Welcome to Tennis Elbow, the column that looks ahead to the latest in tennis. Today, Charles Blouin-Gascon previews day 4 of the 2020 French Open.
Welcome back to the limelight, Eugenie Bouchard.
It’s easy to overlook now but the Canadian Bouchard has enjoyed quite the career renaissance since tennis came back in our lives.
Okay okay, as you’ll see that’s not saying all that much. But it’s a start.
The 26-year-old arrived in Paris ranked at No. 168 and needing a wild card just to make the main draw, but she’s taken full advantage of the occasion so far. Matched up in the first round against Russian Anna Kalinskaya, who’s ranked No. 108 in the world, Bouchard flashed her game of old on the way to the win. She next gets No. 251-ranked Daria Gravrilova in the second round, which the Australian reached after notching an upset win of her own against Dayana Yastremska.
Bouchard’s run in Paris this year might end on court 13 on day 3, or it may well continue on for another round or two or three, but in a way the fact that she’s here at all is the true victory.
The Canadian took women’s tennis by storm as many as six years ago now, and each subsequent season has more or less brought with it its own share of disappointments: how can someone who rose as high as No. 5 fall back down to earth so quickly and swiftly? How can someone make one final, two semifinals and one quarterfinals in five Grand Slams across 2014 and 2015, then never make it past the third round at any point since?
Look, we’re not here to write Bouchard’s career renaissance or revival. All we’re looking to accomplish is to mention that we’re happy to see her playing well and that she somehow has a chance to make real noise here in Paris. Coming on the heels of an improbable final at the Istanbul Open a few days ago, this is yet another tidbit of great news.
That said, here are the three matches you should definitely watch today. (The rest of the day schedule is right here.)
MATCHES OF THE DAY:
Court Suzanne Lenglen: Stan Wawrinka  vs Dominik Koepfer (First match of the day)
Here we go, dangerous Stan Wawrinka is back to ruin fools’ lives at this year’s French Open. On day 1, we highlighted the Swiss’s match against Andy Murray and lamented that it was a shame we would lose either one of them on the very first day of the event. Well, Wawrinka punted Murray to the moon and back, winning 6-1, 6-3, 6-2. The Swiss tends to be extremely dangerous when little is expected of him. Beware.
Court Philippe Chatrier: Serena Williams  vs Tsvetana Pironkova (Second match of the day)
We get a rematch of last month’s thrilling and competitive US Open quarterfinal, the one that Serena Williams managed to win 4-6, 6-3 and 6-2. This one deserves better, it’s too bad that we get it in the second round. But still, let’s cherish that we get the match at all.
Court Philippe Chatrier: Alexander Zverev  vs Pierre-Hugues Herbert (Fourth match of the day)
Here’s the tough part for Alexander Zverev: he might have made the US Open final last month, but now he gets and needs to prove once again that he belongs with the best of the best of the sport and that he has staying power.
It’s the first day of the rest of your life, Zverev. Buckle up.
Follow Charles Blouin-Gascon on Twitter @RealCBG