Here are the storylines and matches to watch on Day 3 of the French Open. Play begins at 5 a.m. ET. Click here for the order of play.
Rain, rain, go away: How much play will we actually get in on Tuesday? While the first two days of the tournament have been cold, at least they’ve been dry. But the forecast calls for a 50-70 percent chance of rain from 11 a.m. Paris time until 4 p.m., with scattered showers through the evening. All this is to say if you’re looking for a day not to set your alarm early, this might be it. Even if the rain clouds stay away, the order of play is generally underwhelming, given what we’ve seen so far.
Novak Djokovic and Victoria Azarenka close out the first round: Djokovic will open against David Goffin (second match, Court Philippe Chatrier). The young Belgian had an inspiring run to the fourth round last year as a lucky loser, but he’s had a disastrous 2013 and has struggled to string together back-to-back wins on the ATP level. With rain threatening through most of the day, Djokovic needs to just get on court as soon as possible to get the win in the books. He doesn’t want to get in a situation where his schedule is backed up by a day because of the rain, especially with Rafael Nadal looming as a potential semifinal opponent. Azarenka, scheduled last on Chatrier, will have to hope she can get her match against Elena Vesnina finished as well.
Young Americans look to complete a strong first round: Nine American women are already into the second round and three more look to advance on Tuesday. Jamie Hampton, coming off a semifinal run in Brussels (where she beat 15th-ranked Roberta Vinci), will take on 25th-seeded Lucie Safarova (fourth match, Court 7). Lauren Davis has a tough match against France’s Kristina Mladenovic (second match, Court 2), who has quietly climbed to No. 47. Coco Vandeweghe meets 27th-seeded Yaroslava Shvedova (first match, Court 5).
Alex Kuznetsov, the USTA wild-card playoff winner, has a great chance to join the other three American men who are through, Sam Querrey, John Isner and Ryan Harrison. Kuznetsov, who lost to Gael Monfils in the 2004 junior French Open final, plays 324th-ranked French wild card Lucas Pouille (first match, Court 7). Jack Sock, 20, has a much tougher task against big-hitting Spaniard Guillermo Garcia-Lopez (first match, Court 3).
Bernard Tomic returns to action: Tomic hasn’t entered a tournament since news of his father’s assault on his hitting partner in Madrid surfaced three weeks ago. The coaches at Tennis Australia, including Davis Cup captain Patrick Rafter, have been working to provide him with the support he needs during what must be a very complex and confusing time for him. His father, John, who also serves as his coach, has been banned from the grounds by the ITF and FFT. Bernard is undoubtedly dreading his news conference after his match, win or lose. Will he respond by focusing on tennis, or just go through the motions in hopes of just leaving Paris as soon as he can? He opens against Victor Hanescu (first match, Court 6).
Matches to Watch
Benoit Paire vs. Marcos Baghdatis (third match, Court Suzanne Lenglen): Now up to No. 26 after a semifinal appearance at the Italian Open, Paire is poised to make a good run at Roland Garros thanks to a relatively soft draw. Baghdatis may be a name with bite, but his game has no teeth at the moment. The Cypriot has not won a non-Davis Cup match in more than three months and hasn’t won a set in four ATP tournaments dating to March. That said, both these men are exciting shot-makers and the crowd and occasion should inspire some fun rallies.
Janko Tipsarevic vs. Nicolas Mahut (third match, Court Philippe Chatrier): Mahut, known for his record-breaking Wimbledon match with Isner in 2010, hasn’t been playing very good tennis. His last string of wins, any wins, was at a Futures event in March, and he got into the French Open thanks to a generous wild card from the FFT. But if there is any magic left in the terre battue at Roland Garros it could smile fondly on Mahut, who has drawn the most vulnerable seed in the top 10. Tipsarevic is 2-5 on clay this year and he’s coming off a loss to 101st-ranked Guido Pella in Dusseldorf, Germany.
Jelena Jankovic vs. Daniela Hantuchova (first match, Court 2): A few years ago, this could have been a final of a Premier-level WTA event. Now, with Hantuchova’s ranking slipping, it’s a tricky first-round match for Jankovic, who is very capable of a deep run here. Hantuchova can summon her good tennis on any given day, and if she brings it on Tuesday, Jankovic could be in trouble.
Petra Kvitova vs. Aravane Rezai (fourth match, Court Suzanne Lenglen): Rezai hasn’t won a WTA-level match since last July. And yet, I feel compelled to keep an eye on Kvitova here.
Upset specials: Pablo Andujar d. Mikhail Youzhny; Kaia Kanepi d. Klara Zakopalova.