Asian players to watch at Roland Garros

A small contigent of Asian players will be fighting for honours at this year’s Roland Garros and we take a look at their chances of success on the clay courts of Paris.

KEI NISHIKORI

World ranking: Nine
Best result in Paris: Quarter-final in 2015

The Japanese superstar remains Asia’s best hope at winning any of the grand slams. Nishikori’s best result at Roland Garros came in 2015, when he reached the last eight, only to lose a nail biting five set marathon to Jo-Wilfried Tsonga. Last time out, local hopeful Richard Gasquet got the better of him in the fourth round.

Unfortunately for Nishikori, 2017 has not been kind. The 27-year-old has reached two ATP 250 finals but lost both and has not really featured in the premier events, recently losing in the Round of 16 at the Italian Open in straight sets. With a potential quarter-final with world number one Andy Murray, it would take something special for Nishikori to reach the final four in Paris.

ZHANG SHUAI

World ranking: 34
Best result in Paris: Round 2 in 2016

Shuai is set to open her 2017 Roland Garros account against youngster Donna Vekic. The Chinese native has endured a tough clay court swing, failing to get past the opening round in a number of events, including the recent Nuremberg Cup, where she was seeded third.

After a string of opening round defeats in Paris, 2016 saw her record her first win in the main draw to reach the second round. This year, Shuai will be hoping for the same.

CHUNG HYEON

World ranking: 68
Best result in Paris: Round 1 in 2016

Chung Hyeon is one of the brightest tennis prospects to come out of South Korea in decades. Hyeon earned the two biggest scalps of his career this year, defeating Sam Groth at the Australian Open and then Alexander Zverev at the Barcelona Open.

The 21-year-old is still finding his feet on the clay surfaces but can draw huge confidence from his quarter-final appearance in Barcelona, where he took Rafael Nadal to a first set tiebreaker. Watch this space folks…

MISAKI DOI

World ranking: 63
Best result in Paris: Round 2 in 2015

The diminutive Doi has enjoyed a good run on the clay courts of late, reaching the Round of 16 in Madrid – where she defeated talented American Madison Keys – and the semi-finals at the Nuremberg Cup.

Based on that decent form, 2017 might represent the 26-year-old’s best chance yet at going past the second round at Roland Garros, especially since the Japanese star will line up against a yet to be determined qualifier in the first round.

WANG QIANG

World ranking: 50
Best result in Paris: Round 2 in 2016

Qiang has proved she is a fighter, as she has battled her way through the qualifiers and deep into the main draw of a couple clay court tournaments already this year.

In Madrid, the Chinese star reached the Round of 16 and backed it up with a win over world number 15 Elina Vesnina at the Italian Open. Unfortunately for Qiang, she faces powerful veteran Venus Williams in the first round in Paris.

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