PARIS (Reuters) - Five things to watch out for at the French Open on Tuesday.
* Not so merry Murray
After losing to players outside the top 25 in Rome and Madrid, world number one Andy Murray kicks off his Roland Garros campaign in less than sparkling form. The Scot, diagnosed with shingles in February and laid low by an elbow injury in March, faces a potentially awkward match against Russian Andrey Kuznetsov - though a first-round defeat for the men’s top seed to go with Sunday’s exit of women’s number one Angelique Kerber is surely unthinkable. Isn’t it?
* Will ankle tear trip up Halep?
The bookies’ favourite for the Roland Garros title until 10 days ago after an imperious run on the clay, Romanian third seed Simona Halep’s standing has dropped a few notches since she suffered an ankle ligament tear in this month’s Italian Open final. She says she’s well on the mend, but her Slovakian first-round opponent Jana Cepelova will be sure to pounce on any sign of weakness.
* Who will benefit from the ‘cold spell’?
After sweating in out in 30-plus degrees centigrade heat for the first two days of the tournament, players will have to adjust to cooler temperatures on Tuesday, with forecasts suggesting the mercury will drop to around 23. That should be good news for the touch players, so expect no complaints about the weather from the likes of Murray or Germany’s Philipp Kohlschreiber.
* Bouchard back on track?
Eugenie Bouchard was named the WTA’s most improved player in 2014, but she has been struggling to further improve since reaching the Wimbledon final that year. Having dropped from fifth to 57th in the WTA rankings, the Canadian is not the threat she used to be but she recently reached the quarter-finals on the Madrid clay by beating Maria Sharapova and world number one Angelique Kerber.
* Fireworks, anyone?
For fans of unpredictable, even outrageous tennis, the clash on Suzanne Lenglen between France’s Gael Monfils and Germany’s Dustin Brown looks like a match made in heaven. Perhaps surprisingly, the two masters of the unexpected have never played each other before. Pick a winner at your peril - and whatever else you do, don’t look away.
Reporting by John Stonestreet and Julien Pretot, editing by Ed Osmond