Previewing Day 2 at the 2017 French Open: Can Tiafoe Test Fognini?

published: May, 28, 2017

by: Ben Stevens

One day of French Open action in the books, and we’ve already got a story that might end up the best of the tournament. Petra Kvitova, just five months after being stabbed in her hand during a home invasion, won her first match back against Julia Boserup.

It’s hard to imagine what she’s gone through in the past few months, but to overcome the trauma of what could have been a career-ending incident to return to grand slam tennis shows that makes her a champion well beyond her two Wimbledon titles. There was hardly a dry-eye in the stadium after her 6-3, 6-2 victory – and why would there be? Gotta love sports.

What does day 2 have on offer? Read on to find out:

Garbine Muguruza (ESP) [4] vs Francesca Schiavone (ITA) – 1st on Philippe Chatrier

Congrats on winning the French Open last year, Garbine. Here’s a former champion for you to play first up.

The definition of a tough customer, the 36-year-old Schiavone just keeps on trucking, especially when it comes to clay. Compared to Muguruza’s semifinal appearance in Rome, Schiavone has been building towards this for a solid two months, with a title in Bogota and a final in Rabat, not to mention the added motivation of being denied a wildcard by her own countrymen for the Rome Open, in her final year on tour no less. Expect nothing short of a tough test for the defending champion.

Gilles Simon (FRA) [31] v Nikoloz Basilashvili (GEO) – 1st on Court 1

Despite missing his calling in life as a 7th-year Liberal Arts major, the 25-going-on-40 Basilashvili has developed into an explosive, if inconsistent player on the ATP Tour, and represents a stern test for home favourite Simon. The two have played once before, a three-set affair in Shanghai in 2015, Simon’s counterpunching allowing Basilashvili to hit out on his massive forehand, but eventually wearing the Georgian down as his fatigue rose and level dropped. Simon has never particularly excelled at his home major, but has made at least the third round each year since 2011 – if he wants to keep that streak alive, he could be in for a long afternoon.

Fabio Fognini (ITA) [28] vs Frances Tiafoe (USA) – 4th on Court 16

A clash between the purported heir to tennis’ throne and its court jester, there’s almost as many possible outcomes to this match as there are lowlights of Fognini’s on YouTube. It could finish 19-17 in the fifth, or Fognini could go up 5-0 in each set yet lose in straights, or Tiafoe could be disqualified for killing a ballkid with his forehand, or any number of other permutations. In any case, Fognini’s otherworldly feel is the perfect test for the 19-year-old Tiafoe, and represents the exact sort of opponent Tiafoe needs to beat if he is to live up to the colossal expectations. Maybe it’s still too early for the American, or maybe it’s time he makes a move.

Ben Stevens

Contributor to TennisConnected. Long time player, coach and fan. Still waiting on Mark Philippoussis to break through at a major.

instagram linkedin

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *