French Open Day 2 matches to watch: Murray, Sharapova begin play
PARIS – Day 2 at the French Open features Maria Sharapova's return to Chatrier and a generational battle featuring Venus Williams and Sloane Stephens. Play begins at 5 a.m. ET on ESPN2, with some coverage moving to NBC at noon. Full television and broadcast schedule can be found here. Full order of play here.
Maria Sharapova has a tough opener: The defending champion opens her campaign on Court Philippe Chatrier (third match) against one of the toughest unseeded players in No. 49 Kaia Kanepi. Don't let Kanepi's ranking fool you. The Estonian has made six Slam quarterfinals, twice at the French Open in 2008 and 2012. She hits a big ball and when her shots are clicking she can be virtually unplayable. The good news for Sharapova is she's only lost one set to Kanepi in four matches and Kanepi has won just one match on clay this year, beating Madison Keys in the first round of Madrid.
Venus Williams and Sloane Stephens face off: Bad luck of the draw for both women to have to face off in the first round, but that's the risk of the draw for Stephens, who comes into the tournament unseeded and ranked No. 41. This is the first career meeting between the two but given their form you have to give Stephens the edge. The younger American is coming off a semifinal run last week in Strasbourg, while Venus has won two matches in two tournaments on clay. That said, Venus' two clay losses came two top notch players in Simona Halep and Victoria Azarenka. Her form may be better than her record indicates.
Andy Murray begins his tournament: The Brit opens against Facundo Arguello (fourth match, Chatrier).
A quick turnaround for Sam Stosur and Dominic Thiem: It's always a risk to play the week before a Slam. They each won titles on Saturday, with Thiem winning his first in Nice and Stosur winning her first red clay title in Strasbourg. But there's no time to celebrate. Stosur plays Madison Brengle (second match, Court 3) and Thiem plays newly anointed Brit Aljaz Bedene (second match, Court 5).
Frances Tiafoe makes his Grand Slam debut: The 17-year-old American wildcard plays No. 36 Martin Klizan (first match, Court 5).
Youth on deck: In addition to Tiafoe, a number of exciting youngsters are up on Monday. Borna Coric, 18, takes on Sam Querrey (third match, Court 6). Bernard Tomic, who lost to Luca Vanni in a third-set tiebreaker in Madrid, gets a rematch (second match, Court 7) and Donald Young faces Santiago Giraldo (third match, Court 8). On the women's side, keep an eye on Aleksandra Krunic vs. Yulia Putintseva (second match, Court 10) and Monica Puig vs. Sabine Lisicki (first match, Court 17). Those could get...emotional.
SNAPSHOTS FROM DAY 1