swiatek to claim a fourth? A new men's winner? Flashscore's 2024 French Open predictions

It's set to be a year to remember in Paris
It's set to be a year to remember in Paris Profimedia
The French Open is just around the corner, and while there's a clear favourite on the women's side, it's set to be the most open men's Grand Slam in years, with the top players heading into it either dealing with injuries or in poor form.

Given that, predicting how things will pan out in Paris is no easy task, but Flashscore's Finley Crebolder and Tolga Akdeniz have given it a go.

What will be the best match of the first round?

Tolga Akdeniz: Although Rafael Nadal vs Alexander Zverev is the big headliner of the first round, I'm not totally sure it will be the 'best' match, as I struggle to see this version of Nadal really hurting an in-form Zverev. 

So I'm going to go with Andy Murray vs Stanislas Wawrinka. Two former multiple Grand Slam champions in their late 30s who are past their best, but still determined to give their all and be as competitive as possible.

They've had a great rivalry over the years, playing 22 times with Murray leading 13-9. It's going to be a totally unpredictable match, and I think an extremely entertaining one at that.

Finley Crebolder: Like Tolga said, the clash between Nadal and Zverev probably won't be the best in terms of quality unless the Spaniard can raise his game massively, but I'm still going to go for it for the atmosphere alone. 

With the French Open crowd knowing that they'll almost certainly never see their king play on their courts again if he loses, they'll be supporting him more than ever, and Nadal is someone who feeds off the support of a crowd, with the player and the fans amping each other up.

That might be enough for him to somehow roll back the years and cause Zverev problems, but in terms of a spectacle, it'll be unforgettable. Besides, this is Rafael Nadal at Roland Garros, so you never know...

Who will be the biggest underperformer?

Tolga Akdeniz: I can't even believe I'm going to say this... but Novak Djokovic. I don't like what I'm seeing with him currently. He looks well out of sorts and just has nothing going for him at the minute. He has been knocked out of his last two tournaments by Tomas Machac and Alejandro Tabilo, which isn't exactly a good sign. He also hasn't won a single tournament in 2023, which is truly unbelievable by his astronomical standards.

Obviously Grand Slams are a different ball game and he has the experience and ability to manoeuvre through five-set contests, but the way he's playing at the minute, I could genuinely see Lorenzo Musetti or Tommy Paul really giving him a hard time. And if he even manages to get to the quarters, can he get past Casper Ruud? I'm not sure.

Look, if Djokovic suddenly clicks and finds his best form and goes on to win Roland Garros, it wouldn't startle me either because that's just something he would do as the greatest player to ever pick up a racket. But there are just zero signs of that and I can see him having a bad time.

Djokovic hasn't had a good season
Djokovic hasn't had a good seasonFlashscore

Finley Crebolder: I'm going with Djokovic too, despite the fact that he's been given a fairly straightforward draw, which says a lot. 

He's obviously entered Grand Slams in fairly mediocre form and gone on to win them countless times in the past, but things feel different this year. In every area, he looks a shadow of the player he was just six months ago when he won the ATP Finals. 

Even a quarter-final exit to Ruud would be underperforming for him given the insane standards he's set for himself over the years, and I really think he'll go out then if not sooner.

Who will be the biggest surprise package?

Tolga Akdeniz: I think I'm going to go with Hubert Hurkacz from the men's draw and Madison Keys from the women's.

I always seem to back Hurkacz at Grand Slams, because I think he's such a good player and has such a good game for Grand Slams. Yet he's never really clicked at this level before. So, at some point, I feel he will have a good run at a major.

For Keys, I think she's in good form. She played really well in Madrid and Rome but lost to Iga Swiatek at both tournaments before reaching the Strasbourg final where she beat Danielle Collins, one of the players of the year so far.

Finley Crebolder: I think the second quarter of the women's draw is a pretty open one with the top two seeds, Coco Gauff and Ons Jabeur, being two players who haven't enjoyed the best clay-court seasons, so I'm going to back world number 19 Liudmila Samsonova

She has a tough route on paper with her likely to face last year's semi-finalist Beatriz Haddad Maia in the third round, Jabeur in the fourth and Gauff in the quarters, but she beat the Brazilian comfortably in Strasbourg and I think she can do so again and get past Jabeur at the least.

On the men's side, I can see unseeded veteran Jan-Lennard Struff making it as far as the quarters. He won the Munich title, has only lost to Jannik Sinner, Stefanos Tsitsipas and Carlos Alcaraz on clay this year and has a draw he'll be happy with.

Who will reach the women's final and who will be champion?

Tolga Akdeniz: Unless Danielle Collins or Jelena Ostapenko can muster up some magic in Swiatek's half, I think the Pole will DEFINITELY be in the final. She's just a freak of nature on the red dirt of Paris. She won both WTA 1000 tournaments which took place on the clay this season, showcasing her dominance.

On the other half of the draw, I will go with Aryna Sabalenka over Elena Rybakina just because I'm not sure about the health of Rybakina and what state she is in. If Rybakina ended up in the final, I think she has the best chance out of anyone of beating Swiatek, due to that match-up and her head-to-head with her. The only person to beat Swiatek on clay this year was Rybakina, which demonstrates my point.

But with my pick of Sabalenka in the final, I do think Swiatek will probably be too strong for her and win her fourth French Open, especially as she has the mental advantage of having beaten her in the finals of Madrid and Rome. 

Finley Crebolder: I think the in-form Collins will put up a real fight should their paths cross but I'd be mad not to back Swiatek to reach the final given her record at Roland Garros, where she's lost once in four years.

Picking between Sabalenka and Rybakina on the other side is much tougher, but I'm leaning towards Sabalenka too. With wins over Rybakina and Collins in the last few weeks, she looks like the second-best clay-courter in women's tennis right now.

The best is still Swiatek though, especially at the French Open, and so I feel fairly confident in saying that the world number one will win it for the fourth time.

Who will reach the men's final and who will be champion?

Tolga Akdeniz: Now this was tough. I think this is the most open men's Grand Slam in YEARS. There are so many unknowns going into the tournament regarding the top players: the form of Djokovic and the health of Sinner and Alcaraz.

So in the top half, I'm actually going to go with Zverev getting to the final. Djokovic's form is just so bad in 2024 and I'm stunningly struggling to back him at a Grand Slam for once. Meanwhile, Zverev likes the clay and has been playing well of late, winning the Rome Masters. I can see him taking advantage and reaching the final.

On the bottom half, I think Tsitsipas is going to be a big threat. A man who was one set away from winning this tournament, the Greek has also been playing well during the clay court season and could be well poised to pounce. But I'm going to say Sinner, because I think he's got a kind draw that should see him reach the semi-finals and find some momentum in the process.

I think a Zverev vs Sinner final would be really compelling and really tight, but I shall give the edge to the latter, purely because he is a Grand Slam champion now, so consequently possesses the experience and know-how of how to get over the line. On the other hand, there are still question marks over whether Zverev has those traits himself. 

Finley Crebolder: This is the part of the article where I regret offering to do predictions because I really don't have a clue. As Tolga said, a men's slam hasn't been this open in a long, long time with Djokovic out of form, Sinner and Alcaraz unfit and clay being Daniil Medvedev's arch nemesis.

The top half of the draw is the much easier one to call in my opinion. Zverev won Rome, has reached the French Open semis three years in a row and I don't think there are any players on his side capable of stopping him from going one better unless Djokovic ups his game massively. 

I'm going to take a punt with the other side and say that both Sinner and Alcaraz won't be able to produce their best tennis in Paris and that Monte Carlo champion and Barcelona runner-up Tsitsipas will take advantage to reach the final for a second time.

The Greek player beat Zverev when they faced off in Monte Carlo this year and I think he'll just about do so again in a nervy final to become a Grand Slam winner.

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