Roland Garros, the purse of the 15 Italians on the draw. From Sinner to Paolini: draw, physical form and hopes in Paris

Here we are. After the Monte Carlo-Madrid-Rome triad, the clay season culminates at Roland Garros, the second Slam of the year. 128 men and 128 players with 64 seeds are registered in the main draw in Paris. The large Italian expedition counts 15 items (10 in the men’s main draw, 5 in the women’s) with two seeds, namely Jannik Sinner (2) and Lorenzo Musetti (29) on one side and Jasmine Paolini (12) on the other. Also at the start on May 26th will be Matteo Arnaldi, Lorenzo Sonego, Flavio Cobolli, Luciano Darderi, Luca Nardi, Fabio Fognini, Giulio Zeppieri and Matteo Bellucci in addition to Lucia Bronzetti, Elisabetta Cocciaretto, Martina Trevisan and Sara Errani. Let’s take a look at the latest results and status of our 15 hopes.

MEN’S BOARD

Let’s start from an assumption: if the doctors have given the OK and Jannik has chosen to play, it is legitimate to consider the South Tyrolean as one of the great favorites for the final victory, even if clay is not his “cup of tea” as the English say – the only triumph on clay in the major circuit dates back to the Umag tournament in 2022. The theoretical draw does not present huge pitfalls at least until the third round where he could meet Cameron Norrie, seeded no. 32 (no precedent between the two). From then on, every match is not trivial: Jarry, Rome’s finalist, or the terrazzo Baez in the round of 16; Hurkacz/Dimitrov in the quarterfinals; Alcaraz/Rublev/Tsitsipas before the final with Djokovic/Zverev/Medvedev/Ruud. On paper it is a path within reach at least until the semi-final, but physical condition and surface require caution. It could be the tournament that crowns Vagnozzi and Cahill’s student as the new No. 1 in tennis: these are the combinations. Get the popcorn ready, it’s going to be fun.

Sinner is here! The images of his first training in Paris

A season with few highs and many lows for the Carrara talent who became Ludovico’s father just before the Sunshine Double in March. In recent times he has chosen to host farm matches on the Challenger circuit: the best results have come from “minor” tennis, namely the two finals in Cagliari and Turin. The Slam in Bois de Boulogne will be a test for Lorenzo, seeded No. 29 in the draw who defends last year’s round of 16, a match in which he lost to Alcaraz. In the event of an early exit from Paris, the top 30 would be at risk and consequently his participation in the major tournaments as top seed. Soft debut with Galan (just beaten easily in Cagliari), the possible second round with the winner of Monfils-Seyboth Wild is already more difficult before the possible match with Novak Djokovic. Urn not exactly benevolent.

Musetti is immediately a show: devastating backhand, Alcaraz petrified

He arrives in the French capital with a best ranking close to the top30, the result of constant growth both from a physical and technical-tactical point of view. On clay this season he has given mixed signals thanks to some bad luck in the draws: a bad first round lost in Monte Carlo against Nagal followed by a difficult second round in Madrid (vs Medvedev) as well as in Rome (vs future finalist Jarry), interspersed with Excellent performance in Barcelona where he reached the quarterfinals against future winner Ruud. Clay isn’t his favorite surface, but Davis the man can deliver emotions anywhere. He continues the series of debuts that are not at all simple: he will challenge the seeded n° 29, the host Fils.

He is the man of the moment: in the space of six months he has gone from unknown to opponent to avoid. The Italian-Argentine, born on the clay of Buenos Aires, made himself known to the general public with his success at the beginning of the year in the “home” ATP 250 in Cordoba and from there he never stopped. Furthermore, a few days ago it entered the top50. The fight and the refusal of defeat are his distinctive traits. This season on clay he has only lost to more experienced opponents than him: semi-final in Houston with Tiafoe, second round in Madrid with Fritz, semi-final at the Challenger in Cagliari with Navone, third round in Rome with Zverev and semi-final at the Challenger in Turin with Musetti . Favorable debut on paper with the Australian Hijikata even if Luciano is in the segment of the Zverev-Nadal draw…

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Sonego’s circus act, then Alcaraz’s stone: it’s champagne tennis

Season in decline for the Turin player who recently left the historic coach Gipo Arbino to start the new collaboration with Fabio Colangelo. The results are struggling to take off (in Lyon this week he was eliminated by the world no. 117) and even the qualification in the Olympic quartet – as well as the possible Davis double to be replicated in Paris 2024 with Jannik Sinner – are in the balance. The Race towards the Games is clear: he must recover more than 200 in this Roland Garros in Darderi, otherwise no Olympics. When the going gets tough, Lorenzo brings out the best, showing off the fighter’s spirit that has characterized his career: this is why we expect a reaction from Sonny on one of the four most important stages on the circuit. It will be a baptism of fire: he will have to deal with the No. 17 seed Humbert and the Paris crowd. Sparks are expected

Flavio is another Italian who can aspire to the Olympic Games (he is just over 100 points away from the objective): after his exploit at the Australian Open (third round beating the big server Jarry) the Roman has now firmly entered the elite of the tennis, so much so that it was chosen by the On brand of which Roger Federer is the main shareholder. He lands in Paris with best ranking, the embrace of the first victory in his Roma and the masterpiece comeback over Shelton in Lyon. An important push to also leave his mark at Roland Garros where he is chasing the first victory that the qualified Medjedovic could achieve on his debut.

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Cobolli: “I play tennis thanks to Fognini. At home in Rome everyone is awake for me”

If the ATP 250 in Cordoba was the turning point of Darderi’s career, that of the 20-year-old from Pesaro was undoubtedly the upset against world No. 1 Novak Djokovic in Indian Wells. After the revelation in California, the now former student of Giorgio Galimberti (Luca has returned with his historic coach Francesco Sani since April) triumphed at the Challenger in Naples, but was a bit disappointing on the ATP circuit, only beating Altmaier in Rome for then fight, but succumb, against Rune in the second round. First round with the Muller wild card in which he starts as favourite, then a possible derby with Arnaldi.

The harmony with Filippo Baldi, a new entry in his staff, and the love for tennis allowed him to return to the top 100 and secure the main draw at Roland Garros: at Slam level the Ligurian missed an entire year, missing from the third round lost to Ofner at Bois de Boulogne. To dedicate himself to his rise in singles, he chose to abandon, at least temporarily, his doubles career, where he won a lot paired with Simone Bolelli. At the Internationals he made it clear that although the identity card says 37 (just turned) the time to say “enough” is still far away. He can do it with the Dutch Van de Zandschulp, who has sunk in the rankings in recent months.

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“Yes, I’m talking to you”: Fognini has some intrusive fans chased away

The first Italian to conquer the main draw from the qualifiers, he is at his third consecutive participation at Roland Garros where last year he also achieved his first victory against Bublik and then surrendered to Ruud. In the cadet course he lost only one set and in the decisive round he beat Thiem’s ​​executioner, the Finnish Virtanen, with a double 6-2. The Roman can give emotions. He will challenge Adrian Mannarino, seeded number 22.

After the Australian Open 2023 also Roland Garros 2024: second Slam main draw for Mattia in his career. The 2001 class from Busto Arsizio won the decisive round tooth and nail, overcoming Alejandro Moro Canas with a score of 3-6 6-2 7-6, coming back from 0-4 in the tiebreak won 10-7. The left-handed player also eliminated the South African former world no. 31 Harris on his path. He can also give Frances Tiafoe, a first-round opponent, a hard time. We are sure of it.

WOMEN’S BOARD

The only Italian seed among the 32 in the women’s main draw arrives in Paris with the best ranking and with the aim of at least equaling the result of the Australian Open in January, i.e. the round of 16. Considering the importance and weight of the Slams, Jasmine historically still lacks the definitive leap in quality in the four major tournaments. If she does so, already in June, the top 10 will be within her reach. Tuscany, n. 12 of the seeding, she has been inserted in the lower part of the draw and will make her debut against the Australian Daria Saville. For her, a possible third round with Anna Kalinskaya (it would be a remake of the Dubai final) and a possible eighth-final against Qinwen Zheng. One step at a time. Paired with Sara Errani (the two Italians have just won the Italian Internationals), Jasmine will also be a protagonist in the women’s doubles.

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Paolini: “It’s a dream to win a tournament like this, I’m proud of myself”

The first Italian player out of the seeding, the Rimini native is in the best moment of her career in terms of ranking and is a real loose cannon: she can easily amaze with results above expectations, as in the case of the victory over Potapova in Dubai. At Roland Garros he is chasing his first success after two defeats in the first round in 2022 and 2023. It probably couldn’t have gone worse in the draw: debut against Naomi Osaka (the former No. 1 in Rome won two matches in a row on clay for the first time in five years), then the possible second round against Iga Swiatek. Mission (im)possible

The objective must be to repeat the excellent approach of the last edition where she reached the third round by beating the top 10 Kvitova on her debut, in what still remains the best Slam result, equaled a month later at Wimbledon. Her peak in the season so far was her success in March at the WTA 125 in Charleston, where as number 4 in the tournament, she won the third title of her career. Complicated debut against Brazilian Beatriz Haddad Maia, seeded No. 13.

Boasting the quarterfinals in 2020 and the historic semifinal in 2022, lost to Coco Gauff, the Tuscan knows the secrets of Roland Garros well. Martina is called to redeem herself after a disappointing start to the season: from the best ranking a year ago she has sunk to the limits of the top100. Soft debut with the qualified Danilovic, however, there is one of the fittest tennis players of the moment, Danielle Collins, at her last Roland Garros of her career.

Twelve years after the final lost against Maria Sharapova, the 37-year-old from Bologna will still be at the starting line of the Parisian Slam, for the 14th time in her career. Fresh from the doubles title at the Internazionali d’Italia, Sara secured a place in the main draw by passing the three qualifying rounds without dropping any sets. This is already a good achievement, it is difficult to ask much more of her, also considering that her focus will be on the double of her with Paolini. In Madrid and Rome she stopped in the second round against opponents from another category, the same scenario could be repeated here. At the debut, she will find Schmiedlova. She could have been worse off.

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Martina Trevisan, from anorexia to the quarterfinals in Paris

 
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