Wawrinka takes on Dolgopolov
Originally published on 31/05/17 00:00
An unspectacular opening round win over Jozef Kovalik gave the Swiss powerhouse a footing in the tournament. The 32-year-old has a tendency to elevate his level in the latter stages of the showpiece events, however his primary focus will be to survive the first week.
Alexandr Dolgopolov, Wawrinka’s second round opponent, is an undoubted talent but he has been plagued by injuries in recent years. Creative and unpredictable, the off-the-cuff Ukrainian has the quality to make it an awkward afternoon for the three-time Grand Slam champion.
The pair have met just three times, although not since 2014, and Dolgopolov holds a slender advantage.
Martin Klizan was jeered from the court and accused of feigning injury after his five-set win over Laurent Lokoli on Tuesday. The temperamental Slovakian, ranked No.50, has a firecracker of a forehand and he will provide Andy Murray with a stern test.
It was a mixed-bag from the world No.1 in the first round but he has made it clear that he won’t be distracted by his opponent’s antics. “It can be tough, but I’ve played well over 800 matches on the tour so I’ve seen pretty much everything,” remarked the Brit.
"He’ll [Klizan] go through patches in the match where he’s playing some unbelievable stuff, and then he drops off a little bit and plays some strange shots, which may appear like he’s not interested but that’s how he plays the game.”
A mouth-watering third round clash between Murray and Juan Martin Del Potro remains a possibility, but the former US Open champion will have to play well to overcome clay-court specialist, Nicolas Almagro.
Agnieszka Radwanska has struggled with a foot injury in recent times but she recorded an impressive 6-1 6-1 scoreline to defeat the inexperienced Fiona Ferro in the first round. “It has been a very tough few weeks and months this year, and I struggled with my body as well,” admitted the Pole.
“I had some time off, and was practising a few days just before Paris. I just had one match on clay, and obviously that's not much. Every match matters, and hopefully I'll have a couple good ones here.”
The former Wimbledon runner-up will play Alison van Uytvanck in the first scheduled match on Suzanne-Lenglen Court.
Elsewhere in women’s draw, a local derby between Caroline Garcia and Chloe Paquet should keep the spectators entertained.
Garcia, the No.28 seed, is bidding to reach the third of Roland Garros for the first time in four attempts. The 23-year-old has struggled with nerves at points throughout her career but she has the ability to contend for major titles.