David Ferrer currently occupies the number four slot in the ATP world rankings, but there is every chance that he will be overhauled by Rafael Nadal by the time the French Open begins at the end of April.
Only 35 points currently separate the pair in fourth and fifth in the rankings, with the ongoing Italian Open still to have a bearing on the standings.
Nadal and Ferrer are on course to meet in the quarter finals in Italy and the winner of that meeting is almost certain to arrive at the French Open as the world number four.
This would logically be Nadal as he has come through the last 15 clay-court showdowns between the pair, dating back to their first clash on the surface in 2004.
This potentially would be bad news for Ferrer, as the player entering any Grand Slam outside of the top four is expected to have to beat three big names to triumph, rather than two.
However, current world number two Andy Murray is now a major doubt for the French Open, after being forced to pull out at end of the second set in his second round Rome encounter with Marcel Granollers.
Murray was troubled by a back injury last year and the problem has resurfaced, with the extra body rotation needed to generate power into strokes on clay thought to be a chief reason.
His absence would bump Ferrer back into the top four seeds, as he has been for the recent Grand Slams that Nadal has missed, including last year’s US Open and the Australian Open in January.
And he would not be without a chance in the French Open odds at 25/1, assuming he was put in the same half of the draw as Novak Djokovic, rather than Nadal or Roger Federer.
Ferrer’s clay record against Nadal has already been highlighted, while he has lost all 15 career meetings with Federer, which includes five on clay.
However, against world number one Djokovic, Ferrer may have lost six on the bounce, but these have all been on a hard surface and on clay his record is three wins from four.
Ferrer would probably still need to beat Federer or Nadal in the final, but he has more chance of winning a one-off game with either of these, than having to defeat both back-to-back.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.