3 ATP players to watch at the 2018 French Open

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The 2018 French Open is just around the corner, so we thought we would give you three names to look out for as the tournament progresses.

Roland Garros kicks off on May 21, with the final being contested in Paris on June 10.

Rafael Nadal will start as favourite as he attempts to defend his crown and pick up a remarkable 11th title.

There will be no Roger Federer in France again this year, with the likes of Dominic Thiem and Alexander Zverev providing the main challenge to Nadal's throne.

Here are three underdogs that could make a deep run this year.

Kyle Edmund

Edmund has had a fantastic 12 months on the ATP Tour, and is now the highest ranked Brit with Andy Murray struggling with injury.

The 23-year-old has moved into the top 20 for the first time in his career in the last few weeks, so is hitting form at the right time for a run at the French Open.

Having gathered a record of 17-9 in 2018, Edmund started the year with a fantastic run to the semi-finals of the Australian Open before losing in straight sets to Marin Cilic.

Of the 15 matches played on clay this year, he has won 10 of them, including making the final of Marrakech in April.

Edmund also made the quarter-final of the recent Madrid Masters, and will have been disappointed not to have gotten further in what was an open draw following the defeat of Rafael Nadal, going down in three sets to Denis Shapovalov.

The last tournament he played in preparation was in Rome, where he lost to eventual finalist and defending champion Alexander Zverev, but giving the match was a tight affair, it gives Edmund backers hope that he can push the games elite.

With a booming forehand and solid all-round game, Edmund could follow his run in Australia up with some more fine results in Paris.

Kyle Edmund Kyle Edmund

Stefanos Tsitsipas

The 19-year-old ended the 2017 season ranked 91 in the world after picking up the Genova Challenger title, but has shot into the top 50 after an amazing start to 2018.

The Greek youngster has a record of 14-5 on clay this year having reached the final of Barcelona before losing to Nadal, but picked up some impressive wins along the way, including against the likes of Dominic Thiem and Pablo Carreno-Busta.

He followed it up with a run to the final in Estoril the following week, losing in three close sets to Joao Sousa, who went on to lift the title.

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Tsitsipas also managed to qualify for two of the three Masters event on the surface in Monte Carlo and Rome, reaching the second round on both occasions before losing to top 10 players in the shape of David Goffin and Juan Martin del Potro.

It was a lean start to the year on the hard courts, but he showed potential at events in Doha and Dubai, and has a powerful game that can challenge the very best.

He is in a much better position to progress further in big competitions, and will be looking to better his first round exit in 2017 at the hands of Ivo Karlovic.

Stefanos Tsitsipas Stefanos Tsitsipas

Borna Coric

Even though he is only 21, Coric is entering his seventh year on tour, and 2018 is shaping up to be his best one yet.

Since the end of 2015, the Croatian has been hovering around the 50 mark and will be looking to fulfil his potential and start climbing higher than that, and the Grand Slam events offer big points and the opportunity to change your career.

He is 17-9 for the year, with his best result coming at the Masters event in Indian Wells, where he came so close to beating Roger Federer before eventually going down in three sets.

The following week in Miami he lost to Alexander Zverev in the quarter-final to keep his momentum going, but has struggled slightly since March.

He lost in the second round of Monte Carlo to Novak Djokovic and had to pull out of his first round match against Tsitsipas in Rome with injury, but should be fully fit for Roland Garros.

A positive sign came with his wins over Pablo Carreno-Busta and Jan-Lennard Struff in Madrid, and he produced a good performance in defeat to Dominic Thiem.

This is the Grand Slam and surface that Coric has succeeded at most in his young career, making the third round on two occasions.

Now could be his time to start climbing the rankings further, starting with a run at the French Open.

Borna Coric Borna Coric

Words: Johnny Morton

Images: PA

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