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By Chris Oddo | @TheFanChild | Thursday May 27, 2021

 
Daniil Medvedev

Daniil Medvedev is seeking his first win at Roland-Garros, but can the Russian overcome his clay phobia to get it?

Photo Source: Getty

The draws are out in Paris and we’re giving you our top 10 first rounders to watch – five on the mens’ side and five on the women’s side.

Tennis Express

1. Iga Swiatek v Kaja Juvan

They are best of friends on the tour, and not as far apart in terms of talent as their 91-spot gap in the rankings might indicate. This will be a tricky encounter for the defending champ, who defeated Juvan in three sets in their only previous meeting, earlier this year.

2. Rafael Nadal v Alexei Popyrin

The explosive game of rising Aussie Popyrin will provide Nadal with an early test, but it’s one he’ll likely handle easily, just as he did when he defeated Popyrin at Madrid this spring.

3. Garbiñe Muguruza v Marta Kostyuk

2016 champion Muguruza has a tricky draw and it all begins with 18-year-old talent Marta Kostyuk, a player that has turned heads by reaching two semifinals in 2021, and is now in good health after battling through Covid this winter. Muguruza, has played sparingly this spring due to injuries, but is a ringer at RG (career record: 29-7).

4. Lorenzo Musetti v David Goffin

Last year Jannik Sinner stunned Goffin in the first round at Paris. Can it be a double Italian whammy for the Belgian? Musetti has been a revelation on tour in 2021, and he’s making his Slam debut.


5. Carla Suarez Navarro v Sloane Stephens

Carla’s back from her battle with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma and the much-loved Spaniard, a two-time quarterfinalist with a 26-11 lifetime record in Paris, will face former runner-up Stephens in a must-watch opener.

6. Cristian Garin v Juan Ignacio Londero

Two grinding clay-court players will battle in a first-rounder that looks good on paper. Londero, who reached the second week at Roland-Garros in 2019, won his only previous meeting with Garin.

7. Victoria Azarenka v Svetlana Kuznetsova

Get your popcorn ready as these two-time Grand Slam champions get ready for an old-school battle in Round 1. Azarenka has won five straight against Kuznetsova, but it is the Russian who owns the better Roland Garros pedigree—2009 Kuznetsova has a 52-17 lifetime record in Paris, but nters on a three-match losing streak.

8. Stefanos Tsitsipas v Jeremy Chardy

Stefanos Tsitsipas has been gifted a Nadal and Djokovic-less half of the draw. Now the work of capitalizing on that scenario begins as he faces talented Frenchman Jeremy Chardy in Round 1.


9. Amanda Anisimova v Veronika Kudermetova

Veronika Kudermetova went 13-2 on the clay this spring but she’ll be tested if 2019 semifinalist Anisimova (4-4 on the clay this year) plays like she is capable of.

10. Alexander Bublik v Daniil Medvedev

Alexander Bublik has won a round at Roland Garros in each of the last two years. Daniil Medvedev, the official dog in the dirt of the ATP Tour, is 0-4 lifetime in Paris. The No.2 seed looks ripe for another upset based on his form this spring (1-2 on clay).


 

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