ATP's Big Four, Serena, Sharapova all in action on Day 9 at the French Open
PARIS – Breaking down the big matches on Court Philippe Chatrier and Court Suzanne Lenglen on Monday, where rain delays on Sunday mean rescheduled matches and a tennis-lover's dream on Monday. Play begins at 5 a.m. ET on ESPN2, with coverage moving to Tennis Channel at 10 a.m. Full television and broadcast schedule can be found here. Full order of play can be found here.
Court Philippe Chatrier
No. 2 Maria Sharapova vs. No. 13 Lucie Safarova: This fourth round match was supposed to be played on Sunday before rain hit Paris. Sharapova leads the head-to-head 4–1 but their last match on clay last year in Stuttgart was a three-tiebreak epic. The winner will have to turn around to play their quarterfinal on Tuesday. Can Sharapova avoid a potentially very tricky match?
No. 2 Roger Federer vs. No. 13 Gael Monfils, 6–3, 4–6, to be continued: The two split sets on Sunday before agreeing to suspend the match until Monday. That means it's a best of three-set match for a spot in the quarterfinals to play Stan Wawrinka. Both men looked edgy and unsure of how they wanted to play each other on Sunday, with Monfils in particular struggling to focus in the windy conditions. This remains a tough match-up to call, but Monfils has to like the idea of a shorter best-of-three scenario.
No. 1 Serena Williams vs. No. 40 Sloane Stephens: They meet again. Serena has not lost to Stephens since the 2012 Australian Open quarterfinals but Stephens has continued to play tough against her, at least for a set. Stephens hasn't lost a set so far in the tournament, including a straight set win over Venus Williams in the first round. Meanwhile, Serena has had to fight through back-to-back three-set matches against No. 105 Anna-Lena Friedsam and No. 27 Victoria Azarenka. But you know the drill: Serena gets stronger and stronger as she advances through any tournament.
No. 1 Novak Djokovic vs. No. 20 Richard Gasquet: Djokovic holds a 10–1 record against Gasquet and that lone win came nearly eight years ago in 2007. Gasquet, who has had his rocky moments at Roland Garros in the past, has played some inspired tennis to give himself a shot at the quarterfinals, but his road will end here. Djokovic showed no signs of injury in his last match, a straight set win over Thanasi Kokkinakis, and his consistency will be Gasquet's undoing. One thing to keep an eye on: How loud will the Chatrier crowd back Gasquet and how will Djokovic respond?
Court Suzanne Lenglen
No. 21 Garbine Muguruza vs. No. 28 Flavia Pennetta: This is the other women's fourth round match that was cancelled on Sunday due to rain. The Spaniard is a win away from defending her quarterfinal appearance last year and she has a 2–0 record against the Italian veteran. This would be a great result for Muguruza, who has not done much since February. The winner of this match will play the winner of the Sharapova-Safarova match.
No. 3 Andy Murray vs. No. 45 Jeremy Chardy: Can Chardy beat his third seed in a row to make the quarterfinals for the first time? He's already knocked out John Isner and David Goffin in the last two rounds. But Murray is riding a wave of confidence—and a 13-match win streak—and he's won six of their seven matches, with that one loss coming on hard court.
No. 6 Rafael Nadal vs. No. 37 Jack Sock: This is my pick for the match of the day. How will Sock's forehand stack up against Nadal's? Will they be able to find each other's backhand corners? Will Nadal's lefty spin give him the advantage? Or will Sock's bigger serve tip things back in his direction and keep him in the sets and ultimately give him chances to break? For all the attention on the forehands, the Sock serve will be a big deciding factor against Nadal. If he can serve big, earn some cheap points and get some easy holds, he'll have opportunities to tee off on the Nadal serve. This is the first meeting between the two. See more on the matchup here.
No. 4 Petra Kvitova vs. No. 23 Timea Bacsinszky: The Swiss may have the edge here. She beat Kvitova earlier this year on hard court in Shenzhen and she's a smarter player when it comes to the clay. Bacsinszky picked Madison Keys apart in the previous round, mixing up her shots and exploiting the young American's movement with perfect drop shot after perfect drop shot. Look for her to do the same against Kvitova.
SNAPSHOTS FROM DAY 8