With the fourth round of the French Open in the books, 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 owners 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.
The top four seeds on the men's side will all be favored in their respective quarterfinal matchups, though some more than others. The eight remaining women offer a mix of household names and young upstarts, with three Americans still in the running for the title.
Novak Djokovic - Djokovic is into a record 10th consecutive quarterfinal at Roland Garros, and he's gotten here in dominant fashion – no opponent has taken more than eight games off him so far. He'll face the highest-ranked possible opponent at this stage in No. 5 Alexander Zverev, but Zverev's level has been nowhere near Djokovic's thus far in this tournament. The world No. 1 is perhaps the greatest returner of all time, so he should break frequently against a struggling Zverev serve that's produced 43 double faults in the first four rounds.
Rafael Nadal - Nadal's main competition is playing about as well as possible, and yet, it's hard not to like the Spaniard's chances of taking home a 12th French Open title. He stumbled in the third set of the third round against David Goffin, but Nadal has otherwise been his usual dominant self. Should he and Roger Federer both win in the quarterfinals to set up an epic semifinal meeting, Nadal would bring a 5-0 career head-to-head into that match. A championship meeting with Djokovic could produce an all-time great match, and such a meeting looks no less likely now than it did when the tournament began.
Kei Nishikori - As if facing Nadal and his 90-2 record at the French Open wasn't daunting enough, Nishikori will also be at a significant rest disadvantage after having his 6-2, 6-7 (8), 6-2, 6-7 (8), 7-5 win over Benoit Paire carry into Monday while Nadal got to rest after Sunday's straight sets fourth-round win.
Stan Wawrinka - Wawrinka is definitely the underdog with the most experience and success against the top guys, having taken home three Grand Slam titles of his own while defeating each member of the Big 3 in significant matches at majors before. Federer has a 22-3 edge in the lifetime head-to-head between these Swiss men, but their last clay-court meeting was a straight sets Wawrinka win in the quarterfinals of the 2015 French Open. Should he come out on top against his countryman, Wawrinka would have to be viewed as a true sleeper for the title despite the dominance of both Nadal and Djokovic.
Marketa Vondrousova - Vondrousova's dominant 6-2, 6-0 win over No. 12 seed Anastasija Sevastova improved her season record to 26-6, as the 19-year-old is breaking out in a big way. She gets a great opportunity to add to her stellar season in the quarterfinals against 31st-seed Petra Martic, and Vondrousova looks like an incredibly tough out the rest of the way if she can hold her nerve.
Simona Halep - Halep mercilessly demolished upstart Polish teenager Iga Swiatek 6-1, 6-0 in the fourth round, and she'll face another teen next in American Amanda Anisimova. The defending champion is certainly looking like the favorite to win the title at this point, having righted the ship with four combined games lost in the last two rounds after needing three sets to get through each of her first two matches. Halep would enter rarefied air if she's able to repeat, as nobody has done so here on the women's side since Justin Henin-Hardenne's 2005-07 three-peat.
Petra Martic - Martic is arguably the least exciting of the eight remaining players, as she will be making her first Grand Slam quarterfinal appearance at age 28. With a better ranking and 4-0 head-to-head edge, Martic should be a popular pick to beat Vondrousova, but their respective performances in the fourth round suggest otherwise. While Martic snuck by Kaia Kanepi 5-7, 6-2, 6-4, she often looked nervous on serve with one ace compared to eight double faults.
Amanda Anisimova - My pre-tournament picks were a mixed bag, but Anisimova's making me look smart with a deep run after being picked as a pre-tournament sleeper. For all the praise Halep rightfully deserves after winning her last 11 matches at Roland Garros, she could have her hands full with Anisimova, who hasn't dropped a set in her run to her first career Grand Slam quarterfinal at age 17.