French Open: Picking the Top Half of the First Round

Jordan Schwartz@jordanharrisonSenior Writer IMay 23, 2010

Roger Federer (1) def. Peter Luczak

Federer begins his quest for the second leg of the Grand Slam against an opponent who is 0-3 at the French Open.

Janko Tipsarevic def. Alejandro Falla

Tipsarevic blasted Falla, 6-2, 6-1, in a non-Tour match in Mons last year.

Olivier Rochus def. Benoit Paire

While Rochus hasn't won here since '06, he should be able to get past the qualifier who is 0-1 in the main draw at this event.

Feliciano Lopez (27) def. Julian Reister

Lopez is just 1-5 at Roland Garros since '05, but he's playing a Grand Slam rookie.

Stanislas Wawrinka (20) def. Jan Hajek

Wawrinka is 21-8 this year with a title, while Hajek is 6-11.

Andreas Beck def. Paolo Lorenzi

Beck snuck by Lorenzi in three-set qualifier matches played in each of the past two years.

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Fabio Fognini def. Nicolas Massu

Fognini defeated the older Massu, 6-4, 6-4, at a clay qualifier in Monte Carlo last year.

Gael Monfils (13) def. Florian Mayer

Monfils beat Mayer in three sets in the final of a clay tournament in Sopot, Poland in '05, and the Frenchman has only gotten better since then.

Marin Cilic (10) def. Ricardo Mello

Cilic has won his last nine first round matches at majors, while Mello is 0-2 at the French.

Daniel Gimeno-Traver def. Dmitry Tursunov

These are two players going in completely opposite directions.

Leonardo Mayer def. Sergiy Stakhovsky

Mayer's had slightly better success at Grand Slams.

Ernests Gulbis (23) def. Julien Benneteau

Gulbis beat Federer on clay last month and he hasn't lost to anyone ranked outside of the top 20 on the surface all season. Benneteau is ranked 39, so his streak of good finishes at the French in even years will probably come to an end.

Albert Montanes (29) def. Stefano Galvani

Montanes edged Galvani in five sets at the '06 French and the Spaniard has only gotten better since then, while the Italian's ranking has dropped to 245.

Tobias Kamke def. Stephane Robert

This is a winnable match for the qualifier against a man with not much Grand Slam experience.

Nicolas Lapentti def. Taylor Dent

These veterans have only met once, back in the Round of 32 at the '04 Indian Wells when Dent took Lapentti down in straight sets. That doesn't tell us very much. However, what does is Dent's 0-2 record at the French compared to Lapentti's 12-13 mark.

Robin Soderling (5) def. Laurent Recouderc

Soderling beat Recouderc at an '03 non-Tour clay event in Tampere, Finland. Since then, the Swede has risen to seventh in the world, while Reouderc hasn't be able to crack the top 120.

Andy Murray (4) def. Richard Gasquet

This is not an easy first-round draw for the No. 4 player in the world. Gasquet has won two of their three meetings, but both of those wins came on hard courts in '06 and '07. Murray doesn't have a title this year, but he seems to pick his game up at Grand Slams and he should be able to sneak by the Frenchman who hasn't won here since he last played the event three years ago.

Juan Ignacio Chela def. Ryan Sweeting

Chela beat Sweeting in three sets in the third round of qualifying at Sydney earlier this year.

Paul-Henri Mathieu def. Marcel Granollers

Granollers edged Mathieu in a hard court event in Madrid a couple years ago, but the red clay of Paris is a whole different story for the Frenchman, who has reached the third round here each of the past five years.

Marcos Baghdatis (25) def. Jesse Witten

Baghatis defeated Witten in a clay court tournament in Houston four years ago, and the American hasn't won a match on Tour this season.

John Isner (17) def. Andrey Golubev

Isner knocked Golubev from a tournament in Washington last year.

Somdev Devvarman def. Marco Chiudinelli

Devvarman is an up-and-comer from India who beat Chiudinelli in Dubai this year.

Edouard Roger-Vasselin def. Kevin Anderson

Anderson beat Roger-Vasselin in a grass court qualifier in London last year, but the South African is 0-4 at majors, while the Frenchman reached the third round here in '07. This is a toss-up. And not a very good one at that.

Tomas Berdych (15) def. Jorge Aguilar

Berdych has never lost back-to-back first rounds at the same Grand Slam and he was ousted in the first round last year here, so he should be able to get past Aguilar, who just qualified for his first major.

Mikhail Youzhny (11) def. Michal Przysiezny

Youzhny hasn't lost in the first round here since '02, while Przysiezny is playing in his first French Open.

Lukas Lacko def. Michael Yani

Lacko won his first Grand Slam match in Australia earlier this year. Yani is yet to accomplish that feat.

Philipp Petzschner def. Carsten Ball

Petzschner is 5-2 in first round matches at majors with both losses coming at the Australian. Ball has never played the French.

Tommy Robredo (21) def. Viktor Troicki

Robredo in 2-0 vs. Troicki, including a straight-sets win on the clay of Monte Carlo this year.

Guillermo Garcia-Lopez (32) def. Rainer Schuettler

Schuettler beat Garcia-Lopez on the grass of Wimbledon in '08, but he hasn't won a match at the French since '03.

Thiemo De Bakker def. Olivier Patience

De Bakker is 11-9 this year, while the qualifier hasn't won a Tour match in '10.

Lukasz Kubot def. Josselin Ouanna

Kubot defeated Ouanna at a clay court non-Tour event in '08.

Jo-Wilfried Tsonga (8) def. Daniel Brands

Tsonga reached the fourth round here last year, while Brands is 0-2 at the French.

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Jordan Schwartz is one of Bleacher Report's New York Yankees and College Basketball Featured Columnists. His book Memoirs of the Unaccomplished Man is available at amazon.com, barnesandnoble.com, and authorhouse.com.

Jordan can be reached at jordanschwartz2003@yahoo.com