With the third 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 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 the title favorites continue to roll on the men's side, there are a couple of unseeded players who have already pulled major upsets in this tournament and could be positioned to add more upsets to their ledger. Three grand slam champions remain on the women's side, and things are looking up for three of them in a draw that's otherwise filled mostly with unproven performers. The French hopes are pinned on one man and two women, and while all three are unseeded players facing highly seeded opponents, one is well positioned to keep their Cinderella run going.
Pablo Carreno Busta - Carreno Busta handled 10th-seeded countryman Roberto Bautista Agut 6-4, 6-3, 5-7, 6-4 in the third round, and the US Open semifinalist will be heavily favored in the Round of 16 against 186th-ranked German Daniel Altmaier. Should the 17th-seeded Spaniard get through that match, he'd likely be staring at a rematch with Novak Djokovic, whom Carreno Busta was leading 6-5 in the first set at the US Open when Djokovic was defaulted for hitting a linesperson with a ball.
Dominic Thiem - Thiem's winning streak at grand slams now stands at 10 matches, and he hasn't dropped a set en route to the Round of 16 here despite a tricky third-round matchup against No. 28 seed Casper Ruud, who was coming off semifinal appearances at both the Italian and German Opens. The third-seeded Austrian took care of Ruud 6-4, 6-3, 6-1, and while fourth-round opponent Hugo Gaston shouldn't be underestimated after knocking off Stan Wawrinka in five sets in the third round, dealing with Gaston's mix of finesse and speed is a much more comfortable proposition for Thiem than taking on Wawrinka's power and shot-making would have been.
Sebastian Korda - Korda deserves a shoutout for being the last American man left in the draw, as the son of 1992 French Open runner-up Petr Korda qualified into the tournament and pulled out three wins in the main draw, most recently taking advantage of a favorable third-round draw with a 6-4, 6-3, 6-1 win over Pedro Martinez Portero. Unfortunately for Korda, he draws 12-time champion Rafael Nadal in the Round of 16, and just winning a set off Nadal would be a major accomplishment for the 20-year-old at this stage of their respective careers.
Marton Fucsovics - Fucsovics has already eliminated one top young Russian in this tournament with his four-set win over Daniil Medvedev in the first round, and he'll set his sights on knocking out another against 13th-seeded Andrey Rublev in the Round of 16. The 28-year-old Hungarian hasn't dropped a set in the two matches since his win over Medvedev, and Fucsovics has a 1-0 head-to-head edge against Rublev thanks to a win on clay in Barcelona in 2016.
Jannik Sinner - Sinner's already ranked 75th at just 19 years of age, and his ranking is set to climb substantially after his run here. That run could be far from over, as he's yet to drop a set heading into his fourth-round clash with No. 5 seed Alexander Zverev. Clay has been by far Sinner's best surface, as he's 4-9 on other surfaces and 6-2 on clay in 2020, including his emphatic 7-5, 6-0, 6-3 win over 11th-seeded David Goffin in the first round here. Meanwhile, Zverev bounced back with a straight sets win over Marco Cecchinato in the third round after needing five sets to eliminate Pierre-Hugues Herbert in the second round, but his 20:16 ratio of aces to double faults over these last two matches doesn't exude much confidence in a serve that's been known to get shaky when it matters most.
Simona Halep - Halep hasn't dropped a set through three rounds, and the No. 1 seed just avenged last year's quarterfinal loss to Amanda Anisimova with a dominant 6-0, 6-1 win in the third round. Up next for the 2018 French Open champion is another rematch from last year's tournament. She'll face Iga Swiatek in the Round of 16 for a second consecutive French Open, and Halep will be looking for a repeat of last year's 6-1, 6-0 victory over Swiatek.
Sofia Kenin - Kenin has played her way into this tournament, dominating Irina Bara 6-2, 6-0 in the third round after needing three sets in each of her first two matches. The fourth-seeded American has shown she has what it takes to go all the way at a grand slam by winning the Australian Open earlier this year, and Kenin has a favorable fourth-round draw against unseeded Frenchwoman Fiona Ferro.
Petra Kvitova - Kvitova makes a second consecutive appearance in this section, as her draw has cleared out even more while she took care of business 7-5, 6-3 against Leylah Fernandez in the third round. There are no seeds left on Kvitova's path to the semifinals following No. 13 Petra Martic's loss, and dangerous unseeded floater Jelena Ostapenko, who won this event in 2017, also went down in the third round. Kvitova still hasn't dropped a set in this tournament and has a golden opportunity to at least match her semifinal result here from 2012, if not surpass it.
Ons Jabeur - Jabeur is one of just six seeds remaining in the women's draw, but the No. 30 seed will have a tough matchup against American Danielle Collins, who's coming off a 7-5, 2-6, 6-4 win over No. 11 seed Garbine Muguruza. Collins knows how to hold her nerve at grand slams, as evidenced by her run to the semifinals of the 2019 Australian Open. Meanwhile, Jabeur has needed three sets to win two of her first three matches at this tournament.
Caroline Garcia - Even with limited fan attendance, Garcia's still benefiting from enhanced support as a French player, and she has rode that wave into the fourth round with wins over two of the top 17 seeds in the draw. Her fourth-round opponent will be No. 3 seed Elina Svitolina, against whom Garcia is 3-1, with wins in each of their last three meetings. Garcia's in a similar position to countrywoman Fiona Ferro – both are ranked just inside the top 50 and facing top-five opponents – but the former has a better chance of pulling off the upset and keeping the host country's hopes alive in the women's draw.