Jo-Wilfried Tsonga and Gilles Simon will look continue what has been strong French Open campaign for the host nation. They are set for respective fourth-round meetings on Sunday with Tomas Berdych and Stan Wawrinka.
(14) Jo-Wilfried Tsonga vs. (4) Tomas Berdych
Tsonga and Berdych will be facing each other for the ninth time in their careers at the ATP level when they battle for a quarterfinal spot at the French Open on Sunday. Berdych leads the head-to-head series 6-2, but they have clashed only once on clay. That showdown came just recently at the Madrid Masters, where the Czech cruised 7-5, 6-2. He has won five of their last six encounters dating back to the start of 2012.
Berdych is also enjoying a considerable edge in current form. The world No. 4 is still aiming to capture his first title of the year, but he is 35-9 and has reached at least the quarterfinals in all nine of his events–including seven trips to the semifinals or better. So far in Paris he has taken out Yoshihito Nishioka, Radek Stepanek, and Benoit Paire, dropping sets to Stepanek and Paire in the process. Tsonga has advanced with straight-set victories over Christian Lindell, Dudi Sela, and Pablo Andujar. The 15th-ranked Frenchman appears to be heating up after winning just six of 11 matches in 2015 prior to Roland Garros, mainly because of injury. Tsonga is obviously back in form to the extent that he can beat up on lesser competition, but Berdych is whole different beast.
Pick: Berdych in 4
(8) Stan Wawrinka vs. (12) Gilles Simon
Wawrinka and Simon will be going head-to-head for the fifth time in their careers at the ATP level on Sunday. The two veterans have split their three previous meetings, only one of which has come on red dirt. During third-round action at the 2012 French Open, Wawrinka survived 7-5, 6-7(5), 6-7(3), 6-3, 6-2. They have faced each other only once since then, with Simon getting the job done 5-7, 7-5, 6-4 last fall in Shanghai.
Not too much unlike Tsonga (although this Frenchman has been more consistent), Simon is suddenly looking good in the wake of injury issues. The world No. 13 withdrew from Nice earlier this month but so far in Paris has gotten the best of Lucas Pouille (four sets), Martin Klizan (three), and Nicolas Mahut (five). Wawrinka always seems to peak in majors and so far this fortnight he has looked good in defeating Marsel Ilhan, Dusan Lajovic, and Steve Johnson. Still, the ninth-ranked Swiss has been remarkably inconsistent this season and whether or not he can maintain a high level throughout what is sure to be a drawn-out, baseline battle is a serious question mark.
Pick: Simon in 5