Three unpredictable matches to watch on Day 3 of the 2019 French Open
The third day of play at the French Open includes all the remaining first round matches in both the men’s and ladies singles and it’s a chance to check out the form of all the well known players that haven’t yet played at this year’s French Grand Slam
We’ve picked three contests that could turn out to be classics
Simon Bolelli versus Lucas Pouille
In this classic match up the French favourite and seeded player on his home court will have top face a grizzled journeyman with a low ranking but who’s come all the way through qualifying to reach the first round of the French Open. It’s the proverbial ‘banana skin’ for Pouille who will have the weight of the French crowds expectations on his shoulders whilst the Italian Bolelli will have nothing to lose
Pouille’s form on the big stage has been as unpredictable as ever with a string of first round losses this year following his incredible run to the semi finals of the Australian Open. Pouille seemed to find some form recently when he won the small ATP Challenger event in Bordeaux and then he went on to beat Borna Coric in Madrid but since then he’s lost in the first round at Rome.
Bolelli’s played a lot of tennis in 2019 but almost exclusively in lower ranked events on the Challenger Tour as his ranking of 183 doesn’t allow him to play in the main ATP events. He;s been as high 36 in the world but at the age of 33 he’s likely to be coming to the end of his career.
The match will be played on the massive Suzanne Lenglen show court with a huge French crowd which could either inspire Pouille to a routine victory or could easily go the other way and heap too much pressure on the Frenchman’s shoulders
tennishead prediction: Pouille to win in 4 sets
Jelena Ostapenko versus Victoria Azarenka
Ostapenko, the 2017 Ladies singles champion at Roland Garros, has a ranking of 39 in the world which is the reason she’s not seeded in this year;s French Open. The luck isn’t with either player as the victor of this tough first round match will have to play No. 1 seed Naomi Osakas in the next round, but neither p ayer will be worrying about that yet.
Surprisingly these two have never played each other before. Azarenka has the pedigree to see her through this match having won 2 Grand slam titles in her career and reached 2 other finals and also been as high as No.1 in the world. Ostapenko has seen her own ranking drop from a career high of 5 only a year ago.
tennishead prediction: Azarenka to win in 3 sets
Fernando Verdasco versus Dan Evans
Verdasco, the veteran left handed clay court expert from Spain will be looking to cruise through this match against the talented but temperamental Brit Evans but Evans has a history of causing upsets especially in opening rounds of major events. Verdasco will have to be on top of his game if he wants to progress as Evans has the ability and shot making prowess to really trouble the spaniard.
Verdasco is comfortable on clay having grown up on the red dirt in Spain and his record of 62% win rate on clay shows that it’s his most succesful surface but his ranking of 27 is nowhere near his peak of 7 from 2011 and Evans may well smell blood.
At aged 35 has Verdasco still got the legs to grind out long 5 set matches on clay? Evans will be hoping that he can keep the spaniard out there for as long as possible to test out his endurance.
tennishead prediction: Verdasco to win in 3 sets
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