Preview: Djokovic, Nadal, Federer Light Up Thursday Bonanza
Day five at Roland Garros will be a bonanza for tennis fans with Novak Djokovic, Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer competing alongside two other Top 10 stars: Matteo Berrettini and Diego Schwartzman. Two #NextGenATP Italians Jannik Sinner and Lorenzo Musetti, who are making their mark on the ATP Tour, also compete in the second round on Thursday.
World No. 1 Djokovic, who features in Federer’s quarter of the draw, comes up against Uruguayan Pablo Cuevas on Court Suzanne Lenglen, while 13-time Roland Garros champion Rafael Nadal meets Richard Gasquet in the night match on Court Philippe-Chatrier. Federer, the 2009 titlist, takes a 9-1 ATP Head2Head record into his clash against Marin Cilic.
Djokovic, who has a 20-3 match record this year, is bidding to capture his second Roland Garros crown (2016) and close the gap to one on all-time Grand Slam title record-holders, Nadal and Federer (20 each). Djokovic began the year by clinching his ninth Australian Open trophy for his 18th major overall and plays Cuevas for the first time.
Nadal has come to Paris full of confidence on the back of capturing his 10th Internazionali BNL d'Italia trophy in Rome. He looks to improve his 101-2 record at the clay-court major and extend his perfect 16-0 record against Gasquet.
Federer, the oldest player in the draw at 39, is competing on Parisian clay for the 19th time and challenges former World No. 3 Cilic, having last met in the 2018 Australian Open final.
Berrettini and Sinner are both in contention for a place at the Nitto ATP Finals in Turin and will provide Italian flair on Court Simonne-Matthieu.
Berrettini, who picked up his fourth ATP Tour title at the Serbia Open (d. Karatsev) and reached his first ATP Masters 1000 final at the Mutua Madrid Open (l. to Zverev), takes on Argentina’s Federico Coria for the second time. The 25-year-old Berrettini sits in ninth position in the FedEx ATP Race To Turin. He beat 2004 Roland Garros finalist Guillermo Coria’s younger brother 7-5, 6-1 on home soil in Rome last year.
Sinner continues to make great strides, having won his second tour-level crown at the Great Ocean Road Open (d. Travaglia) in February and reached his first Masters 1000 final at the Miami Open presented by Itau (l. to Hurkacz) in April. The 2020 Roland Garros quarter-finalist is 22-10 this season and meets compatriot Gianluca Mager for the first time.
World No. 10 Diego Schwartzman, who reached last year’s semi-finals on the back of a Rome final run (l. to Djokovic), should be on his guard against Aljaz Bedene second on Court 14. The pair has split their past two clay-court clashes. Elsewhere, Russia’s Aslan Karatsev, the 24th seed and Australian Open semi-finalist (l. to Djokovic), faces veteran Philipp Kohlschreiber on Court 7.
Musetti, who started the year at No. 128 and is up to a career-high World No. 76, will be attempting to carry the kind of form that saw him beat 13th seed David Goffin in the first round. One of 10 Italians in the Top 100, the 19-year-old tackles Yoshihito Nishioka of Japan in his bid for a place in the third round of a Grand Slam for the third time.