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Novak Djokovic: 5 French Open Players in His Half of the Draw Who Could Beat Him

Dimitri KayCorrespondent IMay 26, 2011

Novak Djokovic: 5 French Open Players in His Half of the Draw Who Could Beat Him

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    PARIS, FRANCE - MAY 25:  Novak Djokovic of Serbia looks on during the men's singles round two match between Victor Hanescu of Romania and Novak Djokovic of Serbia on day four of the French Open at Roland Garros on May 25, 2011 in Paris, France.  (Photo by
    Clive Brunskill/Getty Images

    There is no doubt that after Nadal's five setter against John Isner in the first round, Novak Djokovic is now the favorite to win the French Open.

    Nevertheless, before getting to the final, the Serb might have to weave himself through some other dangerous players who could potentially stop his quest in winning a second consecutive Grand Slam.

Juan Martin Del Potro

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    PARIS, FRANCE - MAY 25:  Juan Martin Del Potro of Argentina celebrates a point during the men's singles round two match between Juan Martin Del Potro of Argentina and Blaz Kavcic Slovenia on day four of the French Open at Roland Garros on May 25, 2011 in
    Matthew Stockman/Getty Images

    Djokovic will be facing the Argentinean on Friday for a place in the fourth round. Del Potro is a big time player and former world No. 4 who knows what it takes to beat the top players. He has the right mentality and is consistent enough to give Djokovic a tough match.

    The 2009 US Open champion has the tools to punch through the Serb’s unbelievable defense. Even if Djokovic manages to push Del Potro a metre beyond the baseline, the latter will still have the oomph to blast shots straight back at Djokovic with authority.

    The tall man from South America also possesses a huge serve which will help his cause in winning some free points. Nevertheless, “Juan the Man” has just come back from a thigh problem and also seems to lack some fitness.

    If Del Potro manages to dictate most of the points—without having to run too much—he will be a real danger to Djokovic.

Richard Gasquet / Thomaz Bellucci

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    PARIS, FRANCE - MAY 25:  Richard Gasquet of France celebrates match point during the men's singles round two match between Richard Gasquet of France and Marcel Granollers of Spain on day four of the French Open at Roland Garros on May 25, 2011 in Paris, F
    Matthew Stockman/Getty Images

    If the Serbian sensation were to beat Del Potro he could find any of these two opponents next. Gasquet has rediscovered his form in recent weeks and is playing very well.

    However, he has a tendency to play too defensively and if the Frenchman plays like that against Djokovic, even with the Parisian crowd on his side, he will have no chance to stop the Serb.

    Attack however—especially with his beautiful one-handed backhand that can leave any opponent on his back when firing on all cylinders—and he could become the new French hero.

    Bellucci, another competitor who has been playing well in the past weeks, reached the fourth round of Roland Garros last year.

    The Brazilian met Djokovic in the Madrid Masters semifinals last month where he took a set from the Serb and had a break advantage in the second set before going on to lose the match.

    Bellucci’s best results have come on clay and if he believes in himself and believes in his powerful forehand, he could cause a huge upset at this year’s French Open.

David Ferrer

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    PARIS, FRANCE - MAY 25:  David Ferrer of Spain celebrates match point after the men's singles round two match between David Ferrer of Spain and Julien Benneteau of France on day four of the French Open at Roland Garros on May 25, 2011 in Paris, France.  (
    Matthew Stockman/Getty Images

    Another player who took a set off Djokovic at the Madrid Masters, Ferrer, is a player who is notoriously known in giving his opponents a tiresome workout.

    The only way these two could meet would be in the semifinal and be sure that Ferrer could easily cause an upset. Ferrer is good off both wings, hits hard, aims for the lines and most importantly, never gives up.

    On clay Ferrer can go toe to toe with anybody; especially if the match ends up being a slugfest from behind the baseline. The Spaniard can run Djokovic ragged and when the two played earlier this year, Ferrer should have won.

Roger Federer

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    PARIS, FRANCE - MAY 25:  Roger Federer of Switzerland hits a backhand during the men's singles round two match between Maxime Teixera of France and  Roger Federer of Switzerland on day four of the French Open at Roland Garros on May 25, 2011 in Paris, Fra
    Alex Livesey/Getty Images

    While Djokovic has beaten the Swiss star three times this year, it would be silly to exclude the Fed Express from this list, also knowing that they could possibly meet in the semifinal, with Federer leading their head to head matchups 13-9.

    Yes the Serb beat Federer in the Australian Open finals, on the Swiss’s preferred surface, but you just never know with Federer these days.  If they happen to meet in the second consecutive Grand Slam of the year, the 16-time Grand Slam champ would probably be quite fresh.

    His first two outings have been exhibition matches; especially his second. Federer has been striking the ball nicely and efficiently as always, he has been playing very aggressively and has also been venturing to the net experimenting new ways of winning points.

    Furthermore, it seems that the Maestro has mastered the drop shot on clay, using it continuously to trouble his opponents.

    If Djokovic meets Federer in an inspired mood, be sure that the latter could beat the Serb. Also take into consideration that the 2009 French Open champ would like to put Mr. Unbeatable back in his place.

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