Five days of French Open action have come and gone, and with it, we’ve started to get some sense of order. Contenders are starting to distinguish themselves from pretenders, and as things stand, it’s looking like it’ll be the familiar faces that make it deep into the second week – but that’s the beauty of grand slam tennis, there’s always the chance of an upset.

The final round of the first week at Roland Garros, things are starting to get as interesting for the leading lights as the bit players, with Friday offering the best of both worlds. Read on for the three to see for day 6 in Paris.

Rafael Nadal (ESP) [3] vs Nikoloz Basilashvili (GEO) – 2nd on Philippe Chatrier

Not only an excuse to watch Rafa Nadal, this match also gives us an opportunity to practice saying “Basilashvili” three times fast. In all seriousness, this will be a fascinating encounter, because 1: they’ve never played before, and 2: Basilashvili gets to put his steadily improving credentials to the test. At least more than Nadal’s previous opponents, the Georgian won’t take as kindly to being strung along the baseline, and that should lead to some surprising sequence that end with Nadal on the backfoot, or a chance for the Spaniard to exercise his defensive brilliance.

Lucas Pouille (FRA) [16] vs Albert Ramos-Vinolas (ESP) [19] – 3rd on Suzanne Lenglen

Having enjoyed a mixed start to his home major, Pouille finds himself very much up against it in facing off with clay specialist Ramos-Vinolas. The two have played three times before, splitting the head-to-head 2-1 to Ramos, with both the Spaniard’s wins coming on dirt – including this year in Monte Carlo, making him the underdog despite coming in three ranking spots higher. This really is a match that could go either way, depending on if Pouille can exploit Ramos-Vinolas’ weaker backhand, or the latter can outlast the former over what are sure to be myriad 30-shot exchanges. Whatever the result, it could take quite a while, so don’t forget to wear your comfy pants.

CiCi Bellis (USA) vs Caroline Wozniacki (DEN) [11] – 4th on Suzanne Lenglen

An impressive win over Kiki Bertens in her rear-view mirror, Bellis now sets her sights incrementally higher with her next opponent, ex-ex-ex-ex number one Caroline Wozniacki. A completely different kettle of fish to her previous opponent, Kiki Mertens, Wozniacki will be more than happy to let Bellis slug herself silly, counting on her metronomic consistency and the occasional change of direction to stop the American from gaining any rhythm. Should Bellis find her rhythm, there’s no reason she can’t keep the string of upsets going, at what has already been a very impressive tournament for the 18-year-old.


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