French Open 2022: Five first round matches to watch

Stefanos Tsitsipas will take on Lorenzo Musetti in one of the French Open 2022 first round matches to watch

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Stefanos Tsitsipas and Daniil Medvedev were ousted from the French Open

The French Open 2022 draw was made on Thursday evening. It threw up some tantalising first round matches. We look at the five of the most interesting match-ups:

4-Stefanos Tsitsipas v Lorenzo Musetti

Last year’s finalist Stefanos Tsitsipas enters Roland Garros with a 31-10 record and one title this season, his 31 match wins leading the ATP Tour.

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Tsitsipas has posted a 14-1 record on the European clay, kickstarted by his Monte Carlo title defense in April.

Stefanos Tsitsipas beat Italian Lorenzo Musetti twice in 2021, on the hard courts of Acapulco and the clay of Lyon — both at the semi-final stage.

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Musetti, who reached a career-high of No. 51 in the ATP Rankings in early May, enters Paris after a successul run to the Madrid last 16 as a qualifier.

The 20-year-old defeated Top-50 opponents Ilya Ivashka and Sebastian Korda before retiring with a leg injury against Alexander Zverev in the Spanish capital.

8-Casper Ruud v Jo-Wilfried Tsonga (WC)

Jo-Wilfried Tsonga was done no favours ahead of his swan song at Roland Garros.

The 37-year-old Frenchman faces one of the Tour’s most feared clay-court stars in the opening round as he prepares for the final tournament of his professional career.

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Casper Ruud leads the ATP Tour with 28 clay-court wins over the past 52 weeks, not including his progress to the semi-finals week in Geneva.

He rebounded from a 4-4 start to the European clay swing to reach the last four in consecutive weeks in Rome and Geneva.

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Tsonga enters Paris with a 2-5 tour-level record in 2022, with both of his victories coming in France (Montpellier, Marseille). His meeting with Ruud will be the pair’s first matchup.

14-Denis Shapovalov v Holger Rune

The first meeting between these two men comes on one of the game’s biggest stages, with both players entering Paris in strong form.

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While Denis Shapovalov has the superior 2022 record at 16-9 to Holger Rune’s 9-9, the Dane has won an individual title this season while his opponent has only been as far as the semi-finals in Dubai.

The 19-year-old Rune earned his first ATP Tour title in Munich, helping him move up to third place in the ATP Race To Milan.

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Shapovalov opened the season by helping Team Canada to the ATP Cup title. He reached the quarter-finals at the Australian Open, Doha and Rome in addition to his Dubai run.

Naomi Osaka v 27-Amanda Anisimova

Naomi Osaka and Amanda Anisimova during the 2022 Australian Open

Four-time major winner Naomi Osaka, a former World No 1 but now down at 38, returns to Paris 12 months after she pulled out ahead of the second round, citing mental health issues.

The 24-year-old, the world’s highest-earning sportswoman, faces American 27th seed Amanda Anisimova.

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Anisimova knocked Osaka out of the Australian Open in the third round this year.

The American has a sharper game on clay and had reached the semi-final at the French Open in 2019.

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Osaka, meanwhile, has never gone past the third round in Paris.

10-Garbine Muguruza v Kaia Kanepi

2016 champion Garbine Muguruza’s quest to reassert herself on the big stage will face quite a few hurdles.

The first of which is Estonia’s Kaia Kanepi, who is staging a career resurgence.

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The 2021 WTA Finals champion Muguruza has struggled for form this year. She has not managed to go beyond the quarterfinals of any of the tournaments.

During the European clay swing, she played in the 1000 events in Madrid and Rome but lost in the second round in both.

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Kanepi, ranked 46 in the world, made the quarterfinals of the Australian Open this year. Her scalps during the incredible run in Melbourne included Aryna Sabalenka and Angelique Kerber.

Clay is Kanepi’s favourite surface to play on.

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Kanepi, who has reached the quarterfinals at each of the four majors, has a history of knocking out big names at big events, with nine of her 14 Top 10 wins coming at Grand Slam tournaments.

Muguruza won their only head-to-head meeting — 6-2, 2-6, 6-2 at the 2014 Australian Open.

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