Bryan Armen Graham
Thursday May 26th, 2011

Novak Djokovic (front) and Juan Martin del Potro (rear) meet Friday in a third-rounder that will have a much weightier feel. (William West/Getty Images)

What's Happening Friday

The third round begins. Tennis Channel's live coverage runs from 5 a.m. ET until noon. ESPN2 continues with live and same-day action from 12 until 6:30 p.m. ET. (Clip and save the complete TV schedule.)

Several top seeds on both sides are in action, among them No. 2 Novak Djokovic, No. 3 Roger Federer, No. 1 Caroline Wozniacki, No. 3 Vera Zvonareva and No. 5 Francesca Schiavone. Also, Bethanie Mattek-Sands -- the highest ranked American in the women's draw -- will attempt to punch her ticket to the Round of 16 against 10th-seeded Jelena Jankovic (Court 2, second match).

Other key matches to watch on Friday include:

No. 29 Janko Tipseravic vs. No. 3 Roger Federer (Court Suzanne Lenglen, second match): The free-spirited, Nietzsche-reading Serb is 0-3 lifetime against Federer, but their only previous meeting at a Grand Slam was a five-set thriller that could have gone either way.

No. 14 Stan Wawrinka vs. No. 17 Jo-Wilfried Tsonga (Court Philippe Chatrier, third match): Two evenly matched players ranked in the teens going toe to toe on center court. Sounds like a perfect apertif for the match everyone's been licking their chops over since last Friday's draw ...

No. 25 Juan Martin del Potro vs. No. 2 Novak Djokovic (Court Philippe Chatrier, fourth match): Throw the seedings out the window -- Djoker isn't playing like a No. 2 and Delpo isn't playing like a No. 25 -- when the first marquee matchup of this year's French Open kicks off late Friday morning on the East Coast. These two were on a level playing field when Delpo captured the 2009 U.S. Open title, but a wrist injury derailed his 2010 season just as Djokovic cracked the Federer-Nadal diarchy.

The complete order of play for Day 6 can be found here.

What Happened Thursday

A blustery day on the grounds made for, er, troublesome playing conditions. (Said Rafael Nadal: "If you play good, seems like much less wind. If you are playing bad, seems like a hurricane.'')

Clijsters clipped in major upset. So much for Kim Clijsters' 15-match win streak at Grand Slams. The No. 2 seed squandered match points against 114th-ranked Arantxa Rus of the Netherlands, then completely fell apart at the seams. The final damage: 65 unforced errors and 10 double faults. On Tennis Channel, Martina Navratilova called it one of the biggest upsets at Roland Garros in recent memory, drawing comparisons to Venus Williams' first-round loss to Barbara Schett in 2001 and Justine Henin's second-round defeat against Tathiana Garbin in '04.

Nadal wins in straight sets, but nothing came easy. The top-seeded Spaniard won 7-5, 6-3, 7-6 over compatriot Pablo Andujar, saving eight set points in the third to rally from 1-5 down. But the five-time French Open champ showed unusual inconsistency (26 unforced errors) heading into a third-round matchup Saturday against Antonio Veic.

Sharapova digs deep to survive. A trendy pick to win it all since bagging the Rome title, Maria Sharapova managed to fall behind 3-6, 1-4 against 17-year-old wild card Caroline Garcia. That's when something clicked and Sharapova won the next 11 games in succession to summarily dismiss the French upstart.

Go Fish. No. 10-seeded Mardy Fish -- the lone American man remaining after Sam Querrey's quiet exit -- punched his third-round ticket with a victory over Robin Haase in straight sets.

Other seeded players march on. No. 4 Victoria Azarenka, another popular pick to win the title, progressed to the Round of 16. As did No. 6 Li Na, No. 9 Petra Kvitova, No. 12 Agnieszka Radwanska, No. 15 Andrea Petkovic and No. 16 Kaia Kanepi. On the men's side, seeded winners included No. 4 Andy Murray, No. 5 Robin Soderling, No. 15 Viktor Troicki and No. 16 Fernando Verdasco.

Paris Clicks

Behold: 47 of Maria Sharapova's grunts from Thursday's win ... Interesting video piece on Alexandr Dolgopolov's unorthodox strokes ... Heather Watson explains what it was like to become the first British woman in 17 years to make the second round at Roland Garros ... Busted Racquet breaks down Maria Sharapova's "hilarious, horrendous" serve ... This well-played Roger Federer prank hit the web a few weeks back, but it made a viral comeback in earnest today.

Photo of the Day

Rafael Nadal returns during Thursday's second-round match with Pablo Andujar (from's Best Shots from Day 5 at the French Open).

Go Figure

37 ... Number of weeks Caroline Wozniacki will end up spending at No. 1 if the 21-year-old Dane defeats Daniela Hantuchova on Friday. A victory would secure Wozniacki the No. 1 ranking through Wimbledon.

27 ... Years since a Polish player last reached the Round of 32 at Roland Garros. Lukasz Kubot ended the drought Thursday with a second-round victory over Carlos Berlocq.

800 ... Career doubles victories by Canada's Daniel Nestor, who reached the milestone on Thursday.

Must-See Video

Luck wasn't on Kim Clijsters' side for most of Thursday's match, but it was for one third-set point.

They Said It

"The girl sharapova is playing is going to be number one in the world one day caroline garcia, what a player u heard it here first"

--Andy Murray, via Twitter, when Caroline Garcia led 6-3, 4-1 over Maria Sharapova; the 17-year-old lost the next 11 games and the match

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