Match of the day: Pliskova v Ostapenko
The only time Jelena Ostapenko had crossed the 1st round at Roland Garros previously, she had… won the tournament! In 2017, for her 20th birthday – three days before the final against Simona Halep -, the Latvian had given herself a sacred birthday present by creating a huge sensation. So bis repetitia this year? Before seeing so far, he will have to surprise again against Karolina Pliskova, seeded number 2 on Parisian clay, this Thursday.
Nothing could oppose the two players more: the placid personality of the great Czech against the electric battery from Latvia. The embodiment of consistency at the highest level which only lacks confirmation in Grand Slam, facing the typical example of the player capable of the worst as well as the best and who already has a Major on her record.
Finalist in Rome, Pliskova appeared in difficulty in the first round and knows the threat that awaits her in the second. She also leads only 3-2 in her duels against the protégé of Marion Bartoli. One thing is certain: the two rivals will not wait for the opponent’s fault, it will shoot from all sides!
We also can’t wait to see
While this Roland-Garros is not brilliant in the tricolor clan among men, these ladies, they are resisting. There will be three on the courts of Porte d’Auteuil this Thursday, including the promising Fiona Ferro who won the first title of his career on Palermo ocher when the season resumed in early August. Solid against the Briton Heather Watson for her entry into the running, the Frenchwoman will face a major challenge against Elena Rybakina, seed number 14 and finalist last week in Strasbourg.
The Kazakhe won the only meeting between the two players in St. Petersburg earlier this year. Another recent victim of Rybakina in Alsace, Alizé Cornet will try to pass the obstacle Shuai Zhang for, why not find Clara Burel in the third round, which would ensure that a Blue is at least in the second week. But the young Frenchwoman, 357th in the world, will she be able to follow up against the Slovenian? Kaja Juvan (103rd in WTA)? Here is all the question.
How have recovered Stéfanos Tsitsipas and Andrey Rublev ? The Greek and the Russian played with fire in the first round, but their ability to react paradoxically strengthened their confidence. Tsitsipas will therefore test himself again against a specialist in crushed brick, Pablo Cuevas, in a one-handed backhand duel that should please purists. Rublev, he will have to beware of the young Alejandro Davidovich Fokina, also very comfortable on earth.
Finally, Novak Djokovic will he impress as much in front of Ricardas Berankis that when he entered the running? It wouldn’t be very surprising.
We are wondering…
Si Garbiñe Muguruza will recover from his emotions. The Spaniard almost took the front door against the Slovenian Tamara Zidansek, 83rd in the world, and had to tear himself away to win (6-4, 5-7, 8-6) in just over three hours. She will challenge Karolina Pliskova’s sister Kristyna, 69th at the WTA, in the second round. The favorites are in danger at the start of the tournament: Serena Williams forced to forfeit and Victoria Azarenka swept in the second round can attest to this.
If Karen Khachanov will be as combative on the court as he is currently on social networks. The Russian has engaged in a verbal contest with Nick Kyrgios after the remarks of our consultant Mats Wilander on the wild card attributed to Andy Murray. If Khachanov defends himself with as much passion on the Parisian clay, his opponent in the second round Jiri Vesely has to worry.
If the young Danish Clara Tauson, 17, will confirm her feat of the first round. After beating Jennifer Brady, semi-finalist of the last US Open, she will be opposed to another American in the person of Danielle Collins. A great challenge, but with her confidence and carelessness, she can certainly meet it.
Three stats to keep in mind
70. While Rafael Nadal chases the 100th, which would happen in the event of a final victory, Novak Djokovic could pass the bar of 70 successes at Roland Garros, this Thursday. If he defeats Ricardas Berankis, he will equal a certain Roger Federer in second place among the most successful players on Parisian clay.
9. Pablo Cuevas challenges Stefanos Tsitsipas on Thursday. On paper, it looks like an impossible mission because the Uruguayan has a lot of trouble against the Top 10. He remains on nine defeats against them. The last time he scalped one of the top ten players in the world? It was in 2018, in Indian Wells. Cuevas got the better of Dominic Thiem… who had given up due to an ankle injury.
4. Italy is celebrating. Lorenzo Sonego, Jannik Sinner, Stefano Travaglia and Marco Cecchinato are already in the 3rd round. Four Italians in the round of 16 in the men’s table of a Grand Slam tournament, it is already a record. Best of all? Transalpine number one Matteo Berrettini can add a 5th brick if he gets the better of Lloyd Harris on Thursday at Lenglen. Forza Italia!
The weather report
If you are one of the lucky few who can enjoy the aisles of Roland-Garros, don’t forget umbrellas and other hooded coats. Because after a slight improvement on Wednesday, the showers could spoil the start of the day near the Porte d’Auteuil. And the players will be counting on you to heat up the atmosphere: the thermometer should only read 16 degrees at best.