French Open 2015: Predictions for Top Stars in Friday's Singles Draw

Steven Cook@@stevencookinFeatured Columnist IVMay 29, 2015

PARIS, FRANCE - MAY 27:  Roger Federer of Switzerland looks on in his Men's Singles match against Marcel Granollers of Spain during day four of the 2015 French Open at Roland Garros on May 27, 2015 in Paris, France.  (Photo by Clive Mason/Getty Images)
Clive Mason/Getty Images

Early-round tests will continue for some of the top seeds at the 2015 French Open with Friday's dawn of the third round, which promises to deliver a handful of gripping affairs.

With targets firmly on their backs, things haven't been easy for some of the top seeds so far at the year's second Grand Slam. Although we're just five days through play at Roland Garros, some first-rate contenders have already fallen to the wayside, as No. 3 Simona Halep, No. 5 Caroline Wozniacki and others have already been sent home. 

Could more be on the way in Friday's Round 3 play? Take a look below to find out.

Friday, May 29, French Open TV Schedule
Time (ET)EventTV
5 a.m. - 10 a.m.French Open third roundESPN2
10 a.m. - 3:30 p.m.French Open third roundTennis Channel
Source: RolandGarros.com

No. 2 Roger Federer vs. Damir Dzumhur

PARIS, FRANCE - MAY 27:  Roger Federer of Switzerland plays a forehand during his Men's Singles match against Marcel Granollers of Spain during day four of the 2015 French Open at Roland Garros on May 27, 2015 in Paris, France.  (Photo by Clive Mason/Gett
Clive Mason/Getty Images

When Roger Federer was an up-and-coming star in the sport, his Friday opponent, Damir Dzumhur, could hardly grasp a tennis racket. Along the way, Federer understandably emerged as Dzumhur's tennis idol.

Their paths will cross on the Philippe-Chatrier Court, with the 23-year-old looking for a career-defining win over the 2009 French Open champion. Dzumhur recounted an instance when he first watched Federer at Wimbledon, per the Associated Press' Jerome Pugmire, via ABC News:

"That was the first time I was cheering for him. Since then he's my idol," Dzumhur said. "I remember him since I was 10 or 11, and now I have this opportunity to play against him."

Dzumhur looks to join a long list of youngsters who painted Federer as an inspiration only to perform at a high level against him, but very few actually turned it into a victory. Dzumhur will be hard-pressed to be the one to break through, having not beaten a top-30 opponent in his career.

Perhaps his only chance is if Federer just opts to overlook him, which doesn't appear to be in the cards considering Federer is expecting to alter his game plan for Dzumhur, per Roland Garros:

Roland-Garros @rolandgarros

"Interesting match really. There'll be a different approach." #Federer on his next opponent Dzumhur. #RG15 http://t.co/ba4HCpJpvf

The Bosnian has already done well to become the first of his country to make the Roland Garros main draw, and he even topped that by getting this far. But Federer is a perfect 14-of-14 on service games and has only faced two break points in the whole tournament. 

Prediction: Federer in straight sets

No. 2 Maria Sharapova vs. No. 26 Samantha Stosur

PARIS, FRANCE - MAY 27:  Vitalia Diatchenko of Russia serves during her Women's Singles match against Maria Sharapova of Russia during day four of the 2015 French Open at Roland Garros on May 27, 2015 in Paris, France.  (Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Image
Julian Finney/Getty Images

From coming down with a cold that she's battling to a couple of tough matches, things haven't been easy so far for Maria Sharapova at a tournament she's recently dominated. And it only gets tougher Friday, as she sets up to face 26th-seeded Samantha Stosur.

On the surface, Sharapova looks to be in trouble against a foe who has had plenty of success at Roland Garros. Stosur reached the French Open final in 2010 and has twice been a semifinalist in the past six years. 

Sharapova's opponent has continued her clay success this year by dropping just five games throughout two matches, but she has never fared well against the second-seeded Russian. Stosur is just 2-14 for her career against Sharapova, although she took the Russian to three sets at the French Open last year.

Having battled Stosur dozens of times, Sharapova will come in all-knowing of her opponent's high-caliber play and promises to be ready, per Roland Garros:

Roland-Garros @rolandgarros

"She's always a tough opponent & loves playing on clay. But I have a good record against her & hope I can continue that" Sharapova on Stosur

While Sharapova hasn't been at her best thus far at Roland Garros, it should be expected that she starts hitting her stride with the uptick in competition. She's 22-1 in the French Open since 2012 for a reason and looks poised to reach her fourth straight final without too much early-round adversity.

Prediction: Sharapova wins in straight sets


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