Always one of the more intriguing subplots of early round action, day 2 saw us get our first look at the campaigns of both defending champions – the takeaway? Looks can be deceiving.
Despite neither Novak Djokovic nor Garbine Muguruza dropping a set, you’d be hard-pressed to argue they passed their first tests with flying colours. Both had questions marks heading into the tournament, and both clearly still have another gear to find if they want to be there once more at the finish. For now, they move on, while we turn back to looking for those who can dethrone them.
The final day of first round action, today’s offerings promise great rewards for those willing to dig a bit deeper for their tennis fix. Read on for the three to see on day 3 at Roland Garros.
Alize Cornet (FRA) vs Timea Babos (HUN) – 1st on Court 1
At 43 and 35 respectively, the rankings couldn’t be much closer for Cornet and Babos, and that bodes well for what should be a particularly hard-fought struggle. Never a particularly explosive player, local hope Cornet relies mostly on her superb hands to extend rallies and wear down her opponents, while Babos likes to keep her opponents guessing with depth and change of direction, and that should play right into Cornet’s tendency towards high drama – both during and between points. This is one of those matches where either woman could go up 5-0, 40-0 in the third only to see their opponent come back, so come for the tennis, and stay for the ensuing meltdown.
Marcos Baghdatis (CYP) vs Nicolas Almagro (ESP) – 2nd on Court 6
Two guys whose names make you say “oh he’s still playing?” every time you see their name in a draw these days, Baghdatis and Almagro now face off to break the 1-1 tie in their head-to-head record. Their first meeting a straight-sets affair for Almagro during RG 2012, Baghdatis turned-the-tables with a three-set victory in Kuala Lumpur two years ago, and heads into this meeting ranked 7 spots higher than the Spaniard at 60. Regardless of the result in Paris, this should be a fun encounter, with both guys having a propensity to trade bouts of sublime shotmaking with head scratching erraticism. One game could decide it – but good luck trying to determine when that game is.
Gael Monfils (FRA)  vs Dustin Brown (GER) – 4th on Suzanne Lenglen
If you like tactically astute, technically sound, consistent tennis this might not be the match for you. However, if you want to see two guys trade outrageous shots for an afternoon, you’re in for a treat. Individually Monfils and Brown are the ATP Tour’s premier entertainers, together, the world might explode. It doesn’t matter what matchups we get in the next five days, this is undoubtedly the most tantalising of week one. Not every match needs to be a lengthy five-setter to be epic, and with these two there’s no guarantees we’ll get one, but it’s sure to be spectacular nonetheless.