French Open Day 7 matches to watch
Here are the storylines and matches to watch on Day 7 of the French Open. Play begins at 5 a.m. ET. Click here for the order of play.
Rafael Nadal's 24-hour turnaround: To add another twist to Nadal's angry complaints about how his matches have been scheduled, tournament organizers have placed his third-round match against Fabio Fognini as the third match on Court Philippe Chatrier, with Novak Djokovic's match with Grigor Dimitrov to follow. It's a surprising decision, given the fact Nadal just played more than three hours on Friday to complete his rain-delayed match, while Djokovic and Dimitrov had the day off. You'd think they'd put Nadal on after Djokovic to give him a few extra hours of rest, especially with the forecast looking fairly clear.
Already a banner year, American women look to go one further: Five American women made the third round, the most since 2004. If the the three women up on Saturday run the table, the U.S. will send four women into the fourth round, the most since that same year. Sloane Stephens takes on Marina Erakovic, the first New Zealander to make the third round (first match, Court 1), followed by Bethanie Mattek-Sands, who will try to avoid the emotional letdown after upsetting Li Na in the second round. She'll play Argentina's Paula Ormaechea (second match, Court 1). The woman with the toughest task by far is Jamie Hampton, who gets a shot at No. 7 Petra Kvitova.
Veteran showdowns on Court Suzanne Lenglen: The two women's matches on Lenglen feature a rematch of two recent French Open semifinals. Marion Bartoli and Francesca Schiavone (third match) will meet on clay for the first time since the 2011 French Open semifinal, which Schiavone won 6-3, 6-3 to make her second consecutive final. Jelena Jankovic and Sam Stosur will follow, in a rematch of their 2010 semifinal, which Stosur won 6-1, 6-2.
Matches to watch
Novak Djokovic vs. Grigor Dimitrov (fourth match, Court Philippe Chatrier): A match that will be overhyped simply because Dimitrov beat Djokovic in three hard-fought sets in Madrid and, well, he's also Maria Sharapova's boyfriend. Everyone likes giggling about that, so naturally Dimitrov is grabbing a few more headlines theses days. Dimitrov still isn't physically strong enough to hang with Djokovic in a best-of-five format, and as long as the Serb doesn't suffer from one of his recent mental lapses, he should be through in straight sets.
Tommy Haas vs. John Isner (third match, Court 1): Isner will surely be heavy-legged after rallying from two sets down to beat Ryan Harrison on Friday. He leads the head-to-head 3-2, though their matches have all been on hard courts and Haas won their last clash, in San Jose, Calif., in February. Isner had to work very hard in the fifth set against Harrison to grind out that win. His best hope is to go big early and try to pull off the upset in straight sets.
Benoit Paire vs. Kei Nishikori (first match, Court Suzanne Lenglen): Paire's maturation has been one of the most encouraging stories of the year. The Frenchman can still go a little bonkers with his shot selection, but he's reined in his tendency to go for "the beautiful shot" and just hit the rally-winning shot. That's made a huge difference in his game. Nishikori won their only meeting, last year at the Paris Indoors, and he's the higher seed here, but Paire is the hot hand after making the semifinals of Rome. He certainly hasn't crumbled under the pressure of playing at home -- in fact, he's embraced it.
Stanislas Wawrinka vs. Jerzy Janowicz (fourth match, Court 2): Janowicz has turned me into a believer over the last few weeks, with wins over Jo-Wilfried Tsonga and Richard Gasquet in Rome, while Wawrinka continued his stellar 2013 by making the final in Madrid. Both men are full of confidence, and this will be a high-octane match of big hitting and feathery drop shots. Wawrinka is the favorite, but Janowicz can look unbeatable when his game is clicking. Jelena Jankovic vs. Sam Stosur (fourth match, Court Suzanne Lenglen): Jankovic's best chance to win a Slam came in 2010 when Stosur cleared out her side of the draw by beating both Justine Henin and Serena Williams, and Elena Dementieva's injury woes sent Schiavone into the final. Jankovic must have known that because she came into the semifinal against Stosur that year completely flat and was on and off the court before Stosur even broke a sweat. She holds a 6-2 record against the Aussie and, despite her lower ranking, is probably favored here. Then again, she should have won in 2010, too.