Roland Garros: Six First-Round Matches To Watch

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With Novak Djokovic, Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal all touchdown in the identical half of the Roland Garros draw, the second Grand Slam of the yr is already bringing loads of drama and promising epic clashes. 

However additional down the draw, there are many popcorn matches within the early rounds as heavyweights are set to fulfill rising stars and high gamers conflict with unseeded threats. 

Listed below are the highest six first-round matches to look at at Roland Garros – and some potential second-round conferences to control this fortnight in Paris. 

Six First-Spherical Matches To Watch

Alexander Bublik vs [2] Daniil Medvedev
Daniil Medvedev already shook up the draw by claiming the second seed place, however he’ll have his work reduce out for him as he seeks his first victory at Roland Garros (0-4). The Russian received one of many hardest first-round challenges within the area as he’ll begin in opposition to an unseeded Alexander Bublik.

Tennis followers will benefit from the conflict between two proficient gamers with unorthodox kinds. Bublik will arrive in Paris at a career-high FedEx ATP Rating of World No. 37, and has claimed wins over Matteo Berrettini, Alexander Zverev and Aslan Karatsev in 2021. 

Australian Open finalist Medvedev owns the 1-0 benefit in ATP Head2Head, however their lone assembly was again in 2016 at St. Petersburg, an indoor hard-court occasion. The Russian gained comfortably 6-4, 6-0 on residence turf, however may very well be in for a much bigger battle in Paris.

[3] Rafael Nadal vs Alexei Popyrin
Defending champion Rafael Nadal will begin his quest for a record-extending 14th Roland Garros title in opposition to Aussie Alexei Popyrin. The Spaniard will pit the burden of his 100-2 document at this occasion in opposition to Popyrin, who has reached the second spherical as soon as in two appearances. 

However 21-year-old Popyrin has shot up the FedEx ATP Rankings in 2021, peaking at World No. 61 after claiming his maiden tour-level title in Singapore. Nadal, who was pushed to 5 units in his opening match in opposition to John Isner in 2011, shall be aiming to neutralise the Aussie’s personal huge serve to keep away from a repeat of their first-round battle.

Nadal has a 1-0 ATP Head2Head lead, and shall be contesting his second match of the season in opposition to Popyrin. The third seed claimed a cushty 6-3, 6-3 victory final month on the Mutua Madrid Open on his method to the quarter-finals. 

Lorenzo Musetti vs [13] David Goffin
The 2016 Roland Garros quarter-finalist David Goffin will get his first have a look at the fast-rising #NextGenATP Italian Lorenzo Musetti within the first spherical. 

The 19-year-old will make his Roland Garros debut after turning heads elsewhere on French soil. He’ll arrive in Paris with momentum on his facet after reaching the Lyon semi-finals (l. Tsitsipas). It was the third tour-level semi-final of Musetti’s profession, and his second on clay (additionally 2020 Sardinia). 

Goffin gained his fifth ATP Tour title on the indoor hard-courts of Montpellier earlier within the season, however has struggled to get going throughout this clay season. He reached the quarter-finals in Monte-Carlo (l. Evans) with a win over Alexander Zverev alongside the best way.

[15] Casper Ruud vs Benoit Paire
Casper Ruud will arrive in Paris at a brand new career-high World No. 16 within the FedEx ATP Rankings after capturing his second ATP Tour title in Geneva. Because of this, the Norwegian will take pleasure in his highest seeding but at a Grand Slam, however he may have his work reduce out for him within the first spherical as he faces the mercurial Benoit Paire. 

Ruud has the 1-0 lead of their ATP Head2Head document after defeating the Frenchman final yr in Hamburg 6-3, 2-0 (ret). Like his father, Christian Ruud, Casper has reached the third spherical at Roland Garros twice. However he’ll be trying to go one step additional and e-book a spot into the second week at a Grand Slam for the second time in a row (additionally 2021 Australian Open).

Jannik Sinner

[18] Jannik Sinner vs Pierre-Hugues Herbert
#NextGenATP Jannik Sinner has executed something however decelerate since reaching his maiden ATP Masters 1000 closing in Miami. The 19-year-old Italian posted a semi-final run in Barcelona (l. Tsitsipas) and it took Djokovic and Nadal to defeat him within the second rounds of Monte-Carlo and Rome, respectively. 

Sinner, who reached the Roland Garros quarter-finals final yr (l. Nadal), will face residence favorite Pierre-Hugues Herbert in his opening match. It will likely be the pair’s second tour-level assembly, with the Italian prevailing comfortably on the indoor hard-courts of Cologne a yr in the past. 

Jan-Lennard Struff vs [7] Andrey Rublev
Seventh seed Andrey Rublev has taken nice strides on clay this yr after reaching his first ATP Masters 1000 closing in Monte-Carlo (l. Tsitsipas) and backing it up with quarter-final appearances in Rome and Barcelona. Final yr, in solely his second look at Roland Garros, Rublev powered his method into the quarter-finals earlier than falling to Tsitsipas. 

Rublev will start his Roland Garros marketing campaign in opposition to Germany’s Jan-Lennard Struff, and he’ll take a 2-1 ATP Head2Head lead into their third encounter of the yr. The Russian triumphed on exhausting courts on the ATP Cup and on clay in Rome to enhance his document in opposition to Struff, however each matches have been battling, three-set marathons. 

Roger Federer, Marin Cilic

Two Potential Second-Spherical Matches To Watch:

[8] Roger Federer vs Marin Cilic: Federer, who landed in the identical quarter as high seed Novak Djokovic, will begin his Roland Garros marketing campaign in opposition to a qualifier, and will meet big-serving Marin Cilic within the second spherical ought to he navigate previous native wild card Arthur Rinderknech. It might be Federer and Cilic’s sixth assembly at a Grand Slam, and a rematch of the 2017 Wimbledon closing and 2018 Australian Open closing (each gained by Federer). 

[5] Stefanos Tsitsipas vs Sebastian Korda: Fifth seed Stefanos Tsitsipas, who begins in opposition to Frenchman Jeremy Chardy, has been one of many gamers to beat in the course of the clay-court swing after lifting his maiden ATP Masters 1000 trophy in Monte-Carlo. He may meet Lyon semi-finalist Sebastian Korda for the primary time within the second spherical, ought to the #NextGenATP American take down Pedro Martinez. 

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