French Open: Day 2 Preview; Former champions take centre stage

The first day of the French Open had a few surprises, and Day Two of the second Grand Slam singles tournament could follow suit. Four players who have won the French Open will be in action, along with a few more former Grand Slam champions.

French Open: Day 2 Preview; Former champions take centre stage
Defending and former French Open champions take to Chatrier and Lenglen (Source: Getty)

The first round of the French Open continues on Monday. The temperatures of Day One of the French Open was sweltering with temperature as high as 32. However, there was a slight spell of rain but it only halted play for five minutes.

Two-time Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova was the biggest story of Day One as the 15th seed opened proceedings on Court Philippe Chatrier with an easy straight sets victory over Julia Boserup. Kvitova's return to tennis, five months after her stabbing lead many to wonder if she would play again. Another big story on Day One saw top seed Angelique Kerber lose in the first round for the second successive year. The German lost to Ekaterina Makarova, and her world number one ranking hangs in the balance. Kerber became the first top seed in the history of the French Open to lose in the first round in the Open Era.

Day Two of the French Open is jam packed, and the fans are treated to a feast of tennis.

Defending champions take centre stage on Court Philippe Chatrier

The reigning women's French Open champion Garbine Muguruza begins her title defence on Court Philippe Chatrier. Moreover, the Spaniard's reign is in major jeopardy as she faces 2010 champion Francesca Schiavone in the first round. Muguruza will have to get off to a flying start and show the intensity that she portrayed in Rome last week.

Following the battle of two French Open champions, the men's reigning champion Novak Djokovic begins his title defence against Marcel Granollers. The 30-year-old will have Andre Agassi in his coaching box, and Djokovic will want to his impress his new coach. The former world number one should get past the Spaniard with ease, and he would want to lay down a marker at this year's French Open.

The defending men's and women's singles champions have tricky first round matches (Photo by Christophe Simon / Getty)
The defending men's and women's singles champions have tricky first round matches (Photo by Christophe Simon / Getty)

France's home favourite, the 13th seed Kristina Mladenovic gets her French Open started against the USA's Jennifer Brady. The Frenchwoman has been one of the in-form players in 2017 by reaching four finals and winning her first title in St.Petersburg. Although Mladenovic will have the pressure of the home crowd, she is one of the favourites to win the French Open in the wide open women's draw.

The final match on Court Philippe Chatrier sees Next Gen Star, and new top ten player Alexander Zverev take to the court. The German is seeded ninth and he won his biggest career title at the Masters 1000 event in Rome, defeating Novak Djokovic in the final in straight sets. The 20-year-old begins his quest for a maiden Grand Slam title against the dangerous Fernando Verdasco. Verdasco is in the twilight stage of his career but he is more than capable of sending Zverev home in the first round.

Nadal headlines Lenglen

The main attraction on Court Suzanne Lenglen is nine-time French Open champion Rafael Nadal's first round encounter with France's Benoit Paire. The Spaniard comes into the French Open with a renewed confidence, and he has a 17-1 win-loss record on clay after claiming titles in Monte Carlo, Barcelona and Madrid. The former world number one is the favourite to lift the French Open title for an unprecedented tenth time. It is the second match on Court Suzanne Lenglen after 11th seed Caroline Wozniacki opens proceedings on the second show court against Australia's Jaimee Fourlis.

Nadal is looking to win a record-extending tenth title in Paris (Photo by Julian Finney / Getty)
Nadal is looking to win a record-extending tenth title in Paris (Photo by Julian Finney / Getty)

Second seed Karolina Pliskova has a chance to claim the world number one ranking but she must reach the final in Paris after Kerber's first round exit. The Czech isn't comfortable on clay, and she begins her campaign against China's Saisai Zheng. The final match scheduled on Court Suzanne Lenglen, sees France's 24th seed Richard Gasquet take on Arthur De Greef. Gasquet reached his solitary French Open quarterfinal last year but he lost to Andy Murray.

French players dominate Court 1

31st seed Gilles Simon opens his French Open campaign against Georgia's Nikoloz Basilashvili. The Georgian reached the semifinals in Lyon last week, taking a set off the eventual winner Jo-Wilfried Tsonga. Last year's quarterfinalist David Goffin has been enjoying himself on the red dirt, displaying some scintillating tennis, and even beating Djokovic for the first time in the quarterfinals in Monte Carlo. The 10th seed reached the semifinals in Monte Carlo and quarterfinals in Madrid, losing to Nadal on both occasions. He will have the crowd against him as Paul-Henri Mathieu, will be his opponent and the Frenchman will be making his final French Open appearance before hanging up his racquet.

The 2011 US Open champion gets her campaign started on Monday, and will be a threat in this tournamnet (Photo by Clive Brunskill / Getty)
The 2011 US Open champion gets her campaign started on Monday, and will be a threat in this tournamnet (Photo by Clive Brunskill / Getty)

2010 finalist Sam Stosur was a winner in Strasbourg last week, and she takes on Kristina Kucova for a place in the second round. The 23rd seed has a good record in Paris, reaching the semifinals in 2009, 2012 and last year, along with that final appearance in 2010. The 2011 US Open champion could go under the radar as a potential champion in the French capital. France's Pauline Parmentier will close out play on Court 1 against Russia's Irina Khromacheva.

Court 2

The fans who will have a ground pass are in store for a treat on Court 2. The fifth seed Milos Raonic who reached the quarterfinals in 2014 takes on Steve Darcis in the opening round. Last year's Wimbledon finalist should defeat the Belgian, even though, Darcis has caused upsets in Slams in the past as he defeated Nadal in the first round of Wimbledon in 2013. Following this match, there will be a mouthwatering first round clash in the women's draw between last year's semifinalist Kiki Bertens and Ajla Tomljanovic. The Croat-born Australian is no stranger to upsets in Paris as she defeated Agnieszka Radwanska in the third round in 2014. Bertens, the 18th seed will be full of confidence after retaining her title in Nurnberg.

The Canadian will be looking to reach the second week in Paris for the third time in his career (Photo by Julian Finney / Getty)
The Canadian will be looking to reach the second week in Paris for the third time in his career (Photo by Julian Finney / Getty)

The third match on Court 2 is another intriguing encounter which sees seventh seed and 2014 US Open champion Marin Cilic take on 2014 semifinalist Ernests Gulbis. The Croat has been struggling for form in 2017 but he has recorded some good results on clay by winning the title in Istanbul, and advancing to the semifinals in Rome. Gulbis defeated Roger Federer in the fourth round back in 2014, and Tomas Berdych in the quarterfinals before losing to Djokovic in four sets. The final match on Court 2 sees French wildcard Alize Lim take on Magda Linette.

Court 3

There is some British interest on Court 3 as Aljaz Bedene takes on the USA's Ryan Harrison in a mouthwatering first round clash. They will be followed by 24th seed Daria Gavrilova's opener with Elise Mertens. Both players have reached finals in the clay court season with Gavrilova losing to compatriot Sam Stosur in the first all-Australian final since 2005 in Strasbourg on Saturday, and Mertens lost to Elina Svitolina in Istanbul.

Gavrilova will be flying under the radar (Photo by Dennis Grombkowski / Getty)
Gavrilova will be flying under the radar (Photo by Dennis Grombkowski / Getty)

2012 French Open finalist Sara Errani had to come through qualifying, nevertheless, the Italian was in good form, and she takes on Misaki Doi in the opening round. France's Pierre-Hugues Herbert will close out play on Court 3 against Jared Donaldson.

Around the grounds

2014 French Open semifinalist Andrea Petkovic will have a tricky encounter with Varvara Lepchenko to close out play on Court 4. 22nd seed Pablo Cuevas will have a clash with a French player in Maxime Hamou, and 14th seed Elena Vesnina has only won one match on clay since winning the BNP Paribas Open. She takes on Brazil's Beatriz Haddad Maia on Court 6.

A few clay courters in former world number one Jelena Jankovic, Andreas Seppi clashes with Santiago Giraldo and Irina-Camelia Begu will all feature on Court 8. 14th seed Jack Sock who played well against Nadal in Rome opens up proceedings on Court 14 against Jiri Vesely. Mathias Bourgue almost upset Andy Murray in the second round last year, taking the Brit to five sets, he takes on Borna Coric in the first round also on Court 14. The Croat upset Murray in straight sets in Madrid, earlier this month.

Cuevas has reached three Masters 1000 quarterfinals or better in 2017; he has a chance to go far at Roland Garros (Photo by Dennis Grombkowski / Getty)
Cuevas has reached three Masters 1000 quarterfinals or better in 2017; he has a chance to go far at Roland Garros (Photo by Dennis Grombkowski / Getty)

An entertaining first round clash between Frances Tiafoe and new father, the 28th seed Fabio Fognini will close out play on Court 16. Former finalists in David Ferrer and Lucie Safarova are both set to feature on Court 17. Only three matches are scheduled on Court 18 as Janko Tipsarevic and Joao Sousa clash, along with Feliciano Lopez taking on Bjorn Fratangelo.

It is a mouthwatering day of tennis on Day Two of the French Open, and fans will have their monies worth with the quality that is on the show. Muguruza, Djokovic, Nadal, Mladenovic, Wozniacki and Pliskova are the main attractions, and it will be interesting to see how they all fare.



 


Share on Facebook