The fact that the No. 1 seed on the women’s side and defending tournament champion was dominated on Day 4 was a stunning development for tennis fans.
With No. 2 Li Na also already out of the competition, Williams' loss marked a historic turn of events, as WTA on pointed out on Twitter:
With men’s No. 1 seed Rafael Nadal and women’s No. 4 seed Simona Halep both in action on Day 5, the excitement over what should be another round of exciting on-court action has fans ready for more.
Here is the full television schedule for Thursday and the top matches from the Day 5 schedule for the tournament at Roland Garros:
|May 29||5 a.m. to 10 a.m.||Early Round Action||ESPN2|
|May 29||10 a.m. to 7 p.m.||Early Round Action||Tennis Channel|
|Player 1||Player 2||Court||Predicted Winner|
|Jelena Jankovic||vs.||Kurumi Nara||Court Chatrier||Jankovic|
|Ana Ivanovic||vs.||Elina Svitolina||Court Chatrier||Ivanovic|
|Petra Kvitova||vs.||Marina Erakovic||Court Lenglen||Kvitova|
|Alison Riske||vs.||Kristina Mladenovic||Court Lenglen||Riske|
|Simona Halep||vs.||Heather Watson||Court 1||Halep|
|Sloane Stephens||vs.||Polona Hercog||Court 1||Stephens|
|Player 1||Player 2||Court||Predicted Winner|
|Rafael Nadal||vs.||Dominic Thiem||Court Chatrier||Nadal|
|Richard Gasquet||vs.||Carlos Berlocq||Court Chatrier||Gasquet|
|David Ferrer||vs.||Simone Bolelli||Court Lenglen||Ferrer|
|Gael Monfils||vs.||Jan-Lennard Struff||Court Lenglen||Monfils|
|Andy Murray||vs.||Marinko Matosevic||Court 1||Murray|
|Guillermo Garcia-Lopez||vs.||Adrian Mannarino||Court 1||Mannarino|
*For the full schedule, check out RolandGarros.com.
Top Matchups on Day 5
No. 1 Rafael Nadal vs. Dominic Thiem
As a result of Williams being ousted from the tournament, Rafael Nadal is the only top seed remaining in the 2014 French Open—as if he needed any more weight on his shoulders.
All eyes are upon him as he goes for his fifth consecutive and ninth overall career Grand Slam victory at Roland Garros. ESPN Stats & Info shared this bit that proves Nadal’s dominance at the French Open:
Roger Federer picks up his 60th career match win at the French Open with a win today, joining Rafael Nadal as the only players to reach 60.— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) May 28, 2014
The stacked men’s field will make winning the tournament once again even more impressive, but he can’t look past his next opponent, Dominic Thiem. At only 20 years old, Thiem has been impressive enough to earn a world ranking of 57th.
The Rafaholics Twitter page shared more vital information about Thiem and the matchup:
While Thiem deserves credit for making it to the second round, Nadal will treat him like he did Robby Ginepri in his opening match. Nadal destroyed Ginepri, 6-0, 6-3, 6-0, and looks to be in top physical shape.
Add in Thiem’s inexperience, and it's clear that Nadal will be using Thursday’s matchup to work on any aspects of his game that need polishing. After playing so well in the opening round, there won't be too much to work on.
Predicted Score: Nadal wins, 6-2, 6-3, 6-1
No. 4 Simona Halep vs. Heather Watson
At just 22 years old, No. 4 seed Simona Halep came into this tournament with high hopes of a great finish, but now the second-round exit from Williams has opened the door to a possible tournament victory.
Where one door closes, another opens.
While Halep was the heavy favorite against Alisa Kleybanova in Round 1, she did not take her opponent lightly and dominated, 6-0, 6-2. Not only was her serve strong, but her baseline game and return were also unbeatable.
On Day 5, Halep takes on English star Heather Watson. After beating Barbora Zahlavova-Strycova in her opening matchup, Watson told Kevin Mitchell of The Guardian about her second-round meeting against the No. 4 seed:
She’s come up through the rankings very quickly. I’m really not surprised at that because she’s got a good game. She’s very solid and makes a lot of balls. I played her at the US Open last year. It went to a third set. I started on fire, really well, but I kind of crashed and didn’t have any energy towards the end. I’m looking forward to it.
Watson has the skill to beat Halep if the No. 4 seed cannot find her rhythm, but that simply will not be the case. Halep was on point throughout her first-round matchup and is looking to make a deep run at Roland Garros.
Using her strength to overpower Watson, Halep will dominate off the serve and the use her speed and agility to keep her English foe off balance all day.
As long as Halep is focused on the task at hand, she will cruise to a tournament-defining victory.
Predicted Score: Halep wins, 6-2, 6-1
*Stats via RolandGarros.com.