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2018 French Open grades

2018 French Open grades

The 2018 French Open has come and gone. Like most other tennis majors, it featured a fair bit of the expected and unexpected. It is time to hand out grades.

The men

Rafael Nadal: The “King of Clay” looked a little more human at Roland Garros this year compared to the past. However, he did exactly what he was supposed to do: win his 11th French Open title. His dominance of this event and clay-court tennis in general is beyond words at this point. Grade: A+

Alexander Zverev: This is a tough one. The 21-year-old German finally reached his first major quarterfinal and showed some impressive mental toughness to do it. However, that is a double-edged sword. Zverev is too talented to be playing three five-set matches just to reach the second week. He was the second seed for a reason. He has all the tools to win a few Grand Slams, but it just is not happening yet. Zverev also picked up a hamstring injury that is worth monitoring heading into the grass-court season. Grade: C

Novak Djokovic: This is another challenging one. When you are a 12-time major winner, a quarterfinal is not a good result, when you have had the kind of year Djokovic has, it is an important step in the right direction. Still, a quarterfinal loss to an opponent who had never been anywhere near a stage like that had to sting. Grade: C+

Dominic Thiem: The 24-year-old Austrian played the final weekend in Paris for the third year in a row. There is zero shame in losing to Nadal on clay in your first major final. Thiem has solidified himself as a threat to win any clay event he plays. The challenge now is to become more consistent on the other surfaces. For now though, things look really good for him. Grade: A

The women

Simona Halep: At times, it was not pretty, but the Romanian finally closed the deal in her fourth career major final. She always had the game to win a major, but Halep’s mental toughness has been the difference this year. She played through injury and miserable conditions to reach the final in Australia and had to come from behind a couple times to go one step further in Paris. Grade: A+

Serena Williams: In her first Grand Slam as a mom, The 23-time major winner really started to look like her old self after beating 11th seed Julia Goerges in the third round. However, she withdrew with a chest muscle issue that she aggravated while playing doubles with her big sister Venus before her fourth round match. It sure would have been fun to see what the younger Williams sister could have done had she stayed healthy, but we will never know. The only question that matters now is whether or not the 36-year-old will be healthy enough to play at Wimbledon. Grade: Incomplete

2018 French Open grades
(Photo from independent.co,uk)

Elina Svitolina: The fourth-seeded Ukrainian was the biggest disappointment in the French capital this year. She has done well in regular tour events for a few years now, but always struggled at the majors. She was handed a dream draw at this event. She would not have had to deal with the other legitimate title contenders until at least the semifinals. Svitolina still managed to lose in the third round. She has still never reached the semifinals or better at a major. If it did not happen here, you have to wonder when it will. Grade: D

Maria Sharapova: The quarterfinal exit against Garbiñe Muguruza was swift and ugly, but it was Sharapova’s deepest progression at a major in more than two years. She had to start showing some good form on the clay this year or seriously consider calling it a career. Mission accomplished in terms of good form. With her ranking knocking on the door of the top 20, there is no reason the 2004 Wimbledon winner should not be a factor again there in a few weeks. Grade: B

Sloane Stephens: The American has reached two of the last three major finals, including winning last year’s US Open. She is a much more complete player after the foot injury that caused her to miss nearly a year of action. She has figured out how to play enough offense while still relying on her great movement to get balls back. She will be the fourth ranked player in the world on Monday. She came up short in the final, but it is impossible to say enough good things about her at the moment. Grade: A- 

 

Featured image from the Toronto Star

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