The first round of Roland Garros 2013 is already well underway, but Tuesday's slate promises some of the best matches so far. Here's a quick look at what to watch for on the televised courts:
Court Phillipe Chatrier
Novak Djokovic will begin his French Open campaign against David Goffin, who burst onto the tennis scene at last year's tournament, before finally losing at the hands of Roger Federer in the Round of 16. The young Belgian's had a poor season so far, and will stand to take a big hit in the rankings after an inevitable loss to the world #1. Djokovic couldn't ask for an easier start to his tournament.
After Djokovic and Goffin, Frenchman Nicolas Mahut will take center court against Janko Tipsarevic in a battle of two struggling players. Wild card Mahut has failed to gain any traction after returning from an extended injury layoff earlier this year, but Tipsarevic has come upon hard times as well, compiling a 4-10 record since the Australian Open concluded. Mahut has had some success at Roland Garros, reaching the third round last year, but his aggressive style isn't well-suited for clay and he has to be considered one of the weakest players in the draw. Tipsarevic would be vulnerable against most opponents, but he'll make it through this one.
Court Suzanne Lenglen
None of the matches on this court should be close, except perhaps for Benoit Paire vs. Marcos Baghdatis. Both players have strong personalities and struggle with consistency, so the quality of tennis will be unpredictable, but there will certainly be some drama as the 24-seed Paire plays his first Major as a seeded player in front of a home crowd. He should advance, but Baghdatis is experienced and will test the Frenchman.
42-year-old Kimiko Date-Krumm always captures attention at Slams for her advanced age and aggressive play, but she has continually drawn tough matchups in Majors, and this one is no exception as she takes on Sam Stosur, who has typically had her best results on clay. Date-Krumm has struggled with nagging injuries after getting off to a great start earlier this year, so expect Stosur to advance in straight sets.
Surging American teen Lauren Davis plays the second match on Court 2, as she'll face Frenchwoman Kristina Mladenovic. Immediately following this match, Frenchman Marc Gicquel, who's rebounded this season at 36 years of age, takes on Fernando Verdasco, whose terrible season has led him to drop out of the top 50. Gicquel is a fan favorite in France, and Verdasco may be the most disliked player in the tournament, so expect emotions to be running high as the crowd gets behind the French journeyman.
Young American Jack Sock begins this slate of matches by taking on Guillermo Garcia-Lopez. The Spanish claycourter is nothing special so this match could be close, but it might be too much to expect an upset from Sock in his first appearance on the red clay of Paris. Still, this one is definitely worth a look. 16-seed Phillip Kohlschreiber then takes on the Czech Republic's Jiri Vesely, who's had a great year this year and is the youngest player in the top 150.
The only notable match in this group is the first, where Bernard Tomic will take on Victor Hanescu. Neither man is particularly high in the rankings, but Tomic will be looking to break through this year, having never exceeded the second round in spite of high expectations. Hanescu's best days are behind him, but the tall Romanian's serve is still dangerous, and his recent success in the Challenger circuit and in smaller ATP tournaments has allowed him to regain a decent spot in the rankings. This one will be close, but Tomic should get through.
Starting off the action on this court will be America's Alex Kuznetsov, the ultimate journeyman who's playing in just his second Major main draw in the last six years. His only other Slam victory came in the 2007 Aussie Open, when he defeated Australian wild card Peter Luczak. He's in a similarly kind situation here, as he's drawn French wild card Lucas Pouille, who, at age 18, is incredibly inexperienced and probably not ready for the big stage. This will be a good opportunity for the USA to sneak an extra man into the secound round.