Skip to main content

French Open Day 5 matches to watch

Paul-Henri Mathieu, who's playing John Isner in the second round, is a favorite among French Fans. (Reuters)


John Isner vs. Paul-Henri Mathieu (third match, Court Philippe Chatrier): If not for Brian Baker hogging the headlines, Paul-Henri Mathieu might be the comeback player of the clay season. Mathieu, who was once ranked as high as No. 12, was sidelined by knee surgery last year and came into Roland Garros ranked No. 261. At 30 years old, the Frenchman is savoring every win and the French fans love him (you can see them chanting "Paulo!" after his first round win here). All that is to say, while this should be a straightforward win for Isner, it would serve him well to take control of the match from the outset and not give the French crowd a reason to get noisy.

Richard Gasquet vs. Grigor Dimitrov (fifth match, Court Suzanne Lenglen): The Battle of Baby Feds! If you like one-handed backhands and superior shotmaking with a healthy side of questionable decision-making, then this is your match. These are two talented men who can make the game look so easy and beautiful in one point, and so impossibly ugly the next. I like Gasquet's draw here in Paris (he's in Andy Murray's quarter) and few confidence building wins could galvanize him for the fortnight.

David Ferrer vs. Benoit Paire (first match, Court 1): I am virtually certain David Ferrer will win this match.  So tune in to see how Benoit Paire chooses to lose this match. As Ferrer frustrates him with his steadiness, Paire will undoubtedly start going for shots he has no business going for. Some people might find this incredibly frustrating viewing. Me? It's entertainment at its finest.

Marcos Baghdatis vs. Nicolas Almagro (second match, Court 2): Unless there's a bad glitch on the ATP Tour website (which I doubt), neither of these two 26-year olds have ever played each other on the pro tour, which is pretty astonishing given their age, ranking and talent. Almagro has really come into his own over the last two years, as he's honed his clay court game to harness his fire-power, while still maintaining the consistency you need to grind out points. As for Baghdatis, clay has never been his friend. It's his worst surface by far and he hasn't done much leading into Paris. But stick these two fiery guys out on Court 2 - a smaller show court that sits under a walkway where fans can stand and look down on the action - and you've got a recipe for a fun match.

Varvara Lepchenko vs. Jelena Jankovic (third match, Court 3): Jelena Jankovic's new coaching partnership with Zeljko Krajan hasn't exactly yielded immediate results. Since partnering, Jankovic has lost four straight matches and fallen out of the top 20 for the first time since 2006. On clay this season, she's lost to Sorana Cirstea, Carla Suarez Navarro and Simona Halep, and retired to Caroline Wozniacki. Meanwhile Lepchenko had a career run a few weeks ago in Madrid, making the quarterfinals. A win would boost her outside chance of making the Olympic team.

Courtney's Pet Picks