French Open 2018: Five matches to watch on Tuesday

Serena Williams

With Day 2 of the French Open cut short because of rain, six men’s matches and one women’s match will be carried over to Day 3. What did get completed saw no big upsets, but a feel-good story in Marco Trungelliti and a score of impressive performances by top players in both draws. With that in mind, here’s what to watch for as the first round concludes.

Kristyna Pliskova vs Serena Williams

It’s been 17 months since Serena last played a major, beating sister Venus in the Australian Open final. She’s only played four matches on her comeback and has no clay preparation to speak of. The lefty, lower-ranked Pliskova has had a good clay season, reaching a pair of quarterfinals and a round of 16 and she can come close to matching Serena’s power. It’s hard to go against the 23-time Major champion under any circumstance, but this is the type of player that can beat her (provided she doesn’t get nervous).

Julia Goerges vs Dominika Cibulkova

Surprisingly, these two have only met once, also at a major in the third round of Wimbledon in 2011, won by Cibulkova in three sets. The Slovakian certainly needed the time off after playing three and a half hours in the Strasbourg final against Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova. Goerges reached the final in Charleston and is certainly at home on clay. This will be first-strike tennis at its best as both players will look to take the initiative and get on top of the rallies early. Expect a three-setter with the stat sheet littered in both the winners and unforced errors column.

Garbine Muguruza vs Svetlana Kuznetsova

Always worth a mention when two former champions meet. The 2016 champion is coming off of back-to-back three-set losses to Daria Kasatkina in Madrid and Daria Gavrilova in Rome (blowing a 4-0 lead in the third set). Muguruza is not hitting her groundstrokes with the same authority, which could be dangerous against Kuznetsova. The 2009 winner is still working her way back from a wrist injury and what could be more perfect than a possible upset of the third seed? The Spaniard leads the head-to-head 5-1 and in a fun fact, their two previous major meetings have ended by the same scoreline: Muguruza 6-3 6-4.

Alex De Minaur vs Kyle Edmund

It’s been a breakout year for both, the Aussie reaching the semifinals in Brisbane and the final in Sydney, nearly taking the title. Coincidentally, De Minaur’s last match at ATP level was a quarterfinal loss to Edmund in the quarterfinals of Estoril. It’s been a brilliant start to the year for the Brit, reaching the semifinals in Melbourne and Estoril and the final in Marrakech. Playing steady, solid tennis and on his favorite surface, Edmund will look to make another deep run at a Slam while De Minaur looks to gain valuable experience on the big stage (lost to Tomas Berdych in the first round at the Australian Open).

Jeremy Chardy vs Tomas Berdych

This is a matchup that has bee dominated by the Czech, winning all five of their previous meetings. In their third straight match at a major, Chardy will look to spring a surprise on his home turf. He did reach the semifinals in Istanbul and will have to take control of the rallies early, but is still very inconsistent. That’s something Berdych is even as his ranking has declined. Perhaps the virtually non-existent expectations will play well into the former Roland Garros semifinalist’s hands. Lots of big hitting in this one.

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