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French Open 2016: Thursday Schedule and Predictions for Roland Garros BracketIan MacNicol/Getty Images
May 25, 2016
Beware the upset.
In a French Open first round that saw two of the top-five seeded players in the women’s draw—No. 3 Angelique Kerber and No. 5 Victoria Azarenka—and men’s No. 10 seed Marin Cilic lose in the first round, nobody seems safe at Roland Garros this year.
But what will transpire on Thursday?
Before we break that down, take a look at Thursday’s scheduled matches below. Play on each court will begin at 5 a.m. ET, with each corresponding match to follow.
French Open: Thursday Round 2 Matchups
It’s generally pretty safe to assume that the two top seeds, Novak Djokovic and Serena Williams, will advance past the second round.
Djokovic has gotten to at least the quarterfinals in his last six appearances at Roland Garros. He dominated his first match at the French Open, winning comfortably in straight sets, and already has five singles titles this year, including his triumph at the Australian Open.
But Djokovic has yet to win this tournament, something that continues to weigh on his mind, as he told Johnette Howard of ESPN:
People obviously wonder if this is the year [that will change] or not. I wonder myself… It is a particular sensation approaching this tournament. It’s quite different than others. But, look, you know, it does depend on me how I’m going to use this emotion. So I try to use it as a motivation to inspire myself to play well, to stay calm and focus only on the present moment.
Djokovic rarely loses focus at Grand Slams. So let’s just be honest: Steve Darcis doesn’t stand a chance against him.
Teliana Pereira might just have a chance—albeit a miniscule one—of shocking Williams. While the top player in the women’s game barely broke a sweat in her first-round matchup, she has failed to advance past the second round in two of her last four French Opens.
Of course, she won the title in the other two years. So pick against her at your own peril.
Timea Bacsinszky is an interesting player to watch. In her first five French Opens, she lost in the second round. And then last season, virtually out of nowhere, she made the semifinals.
She faces Eugenie Bouchard, who hasn’t been the same since she reached the semifinals in the Australian and French Opens and the final of Wimbledon in 2014 but is still a dangerous player capable of beating some of the top contenders.
And she seems to be taking her very publicized fall from the top of the women’s game as motivation.
“I thought it was hilarious when I saw I was on Court 16,” Bouchard said of her first-round matchup, per Justin Terranova of the New York Post. “My coaches didn’t even have a place to sit. I had friends who were stuck outside and couldn’t watch me play. I take it as a challenge…and try to take it as a positive thing to work my way up.”
If you want a first-round upset, look for Bouchard to pull it off.
On the men’s side, Bernard Tomic has never played well at Roland Garros, failing to advance past the second round in six tries. Worse, he hasn’t gotten past the second round of a tournament since early March, and that was in part because he had a bye at Indian Wells.
His opponent, Borna Coric, reached the third round of the French Open last year and has reached two finals this season. Tomic won the only meeting between the pair at Indian Wells in 2015, but Coric is a solid upset pick to keep an eye on in the second round.