Third round. Two queens of the game. Both gone. So long, Serena Williams and Naomi Osaka.

Such was the story on Saturday at Roland Garros, as a chaotic draw – and, really year in women’s tennis – getting even more twisted.

Considering they were the two players who started the year seemingly the most poised to dominate, it’s remarkable that they each enter the second half of 2019 with such heavy clouds of uncertainty. Maybe Serena is done? Maybe Osaka isn’t completely ready to succeed her? Right now, you could make a solid case to answer both in the negative.

Of course, both are great champions, and with Wimbledon under a month away, they won’t have to wait long for a shot at redemption. In the meantime, we get to enjoy a French Open field with a healthy mix of new and old faces, and seven more days of high quality tennis.

Here’s your three to see on day 8 in Paris:

Stefanos Tsitsipas (GRE) [6] v Stan Wawrinka (SUI) [24] – Third on Suzanne Lenglen

Considering he’s got a clay court title this year, and beat Rafa Nadal in Madrid whilst his opponent could only manage three games, you might think Stefanos Tsitsipas has got it made against Stan Wawrinka, and yet here at Roland Garros, it almost feels like they’ve swapped places. Through his first three matches, Wawrinka is arguably the most in-form player of the tournament, while Tsitsipas has looked far from his swashbuckling self, and indeed has only made it this far courtesy of the even more sloppy efforts of his third-round opponent Filip Krajinovic. Meeting for the first time in their careers, it will be fascinating to see how Tsitsipas adjusts to one of the few players who can out-hit him from the baseline, as he will need to play a much more side-to-side game while being ambitious with his forays to net to compensate – is it enough? Perhaps, but either way it should take a few hours of extremely heavy hitting to find out.

Sloane Stephens (USA) [7] v Garbine Muguruza (ESP) [19] – Fourth on Philippe Chatrier

Very much under the radar heading into the tournament, 2018 finalist Sloane Stephens gets a chance to really launch her campaign when she faces off with Garbine Muguruza. A rivalry which, surprisingly given their shared prominence, has only yielded two meetings (with one win apiece), there’s a lot of unknowns in this matchup, but the contrast in styles between Muguruza’s offense and Stephens’ counter-punching should make this a very even encounter. Whoever wins, both women are sure to get their licks in, with the pendulum swinging back-and-forth depending on whether Stephens is able to hit away from the Muguruza backhand, and likely three sets needed to find a resolution.

Kei Nishikori (JPN) [7] v Benoit Paire (FRA) – Fourth on Suzanne Lenglen

Two guys who like doing things the hard way, it’s only fitting that Kei Nishikori and Benoit Paire get a chance to play each other. One of those matchups where you can throw all the numbers out the window, Nishikori seems to have caught Paire at one of those rare times when he has his head screwed on straight, and that makes him a legitimate threat to end the Japanese’s run. Whether Paire can actually do it will depend largely on his own consistency – particularly in finding depth from his weaker forehand wing – and how much gas is left in the tank compared to Nishikori, but even if the latter does triumph, we’re still likely to be treated to stretches of the Frenchman pulling his opponent to all corners of the court, and that makes this a prime candidate for a five-set classic.


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