French Open 2012 TV Schedule: Ranking Most Exciting Opening Day Matches
The French Open is about to begin, and like always there are quite a few opening day matchups that promise to be exciting.
On the men's side, the members of the "Big Four" do not play on opening day, but there are plenty of other notable stars that are beginning their campaign on day one.
Jo-Wilfried Tsonga and Juan Martin del Potro, seeded fifth and ninth respectively, will be looking to dominate their respective opponents and cruise into the second round.
Three seeded players fell at last year's event on the first day of play, when Marin Cilic, Flavia Pennetta and Shahar Pe'er all bowed out in the first round.
Oddly enough, both Cilic and Pe'er have been scheduled to play on day one and both will be looking to avenge last year's disappointing result.
On the women's side, Venus Williams and Sam Stosur are trying to start the tournament on the right foot in their first-round matches.
The optimism and joy that comes with the start of a new Grand Slam is now upon us. Here are a few first round matches that promise to be exciting.
5. Melanie Oudin vs. Johanna Larsson
Ezra Shaw/Getty Images
Melanie Oudin shocked the tennis world during her quarterfinal run at the 2009 US Open. Since then, Oudin has struggled and didn't even qualify for this year's Australian Open.
The young American is 12-9 in 2012 and is entering what is perhaps the most critical summer of her career. She has a real chance to reach the second round against Johanna Larsson, who is currently ranked 81st.
Reaching the second round of a Grand Slam would be a step in the right direction for Oudin, who was bounced in the first round of every major last year.
Oudin has never won a match at the French Open, as she is 0-2 lifetime in Paris.
Larsson is just 7-12 thus far this year, and this match represents a good opportunity for her as well. She reached the second round in each of the previous two French Opens and will be looking to get out of the first round for the third straight year.
This match is a great opportunity for both women and should be hard fought from start to finish.
Prediction: Oudin in three sets
4. Michael Berrer vs. Jurgen Melzer
Stephen Dunn/Getty Images
Jurgen Melzer had an amazing run at the 2010 French Open, when he reached the semifinals.
The French Open is by far Melzer's most successful Grand Slam event, as he is 19-9 over the span of his career at the tournament.
Melzer has a clear path to third round where, unfortunately for him, top-seeded Novak Djokovic will more than likely be waiting for him .
It should be noted that Melzer upset Djokovic two years ago at the French Open, but Djokovic is playing at a much higher level now.
Berrer reached the third round of the French Open last season, where he was quickly dismissed by Andy Murray in straight sets.
It is always fun to watch an all-lefty matchup, and that is exactly what we get with Berrer vs. Melzer.
Berrer beat Melzer in their only match earlier this season when the two met in Zagreb.
Melzer is just 12-11 in 2012, and his chances at making another deep run into a Grand Slam seem bleak at best.
It is likely that this year's French Open will be one of Melzer's final chances at seeing the latter end of the second week at a major. If you're Melzer, it all starts with getting by Berrer and into the second round.
Prediction: Melzer in four sets
3. Sam Stosur vs. Elena Baltacha
Julian Finney/Getty Images
Sixth-seeded Sam Stosur will meet Elena Baltacha in the first match played on Court Philippe Chatrier.
The two have faced off three times before, with Stosur prevailing in two of those matches. It should be noted that all three of their previous encounters were played on grass, and it will be a different matchup on clay.
Stosur, who is Australia's top-ranked player, has already proven that she is dangerous on the red clay in Paris, as she was a finalist in 2010.
After winning last year's US Open, many were expecting Stosur to start to consistently put up good results but that hasn't been the case thus far this year.
The 28-year-old Aussie is 22-11 thus far in 2012 and was knocked out by Venus Williams in the second round in Rome.
She was unable to handle the expectations placed upon her in the Australian Open, as she flamed out in the first round against Sorana Cirstea.
Stosur has the ability to dominate this match with her serve and forehand, but her inconsistency makes this a match to watch on day one.
Prediction: Stosur in three sets
2. Juan Martin del Potro vs. Albert Montanes
Mike Hewitt/Getty Images
The opening Sunday in Paris will see Juan Martin del Potro facing off against Albert Montanes.
The two have split their previous two encounters, with del Potro winning their most recent match earlier this year on the clay in Estoril.
The match that Montanes won was way back in 2006 when del Potro was still a teenager, so it doesn't mean much at this point.
Montanes and del Potro will be the first men's match on Court Philippe Chatrier, as they will take the court directly after the Stosur vs. Baltacha match.
Del Potro will look to be aggressive from the first ball and will look to hit the ball through Montanes.
Due to his great ball striking, it is always exciting to see del Potro play. The fact that this is a Grand Slam match makes it even more interesting.
It would be surprising to see Montanes give del Potro a lot of trouble, as the young Argentine should have no problem dictating play with his monster forehand.
No one should forget how well del Potro played against Roger Federer in the quarterfinals of the French Open in 2009. In that match, he was up two sets to one, and it took a special run from Federer late in that match to advance.
Del Potro has too much firepower for Montanes, whose best hope at being competitive in this one is hoping that his opponent has an off day.
Prediction: del Potro in three sets
1. Andy Roddick vs. Nicolas Mahut
Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images
Andy Roddick is now the third-highest ranked American, as both Mardy Fish and John Isner are both ranked above him.
He is just 7-6 thus far this season, and he missed all of the Masters 1000 clay-court events due to a variety of injuries.
Roddick has never gotten past the fourth round at the French Open and that isn't likely to change this year. However, his first-round match is more than winnable, and he must make sure to make the most of this opportunity.
It is imperative for Roddick to win a match or two, so he can start to build momentum for this summer. Not to mention, Roddick could use the ranking points so that he doesn't run into the top men early on in majors.
Nicolas Mahut is best known for his marathon match against Isner at Wimbledon in 2010, and Roddick should beat him in this match.
Roddick has won all four of his previous encounters versus Mahut, so he should be confident when he sees the Frenchman across the net from him.
Prediction: Roddick in four sets