French Open 2019: Monday Schedule and Predictions for Roland-Garros Bracket

Gill Clark@@gillclarkyFeatured Columnist IIMay 26, 2019

PARIS, FRANCE - JUNE 10: Rafael Nadal of Spain hits a forehand to Dominic Thiem of Austria in the final of the men's singles at Roland Garros during the French Open on June 10, 2018 in Paris, France. (Photo by Mike Frey/Getty Images)
Mike Frey/Getty Images

French Open champion Rafael Nadal begins the defence of his crown at Roland-Garros on Monday, as the second seed opens up against Germany's Yannick Hanfmann.

World No. 1 Novak Djokovic is also in action in Paris as he takes on Poland's Hubert Hurkacz, while 2018 beaten finalist Dominic Thiem faces American Tommy Paul.

There will also be plenty of excitement in the women's draw on Monday. Former world No. 1 Serena Williams begins her attempt to land a fourth French Open crown against Russia's Vitalia Diatchenko.

Madrid Open winner Kiki Bertens will take on France's Pauline Parmentier, sixth seed Petra Kvitova faces Sorana Cirstea and the in-form Johanna Konta plays Germany's Antonia Lottner.

Monday's fixtures are scheduled to start at 11 a.m. BST (6 a.m. ET). Here's a look at the selected matches and predicted winners:

    

Men's Draw

Yannick Hanfmann vs. (2) Rafael Nadal (Nadal)

(1) Novak Djokovic vs. Hubert Hurkacz (Djokovic)

Jo-Wilfried Tsonga vs. Peter Gojowczyk (Tsonga)

(4) Dominic Thiem vs. Tommy Paul (Thiem)

Mischa Zverev vs. Richard Gasquet (Gasquet)

(24) Stanislas Wawrinka vs. Jozef Kovalik (Wawrinka)

Jeremy Chardy vs. (28) Kyle Edmund (Edmund)

      

Women's Draw

(13) Caroline Wozniacki vs. Veronika Kudermetova (Wozniacki)

(10) Serena Williams vs. Vitalia Diatchenko (Williams)

Pauline Parmentier vs. (4) Kiki Bertens (Bertens)

Sorana Cirstea vs. (6) Petra Kvitova (Kvitova)

Jessica Pegula vs. (8) Ashleigh Barty (Barty)

(26) Johanna Konta vs. Antonia Lottner (Konta)

Luksika Kumkhum vs. (12) Anastasija Sevastova (Sevastova)

For a look at the full schedule, visit RolandGarros.com.

   

Nadal begins his search for a 12th French Open title against 27-year-old Hanfmann, who has come through three rounds of qualifying to book his place against the King of Clay.

The German has a world ranking of 184, and the game represents the biggest match of his career so far.

He has told Bild (h/t France 24) how his childhood deafness could help him cope with the big occasion on Court Philippe Chatrier. 

"A centre court full of spectators doesn't affect me. I have a hearing aid, but it doesn't really work. Sometimes it's a problem, because not everyone knows. If I don't react when somebody calls my name, they think 'what's up with him?'"

Nadal has only lost twice in 14 years at the French Open, against Robin Soderling in 2009 and Novak Djokovic in 2019, and is the favourite to win the tournament once again.

He has not had the smoothest buildup to his favourite Grand Slam. He was beaten in the semi-finals in Madrid, Barcelona and Monte Carlo but bounced back with victory in Rome:

Beating Nadal at Roland-Garros is widely regarded as one of the toughest challenges in sport, and he will be expected to win comfortably in his opening match of this year's tournament.

Top seed Djokovic is the one player in the draw who looks most capable of ending Nadal's dominance in Paris, and he will also be expected to have few problems against Hurkacz.

The big-serving 22-year-old's best results have come on hard courts rather than clay. He beat Kei Nishikori and Denis Shapovalov in Indian Wells and then saw off Thiem in straight sets at the Miami Open in March.

However, sports journalist Pete Borkowski feels Djokovic has been handed a tough draw:

Victory in Paris for Djokovic will see him hold all four Grand Slam titles at once for the second time in his career, meaning the Serb should not lack for motivation in the French capital.

Over in the women's draw Monday sees former champion Williams back in action after struggles with a knee injury.

The 37-year-old is short of match practice after pulling out of Indian Wells, Miami and the Italian Open because of injury problems and faces a player who produced a shock at Wimbledon in 2018 by knocking out Maria Sharapova:

Williams made her return to tennis at this tournament last year after giving birth to her daughter and progressed to the fourth round before a pectoral injury ended her hopes.

Her lack of match involvement means there is uncertainty over her form and fitness going into her opening match, but the 37-year-old's sheer talent and experience can not be doubted and should be enough to see her past Diatchenko.

Dutch Kiki Bertens reacts after making a point against Britain's Johanna Konta during their WTA Masters tournament semi final tennis match at the Foro Italico in Rome on May 18, 2019. (Photo by Filippo MONTEFORTE / AFP)        (Photo credit should read FI
FILIPPO MONTEFORTE/Getty Images

Fourth seed Bertens also plays on Monday and should be far too strong for Parmentier, although the France star can expect strong support at her home Grand Slam.

Per the Press Association (h/t BT Sport), Bertens has made it clear how much she enjoys playing on the clay in Paris.

"For me, it's just another tournament again, and like every tournament I go into this year, I try to play for the win," she said. "It's a little different, because I love to play here. I love the clay. I know still that my game is a bit better on clay. Maybe I can do a bit better here. But, for the rest, try and stay the same."

Bertens beat Grand Slam winners Jelena Ostapenko, Sloane Stephens, Kvitova and Simona Halep on her way to victory in Madrid, and anything other than a dominant victory on Monday will be a surprise.

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