French Open 2024 previews and predictions: Djokovic vs. Cerundolo, Ruud vs. Fritz

If Novak Djokovic beats Francisco Cerundolo in his return match on Monday, the other quarterfinal positions at Roland Garros will be determined. The roster also includes Taylor Fritz and Casper Ruud.

Novak Djokovic vs. Francisco Cerundolo

On Saturday night, or rather, early Sunday morning, Djokovic was on the verge of losing the French Open in the third round by just one set. In a match that lasted four hours and 29 minutes and concluded at 3:06 am, the 37-year-old Serbian beat Lorenzo Musetti 7-5, 6-7(6), 2-6, 6-3, 6-0. Musetti’s season has been mediocre overall. In his pursuit of a record-tying fourth Roland Garros title, Novak Djokovic has beaten Roberto Carballes Baena and Pierre-Hugues Herbert in somewhat less dramatic fashion.

The world number one will face Cerundolo for the first time ever on Monday afternoon. The 27-year-old has made it to the quarterfinals of a Grand Slam tournament twice; both times, predictably, it was on the red clay of Paris (2023). Despite a lackluster 2024 campaign overall, Cerundolo is on a roll after defeating Yannick Hanfmann, Filip Misolic, and Tommy Paul. Regrettably, Musetti is out, and the Argentine will instead face a revitalized Djokovic. Even though Djokovic won’t be feeling great after finishing at 3 in the morning, he should still be able to overcome Cerundolo.

French Open 2024

Taylor Fritz vs. Casper Ruud

On Monday, Ruud and Fritz will, shockingly, face off for only their second professional head-to-head match. Their one and only meeting in 2022 at the Nitto ATP Finals was a nail-biter, going the distance before Ruud came out on top 6-3, 4-6, 7-6(6). The Norwegian, who is ranked seventh, will undoubtedly benefit more from playing on clay courts instead on indoor hard courts. He won the title in Barcelona and made a final appearance in Monte-Carlo during his 2024 clay-court swing, and he has finished runner-up at Roland Garros on back-to-back occasions. Alves, Alejandro Davidovich Fokina (in five sets), and Etcheverry have all been defeated by Ruud in the past two weeks.

On the slow stuff, Fritz is having the greatest spring of his life. The American, who was placed twelveth, made it to the final in Munich, the semifinals in Madrid, and the quarterfinals in Rome. After beating Federico Coria, Dusan Lajovic, and Thanasi Kokkinakis, he advances to the round of 16 in Paris. It hasn’t been a picnic, though. Fritz defeated Kokkinakis 6-3, 6-2, 6-7(4), 5-7, 6-3 late Saturday night after dropping four sets in each of the first two rounds. While Fritz’s performance on clay courts has been adequate, it has never been outstanding. Now, playing one of the world’s top clay court players, he must quickly recover from a five-set loss. Perhaps the work is too difficult.

Lucy Wigley

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