When 25 American tennis players landed in Paris earlier this month, they readied themselves for singles competition at Stade Roland Garros.
In total, 15 women and 10 men laced up their sneakers to do battle on clay. When the red dust settled early on Wednesday, four men and 10 women survived to fight on during the second round.
Last year, 13 from the U.S. advanced to Round 2. This year, only one more American made it through, but still, 14 is the most Americans in a decade to survive the opening round in Paris.
Traditionally, Week 2 begins with the Round of 16. Now, the important question: Which Americans will make it through the next two rounds, assuming the weather holds?
These players must possess the talent in addition to a favorable draw in order to be left standing as the second Sunday’s action gets underway in Paris.
Sloane Stephens announced her arrival on the biggest tennis stage when she defeated the No. 1 American, Serena Williams, during the quarterfinals of the 2013 Australian Open.
Her move to the pros seemed entirely appropriate once Stephens moved quickly to the world No. 29 ranking.
After a brief interruption because of injury, Stephens appears ready to make her mark in Paris. She made it all the way to the fourth round in 2012, proving she has the game to play on the red dirt.
Stephens advanced to Round 2 of this year's French Open by defeating Italian Karin Knapp (6-2, 7-5). On Thursday, she will face fellow countrywoman Vania King, who advanced to the second round by upending Alexandra Cadantu of Romania (7-6, 6-1).
King should be no match for Stephens, who will, in all likelihood, move on to face the No. 16-seeded Dominika Cibulkova in Round 3.
Stephens has an excellent chance to move past the diminutive Cibulkova into the Round of 16. She defeated her earlier this year in Brisbane.
Once in the fourth round, the No. 2-seeded Maria Sharapova, last year’s French Open Champion, will no doubt be her opponent.
At that point, Stephens should see her 2013 campaign at the French Open end.
John Isner, once ranked in the men’s top 10, has fallen to world No. 21 primarily because of injuries early in 2013.
Coming into the French Open, Isner won the clay-court tournament in Houston but has had little success on the red dirt since then.
Clay is not exactly Isner’s surface of choice because movement remains an issue for the big guy who stands 6’9.”
Isner won his opening-round match over Argentine Carlos Berlocq (6-3, 6-4, 6-4). In the second round, he will face fellow American Ryan Harrison, who advanced over Russian Andrey Kuznetsov in straight sets.
Isner defeated Harrison earlier this year on clay at Houston and leads in their head-to-head rivalry 3-1. It is likely that Isner will get past Harrison to advance to the third round. Then, the tall American would face the winner of the Tommy Haas-Jack Sock encounter, also determined on Thursday.
Isner has defeated Sock both times they played and he also leads Haas 3-2 in their-head-to-head rivalry.
Isner has an excellent chance of advancing to the Round of 16 on Sunday.
Transplanted American Varvara Lepchenko advanced to the fourth round of the 2012 French Open where she lost to Petra Kvitova, the No. 4 seed.
Currently ranked No. 25, Lepchenko is seeded in the No. 29 spot for Roland Garros in 2013.
She began making her way through the draw by defeating Mirjana Lucic-Baroni of Croatia in Round 1.
On Wednesday, Lepchenko eliminated Ukrainian Elina Svitolina (7-6, 6-1).
In the third round, the American will meet German Angelique Kerber for the right to advance to the Round of 16 in Week 2.
She leads Kerber 4-0 in their head-to-head series, including two wins on clay at Ponte Vera Beach and at Rome.
Chances are that Lepchenko will move on to meet perhaps Svetlana Kuznetsova in the fourth round.
She has an excellent opportunity to advance beyond her fourth-round finish in 2012.
Seeded No. 18 at the 2013 French Open, Sam Querry has advanced to the third round.
He began his campaign at Stade Roland Garros by defeating Lukas Lacko of Slovakia in the first round.
In Round 2, Querrey dispatched Jan Hajek of the Czech Republic in straight sets (6-4, 7-5, 6-4).
His next opponent will be Frenchman Gilles Simon. This is a winnable match for the American, although Simon leads him 2-1 in their head-to-head rivalry.
Querrey’s win over Simon came on clay at the World Team Championship in Dusseldorf in 2009. The two have not met since 2010.
A win on Friday would send Querry, the highest-ranking American male, into the Round of 16 and Week 2 of the French Open.
World No. 1 Serena Williams must feel jinxed at Stade Roland Garros.
Last year, she lost her opening-round match to Virginie Razzano in dramatic fashion—the first time Williams had ever lost in the first round of a Grand Slam.
This year, she is on a mission to capture this title once again—a title she has not won since 2002 when she defeated her sister Venus in the final.
In fact, Williams has not advanced past the quarterfinals at the French Open since 2004.
So far, Williams has reached the third round by defeating Anna Tatishvili of Georgia (6-0, 6-1) in the first round. She followed that by eliminating Frenchwoman Caroline Garcia in Round 2 (6-1, 6-2) in 62 minutes—after waiting all day to get on court.
In the third round, Williams will meet Romania Sorano Cirstea. A win will move the world No. 1 to the Round of 16 where she will face the No. 19 seed, Russian Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova.
Most expect to see Williams in the 2013 French Open final.