French Open 2020 Day 3 : Djokovic starts against Swede Mikael Ymer, check matches to watch out for on Day 3

Unlike as a norm, French Open 2020 first-round matches will be extended to Day 3 as well. World No.1 Novak Djokovic, the champion in 2016, kicks off his title bid with a match against Sweden’s Mikael Ymer, while Karolina Pliskova, still chasing her first Grand Slam crown, takes on Egyptian Grand Slam debutante, Mayar Sherif.

Denis Shapovalov, the young Canadian who reached the quarter-finals at the US Open and the semis in Rome last time out, plays veteran Frenchman Gilles Simon.

French Open 2020: Djokovic gunning for the first title after 2016

If there was one man who was probably not downhearted to see a damp and cool forecast for the first week of Roland-Garros, then it was Novak Djokovic. After all, when he won the title here for the first and so far only time, the only time the sun came out was when Djokovic lifted the trophy above his head.

First, up for Djokovic is the young Swede Mikael Ymer, who came through the Good to Great Academy in Sweden, run by former Roland-Garros runner-up Magnus Norman. Ranked No.80, Ymer is a talent but as he chases an 18th Slam title, Djokovic will expect to cruise through, whatever the weather throws at him.

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“We are also almost in October, and it’s very cold,” he said on the eve of the event. “The clay is also heavy and wet. We have to accept it. It’s why we all came a bit earlier to try to get used to the new balls and conditions that are quite different from what we are used to.”

French Open 2020: Pliskova up against first Egyptian woman in the Grand Slam main draw

For all her success on the WTA Tour – and in reaching the world No.1 ranking – Karolina Pliskova has not quite managed to get over the line in a Grand Slam event. The Czech made the semi-finals in Paris three years ago but otherwise, has not been past the third round at Roland-Garros.

Pliskova returned to form in Rome last time out, reaching the final, only to pull out midway through because of a left thigh injury. A week off seems to have done the trick and she hopes to hit the ground running.

“We know I can play on clay,” she said. “I just hope to start well. I had some matches in Rome. I think I played some good tennis. Hopefully, I can continue in this.” Her opponent, Mayar Sherif, has already made history as the first Egyptian woman to make it into a Grand Slam main draw. And as was the case for Egyptian men’s No.1, Mohamed Safwat, who qualified for the main draw as a lucky loser in 2018, Sherif will make her Roland-Garros debut on Court Philippe-Chatrier.

Sherif was unranked at the start of 2019 but goes into Tuesday’s match ranked No.172 and her exploits have already caught the attention of many sports stars, including Egypt and Liverpool striker Mohamed Salah, who tweeted his support.

French Open 2020: Rising star Shapovalov hopes to start in style
Anyone who watched Denis Shapovalov as a junior will have known what talent lies in the Canadian’s hands. It’s taken a little while for him to put all the tools together but at the US Open and then in Rome, he showed just how good a player he is and how great he might become.

The 21-year-old left-hander has yet to make it past round two at Roland-Garros and he faces a tough first-round examination against the wily old fox in Gilles Simon, a man who simply loves to frustrate the big hitters.

Shapovalov showed he can play on clay when he made the semis in Rome, enough for him to crack the top 10. With the power to hit through the heavy conditions, he might just take some stopping.

The nous of coach Mikhail Youzhny won’t hurt either and the Russian also has a point to prove, having lost both his clay-court matches to Simon, although he won eight of his 12 matches against the Frenchman overall.


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