What to look for Friday at the French Open
PARIS (AP) Five things to look for Friday at the French Open:
FACING FEDERER: Roger Federer will be back on court Friday at the French Open, playing a familiar opponent on unfamiliar ground.
The 17-time Grand Slam champion – and one-time French Open champion – will face Dmitry Tursunov of Russia in the third round.
Federer is 4-0 against Tursunov, but they have never met on clay or in a Grand Slam tournament.
The last time they faced each other was at Indian Wells, California this year, with Federer winning 7-6 (7), 7-6 (2).
Each player broke the other’s serve twice.
”Tursunov is a different player all together,” Federer said after his second-round victory at Roland Garros, thinking back to Indian Wells. ”It was a tough match.”
CONCENTRATED SHARAPOVA: Maria Sharapova hasn’t been shaken by the upsets so far at the French Open. She’s too busy trying to ignore it all.
The 2012 champion at Roland Garros will face Paula Ormaechea of Argentina in the third round, and that’s all that concerns her.
”You always have to follow your path and always concentrate on your work and who’s ahead of you and not get worried about what’s going on,” Sharapova said after her previous match. ”Obviously, when you go on court you’re aware of a lot of the upsets, not just in the women but in the men, as well. So it’s great to get a win in that type of atmosphere.”
Besides winning two years ago and completing a career Grand Slam, Sharapova reached the final last year but lost to Serena Williams.
Williams, the defending champion, was one of the big upsets this week, leaving Sharapova as the favorite.
GET READY: Novak Djokovic is getting ready to step up his game.
After a quick, straight-set win in the second round, Djokovic will face Marin Cilic of Croatia on Friday in the third.
”Since he started working with (Goran) Ivanisevic, he’s playing very, very, very good,” Djokovic said Wednesday. ”He’s a big guy, and he can play really aggressive. If he feels the ball well, he can be dangerous.”
Djokovic needs to win the French Open to complete a career Grand Slam.
FRENCH FAVORITES: The last Frenchman to win the title at Roland Garros was Yannick Noah in 1983, but two of the players hoping to bury that statistic will be on court Friday.
Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, the 2008 Australian Open runner-up, will face Jerzy Janowicz of Poland. And Gilles Simon will take on Milos Raonic of Canada.
Tsonga reached the semifinals at the French Open last year, beating Roger Federer in the quarterfinals before losing to David Ferrer.
Simon made it to the fourth round a year ago, equaling his best result at Roland Garros.
TALENTED TAYLOR: Taylor Townsend earned herself some new fans with her second win at the French Open, including Andy Murray.
She’ll try to get another victory on Friday against 14th-seeded Carla Suarez Navarro of Spain.
Murray also reached the third round on Thursday, and he was asked about Townsend after his win.
”I love the way she played tennis, basically,” the Wimbledon champion said. ”She’s just a really nice player to watch. She hits the ball great. She’s very talented. She volleys. You don’t see that much now, don’t really see it on the men or the women’s tour at all.
”Yeah, she was just very fun to watch. She’s going to be a very good player.”