French Open Day 3: Kvitova, Nadal, Serena, Djokovic open on Chatrier
PARIS – Day 3 at the French Open features the men's and women's No. 1s and the man who has called Roland Garros his backyard for the last 10 years. Not bad. Play begins at 5 a.m. ET on ESPN2, with coverage moving to Tennis Channel at 10 a.m. Full television and broadcast schedule can be found here. Full order of play here.
Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic and Serena Williams lead a dream triple-header: Consider your Tuesday ticket to Court Philippe Chatrier to be a golden one, as four of the tournament favorites begin play. First up is No. 4 Petra Kvitova—our own Jon Wertheim's gutsy title-pick—against New Zealand's Marina Erakovic (Kvitova leads the head to head 4–0).
Next comes nine-time champion Rafael Nadal, who begins his much-discussed campaign against No. 296 Quentin Halys (first meeting). Third on Chatrier is No. 1 Novak Djokovic against Jarkko Nieminen (Djokovic leads 4–1). Finally, No. 1 Serena Williams rounds out the day's play against the Czech Republic's Andrea Hlavackova. In their one career meeting, Serena threw down a double-bagel at at the 2012 U.S. Open. We can't promise they'll be compelling matches, but it's always fun to watch the game's best do their thing.
Eugenie Bouchard looks to avoid the upset: Bouchard played progressively better as the clay season wore on, but she'll face a stiff test against Kristina Mladenovic (fourth match, Lenglen). The Frenchwoman is coming off a run to the Strasbourg final this weekend, where she lost in three to Sam Stosur. As opposed to some of the other younger French players, Mladenovic seems up to the task of playing on home soil, too. Last year she ousted Li Na in the first round. The two have played just once, in 2012, and Bouchard won in straight sets.
Must watch: Jack Sock vs. Grigor Dimitrov: The young American, who narrowly missed out on a seed in Paris (he's ranked No. 37), definitely has a shot to knock off the 10th-seeded Dimitrov (fourth match, Court 1). The two have played just once, last year in Stockholm, where Dimitrov won 5–7, 6–4, 6–3.
Americans look to rebound from a disappointing Monday: The U.S. went 1–7 on Monday, with that one win coming because Venus Williams and Sloane Stephens played each other. In another all-American matchup, Madison Keys will start her tournament against Varvara Lepchenko (fourth match Court 2). It's hard to put know what to expect from Keys after she had such a great week to make the final in Charleston only to struggle on the European red clay. In their only meeting, Lepchenko beat Keys earlier this season in Brisbane.
The American No. 1 on the men's side, John Isner, has a tough opening match against Andreas Seppi (third match, Court 2). The two have split their two matches but Seppi won their only one on clay back in 2012 in Rome. Also up is Taylor Townsend against Tereza Smitkova, and Shelby Rogers could have a look at an upset against last year's semifinalist Andrea Petkovic. The German has been struggling with a leg injury and had to retire from her last lead-up tournament.
More matches to watch:
- Caroline Wozniacki opens her tournament against Karin Knapp (second match, Lenglen), who is coming off her first title of the season over the weekend in Nuremberg.
- In an incredibly tough match to call, Nicolas Almagro plays Alexandr Dolgopolov (second match, Court 7).
- Belinda Bencic, who is still struggling to find her top level, faces Slovakian veteran Daniela Hantuchova (fourth match, Court 7).
- Keep an eye on U.S. Open champion Marin Cilic. He could be on upset alert against The Netherlands' Robin Haase (first match, Court 2).