French Open Day 7 matches to watch
Juan Monaco vs. Milos Raonic (fourth match, Court 2): This is the match of the day, made even better by the fact that it's nestled out on Court 2, which is a general admission court. That means we should see a full and lively crowd (you can always rely on Argentines) packed around this smaller court. Both men have been fantastic on clay, with Monaco having his best year on tour and Raonic convincing people that he can play a big man's game on clay. This match will pit Monaco's traditional South American clay game, which centers on grinding and building points, with the Raonic's big-hitter game that has propelled Robin Soderling, Tomas Berdych, Juan Martin del Potro and John Isner into factors on clay. Both men will be looking out the window the minute they wake up. If it's a hot day and the sun is blazing, give the edge to Raonic. But if temperatures are cool, Monaco might have an opening to grind down the Canadian.
Li Na vs. Christina McHale (second match, Court Suzanne Lenglen): The defending champion has cruised through her early rounds without succumbing to any of the mid-match mental vacations that have plagued her all year. Li will finally get a test in McHale, who has proved herself to be a dangerous giant killer. The Jersey girl has wins over Petra Kvitova, Caroline Wozniacki and Marion Bartoli in the last year. McHale won't threaten Li with power, but she should be able to rattle her with some consistency. Get Li thinking and you've got yourself a match. Her brain is her worst enemy.
Tommy Haas vs. Richard Gasquet (third match, Lenglen): For the second match in a row, Gasquet will face a one-handed backhander, this time in the form of the resurgent German (American? German? I can't keep track anymore) Haas. The big question here is whether Gasquet has had enough time to recover from his physically taxing four-set match against Grigor Dmitrov on Thursday, with rallies so tough the Frenchman got sick on court. While Haas has had some more straightforward wins, he'll be playing his sixth match in a week and a half, having to play qualifiers after he was denied a wild card. In the end, I suspect the partisan crowd will give Gasquet all the energy he needs to win.
Janko Tipsarevic vs. Julien Benneteau (second match, Court Philippe Chatrier): First of all, can we just pause for a second and remember the fact that Benneteau broke his elbow four weeks ago in a horrible fall in Monte Carlo? His doctor must be Mr. Miyagi because I find it amazing that Benneteau was not only able to get himself fit enough to play in Paris, but he's now also scored two solid wins with a chance for a third. Before his injury in Monte Carlo Benneteau was putting together a fine year, so it's great to see him back so soon. A win over Tipsarevic is going to be tough given how well the Serb is playing lately.
Francesca Schiavone vs. Varvara Lepchenko (first match, Court 1): Each win is one step closer to Olympic qualification for Lepchenko. She beat Schiavone just a few weeks ago in Madrid on her way to the quarterfinals there, though since then the Italian seems to have found the game that had been eluding her all year. She won Strasbourg last week and seems to be getting comfortable at Roland Garros. Courtney's Pet Picks: Maria Sharapova vs. Peng Shuai (third match, Chatrier), Rafael Nadal vs. Eduardo Schwank (fourth match, Chatrier), David Ferrer vs. Mikhail Youzhny (first match, Lenglen), Kaia Kanepi vs. Caroline Wozniacki (fourth match, Lenglen), Santiago Giraldo vs. Andy Murray (second match, Court 1), Marcel Granollers vs. Paul-Henri Mathieu (third match, Court 1), Arantxa Rus vs. Julia Goerges (fourth match, Court 1)