French Open: Day 1 Preview; Angelique Kerber, Petra Kvitova and Dominic Thiem are in action

Day 1 of the French Open, the 116th edition of the second Grand Slam singles tournament of the year begins. Three of the top 10 women's players are in action, along with two of the top 15 men's players also set to feature.

French Open: Day 1 Preview; Angelique Kerber, Petra Kvitova and Dominic Thiem are in action
Court Philippe Chatrier is the Centre Court at Roland Garros (Photo by Clive Brunskill / Getty)

The only Grand Slam tournament of the year that begins on a Sunday is upon us. The first round of the French Open runs over the course of three days. The bottom half of the men's singles draw, and the top half of the women's singles draw will get their matches started on Sunday and Monday. Whilst, the other halves of the respective women's and men's singles draw will have to wait until Monday and Tuesday.

Court Philippe Chatrier

Two-time Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova opens proceedings on Court Philippe Chatrier for the second consecutive year. The 15th seeded Czech miraculously returns to competitive tennis, five months after getting stabbed at home by an intruder in the Czech Republic. Kvitova confirmed her participation at the French Open on Friday. The Czech number two will play her first competitive match since November against the USA's Julia Boserup.

The top seed Angelique Kerber has a tricky opener against two-time Grand Slam semifinalist Ekaterina Makarova. The German leads 7-4 in their head-to-head meetings. The pair is split at 1-1 in their Grand Slam singles meetings.

The first men's singles match of the day on Court Philippe Chatrier features 11th seed Grigor Dimitrov against France's Stephane Robert. The Bulgarian is currently on a four-match losing streak in Paris as he suffered a third round loss in 2013, followed by three successive first round exits.

Closing out play on Day 1 of the French Open will feature an all-French affair between 16th seed Lucas Pouille and Julian Benneteau.

The 2012 semifinalist returns to Paris ahead of schedule (Photo by Julian Finney / Getty)
The 2012 semifinalist returns to Paris ahead of schedule (Photo by Julian Finney / Getty)

Court Suzanne Lenglen

The second biggest stadium at the French Open is Court Suzanne Lenglen. The first match features a men's singles first round encounter between France's Adrian Mannarino and Horacio Zeballos. Mannarino will have the French crowd behind him, and get off to a winning start against the veteran clay-courter.

The second match on Court Suzanne Lenglen sees 2009 French Open champion Svetlana Kuznetsova take on Christina McHale. The eighth-seeded Russian is considered as one of the favourites to win the French Open in this wide open draw. The third match scheduled is a mouthwatering men's singles first round clash between sixth seed Dominic Thiem and Bernard Tomic. Thiem is thriving on the red dirt in 2017 as he lost in the finals of Barcelona and Madrid to Rafael Nadal. He finally defeated Nadal in their third successive meeting in Rome but was thrashed by Novak Djokovic in the semifinals. This will be a tough test for last year's semifinalist but it is a good match for the sixth seed to get off to a flying start.

The final match on the second show court sees 10th seed Venus Williams taking on Qiang Wang. The 2002 finalist is looking to reach the second week in Paris for the first time since 2010, and she has a comfortable first round match.

The Austrian has had a solid clay court season and he would love to reach the semifinals or better once more (Photo by Julian Finney / Getty)
The Austrian has had a solid clay court season and he would love to reach the semifinals or better once more (Photo by Julian Finney / Getty)

Court 1

The third ticketed show court is Court 1. Guillermo Garcia-Lopez upset Stan Wawrinka in the first round in 2014, and he has a first round match with 26th seed Gilles Muller. The second match between France's Quentin Halys and Marco Trungelliti could go either way. Another unseeded clash is featured on Court 1, and it is the first women's match on the day, scheduled beaten France's Oceane Dodin and Camila Giorgi. The final match scheduled for the third show court is between sixth seed Dominika Cibulkova and Lara Arruabarena. The former world number four has struggled for form in 2017 but she will be looking to defeat the Spaniard in the opening round.

Cibulkova is yet to rediscover her 2016 form (Photo by Dennis Grombkowski / Getty)
Cibulkova is yet to rediscover her 2016 form (Photo by Dennis Grombkowski / Getty)

Court 2, 3, 6

Anyone who is in possession for a ticket on the main three show courts or with a ground pass can go watch some tennis on the other courts.

Olympic champion Monica Puig and 31st seed Roberta Vinci open up proceedings in a tasty first round match on Court 2. There is some more French interest on Court 2 as Benjamin Bonzi takes on Daniil Medvedev. Three-time French Open quarterfinalist Tommy Robredo will do battle with Dan Evans in the third match on Court 2. The final match on Court 2 on Day 1 of the French Open is an unseeded clash between Viktorija Golubic and Aliaksandra Sasnovich. It is a winnable tie for both players.

More seeds are in action on Court 3. There are two men's first round clashes that will start the action on Court 3. Romania's Marius Copil was the top seed in qualifying, and he will play 19th seed Albert Ramos Vinolas in the first round. The Spaniard has come off the boil since reaching his first Masters 1000 final in Monte Carlo. Ramos Vinolas will have some good memories in Paris as he reached his first Grand Slam quarterfinal there last year. 23rd seed Ivo Karlovic is at the age of 37, and it is remarkable that he is seeded in Paris. The Croat begins his campaign against Greece's Stefanos Tsitsipas.

The Spaniard reached the quarterfinals in 2016, defeating Milos Raonic in the fourth round (Photo by Dennis Grombkowski / Getty)
The Spaniard reached the quarterfinals in 2016, defeating Milos Raonic in the fourth round (Photo by Dennis Grombkowski / Getty)

The final two encounters on Court 3, sees this year's Australian Open semifinalist Mirjana Lucic-Baroni taking on Cagla Buyukakcay. The Turkish player has some clay court pedigree as she won her maiden WTA title in Istanbul last year. American qualifier Bethanie Mattek-Sands reached the fourth round in 2013, and she plays against Evgeniya Rodina.

Court 6 begins with three unseeded encounters, springing plenty of opportunities for the unseeded players to get past the opening round. Jelena Ostapenko plays against the USA's Louisa Chirico in an intriguing first-round encounter. 2013 Wimbledon semifinalist Jerzy Janowicz will play Japan's Taro Daniel in the second match on Court 6. The third match on this court sees Kurumi Nara play against American wildcard Amanda Anisimova. The final match scheduled is between 25th seed Steve Johnson and Yuichi Sugita.

Court 14, 17


The spectators have got a quality day of tennis on Court 14. The first match sees Madison Brengle and Julia Goerges. Both players are no strangers to going on deep runs at Slams as both players reached the fourth round of the Australian Open in 2015. 20th seed Pablo Carreno Busta has been in scintillating form in 2017 but he has a tricky first round clash with Florian Mayer. The third match on Court 14 is an all-Ukranian affair between Lesia Tsurenko and qualifier Kateryna Kozlova. The final match on this court will feature the Netherlands' Robin Haase and Alex De Minaur, representing Australia.

The former top ten player will be looking to reach a third successive quarterfinal in Paris (Photo by Julian Finney / Getty)
The former top ten player will be looking to reach a third successive quarterfinal in Paris (Photo by Julian Finney / Getty)

Court 17 is also featuring a lot of good tennis. 17th seed Timea Bacsinszky loves it at the French Open. The Swiss number one advanced to the semifinals in 2015 and backed it up with a run to the quarterfinals last year. Bacsinszky begins her French Open campaign against Sara Sorribes Tomo. Last year's quarterfinalist Shelby Rogers will play Marina Erakovic in the second round. Two men's singles match will close out play on Court 17 with Mikhail Kukushkin taking on Tennys Sandgren and a mouthwatering clash between Thomaz Bellucci and Dusan Lajovic.

The first day of the French Open promises to be an intriguing one. Nonetheless, Petra Kvitova's return to tennis will be what everyone will be looking forward to seeing.

 


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