Second-round singles action at the 2014 French Open will kick off on Wednesday with a series of marquee showdowns featuring some of the sport's biggest names.
On the men's side, world No. 2 Novak Djokovic and 17-time Grand Slam champion Roger Federer headline the start of Round 2. Meanwhile, both Williams sisters and 2012 French Open champion Maria Sharapova will all take to the court for their second-round matchups.
With play set to get underway, here you'll find the schedule of play for Day 4 as well as predictions for Wednesday's biggest matches.
|2014 French Open - Day 4 Order of Play (Main Courts)|
|Court (Start Time (ET))||Round 2 Matchup|
|Court Philippe Chatrier (5 a.m.)||Anna Schmiedlova vs. (29) Venus Williams|
|Jeremy Chardy vs. (2) Novak Djokovic|
|(13) Jo-Wilfried Tsonga vs. Jurgen Melzer|
|Tsvetana Pironkova vs. (7) Maria Sharapova|
|Court Suzanne Lenglen (5 a.m.)||Alejandro Gonzalez vs. (29) Gilles Simon|
|(1) Serena Williams vs. Garbine Muguruza|
|Diego Sebastian Schwartzman vs. (4) Roger Federer|
|(20) Alize Cornet vs. Taylor Townsend|
*Click here to view complete order of play for Day 4 via RolandGarros.com. TV coverage: 5-10 a.m. ET on ESPN2, 10 a.m. - 7 p.m. ET on Tennis Channel.
Day 4 Predictions
Both Williams Sisters Will Advance
Seven-time Grand Slam champion Venus Williams will be first up on Court Philippe Chatrier on Wednesday and will be favored against unseeded Anna Schmiedlova of Slovakia.
Although the 29th-seeded American hasn't been past the second round at Roland Garros since 2010, her first-round performance against Belinda Bencic was convincing and encouraging considering she improved as the match wore on.
Williams was ultra effective with her first serve and made the most of her break-point chances. If she can do the same against the inexperienced Schmiedlova, she'll be through to Round 3 without issue.
While the older Williams sister will kick off play on Wednesday, defending women's champion Serena will be featured in the second match on Court Suzanne Lenglen, where she'll try her luck against unseeded Spanish challenger Garbine Muguruza.
Williams won their only previous meeting at the 2013 Australian Open, dropping just two games in a straight-sets route. Look for more of the same on Wednesday as the world No. 1 takes aim at a third-round clash with her sister.
Djokovic, Federer Will Cruise Again
Like the Williams sisters, multiple-time Grand Slam winners Djokovic and Federer will be heavy favorites to prevail on Day 4, and if their first-round performances are any indication, each is set to cruise through to the third round on Wednesday.
Djokovic will be up against unseeded Frenchman Jeremy Chardy, a player he's 8-0 against all time. What's more, the Serb won their only previous clay-court meeting back in 2010, winning 6-1, 6-1 at the Rome Masters.
On the other side, Federer will be facing an unfamiliar opponent in 21-year-old Argentine Diego Sebastian Schwartzman. However, the youngster is unlikely to threaten the Swiss legend seeing as he served Lukas Lacko off the court in Round 1.
As The New York Times correspondent Christopher Clarey notes, Federer has been much improved in 2014 and appears to be firing on all cylinders at the ideal time:
Watch for Djokovic and Federer to continue their journey to the tournament's second week on Wednesday as they each appear poised to cruise to straight-sets victories in Round 2.
Sharapova Will Continue French Open Dominance
While four-time major winner Maria Sharapova has experienced her fair share of hiccups at the other three Slams in recent years, she's been incredibly consistent at Roland Garros, reaching the semifinals or better in each of her past three trips, winning it all in 2012.
On Wednesday, the seventh-seeded Russian will take on unseeded Bulgarian Tsvetana Pironkova, who is 0-4 against Sharapova all time. Sharapova has dropped only one set to Pironkova since their first meeting in 2007 and has defeated her on all three surfaces.
Although it's possible that Sharapova could meet the top-seeded Williams in the quarterfinals next week, she isn't ready to look ahead, per ESPN.com:
"It's tough to think about that match down the line where you have to compete in three matches before that. Obviously it's a match that many people always look forward to when we play against each other."
Having reached the French Open final in each of the past two years, Sharapova clearly feels comfortable on the red clay in Paris. Whether she'll be able to end her lengthy losing streak against Williams in a potential meeting down the road remains to be seen, but there's no question she has the firepower to remain unbeaten against Pironkova on Wednesday.
There'll be plenty more upsets to come, but Sharapova doesn't project to be one of the victims.
Follow Bleacher Report Featured Columnist Patrick Clarke on Twitter.
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