The 2016 edition of the French Open, the second major of the tennis calendar, heads into its final stretch this week, with men’s and women’s world number ones Novak Djokovic and Serena Williams still in the hunt for their respective title.
Rain has put a dampener on the event with several of the quarter-finals being suspended, and even some fourth round games being pushed behind which will likely take the tournament into next week.
Djokovic, who began his campaign with a straight sets win over Yen-Hsun Lu, breezed into the fourth round of the tournament — the pre-quarters — where his match with Switzerland’s Roberto Bautista Agut was suspended due to rain. Agut was the first opponent to take a set off Djokovic, before the world number one fought back to take the second set of their still incomplete match. With no Roger Federer, who withdrew before the tournament started with an injury, and Rafael Nadal pulling out ahead of his third round match, the Serbian has a good chance of winning the only major that has eluded him so far in his career.
A likely challenger however is Andy Murray who, despite twice finding himself in an elimination set, has fought back to move into the quarters, his most recent win being against John Isner, 7-6, 6-4, 6-3, and with the back log of games, gives the Scot valuable rest ahead of the more crucial matches. Next for him is Frenchman Richard Gasquet, with victory likely to pit him against defending champion Stanislas Wawrinka, who is seeded third.
In the women’s draw, World number one Serena Williams has breezed through all her matches, without dropping a set, as she looks to tie Steffi Graf’s open era record of 22 Grand Slam titles. It seems inevitable that Serena will beat that mark and overtake the all-time record of 24 titles set by Margaret Court, and with the women’s draw weakened with the suspension of Maria Sharapova, it is difficult to see her not adding to her tally in Paris. Her hopes were strengthened further with the defeats of second-seeded Agnieszka Radwanska — who lost to 6-2, 3-6, 3-6 to Tsvetana Pironkova — and sixth seed Simona Halep, who fell to Samantha Stousur 6-7, 3-6. If Serena makes the final, the highest seed she could face is Garbine Muruguza who is seeded fourth.