FRENCH OPEN LOOKAHEAD: No. 1 Djokovic faces teen Kokkinakis
PARIS (AP) The next player facing Novak Djokovic as he seeks to win the French Open for the first time is an opponent he’s never played before.
Thanasi Kokkinakis, who turned 19 last month, is one of two teenagers looking to reach the fourth round.
The 84th-ranked Australian has never won a title, while Djokovic has 53 so far in his career – including five this year.
It will be a tall order for the 6-foot-5 (1.96-meter) Kokkinakis.
Djokovic, an eight-time Grand Slam champion who has lost in two French Open finals to Rafael Nadal, won clay-court Masters events at Monte Carlo and Rome leading up to Roland Garros.
He beat Nadal in the semifinals on his way to the Monte Carlo title and defeated Roger Federer in the Rome final, with both victories in straight sets.
The top-ranked Serb will need to test his right leg, after he slipped and hurt his hip in his second-round win against Gilles Muller on Thursday.
Here’s a look at what else is happening at the French Open on Saturday:
After spending nearly two hours on court in her previous match, top-ranked Serena Williams could face another battle.
Awaiting the top-ranked American in the third round is two-time Australian Open winner and former No. 1 Victoria Azarenka.
”Out of all of the top players, for whatever reason, she’s given me some particular troubles,” Williams said. ”She fights hard and never gives up, and she’s really feisty.”
Williams holds a 15-3 record against Azarenka and has never lost to her on clay, but their last meeting this spring in Madrid was a tense affair as Williams fended off three match points before winning 7-6 (5), 3-6, 7-6 (1).
”We always have tough matches,” said Azarenka, who is from Belarus. ”There’s no question I have to come up with my A game.”
MURRAY VS. KYRGIOS
In a mouthwatering contest between a player in top form and a rising star, two-time Grand Slam champion Andy Murray takes on Nick Kyrgios for a spot in the fourth round.
Murray has enjoyed his best clay-court season so far, winning 10 straight matches on the slow surface and handing Nadal a crushing 6-3, 6-2 defeat in the final of the Madrid Masters earlier this month.
But he should be wary of the 20-year-old Kyrgios, who is seeded 29th.
Kyrgios beat Nadal at Wimbledon last year and defeated 17-time Grand Slam champion Federer in Madrid this month.
”He’s obviously a very talented guy,” said Murray, who beat Kyrgios in the quarterfinals of the Australian Open earlier this year. ”He likes the big stage.”
Nadal looks to extend his French Open record to 69-1 when he takes on Andrey Kuznetsov.
The 120th-ranked Russian has never been beyond the third round at a Grand Slam tournament, and this is already his best showing at Roland Garros, after first-round losses in 2012 and 2013.
Nadal’s ranking has dropped to seventh after a difficult start to the season. The 28-year-old Spaniard has won only one title this year – on outdoor clay at Buenos Aires.
But Kuznetsov has yet to reach a quarterfinal in any tournament this year.
AP Sports Writer Samuel Petrequin in Paris contributed to this report.