Commentary

Ivanovic, Nadal remain the favorites to hoist the trophy

We're down to the sweet 16, and what better time to assess each player's chances of winning the French Open title?

Updated: June 3, 2008, 9:01 AM ET
By Greg Garber | ESPN.com

PARIS -- The American dollar is staggering, taking a beating in the European capitals of the world. Meanwhile, the Euro is worth a lofty $1.56, and a decent martini on Avenue des Champs-Elysees can set you back more than $20.

The same phenomenon can be seen here at Roland Garros, where the French Open has been reduced to an almost exclusively Euro Slam. The Americans are all gone, even the Bryan Brothers. All but one of the remaining players left in the men's and women's singles draws were born in Europe. The exception: Fernando Gonzalez of Chile.

Here is a breakdown of the sweet 16 players who remain alive at the French Open. They are ranked in subjective order (seeds are noted), based on the likelihood of winning the title.

Women

No. 2 Ana Ivanovic: Coming off the second double-bagel of her career -- in the fourth round of a Grand Slam, no less -- and looking like a first-time major champion. Gets Patty Schnyder in the quarters -- their eighth career meeting. Schnyder won their first four matches, all in 2005. Ivanovic has won the past three. Do the math.

No. 13 Dinara Safina: It was deja vu all over again, as the 22-year-old Russian beat Maria Sharapova in a decisive third set at Roland Garros, a la 2006. The No. 1 seed is out and, suddenly, the French Open is, well, open.

[+] EnlargeElena Dementieva
Patrick Kovarik/AFP/Getty ImagesElena Dementieva will face red-hot Dinara Safina in the quarterfinals.
No. 4 Svetlana Kuznetsova: One of the all-time easiest French Open draws: Aiko Nakamura, Vania King, Nadia Petrova, Victoria Azarenka, and now Kaia Kanepi. This represents her best chance ever to win at Roland Garros, which would double her Grand Slam total, joining the 2004 U.S. Open.

No. 3 Jelena Jankovic: She is banged up, nursing arm and shoulder injuries and complaining about the heavy balls here at Roland Garros. The good news? She's playing Carla Suarez Navarro, the lowest-ranked player left in either draw.

No. 7 Elena Dementieva: She was a finalist here in 2004, losing to fellow Russian Anastasia Myskina 6-1, 6-2. Now, in another all-Russian affair, she will play Safina in the quarters. Dementieva is looking confident, hitting rocket forehands circa 2004. The buck, however, likely stops here.

No. 10 Patty Schnyder: She's playing in her 46th consecutive Grand Slam, and this is her sixth quarterfinal appearance. She's only gone to the semifinals once, in the 2004 Australian Open. Sadly, playing Ivanovic on Tuesday is a no-win situation.

Carla Suarez Navarro: She has never, ever, lost a Grand Slam singles match. The 19-year-old from Spain's Canary Islands is a sparkling 4-0, and ranked at No. 132, she doesn't know what she doesn't know. Still, Jankovic -- despite her injuries -- will be a tough out.

Kaia Kanepi: The 22-year-old from Estonia has a history here. In 2001, she won the Roland Garros junior tournament, beating Kuznetsova and Safina in the process. Now, ranked No. 49, she gets Kuznetsova, again, seven years later.

Men

No. 2 Rafael Nadal: Seriously, how can you bet against a guy who is 25-0 lifetime on the red clay here? A few, supposedly minor foot blisters and Nicolas Almagro are all that stand in the way of the much-anticipated meeting with Novak Djokovic in the semifinals. Seems inevitable.

No. 1 Roger Federer: He is cruising along here, enormously happy about the commotion the potential Nadal-Djokovic semifinal is causing. Next up is Gonzalez in a reprise of their 2007 Australian Open final. Federer won that one in straight sets. History never lies.

No. 3 Novak Djokovic: Needs to take care of business against Ernests Gulbis, a seriously dangerous floater from Latvia. Djokovic will need to dial in and focus before trying to spoil Rafa's bid for four straight French Open titles.

No. 5 David Ferrer: With No. 4 seed Nikolay Davydenko out of the picture, this is Ferrer's quarterfinals bracket to lose. Next up is Gael Monfils, a player he has never met but should handle.

Gael Monfils: Only 21 years old, but has languished in four years as a professional. The lone remaining Frenchman is a victim of the high expectations he created as a junior. Ranked No. 59, he's the most unexpected player to land in the quarters in the top half of the draw.

[+] EnlargeErnests Gulbis
Patrick Kovarik/AFP/Getty ImagesTalented Ernests Gulbis will have the daunting task of having to beat Djokovic and likely Nadal to reach the French Open final.
Ernests Gulbis: According to Gulbis, the budget for the Latvian tennis federation was less than $10,000. On the bright side, they're getting their money's worth with this 19-year-old. He's the lowest-ranked player on the men's side. A very streaky competitor, Gulbis took out the likes of James Blake and Michael Llodra of France. The run stops here.

No. 19 Nicolas Almagro: A classic clay-court specialist, he has won 28 victories on clay this year, the best -- sorry, Rafa -- among ATP players. Unfortunately, he gets Nadal -- a man he has never beaten -- in the quarters. Case closed.

No. 24 Fernando Gonzalez: Five years ago, the Chilean reached the quarters here, only to lose to eventual champion Juan Carlos Ferrero. Maybe it's a good omen for Federer, who will play Gonzo in this year's quarters on Wednesday.

Greg Garber is a senior writer for ESPN.com.

Greg Garber

Writer, Reporter
Greg Garber joined ESPN in 1991 and provides reports for NFL Countdown and SportsCenter. He is also a regular contributor to Outside the Lines and a senior writer for ESPN.com.