French Open Day 7 Matches to watch: Murray, Ivanovic face tough tests
PARIS -- Here are the storylines and matches to watch on Day 7 of the French Open. Play begins at 5 a.m. ET and will be aired by Tennis Channel until NBC takes over at 12 p.m until 3 p.m.. Click here for the order of play, and see the full TV schedule here.
Andy Murray gets his first test of the tournament: Murray hasn't produced his best tennis through the first two rounds, but it's been good enough for him to advance. He'll play No. 28 Philipp Kohlschreiber (fourth match, Court Suzanne Lenglen), who's on a six-match winning streak. He won the title in Dusseldorf last week and cruised in the first two rounds at Roland Garros without dropping a set. The German can be dangerous on clay. The two haven't played since 2010, when Kohlschreiber beat Murray on clay in their only ATP tour-level match. Murray has never lost to a player seeded as low as Kohlschreiber at a Grand Slam.
Ana Ivanovic tries to avoid another loss to Lucie Safarova: Ivanovic has lost four straight matches to her third-round opponent, No. 23-seeded Safarova (second match, Court Suzanne Lenglen). The last time she beat Safarova was here in 2008 en route to the title. Much has been made about Ivanovic's title chances, but she'll have to play well to get past the left-handed Czech, who came within inches of knocking out Li Na at the Australian Open.
Sloane Stephens seeks to keep her Grand Slam streak alive: Stephens has reached the fourth round or better at five consecutive Slams, and she's one win away from making it six. She's playing No. 22 Ekaterina Makarova (first match, Court Suzanne Lenglen), and the two have met only once -- two years ago at Roland Garros, where Stephens won 6-3, 7-6 (6).
Entertainment guaranteed: I don't really understand the FFT's decision to put a match between Gael Monfils and Fabio Fognini on Lenglen (third match) instead of Chatrier, but let's just go with it. The last time they played in Paris was in 2010, with Fognini coming back to win 2-6, 4-6, 7-5, 6-4, 9-7 in a controversial match -- the two played in virtual darkness until 5-5 in the fifth set with the crowd howling and booing. That's some precedent.
This is the match of the day for pure entertainment value. Both men will be inspired to play their best tennis to land a spot in the fourth round. And both men are, in their own way, ridiculous human beings. Monfils' athleticism and penchant for acrobatics are astounding, while Fognini is one of the best shot-makers in the game on clay. Add the highly partisan crowd that will try to get under Fognini's skin and the Italian's flair for the dramatic, and this will be must-see TV. Fognini leads the head-to-head 3-2, winning their last two encounters.
More matches to watch
Rafael Nadal  vs. Leonardo Mayer (second match, Court Philippe Chatrier): Tune in if you want to see another demolition job by Nadal. They're pretty fun to watch.
Svetlana Kuznetsova  vs Petra Kvitova  (first match, Court Philippe Chatrier): No one is talking about Kvitova to win the title, but a good win over Kuznetsova -- Kvitova leads 3-0 -- might put her in the conversation. Andrea Petkovic  vs. Kristina Mladenovic (third match, Court Philippe Chatrier): Does Mladenovic have another upset in her? Petkovic hasn't played her best since winning the biggest title of her career, in Charleston, S.C., in April. The two have met once, a 6-4, 6-2 victory for Petkovic at the Paris Indoors this year. earlier this year at the Paris Indoors and Petkovic won 6-4, 6-2. With all the seeds dropping from what was already a soft section of the draw, this is a big opportunity for both women to make a run.