PARIS, May 31, 2017 (BSS/AFP) - AFP Sport picks out Wednesday's five standout matches as the French Open heads into the second round:
Hard task for Haase
Rafael Nadal is the heavy favourite for a record 10th Roland Garros title and Robin Haase is unlikely to change that. However the Dutchman threatened to upset the odds when the pair met at Wimbledon in 2010, taking a two sets to one lead in the second round only to fall short as Nadal ultimately went on to lift the trophy. "He's a player I know him very well and he knows me very well, dangerous opponent. He hits the ball very hard. So I need to be very focused on the serve because return can be tough," said Nadal ahead of his meeting with the world number 46.
Defending champ in Kontaveit crosshairs
Reigning champion Garbine Muguruza is understandably wary of the threat posed by 55th-ranked Anett Kontaveit ahead of their second-round clash after losing to the Estonian last month in Stuttgart. "It's a tough draw. It's going to be a tough match. She's doing a very good season on clay. She has an aggressive style too," said Muguruza, who arrived in Paris with just three wins on clay this season.
Venus still going strong
This year's tournament marks the 20th anniversary of Venus Williams' French Open debut. The seven-time Grand Slam champion underlined her enduring class by reaching this year's Australian Open final. Her best performance in Paris came in 2002 when she finished runner-up to Serena, but with her sister absent could Venus claim the title a week before her 37th birthday? "It's always an opportunity, for sure. You know, I want to play the kind of tennis that's consistent and aggressive, inspired. That's my goal, really, every match," Williams, who plays Japan's Kurumi Nara.
Can Kvitova thrive on goodwill?
Petra Kvitova's comeback less than six months on from a knife attack prompted an outpouring of emotion at Roland Garros. The Czech dropped to her knees before weeping at the net after defeating Julia Boserup in round one. The two-time Wimbledon champion made a last-minute decision to return at the French Open and it doesn't appear she's content with just making up the numbers. "I wanted to come back not just to play, but of course I still do have my goals, which I talk about in the end of the last seasons. They are still there, so I want to improve my game to play the best and to have some great results," said Kvitova, who faces 117th-ranked Bethanie Mattek-Sands next.
Thiem in a class of his own
Inic Thiem thrust himself into the limelight with a breakthrough performance at last year's tournament as he reached the semi-finals. The Austrian sixth seed is targeting another deep run after impressive displays at Barcelona, Madrid -- where he made his first Masters final -- and Rome. He is the only player to beat Rafael Nadal on clay this year but was then thrashed by Novak Djokovic the following day, showing there is still work to be done ahead of his clash with Simone Bolelli.
Source: Bangladesh Sangbad Sangstha (BSS)