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French Open 2018: Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic and Maria Sharapova feature on a star-studded Day 2

FEATURED COLUMNIST
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332   //    28 May 2018, 12:26 IST

2018 French Open - Previews
Rafael Nadal (right) training with coach, Carlos Moya in Paris

Rafael Nadal will open his bid for a record 11th title on a star-studded Day 2 of the French Open 2018 in Paris. The top seed and World No. 1 takes on Italian veteran Simone Bolelli, who got through as a lucky loser when Alexandr Dolgopolov withdrew.

Nadal will eyeing his 17th Grand Slam title after what has been a successful clay season so far for the King of Clay. He tasted glory at Monte Carlo, Barcelona and Rome, with his only loss coming in Madrid against Dominic Thiem.

While the southpaw will be the fourth and the last player to feature on Court Philippe-Chatrier, another former champion will take the court before him. 2016 winner Novak Djokovic, who lost to Nadal in Rome semi-finals, is seeded 20th this time as he looks to climb back to the top echelons of the sport following an elbow surgery.

The former World No. 1 is getting better and better, as validated by his performance against Nadal at the Italian capital. The 12-time Major winner will begin his campaign against Brazil’s Rogerio Dutra Silva.

Just a couple of days after winning his 10th career title at Lyon, Dominic Thiem will be back in action at Roland Garros. The Austrian, who reached the semi-finals in Paris last year, is definitely one of the challengers for Nadal, especially after getting the better of the Spaniard at his home.

The seventh seeded Thiem plays his first round against Ilya Ivashka of Belarus on Court 1.

2015 champion and last year’s runner-up Stan Wawrinka too is on the comeback trail after a double knee surgery in late 2017. The Swiss hasn’t had a confidence-boosting run en route to the claycourt Major, playing sporadically and posting a 4-6 record for the year.

Things could get tricky for him with Guillermo Garcia-Lopez being his Round 1 opponent. The Spaniard is the very same player who knocked him out of Roland Garros in the first round in 2014 when Wawrinka arrived in Paris as the reigning Australian Open champion.

Sharapova, Kvitova, Wozniacki headline women’s matches

Quite a few Grand Slam champions and former World No. 1 players will be in action on the women’s side. Leading the pack is two-time French Open champion Maria Sharapova.

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The Russian has struggled for consistency since her return from suspension, but looked to have built some rhythm after reuniting with former coach, Thomas Hogstedt right ahead of the clay season.

The 31-year-old made it to the semi-finals in Rome and the quarter-finals in Madrid and will hope to continue that form when she takes on Richel Hogenkamp.

Eighth seed Petra Kvitova opens the day’s play on Court Philippe Chatrier against Veronica Cepede Royg. The Czech has been the most in-form player this season, with four titles already on her resume.

The two-time Wimbledon champion has never made it past the semi-finals in Paris but this could be the year she can improve on that record.

Second seed and reigning Australian Open champion Caroline Wozniacki is another Major winner to watch on the same court. The Dane will start her challenge against Danielle Collins of the USA. She hasn’t made it past the quarter-finals at any claycourt tournament this year.

Sixth seed and ex-World No. 1 Karolina Pliskova too will be in action on Day 2. The Czech triumphed in Stuttgart and backed it up with a run to the Madrid semi-finals. The 2017 Roland Garros semi-finalist plays her opener against fellow Czech, Barbora Krejcikova.

Here is the Day 2 schedule on the three main courts:

Court Philippe-Chatrier

Play starts at 11am/2.30pm IST

Petra KVITOVA (CZE) [8] v Veronica CEPEDE ROYG (PAR)

Rogerio DUTRA SILVA (BRA) v Novak DJOKOVIC (SRB) [20]

Danielle COLLINS (USA) v Caroline WOZNIACKI (DEN) [2]

Rafael NADAL (ESP) [1] v Simone BOLELLI (ITA)

Court Suzanne-Lenglen

Play starts at 11am/2.30pm IST

Guillermo GARCIA-LOPEZ (ESP) v Stan WAWRINKA (SUI) [23]

Andrea PETKOVIC (GER) v Kristina MLADENOVIC (FRA)[29]

Andreas SEPPI (ITA) v Richard GASQUET (FRA)[27]

Maria SHARAPOVA (RUS) [28] v Richel HOGENKAMP (NED)

Court 1

Play starts at 11am/2.30pm IST

Benoit PAIRE (FRA) v Roberto CARBALLES BAENA (ESP)

Dominic THIEM (AUT)[7] v Ilya IVASHKA (BLR)

Laura SIEGEMUND (GER) v Coco VANDEWEGHE (USA)[15]

Barbora KREJCIKOVA (CZE) v Karolina PLISKOVA (CZE) [6]

You can find the full schedule here.

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FEATURED COLUMNIST
A freelance journalist based in Kolkata who is a diehard Rafael Nadal fan. She is also extremely passionate about India’s progress in sports and hopes to throw light on India’s unsung sports heroes through her articles. When not screaming her lungs out in support of her favourite sports stars, she can be seen reading, watching movies or immersed in planning her next travel destination!
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