French Open Day 3: Matches to Watch

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Novak Djokovic vs David Goffin Court Philippe Chatrier

After Rafael Nadal’s struggles by his standards against an inspired Daniel Brands, Novak Djokovic can make a statement in his opening round match against the 22 year old Belgian. Goffin made his breakthrough at this tournament last year, making the fourth round after taking advantage of the lucky loser spot. He would finally exit against Roger Federer in the fourth round, but not before taking the opening set from the Swiss. Unfortunately for Goffin, he has drawn a top player in the first round and will be looking at a major rankings fall unless he can pull off what seems like the impossible. Djokovic sailed through the early rounds last year and it is difficult to see him facing any trouble this time. Goffin lost from a set up last time out to Grega Zemlja in Dusseldorf, winning just two games in the final two sets.

Novak Djokovic in 3

Petra Kvitova vs Arevane Rezai Court Suzanne Lenglen

Wildcard Rezai has been disappointing in her fall from grace over the past few years, dropping from a career high No.15 to outside the top 150. At her peak, she was more than capable on clay but has not won a WTA Tour match on the surface since 2011 and three times failed to qualify for tournaments this year. With a noisy crowd on her side and against a player capable of error strewn performances, Rezai can at least scare Kvitova. Kvitova’s last two defeats have come after holding a one set but the match is definitely on her racquet. The Czech performed well at this tournament last year, taking advantage of a nice draw to make the semi finals but it is anything other than that this year.

Petra Kvitova in 2

Benoit Paire vs Marcos Baghdatis Court Suzanne Lenglen

Benoit Paire finally is putting together some decent results after often struggling for consistency in recent years. He most recently was a shock finalist in Rome, where he put on an excellent display to defeat Juan Martin Del Potro after beating Juan Monaco earlier in the tournament. He would eventually be knocked out by Roger Federer in the semi finals but kept the match competitive against the Swiss. Meanwhile, Baghdatis often ups his game at slams and can be counted on for dramatic encounters if nothing else – in both of his last two first rounds at slams he has come through in five set matches. These two have met on one occasion, Baghdatis the victor by a bizarre score line of 6-0 6-7 4-0 ret.

Benoit Paire in 4

Jelena Jankovic vs Daniela Hantuchova Court 2

A meeting between two of the more experienced players on the tour should make for a thrilling encounter to open proceedings on Court 2. Jankovic is an impressive 21-9 this year after a disappointing 2012, picking up her first title since 2010 in Bogota, pushing Serena Williams to three sets on the green clay of Charleston in the final and making the quarters in Rome. Meanwhile, Hantuchova has wins over Petra Kvitova and Maria Kirilenko on the surface but has most recently disappointed in defeat to Maria Teresa Torro Flor. The pair have faced off eight times, with Jankovic leading the head to head 5-3 and 3-2 on clay including a straight sets victory at the 2010 French Open.

Jelena Jankovic in 3 

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