Second-round singles play at the 2014 French Open will wrap up on Thursday with the King of Clay, Rafael Nadal, in action on Court Philippe Chatrier.
Joining the French Open favorite on the Day 5 order of play are David Ferrer, Andy Murray, Simona Halep, Petra Kvitova, Ana Ivanovic and a handful of other dark-horse title contenders.
With action set to get under way, let's take a closer look at Thursday's schedule and what to expect.
|Court (Start Time (ET))||Matchup|
|Court Philippe Chatrier (5 a.m.)||(6) Jelena Jankovic vs. Kurumi Nara|
|(1) Rafael Nadal vs. Dominic Thiem|
|(12) Richard Gasquet vs. Carlos Berlocq|
|Elina Svitolina vs. (11) Ana Ivanovic|
|Court Suzanne Lenglen (5 a.m.)||Simone Bolelli vs. (5) David Ferrer|
|Alison Riske vs. Kristina Mladenovic|
|(5) Petra Kvitova vs. Marina Erakovic|
|(23) Gael Monfils vs. Jan-Lennard Struff|
|Court 1 (5 a.m.)||(15) Sloane Stephens vs. Polona Hercog|
|Guillermo Garcia-Lopez vs. Adrian Mannarino|
|Marinko Matosevic vs. (7) Andy Murray|
|Heather Watson vs. (4) Simona Halep|
*Click here to view the complete Day 5 order of play via RolandGarros.com. TV coverage: 5-10 a.m. ET on ESPN2...10 a.m. - 7 p.m. ET on Tennis Channel.
Day 5 Predictions
Clay-Court Stars Will Shine
Men's top seeds Rafael Nadal and David Ferrer are poised to cruise in their second-round matches on Thursday.
Eight-time French Open champion Nadal will take on Austria's Dominic Thiem in the second matchup on Court Philippe Chatrier. And although the world No. 1 has never faced the 20-year-old, he'll be a massive favorite, and even Thiem agrees, per The New York Times' Ben Rothenberg:
"Being allowed to play against him in Paris is a mega honour for a young player like me." -Dominic Thiem on facing Rafael Nadal in #RG14 R2.— Ben Rothenberg (@BenRothenberg) May 26, 2014
After dismantling American Robby Ginepri in Round 1, Nadal is now 60-1 for his career at Roland Garros, making a Nadal victory on the Paris clay as certain as death and taxes at this point.
While Rafa has had his fair share of stunning early exits from Wimbledon in recent years, his confidence is unrivaled on this surface.
Nadal's compatriot Ferrer will also be a heavy favorite on Thursday. The 2013 French Open finalist will take on Italian challenger Simone Bolelli, a man he's beaten four times in four tries over the years. What's more, Ferrer's two most recent triumphs over Bolelli have come in straight sets on clay.
Keep in mind that Ferrer hasn't lost in the second round of the French Open since 2004. Don't expect that streak to end on Day 5.
Elina Svitolina Will Go the Distance with 2008 Champion
2008 French Open women's champion Ana Ivanovic hasn't been past the quarterfinals at a major since winning on the red clay six years ago. But after a strong run at the Australian Open, and titles in Auckland, New Zealand and Monterrey, Mexico, the former world No. 1 is a legitimate title contender at Roland Garros.
Ivanovic’s newfound comfort off-court has quickly translated to her matches as well this year. She won her first tournament of the year in Auckland, New Zealand, then stunned Serena Williams in the fourth round of the Australian Open, beating the injured Williams in three sets after not having won a set against Williams in four previous matches. Ivanovic took another set off Williams in a three-set loss last week in the semifinals of Rome.
Now ranked 12th, Ivanovic comes to the French Open as a renewed threat to make a deep run on the clay where she triumphed six years ago, a fallen star now undoubtedly again ascendant.
The 26-year-old Serb will continue her quest for a second French Open title on Thursday against Ukrainian teenager Elina Svitolina.
But while Ivanovic is 3-0 all-time against Svitolina, expect the world No. 33 to give her all she can handle on Court Philippe Chatrier. After all, Svitolina pushed Ivanovic to the limit at Indian Wells last March, taking the first set 6-4 and getting all the way to a third-set tiebreak before eventually coming up short.
Add in the fact that these two have never met on clay, and you have the recipe for a potential upset.
While there's an excellent chance Svitolina pushes this match to three sets, Ivanovic is more than likely to advance, as her forehand will be a big-time weapon in this match.
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