Giving tennis more than a shot

First Round Matches (And Players) To Follow (Sunday)


I think that, more often than not, it’s pretty obvious this blog doesn’t necessarily keep watch on the top players, although it ends up doing so during bigger events, as they are the ones who usually reach the furthest stages of them. That’s why we rejoice in the first rounds of Grand Slams, for instance, for they are the rounds in which we see the promising youngsters, the journeymen, the comeback kids, those who are not necessarily at the top of the game but are, to us, those who make tennis the most interesting sport to follow.


For this year’s French Open, apart from having dissected the draw of the Argentines, we will not elaborate on the possibilities of Rafael Nadal winning a record seventh Coupe des Mousquetaires or of Novak Djokovic completing the Nole Slam. Instead, we will focus on the first-rounders that should be the most interesting to watch, in our opinion. For some, the identity of the winner might not leave room for much doubt, but the opponent may be the player to watch. For others, it’s the quality of the matchup so early in the tournament that leaves us drooling in anticipation. In the end, all of them should bring us some good tennis moments.


The four matches previewed here tonight will be played tomorrow. Only the fourth is on a non-TV court. I will continue with the matches to be played on Monday and Tuesday tomorrow.


Andrey Kuznetsov vs Jo-Wilfried Tsonga

This match goes into the “we know who will win (unless there’s a miracle) but the opponent is why we’ll be watching” category, as we’re pretty sure that the current World no 5 will end up victorious (unless there’s a miracle). However, Andrey Kuznetsov is one of those promising youngsters who are worth stopping to watch.


At 21, Russian Kuznetsov (not to mix with Alex Kuznetsov, who is from the United States) is the 2009 Wimbledon Junior champion. A good all-court player, he is steadily rising in the rankings and is a definite top 30 prospect. You can see a bit of what he can do in these two videos, although both date (the first one was when he was still a junior and the second is from two years ago).




Nicolas Mahut vs Andy Roddick

Andy Roddick came back from a nearly two-month layoff due to a hamstring injury last week, in Düsseldorf, and clay is not his best surface (which, I know, is an understatement). However, his facing Nicolas Mahut should be an interesting battle of veterans, no matter what the end result may be. Roddick’s record, nevertheless, is better (75-42) than the Frenchman’s (6-20).


It seems like an open match, and it should be fun to see who will emerge the winner in this one.


Filip Krajinovic vs Nicolas Devilder

This battle of qualifiers should be fun to watch for the pleasure of watching the extremely gifted young Serbian Filip Krajinovic play. Another member of the Class of ’92, Krajinovic missed most of last season due to a shoulder injury that required surgery. He came back slowly last February, playing a couple of Futures events before jumping to Challengers and then received a wild card for the ATP500 of Barcelona, where he logged his first ATP Tour win since his comeback.


In 2010, Krajinovic made quite an impression as, ranked 319, he got all the way to the semi-finals, defeating then no 52 Horacio Zeballos in the second round, then benefitting from Novak Djokovic’s retirement in the quarters to finally lose 1 and 2 to Sam Querrey in the semi-finals.


Although he is now ranked 630 because of his long absence from the Tour, I’m pretty sure that he’ll be coming up the rankings really quickly.


You can watch a little of Krajinovic’s shots in this really nice video (pre-injury):



Pablo Andújar vs Victor Hanescu

This match will not be on a TV court and it really is a bummer, as the two times they met, Pablo Andújar and Victor Hanescu gave quite a show. If Hanescu emerged the victor in both matches, it was after very tight matches and I was fortunate enough to be on location the last time they met, in Buenos Aires. You can see a couple of points from this match in the video, from the Spaniard’s corner:



Both matches between the two men ended up in a third set tiebreak and although Andújar did not have a good European clay swing, I’m pretty sure this match will not be a one-sided affair either. It should be interesting to follow, albeit only from the scoreboard.


Similar posts
  • Still Undefeated In The First Round   Argentina came back into the World Group 11 years ago. Since then, they had not lost a single tie in the first round. Saturday, they were aiming to close out the tie against Germany and keep this perfect record.   With the injury to Philipp Kohlschreiber, who was present at the match, Carsten Arriens [...]
  • Australian Open – Seven Familiar Face...   The first semi-finalists of the Australian Open 2013 are known and if it is without surprise that Novak Djokovic almost “routined” Tomaš Berdych, with the exception of a dropped second set (6-1 4-6 6-1 6-4), David Ferrer has been led a more than merry chase by Nicolás Almagro, who not once, but three times [...]
  • Australian Open – Day 3 Roundup   First of all, I would like to apologise for not having done a roundup of Day 2. I will not say “It won’t happen again” because it is always possible that it will happen again before the end of the Australian Open.   Nevertheless, some very interesting things happened in the second day, including [...]
  • Australian Open – Day 1 Roundup   It was an eventful first day at the Australian Open, where no less than 10 matches went to the limit of five sets, one seed fell, others trembled, and we already had our first (very) late night finish.   Let’s recap some of the day’s [...]
  • Australian Open – Breaking Down...   Just like I did with the Wimbledon draw last year, and since I’m a little tired of conventional draw breaking and of the focus on the top guns, I will do something a little different once more.   From the young guns to watch to the veterans who haven’t said their last word, with [...]





Past Articles