With the fourth round of the French Open in the books (except for one match), it's time to highlight which players are on the rise and which ones look most vulnerable heading into the next round. Players who have been eliminated are of little interest to fantasy players as the tournament unfolds, so this column is meant to take a look ahead based on what's happened so far rather than reflect on the past.
While there have been plenty of upsets on the margins, the two biggest title favorites on the men's side are rolling and seem destined to meet in the championship match for a 16th head-to-head showdown on the grand slam stage. Things are more wide open in the women's draw, as five of the nine players remaining aren't seeded, but three of four seeds left are in the top seven. One women's Round of 16 match remains to be played, as rain has put the tournament ever so slightly behind schedule.
Novak Djokovic - Djokovic hasn't dropped a set through four rounds, losing just 25 games. The No. 1 seed looks absolutely dominant, and it's hard to see anybody except Rafael Nadal stopping him right now. Plus, Djokovic will be amped up in the quarterfinals against Pablo Carreno Busta, who was on the other side of the net at the US Open when Djokovic defaulted for hitting a linesperson with a ball. Prior to that match, Djokovic had a 3-0 edge in their career head-to-head.
Rafael Nadal - A Djokovic-Nadal final looked like by far the likeliest possibility at the beginning of the tournament, and it's even likelier now considering neither guy has dropped a set or even more than 10 games in a match en route to the quarterfinals. Nadal's quarterfinal opponent will be 19-year-old Jannik Sinner, who has upset No. 11 David Goffin and No. 6 Alexander Zverev already in this tournament, but Nadal at the French Open is a completely different beast compared to those guys.
Dominic Thiem - Thiem has won 11 consecutive Grand Slam matches, but he nearly slipped up in the Round of 16 against unheralded Frenchman Hugo Gaston, ultimately escaping with a 6-4, 6-4, 5-7, 3-6, 6-3 win. His quarterfinal opponent will be 12th-seeded Diego Schwartzman, who is the highest-seeded player among the four underdogs and is yet to drop a set in this tournament. If Thiem can get through that one, his expected semifinal opponent will be Nadal, who topped Thiem in the championship match in each of the past two French Opens.
Andrey Rublev - Rublev won the German Open leading up to this tournament, beating Stefanos Tsitsipas 6-4, 3-6, 7-5 in the final. The two next-gen stars will face off once again in the quarterfinals here after Rublev fought off a valiant upset bid from Marton Fucsovics 6-7(4), 7-5, 6-4, 7-6(3) in the Round of 16. Tsitsipas is seeded fifth while Rublev is 13th, but the 22-year-old Russian's shot-making ability gives him the best chance of pulling the upset among the four lower-ranked players in the quarterfinal matchups.
Iga Swiatek - In case there were any doubts before, Swiatek has officially arrived as a contender. After being denied twice in the Round of 16 at grand slams, the 19-year-old finally broke through to the quarterfinals with a dominant 6-1, 6-2 win over No. 1 seed Simona Halep, avenging last year's 6-1, 6-0 loss to Halep at the same stage of this same tournament. If Swiatek can hold her nerve, she should take care of business against 159th-ranked Martina Trevisan in the quarterfinals.
Petra Kvitova - Kvitova hasn't dropped a set nor faced a seeded opponent, and there's a good chance neither of those things will change in the quarterfinals. Her opponent will be unseeded 32-year-old Laura Siegemund, who has only beaten one seeded opponent herself. Kvitova's pair of Wimbledon titles suggest she'll be able to hold her nerve in the latter stages of this grand slam, and the draw is presenting her with a tremendous opportunity here.
Sofia Kenin - Kenin hasn't been at her best in this tournament, but she has found ways to win. Her 2-6, 6-2, 6-1 win over Fiona Ferro in the Round of 16 was Kenin's third three-setter in her first four matches, but any fatigue building up from those longer matches should be more than offset by her edge in freshness, as she'll face the winner of the match between Danielle Collins and 30th-seeded Ons Jabeur, which is the only one that didn't finish Monday due to the rain. When Kenin next takes the court Wednesday, the Australian Open champ will be facing a lower-ranked opponent who'll be playing for the second time in as many days.
Nadia Podoroska - Podoroska qualified into the draw, so the 23-year-old Argentine of Ukrainian descent has already won seven matches here with her 2-6, 6-2, 6-3 win over Barbora Krejcikova in the Round of 16. She's playing the best tennis of her career and will have nothing to lose against No. 3 seed Elina Svitolina, who is 0-2 in French Open quarterfinals in her career and has struggled in the later stages of grand slams, having never broken through to the final of a major.