Monday, May 26, 2003

French Open: Men at a glance

Top 10 seeds

1. Lleyton Hewitt (Australia)
2. Andre Agassi (United States)
3. Juan Carlos Ferrero (Spain)
4. Carlos Moya (Spain)
5. Roger Federer (Switzerland)
6. Andy Roddick (United States)
7. Guillermo Coria (Argentina)
8. David Nalbandian (Argentina)
9. Albert Costa (Spain)
10. Paradorn Srichaphan (Thailand).

Five favorites

Andre Agassi. He won on the imported French red clay at Houston, but can he win a second French Open title on the real stuff? The 33-year-old lost in the first round at Rome to Spaniard David Ferrer and hasn't played on clay since. But don't read too much into that. Agassi hadn't won a clay-court event in 1999 before his magical win at Roland Garros.

Juan Carlos Ferrero. Last year's runner-up and semifinalist in 2000 and 2001 is due for a title. He has two clay-court titles this season and is motivated after losing to Albert Costa in last year's final.

Carlos Moya. The 1998 champion has won 21 of 23 matches on clay this season, including the Barcelona title. He also made it to the final of the NASDAQ-100 on Key Biscayne. But Agassi barely broke a sweat in beating him that day.

Guillermo Coria. It's hard to pick among all the talented Argentines, but Coria's win at Hamburg (following an all-Argentina semifinals) gives him the edge. Coria also made the semifinals at Monte Carlo.

Roger Federer. He won at Munich, reached the final at Rome and has been on the edge of greatness for some time now. But the Swiss all-courter needs to show he can do it in a Grand Slam.

Sentimental favorite

Gustavo Kuerten. "Guga," the lovable Brazilian, has not been the same since hip surgery last year, but he loves Paris, Paris loves him and anyone who can win three French Opens can probably win a fourth if everything falls into place.

Keep an eye on

Rafael Nadal, a 16-year-old Spaniard, pulled out with an elbow injury, so the top underdog is a tie among defending champion Albert Costa, Andy Roddick and No. 1, Lleyton Hewitt.

The pick

Ferrero beats Agassi in the final.

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