There’s nothing like a good scare to get the blood pumping, and that’s exactly what a trio of stars found out on Wednesday.
A day that could have seen three top seeds sent packing, Simona Halep, Alexander Zverev and Grigor Dimitrov all had to finagle their way out of sticky situations in their second-round encounters.
Halep dropped her first set against American Alison Riske 2-6 before bouncing back 6-1, 6-1, Zverev fought back from a 2-sets-to-1 hole against Dusan Lajovic, while Dimitrov needed over-over-time in his win over Jared Donaldson that finished 10-8 in the fifth.
Whether these are momentary blips or a sign of things to come, it’s hard to say right now, but it does illustrate just how wide open professional tennis is right now – Rafael Nadal excluded.
Being a top player doesn’t mean an automatic invite to the second week – hell, as we saw with Jelena Ostapenko, it doesn’t even guarantee one for the second round – and that makes things delightfully chaotic.
Will we see more shenanigans on Thursday? Let’s hope so. Here’s you’re three to see on Thursday in Paris:
Denis Shapovalov (CAN)  v Maximilian Marterer (GER) – First on Court 1
The toast of the ATP’s NextGen crop, Denis Shapovalov finds himself in a rare lefty-on-lefty matchup against 22-year-old German Maximilian Marterer. The world no. 70 Marterer has enjoyed some career-best form of late, downing Diego Schwartzman and Geneva titlist Marton Fucsovics on his way to the semis in Munich, and also took the scalp of Gael Monfils in a first-round encounter in Lyon. More-than-happy to grind and frustrate his opponents with variations in depth and pace, this might be stiffer opposition than Shapovalov is expecting – of course such play will give the Canadian opportunities for his trademark shotmaking, but he’ll be doing well to come out of this completely unscathed.
Karolina Pliskova (CZE)  v Lucie Safarova (CZE) – Third on Court 18
A battle of Czech no. 1’s past and present, Karolina Pliskova faces a real challenge in 2015 RG finalist Lucie Safarova. Pliskova leading the head-to-head 6-2, you might not think Safarova has much of a chance, but the latter can take confidence in the knowledge she’s won two of their three meetings on clay, and has seen 10 of their 19 total sets decided either 7-5 or 7-6. Hitting her dominant backhand into Safarova’s lefty forehand, Pliskova doesn’t get quite as much out of it as she’d like against most opponents – a matter not helped by Safarova’s ability to hit against pace, and that could lead to some equally tight sets here.
Serena Williams (USA) v Ashleigh Barty (AUS)  – Fifth on Philippe Chatrier
Having cleaned up Pliskova-the-lesser in her return to grand slam tennis, madame TÇhalla now faces a significant step-up in the form of Aussie and 17th seed Ash Barty. One spot off her career high ranking, Barty has been one of the rising stars during the Serena-less era, and is a legit threat here, especially given her ability to pull her opponents around the court. Still shaking off the rust, this will be a massive test of Serena’s mobility, but Barty’s own is under question given the back injury she sustained last week in Strasbourg, and that means both women should look to go for their shots in a match that could have massive ramifications for the rest of the tournament.