PARIS (Reuters) - The French tennis-supporting public will be holding its breath on Wednesday, hoping injury will not return to hamper Kristina Mladenovic as long-time crowd favourite Jo-Wilfried Tsonga limbers up for his biggest single game of the season.
Seeded 13th and with genuine aspirations of becoming the first Frenchwoman to lift the Suzanne Lenglen Cup since Mary Pierce in 2000, Mladenovic faces Italian clay-court specialist Sara Errani in a tough second round encounter.
After playing through the pain barrier of a pulled back muscle to overcome American Jennifer Brady in a marathon three-set first round encounter, the popular 24-year-old promised the crowd she would “fight until the end”.
In the absence of Serena Williams and Maria Sharapova, Mladenovic has been tipped as one of the favourites for the tournament after reaching finals in Stuttgart and Madrid, but her path to the title remains littered with dangerous opponents.
Tsonga’s title aspirations are less realistic but the atmosphere on Philippe Chatrier will be at fever pitch when he resumes his first round clash against Argentina’s Renzo Olivio two-sets-to-one down and serving at 4-5 in the fourth.
Just one poor game could end the dynamic 32-year-old’s Paris adventure for another year, but a recovery in a match the 12th seed came close to losing in straight sets might kick-start a run in a tournament whose semi-finals he graced two years ago.
Elsewhere, men’s title favourite Rafa Nadal takes on Dutchman Robin Haase later in the day on the same court, while defending champion Novak Djokovic faces Portugal’s Joao Sousa over on Suzanne Lenglen.
Editing by John O'Brien