The French Open has already been full of twists and turns, upsets and dominant performances and everything else in between. There's something about that Roland Garros clay that just turns everything on its head.
On Saturday, that trend seems likely to continue. Below, you'll find all of the viewing info you'll need to catch every match, including a closer look at a few matches worth paying closer attention to.
|Sat, May 31||5 a.m. - 12 p.m.||Tennis Channel|
|12 - 3 p.m.||NBC|
For the full list of matches, courts and start times, be sure to check out RolandGarros.com.
No. 15 Sloane Stephens vs. No. 22 Ekaterina Makarova
The young and burgeoning United States star won't have an easy match in Round 3, as she is set to face Ekaterina Makarova. But with the top three seeds in the tournament now eliminated, Sloane Stephens—like many other women remaining in the French Open—must feel she has a strong chance at breaking through and winning this tournament.
Stephens won the only matchup between the two in straight sets at the 2012 French Open, so she has that going for her. And Stephens generally saves her best for the Grand Slams, as Jim Caple of ESPNW writes:
'I mean, there's still a lot of players that are seeded high that do really well in Slams, that have a great opportunity to do well like the rest of the top-20 players,' said Stephens, who is seeded 15th here. 'I mean, there is a lot of people that could do well. I mean, it is what it is. You've just gotta go and compete.'
Stephens is one of those who does very well at the majors. She is 20-5 in her past six Slams (including this one) and has reached the quarterfinals twice and the semis once. It's the lesser tournaments where she has struggled. Over the past two seasons, she is 32-30 at WTA tournaments, including 8-11 this year. She is the highest-ranked player who has never advanced to a final in a WTA event.
Stephens says she has no explanation for the disparity—'If I did, I would probably be doing what I do here every week'—but others do.
The path to a Grand Slam title has likely never been as open and inviting as it is now for Stephens. If she truly does save her best for the big matches, now is the time to prove it.
No. 1 Rafael Nadal vs. Leonardo Mayer
It's not that this should be a particularly close match. In all likelihood, it won't be. But when Rafael Nadal plays at Roland Garros, you have to watch.
Nadal on clay is like Picasso with a paintbrush in his hand, or Jimi Hendrix with a guitar strapped to his chest. He slides and glides around the clay like a reflection from the face of a watch darting about on a wall. He spins the ball low and hard, making return shots nearly impossible for those unlucky enough to be on the other side of the net.
It's a beautiful thing to see. Don't miss it, even if the opponent seems unlikely to give him much of a challenge.
No. 11 Ana Ivanovic vs. No. 23 Lucie Safarova
Ana Ivanovic has a few things going for her. For one, she's actually won the French Open, in 2008. In a tournament that has been won by seven different women in the last seven years, that gives her a bit of an advantage, especially with two of the last three winners (Li Na, Serena Williams) already eliminated.
But Ivanovic has also been quite good this year. She has two singles titles, reached the final at the WTA Tour Porsche Tennis Grand Prix, the semifinals at the Italian Open the quarters at two different tournaments, including the Australian Open.
Lucie Safarova is no pushover, so this should be a solid match. She's 4-2 against Ivanovic, though Ivanovic beat her in 2008 at the French Open. All in all, one of the more intriguing matchups on the day.
No. 7 Andy Murray vs. No. 28 Philipp Kohlschreiber
This is an interesting match for Andy Murray on a number of fronts. He's lost his only match against Philipp Kohlschreiber and has traditionally struggled at the French Open, only advancing to the semifinals once in his career. After not playing in the tournament a year ago, he has some demons to exorcise at Roland Garros.
But is this the year he'll do it? Murray struggled in his two clay events leading up to the French Open, so it's debatable if he's on top of his game at the moment.
Andy Murray hopes to banish some bad memories when he plays Germany's Philipp Kohlschreiber at the French Open on Saturday. And can he erase the memory of a poor performance against Kohlschreiber from years back too?
Kohlschreiber, the 28th seed, beat Murray 6-2 6-1 in their only previous meeting in Monte Carlo four years ago. Saturday's third-round match at Roland Garros is scheduled fourth on Court Philippe Chatrier.
'I remember not playing particularly well,' the 27-year-old Scot said of their match in 2010.
'I was very disappointed after the match. It just wasn't a pleasant memory for me.'
He'll hope to create more pleasant memories this time around. But it wouldn't be terribly shocking if he struggled in the process.