And so the woes continue for Grigor Dimitrov and Elina Svitolina.

Both number four seeds, both struggling with the weight of expectation in majors, the pressure once again got to them when it mattered, each falling on Friday in straight sets.

Really it’s a tale as old as the pro tour itself: player makes their mark outside the majors, but finds the slams are far more difficult beast. Some eventually tame it. Some don’t.

At 26 and 23 respectively, Dimitrov and Svitolina still have plenty of time to turn that narrative around, but the harsh truth is that until they do it will only get worse.

Maybe it requires a change of approach – or as Dimitrov himself suggested – some time away to reflect. In due time, they will certainly resume the fight but for now, they’re stuck on the sidelines with the rest of us.

Here’s your three to see as the third round wraps up in Paris:

Fabio Fognini (ITA) [18] v Kyle Edmund (GBR) [16] – First on Suzanne Lenglen

A matchup that’s as close in seedings as you can get at this stage of the tournament, rising star Kyle Edmund will see his clay court bonafides seriously tested by everyone’s favourite Italian pirate, Fabio Fognini. A clay title in Sao Paulo and a rare set off Rafa Nadal under his belt, Fognini will be the favourite in this first career meeting, but Edmund has already shown this year he can make even the slowest surface look fast with the weight of his striking, which will require the Italian to be at his scrambling best. One that could as easily go three sets as five, the only guarantee is these two will produce several “shot of the day” candidates.

Diego Schwartzman (ARG) [11] v Borna Coric (CRO) – Second on Court 18

Having enjoyed breakthrough performances at masters level already this year, Borna Coric is now one win away from his next milestone – a second-week appearance at a major – as long as he can get past the tenacious Diego Schwartzman. A very even match on paper, Schwartzman has the seeding and clay court pedigree, but Coric has a 2-0 edge in the head-to-head (including a meeting on the dirt in Marrakech last year) which combined with their similarly grinding playstyles, makes it unlikely this is anything other than an absolute war. Combine that with the potential both have for improvisational brilliance, and this is set to be quite the match indeed.

Maria Sharapova (RUS) [28] v Karolina Pliskova (CZE) [6] – Third on Philippe Chatrier

Two women with a lot of wingspan and even more to prove, this is a match that could take on titanic proportions in more ways than one. Both massive hitters of the ball with a point to prove at the major level, this is just the second career meeting between the two (the first being a 6-3, 6-4 Fed Cup win for Sharapova in 2015), but considering their similarities in play-style, this is likely to quickly settle into a slugfest. Bearing that in mind, depth-of-shot will be key here, with any concession liable to be ruthlessly punished by the other, and lead to a real see-saw of a match. Also it’s worth keeping in mind that the winner of this match probably plays Serena Williams in the fourth round, making this ideal preparation for an even bigger marquee matchup.


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