The opening rounds at the 2013 French Open this coming week are sure to produce a few fireworks.
Whether it's a qualifier knocking off an established Tour player or a top-10 player exiting early, the first few rounds at Roland Garros are as unpredictable as you'll find on the tennis schedule.
Perhaps the one thing fans can bank on each and every year is that Rafael Nadal will be standing with the trophy in his hands at the end of the fortnight. Not surprisingly, the seven-time French Open champion enters this year's Slam as the man to beat while world No. 1 Serena Williams also heads into the women's draw with a mighty target on her back.
With nothing left to do but watch, here we'll get you set for the next two weeks of Grand Slam tennis.
Full TV Schedule
|Sunday, May 26||5 a.m.-10 a.m.||First Round||ESPN2|
|Sunday, May 26||10 a.m.-3:30 p.m.||First Round||Tennis|
|Sunday, May 26||Noon-3 p.m.||First Round||NBC|
|Monday, May 27||5 a.m.-10 a.m.||First Round||ESPN2|
|Monday, May 27||10 a.m.-3:30 p.m.||First Round||Tennis|
|Monday, May 27||Noon-3 p.m.||First Round||NBC|
|Tuesday, May 28||5 a.m.-10 a.m.||First Round||ESPN2|
|Tuesday, May 28||10 a.m.-3:30 p.m.||First Round||Tennis|
|Wednesday, May 29||5 a.m.-10 a.m.||Second Round||ESPN2|
|Wednesday, May 29||10 a.m.-3:30 p.m.||Second Round||Tennis|
|Thursday, May 30||5 a.m.-10 a.m.||Second Round||ESPN2|
|Thursday, May 30||10 a.m.-3:30 p.m.||Second Round||Tennis|
|Friday, May 31||5 a.m.-10 a.m.||Third Round||ESPN2|
|Friday, May 31||10 a.m.-3:30 p.m.||Third Round||Tennis|
|Saturday, June 1||5 a.m.-Noon||Third Round||Tennis|
|Saturday, June 1||Noon-3 p.m.||Third Round||NBC|
|Sunday, June 2||5 a.m.-1 p.m.||Round of 16||Tennis|
|Sunday, June 2||1 p.m.-4 p.m.||Round of 16||NBC|
|Monday, June 3||5 a.m.-10 a.m.||Round of 16||ESPN2|
|Monday, June 3||10 a.m.-3:30 p.m.||Round of 16||Tennis|
|Tuesday, June 4||8 a.m.-1 p.m.||Quarterfinals||Tennis|
|Tuesday, June 4||1 p.m.-7 p.m.||Quarterfinals||ESPN2|
|Wednesday, June 5||8 a.m.-1 p.m.||Quarterfinals||ESPN2|
|Thursday, June 6||9 a.m.-2 p.m.||Women's Semifinals||ESPN2|
|Thursday, June 6||11 a.m.-2 p.m.||Women's Semifinals||NBC|
|Friday, June 7||7 a.m.-11 a.m.||Men's Semifinals||Tennis|
|Friday, June 7||11 a.m.-2 p.m.||Men's Semifinals||NBC|
|Saturday, June 8||9 a.m.-1 p.m.||Women's Final||NBC|
|Sunday, June 9||9 a.m.-2 p.m.||Men's Final||NBC|
*Schedule information courtesy of TimesUnion.com
Under-the-Radar Players to Watch For in Early Rounds
While everyone will be tuning in to see how well seven-time champion Rafael Nadal is faring this summer, many tennis fans will be watching with one eye on Stanislas Wawrinka.
The 28-year-old Swiss star has been playing fantastic this season, and is giving Roger Federer a run for his money when it comes to the King of Switzerland. Thanks to a 26-9 start to singles play this year, Wawrinka has moved all the way up to No. 11 in the ATP world rankings.
He's made three tournament finals already, all three on clay. He won the Portugal Open earlier this month before reaching the final of the Madrid Masters a week later, where he lost to Nadal in straight sets.
In addition to his current form, Wawrinka has reached the fourth round at each of the past three French Open tournaments. But he's never advanced to the quarters. Is this the year he gets over the hump?
He'll begin his journey against Dutch player Thiemo De Bakker in Round 1.
Dominika Cibulkova is just 12-12 this season with zero titles to her name coming into the French Open, but don't let her 2013 struggles fool you—she can play.
A semifinalist at the 2009 French Open, Cibulkova is fresh off a quarterfinal appearance in Paris a year ago, where she defeated Australian Open champion Victoria Azarenka in straight sets in the fourth round.
The 24-year-old Slovakian star is still improving on clay, but she has clearly emerged as one of the top female players on the surface. Prior to reaching the quarters in Roland Garros in 2012, Cibulkova made a run all the way to the final of the Barcelona Open in April 2012.
Cibulkova, who will be seeded 16th in the women's draw, will take on Ukraine's Lesia Tsurenko in the opening round this coming week.
Like Wawrinka, Germany's Philipp Kohlschreiber is any excellent clay-court player and an experienced one in the men's game. At age 29, Kohlschreiber has played in every Grand Slam tournament dating back to the 2004 U.S. Open, going 44-33 in those matches.
In one of his best performances at a Grand Slam, Kohlschreiber reached the fourth round at the French Open in 2009. In all, he boasts an 8-8 singles record at Roland Garros since 2005. Although that mark is hardly impressive, keep in mind that one of those wins came against current world No. 1 Novak Djokovic.
The German took out Djokovic in dominant fashion, winning in straight sets in the third round of the French Open four years ago.
Kohlschreiber is a comfortable mover on clay and knows which shots to play and when. He has two clay-court titles and four clay-court final appearances to back that up.
Kohlschreiber will battle Czech qualifier Jiri Vesely in the opening round of this year's tournament.
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