The second Grand Slam tennis tournament of the year is in full swing on the red clay at Roland Garros, and the dust has started to settle as round four kicks off, and only 16 men remain. The tournament is missing its greatest champion, Rafael Nadal, for the first time since 2004. Since his inaugural appearance in 2005, Nadal has won the event 14 times and holds a nearly invincible 112-3 record at the tour’s only clay court major. Nadal’s absence leaves behind Paris’ most wide-open field in 20 years and has opened opportunities for some of the game’s younger stars to break through. They will, of course, still must overcome Novak Djokovic, who is gunning for his 23rd Grand Slam title.
Photo Credit: ATP Tour
This year’s tournament has already provided plenty of epic matches and unbelievable upsets through the first three rounds. Second seed Daniil Medvedev, champion of the Italian Open on clay just a few weeks ago, was knocked out in the first round by Brazilian qualifier Thiago Seyboth Wild. Meanwhile, in the same quarter of the draw, No. 8 seed Jannik Sinner fell to German journeyman Daniel Altmaier in five grueling sets. As the second week gets underway, here are three must-see fourth-round matches on the men’s side.
 Carlos Alcaraz vs  Lorenzo Musetti
Photo Credit: Firstsportz
Spanish phenom Carlos Alcaraz has taken the tennis world by storm over the last year, winning the 2022 Miami Open at just 18 years old, winning his first major at the US Open in September, and finishing the year as the No. 1 ranked player in the world. He continued to dominate the ATP Tour in 2023, winning four titles already this season and holding a 33-3 record. This French Open marks the first time he has played a Grand Slam as the No. 1 seed, and he is the favorite to collect his second Grand Slam title.
His round four draws, however, are certainly no cakewalk. Musetti has emerged as another young star on tour and proved that he is a tough out for anyone, especially on clay. In fact, Musetti beat Alcaraz in their only meeting, a clay court victory in the final of the Hamburg European Open last year. On top of that, Musetti has been absolutely on fire over the first three rounds at Roland Garros.
Photo Credit: News18
He has not lost a set yet, including a dominant win over No. 14 seed Cameron Norrie where he dropped just seven total games. One thing is for sure this one is going to be a show. Alcaraz and Musetti are incredible shotmakers who thrive off getting the crowd involved with their flashy skill sets. Few players can push Alcaraz, especially over five sets, but Musetti has the talent to do so.
Prediction: Alcaraz in five sets
 Casper Ruud vs. Nicolas Jarry
Photo Cred: SportsKeeda
Basing things just on rankings, Ruud should advance through this one without much trouble and reach the quarterfinals for the second year in a row. However, Jarry is not your typical unseeded player. After starting the 2023 season ranked No. 152 in the world, a series of results and big wins have helped that number skyrocket all the way to No. 35. The Chilean has been playing some incredible tennis on the clay, beating Musetti, world No. 16 Borna Coric, and world No. 27 Alexander Zverev this season.
Additionally, Jarry beat Ruud two weeks ago on his way to the title in Geneva, Switzerland, and has the tools to bother the Norwegian’s game. His immense power from the back of the court, both with the forehand and the backhand, can keep him in control of the points and keep Ruud on his heels. Jarry’s big serve makes it difficult for Ruud to get his teeth into return games.
Photo Credit: Tennis Major
However, defending against Jarry’s groundstrokes should be a bit easier for Ruud in the slower French Open conditions than in Geneva, which is the bigger court will allow him to put more returns in play and make Jarry play longer points, favoring Ruud’s physical game. Plus, Ruud has a massive experience advantage after making two Grand Slam finals last year, including at the French Open, where he fell to Nadal. This year’s fourth round is the furthest Jarry has ever advanced in a major.
Prediction: Ruud in four sets
 Holger Rune vs.  Francisco Cerundolo
Holger Rune burst onto the pro tennis scene a year ago when he made a Cinderella run to the French Open quarterfinals. This year, however, Rune is no Cinderella. The Danish No. 1 is the favorite to reach the final in the bottom half of the draw and has been arguably the most consistent player on tour over the clay court swing this spring.
Rune has shown he has the game to beat any player on any day, evidenced by his five top-ten wins in a row to win the Rolex Paris Masters last year. He should be fresh heading into this one, having played just seven sets over his first three matches at Roland Garros (he won his second-round match via walkover after Gael Monfils withdrew due to injury).
Photo Cred: TOI
Cerundolo, on the other hand, has just entered the conversation as a top 30 player on tour this year. He was seeded at a major for the first time in January at the Australian Open and advanced to his first-ever fourth round at a major with his win over No. 9 seed Taylor Fritz on Saturday. Cerundolo can get extremely hot with his forehand, hitting massive winners all over the court. He also found success against Fritz with his forehand drop shot. He ran the American all over the court with his variety.
Unlike Fritz, Rune is an excellent defender who can reset points with deep, powerful groundstrokes from both wings and will be able to absorb Cerundolo’s pace more effectively than Fritz did. The 20-year-old Dane will presumably attack Cerundolo’s weaker backhand, and his defense and point-to-point consistency should get him through this one.
Photo Cred: FirstSportz
Prediction: Rune in 4 sets