Like his number-one counterpart on the women's side, I expect Roger Federer (he of "the greatest-ever" fame) to complete the career Slam with his first French Open title. I'm sure he, like everyone else who follows the sport, will think "It's about time" by the tournament's over. Here's my quarterfinal breakdown:
Roger Federer (1) vs. Igor Andreev (27): The Federer Express keeps rolling. I see him getting through some big bombers (Sam Querrey and Mario Ancic) mixed in with some gritty clay-courters (Albert Montanes and Juan Monaco) on his way to the quarters, where Andreev will be sitting. But while Andreev can blast away with that forehand of his on clay it shouldn't be too much trouble for R-Fed to handle. This section of the draw includes Stanislas Wawrinka, Fernando Gonzalez and Richard Gasquet in it, but I see Andreev prevailing against those higher-ranked, yet unpredictable, players.
Marat Safin vs. David Ferrer (5): In an all-Russian battle for the ages, I think Safin's going to make a big statement in a second-round match with Nikolay Davydenko, stopping old Nik before he makes his annual semifinal appearance. Ferrer's road to the fourth round is pretty easy, with the other high seed in his quarter, Tommy Robredo, having to fight through possible matches with Casablanca winner Gilles Simon and Radek Stepanek.
Janko Tipsarevic (32) vs. Novak Djokovic (3): Two Serbian males in the quarters of a major? Who would of thunk it? The high seeds in Tipsarevic's section of the draw are James Blake and Tomas Berdych. I thinkTipsarevic will end up taking out both of them in his run to the quarters. There, he'll face off against the story of the year in men's tennis, Djokovic. But please take note here of who I think Djokovic will play in the fourth round (I've mentioned this guy before): Eduardo Schwank. Who, you might ask? Only the hottest player on the planet, male or female. Going into this year's tournament, Schwank will have won 18 matches in a row: three Challenger titles and three matches in qualifying. Carlos Moya probably cringed when he saw what qualifier he was going to have to face. I expect Schwank to take that match and get to the round of 16, where he'll face Djokovic. But Novak does have a potentially tough first-rounder and could meet Guillermo Canas in the third round, but he should come through.
Nicolas Almagro (19) vs. Rafael Nadal (2): Rafa getting this far is a no-brainer. Looking at his quarter, there's no one there that should even be able to make him sweat. Almagro's been one of the hottest player on the dirt this year, picking up two titles early and finishing runner-up in Valencia. He should be able to take out David Nalbandian in the fourth round this year.
For the semis: Federer vs. Ferrer: Ferrer's scrappy style falls right into Federer's hands. Ferrer likes to run, right? He'll be doing that a lot here. R-Fed in straights.
Djokovic vs. Nadal: One day, these two will be on opposite sides of the draw, and you can expect to see a tremendous final between them. Until that day happens, though, semis it is. Nadal wins here, but not without a fight from Djoko.
For the final: Federer over Nadal: OK, I'm a big-enough man to admit that I was wrong: The Jose Higueras hiring for R-Fed will pay off. This time, when Federer gets on a roll against Nadal at the start, he will stick to it. Nadal can't win 'em all, can he?
An old friend of mine and I used to talk tennis for hours, whether it was our own games or what was happening in the pros. I've started Tennis Talk, Anyone? to, well, talk tennis with an even broader crowd! My name is Van Sias and I've been playing for 20 years now, and not only am I player, I'm a huge fan of the game as well: pro, amateur, you name it. I'll post links to news items related to the sport, and offer my own personal opinion, predictions and hopefully get some of yours as well.