By their very nature, the early rounds of a major tend to be action-packed affairs, but even so, Roland Garros went above-and-beyond on Wednesday.

Whether it was Naomi Osaka’s latest escape from jail, seeing both 37-year-old Serena Williams and 17-year-old Amanda Anisimova win on the same day, the thrilling and ultimately heart-warming contest between Yoshihito Nishioka and Juan Martin Del Potro, or the final bow for 2015 finalist Lucie Safarova, there were no shortage of memorable moments.

Of course, the only thing better than yesterday’s memories is creating new ones, so here’s hoping for many more in the coming days, and read on for your three to see on Friday in Paris:

Garbine Muguruza (ESP) [19] v Elina Svitolina (UKR) [9] – Third on Philippe Chatrier

One of those matches where the stakes go well beyond the tournament, a win or loss here for Garbine Muguruza and Elina Svitolina might be the difference between righting the ship, and going completely under water. Both have significant question marks coming in – Muguruza hasn’t looked like herself since her semi-final appearance here last year, and Svitolina is yet to even make a major semi-final. Maybe a match against the other is exactly what they need, and judging by their history (Svitolina leads 4-3 in the H2H) and the contrast between Muguruza’s out-and-out offense against Svitolina’s canny defense, it should be a very tight affair. Expect three sets of cat-and-mouse tennis, with a winner whose elation is only outdone by the loser’s disappointment.

Stan Wawrinka (SUI) [24] v Grigor Dimitrov (BUL) – Fourth on Suzanne Lenglen

Two guys who just can’t seem to avoid each other at the slams of late, this will be the third time Stan Wawrinka and Grigor Dimitrov have played in the last four majors. An exceptionally close match on paper (4-4 H2H), there’s a decent case to be made for both players, further depending on how much stock you put in Wawrinka’s second-round demolition of Cristian Garin versus Dimitrov being battled-tested across five hard sets with Marin Cilic. Either way, this match is sure to be a shotmaker’s delight, with plenty of blistering exchanges, scorched winners and one very in-form victor.

David Goffin (BEL) [27] v Rafael Nadal (ESP) [2] – Fourth on Philippe Chatrier

Roland Garros might not exactly be Wimbledon when it comes to traditions, but if there’s one constant around these parts, it’s Rafa Nadal straight punking guys in his early-round matches, and that’s what makes this matchup with David Goffin so interesting. As far as third-rounders go, former RG quarterfinalist Goffin can be quite a tricky customer, and while Rafa still comes in a heavy favourite, his performances this spring would indicate he’s not quite as untouchable as he once was, which could open the door for the Belgian and his bodacious backhand to make things interesting. That said, maybe this is Nadal’s chance to make a statement, and if he does bring out the steamroller, the rest of the draw should be worried – or, as the case may be, even more worried than they already were.


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