Thursday, May 31, 2012

Stosur first on in French Open

Updated May 27, 2012 12:54:32

Sam Stosur will get the French Open underway at 7pm AEST when she takes on Britain's Elena Baltacha.

All eyes will be on the 2010 finalist when she kicks off the action at Court Philippe Chatrier against Baltacha, who is ranked 68th in the world, before the men's competition's dark horse, Juan Martin del Potro, takes on Albert Montanes.

Later on the same court, home hope Jo-Wilfred Tsonga gets his campaign underway against former Wimbledon junior champion Andrey Kuznetsov and Venus Williams will give fans an indication on whether she is in shape to win a third French crown when she takes on Paula Ormaechea.

Another interesting day one clash sees Nicolas Mahut take on the out-of-form American Andy Roddick on Suzanne Lenglen.

Last year's Wimbledon junior champion, Ashleigh Barty, faces off against the women's SW19 champion Petra Kvitova.

Barty, who at 16 is the youngest player in the 128-strong women's main draw at Roland Garros, considers her match-up with Kvitova as an opportunity rather than a daunting draw.

"It certainly isn't an easy debut, but I think I am going to gain some very valuable experience," Barty said.

"Obviously all the pressure is on her, which allows me to go out there and have a real swing.

"I'm really excited to play and we will just have to wait and see what happens. I just want to go out there and have some fun.

"No doubt I will be a little nervous before the match, but I just want to try and play my best tennis and whatever will be, will be."

Fellow Australian teenager Bernard Tomic is also experiencing an exciting first in Paris.

The 19-year-old is seeded - at number 25 - for the first time in his grand-slam career.

"It feels good," Tomic said ahead of his first-round encounter with Austrian qualifier Andreas Haider-Maurer.

"I'm playing good. I've had a great claycourt season so far so hopefully I can play well here in Paris."

Should he win, Tomic would play the victor of the all-Colombian match-up between Alejandro Falla and Santiago Giraldo for a likely third-round showdown with fourth seed Andy Murray.

But having lost both his previous first-round matches in Paris, Tomic was reluctant to look ahead to Murray.

"Hopefully I can win my first round and then think about getting to the third round if I do," he said.

Veteran Lleyton Hewitt had a similar mindset going into his opening match on Monday against Slovenian qualifier Blaz Kavcic.

The 31-year-old was more concerned about his body coping with its first competitive outing since undergoing foot surgery in February than a possible second-round clash with world number one Novak Djokovic.

The women's third seed, Poland's Agnieszka Radwanska, comes into the tournament in fine fettle having won her 10th career title on Saturday by defeating Romania's Simona Halep 7-5, 6-0 in the Brussels final.

She faces Bojana Jovanovski in the first round.

The women's 14th seed Francesca Schiavone also got a pre-Roland Garros fillip by winning the Strasbourg claycourt tournament with a 6-4, 6-4 victory over Alize Cornet.

Schiavone takes on Japanese veteran Kimiko Date Krumm in the first round.

Spain's Nicolas Almagro also comes into the tournament on the back of a victory after taking the Nice Open title for the second straight year following a 6-3, 6-2 win over American qualifier Brian Baker.

The Spaniard is seeded 12th for Roland Garros and opens up against Italy's Paolo Lorenzi.


Tags: sport, tennis, france

First posted May 27, 2012 10:23:42

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