French Open Day 4 matches to watch

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Gael Monfils faces Ernests Gulbis in a much-anticipated second-round match. (Getty Images)


Here are the storylines and matches to watch on Day 4 of the French Open. Play begins at 5 a.m. ET. Click here for the order of play.


Gallic pride on Court Philippe Chatrier: Do not adjust your bifocals; Roger Federer is indeed scheduled on Court Suzanne Lenglen for his second-round match against Somdev Devvarman (third match). The reason for the demotion from center court? The Flying Frenchmen, otherwise known as Jo-Wilfried Tsonga and Gael Monfils.

Tsonga will meet Jarkko Nieminen (second match, Chatrier), a 31-year-old veteran who knocked off Juan Martin del Potro in Monte Carlo last month. Then comes the match of the day and of the second round, between the two most dangerous unseeded players in the draw, Monfils and Ernests Gulbis. Monfils is coming off a fantastic five-set win over fifth-seeded Tomas Berdych, while Gulbis cruised over Rogerio Dutra Silva. The winner has a great chance to make the quarterfinals or even the semis, so it's a big one.

American women push into the third round: Four of the nine American women who are into the second round (Jamie Hampton has yet to play) are scheduled for Day 4: Serena Williams, Madison Keys, Varvara Lepchenko and Shelby Rogers. Serena should have no problems against the talented but inconsistent Caroline Garcia (fourth match, Chatrier), who returns to Chatrier for the first time since she had Maria Sharapova on the ropes in 2011 (she led 6-3, 4-1) and collapsed to lose in three sets. The most intriguing match is the all-teenage encounter between Keys and Monica Puig (fourth match, Court 6). That's a match of contrasting styles and very good test for Keys.

Back on track: Rain canceled a number of matches Tuesday, which means organizers hope to get everything back on schedule Wednesday. The forecast doesn't call for rain until the evening. A backed-up schedule won't have much impact on the women's tournament, as the ladies are used to playing back-to-back best-of-three matches. That's what they do on a weekly basis on the WTA Tour. It's more of a problem for the men, who run the risk of playing five-set matches on consecutive days if the schedule lags behind.

Matches to Watch

Gael Monfils vs. Ernests Gulbis (third match, Court Philippe Chatrier): The two have never played each other on the ATP Tour, a surprise considering they're both in their mid-20s and have been touted for so long. It will likely be a battle of Gulbis' aggression and Monfils' defense, not unlike what we saw when Gulbis pushed Rafael Nadal to three sets in Rome just two weeks ago. Monfils has to have another big serving day -- he needed every single one of his 26 aces to beat Berdych on Monday -- and Gulbis must to be patient against Monfils.

Caroline Wozniacki vs. Bojana Jovanovski (fourth match, Court 7): Jovanovski beat Wozniacki in the opening round in Rome, coming back from 2-5 in the third-set tiebreaker to upend the Dane 2-6, 6-4, 7-6 (5) in a match that lasted more than three hours. But I get the sense that a first-round victory against Laura Robson has relaxed Wozniacki and she'll be more mentally focused this time.

Agnieszka Radwanska vs. Mallory Burdette (first match, Court 1): Radwanska hasn't been convincing at all through the clay season, while Burdette has found her game on the surface over the last few weeks. She successfully qualified in both Rome and Brussels and got her first French Open main-draw win in the first round, beating Donna Vekic. Radwanska should come through, but if the conditions are heavy, I like Burdette's ability to hit through the court and her willingness to finish points at the net.

Madison Keys vs. Monica Puig (fourth match, Court 6): Puig, 19, has been coming into her own this year, with solid performances against Angelique Kerber and Venus Williams, both in tough three-set losses. She was very emotional after upsetting Nadia Petrova in the first round in her Grand Slam debut. On the other side of the net is the 18-year-old Keys, who has become the most reliable early-round winner of the young Americans. She has the firepower that's made everyone sit up and take notice. It'll be Keys' offense against Puig's grinding defense and counterpunching in a 50-50 match. If Puig suffers from an emotional letdown after her big win, Keys is the favorite.

Zuzana Kucova vs. Virginie Razzano (fourth match, Court 2): Some people watch tennis for the X’s and O’s. Some people watch it for the sheer humanity of the sport. If you watch for the latter, this is your match. Coming into this tournament, Kucova, 30, had never cracked the top 100 or won a main-draw match at Roland Garros. She entered with her eye on retirement, which she'll do after she loses here. And yet she successfully qualified and then upset 26th-seeded Julia Goerges, making the second round for the first time. Razzano, who stunned Serena Williams here last year, is also 30 and into the tournament thanks to a wild card. She lost her fiancé to brain cancer two years ago and believes his spirit is still with her when she plays at Roland Garros. One of these two women will make the third round of the French Open. It'll be emotional either way.

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