Last week, I wrote up a piece for ESPN.com that is supposed to run today. I’ll post a link as soon as it’s up. The article uses my ranking system to order the top players on clay, and of course, between last week’s deadline and this week’s publication, the ranking changed.
Here are some gainers and losers in my system heading into the French:
- Djokovic is #1. Now that he’s beaten Nadal twice in a row, it isn’t even close. In Rome, my system gave Rafa a slight edge; if they meet in the French Open final, it thinks Novak has a 58% chance of winning. Oddly enough, that percentage is a little stronger on clay now than it is on hard courts, though of course Djokovic is favored on all surfaces.
- Murray is at #6, but basically tied for #5 with Soderling. Coming into the clay season, he was outside the top ten on the surface; a couple of good results and he’s moving up the list. If anything, his ranking underrates him, as we saw in his match against Djokovic last week.
- Richard Gasquet is #8. He’s been going deep almost every week, and he has lost only to the best. If I were a top-8 player, I wouldn’t want to see him in my quarter of the draw.
- A trio of disappointment: Mikhail Youzhny, Alexandr Dolgopolov, and Juan Monaco. Three very different players, none of whom are posting any results to be proud of. Dolgo, especially, should do better–this could have been his season to break through. They sit at #33, #37, and #41, respectively.
- #60 Thomas Schoorel — he’s been a beast on the European challenger circuit lately, and he could make trouble for players who have yet to face the big serving of this tall lefty.
- #66 Ryan Harrison
- #71 Ilya Marchenko
- #73 Andrey Kuznetsov (he’ll play Marchenko in the second round)
- #87 Horacio Zeballos — I’ve mostly given up hope on the Argentine breaking through, but you never know.
- All between #90 and #100, all into the second round: Facundo Bagnis, Evgeny Donskoy, Cedrik-Marcel Stebe, and Federico del Bonis.