ATP Weekly Update week 22: Favourites up-and-running at Roland Garros

The world's best, led by 10-time champion Rafael Nadal, spent the last week weeding out the weak and preparing to clash over the upcoming week as the French Open is well underway.

ATP Weekly Update week 22: Favourites up-and-running at Roland Garros
Despite both being victorious, Alexander Zverev (left) and Rafael Nadal (right) have had very different experiences so far at the French Open. Photos: Matthew Stockman (Zverev), Clive Brunskill (Nadal)/Getty Images

Here is your VAVEL USA ATP Weekly Update. Every Monday, we will be posting results and analysis from the previous week’s singles action on the ATP World Tour, along with a preview to the upcoming week. Keep coming back to VAVEL USA every Monday for your ATP Weekly Update.

The second major championship of 2018 got underway this week with 127 men looking to be the one to stop the King of Clay. Halfway through the tournament and no one has even come remotely close yet, while many of the favourites have worn themselves down before even meeting the king. As the clay court season reaches its climax, here is your ATP Weekly Update for week 22 of the 2018 season.

Last Week’s Action

Roland Garros

For the most part, the French Open has gone according to plan in terms of results, although the paths taken by some of the favourites have been a little more troublesome than expected.

No one has had a trickier time than second seed Alexander Zverev. The young German reached the first major quarterfinal of his career in Paris but has had to come back from two-sets-to-one down to win in five in his last three matches. He will need to find some better form if he hopes to reach his maiden major semifinal as he will meet seventh-seed Dominic Thiem, who has reached the semis in Paris the last two years.​

Alexander Zverev pumps his fist after one of his early French Open battles. Photo: Clive Brunskill/Getty Images
Alexander Zverev pumps his fist after one of his early French Open battles. Photo: Clive Brunskill/Getty Images

2016 champion Novak Djokovic finally seems to be finding his feet in his comeback from injury. The former world number one, who had not reached a quarterfinal of any kind since Wimbledon last year prior to the Italian Open two weeks ago, powered into the last eight in Paris, dropping only one set.

In the quarterfinals, he will meet the biggest surprise of the tournament Marco Cecchinato. The Hungarian Open champion, who had never won a match at a major before, finally scored his first major match win 10-8 in the fifth set of his first-round match and hasn’t looked back. The Italian upset 10th seed Pablo Carreno Busta in the third round and 8th seed David Goffin to reach the quarterfinals.

One person who, unsurprisingly, has not had too much trouble is world number one and defending champion Rafael Nadal. The Spaniard faced some pressure in his rain-delayed opening match with Simone Bolelli, which saw the 10-time champion have to wait overnight to erase a 0-3 deficit in the third set before wrapping up the win in an epic tiebreak. That seemed to serve as a wake-up call for the King of Clay, who only dropped 11 games in his next two matches. He will meet Munich semifinalist Maximilian Marterer on Monday in the round of 16.

Rafael Nadal did not meet with much resistance in the first week of the French Open. Photo: Cameron Spencer/Getty Images
Rafael Nadal did not meet with much resistance in the first week of the French Open. Photo: Cameron Spencer/Getty Images

Seedings have mostly held through the rest of the draw, with six of the top eight and eight of the top eleven still alive in the draw. The biggest upset came in the third round when fourth seed Grigor Dimitrov, who had just escaped an epic second-round match with American youngster Jared Donaldson 10-8 in the fifth, went crashing out in straight sets at the hands of 30th-seeded veteran Fernando Verdasco. Interestingly, only two men who reached the quarterfinals of the Australian Open, Nadal and Marin Cilic, are still alive in the season’s second major.

Rankings Update

The points from the 2017 French Open will not drop until after tournament ends next Monday, so no official changes in the rankings will take place this week. Alexander Zverev’s quest for the number two ranking is still alive as a title combined with the failure of Nadal to reach the final would move the German into the top two. Nadal needs to defend his title to hang on to the number one ranking.

Stan Wawrinka shows his frustration during his costly first-round loss in Paris. Photo: Cameron Spencer/Getty Images
Stan Wawrinka shows his frustration during his costly first-round loss in Paris. Photo: Cameron Spencer/Getty Images

However, one change that is already guaranteed is the fall of Stan Wawrinka. The 2017 runner-up was sent packing in his opening match by Guillermo Garcia-Lopez. That loss will cost Wawrinka 1190 points which will see his ranking fall out of the top 250 for the first time since August 2003. The former world number three will need to rely on wildcards to get into the big events for the foreseeable future.

Race to London

Place Name Points Change
1 Alexander Zverev 3495 -
2 Rafael Nadal 3220 +1
3 Roger Federer 3110 -1
4 Juan Martin del Potro 2480 -
5 Marin Cilic 2190 -
6 Dominic Thiem  2145 -
7 Kevin Anderson 1620 -
8 John Isner 1500 +1
9 Hyeon Chung 1380 -1
10 Grigor Dimitrov 1365 -
11 Kyle Edmund 1350 -
12 Fabio Fognini 1260 +2

A lot can still change in the Race to London depending on the final results of the tournament. However, one guaranteed change is that by simply making the round of 16, Rafael Nadal will move ahead of Roger Federer, taking over the number two spot. Alexander Zverev remains at number one. Also by reaching the round of 16, John Isner moves back into the top eight, climbing past the idle Hyeon Chung.

This Week’s Action

Roland Garros

The French Open continues to heat up this week as the final men will duke it out for the Coupe des Mousquetaires next Sunday. Rafael Nadal will continue his quest for the Undecima while the rest of men look to hold him off.

Rafael Nadal is the man to stop in the second week of the French Open. Photo: Cameron Spencer/Getty Images
Rafael Nadal is the man to stop in the second week of the French Open. Photo: Cameron Spencer/Getty Images

The Spaniard still may have to go through the big hitters to reach the final, as Kevin Anderson, Marin Cilic, Juan Martin del Potro, and John Isner are still alive on his side of the draw. Meanwhile, only one of the three other favourites, Alexander Zverev, Dominic Thiem, or Novak Djokovic, will make it out of the bottom half to challenge the King of Clay in the final.

Check back next Monday for a wrap up of week 23 and a look ahead to week 24 on the ATP World Tour. Come to www.vavel.com/en-us/tennis-usa/ every Monday or follow us on twitter @VAVELUSATennis for your #ATPWeeklyUpdate