Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer moved through at the US Open, but the stars advanced from contrasting matches on Monday.

Djokovic, the world number one and defending champion, had few problems against Roberto Carballes Baena at Flushing Meadows.

But Federer survived a surprise scare against Indian qualifier Sumit Nagal before getting through in New York.

The superstar pair progressed on what was a good day for the seeds in the men's draw, with only three making exits.

 

DJOKOVIC DELIGHTS

Djokovic did not face a break point on his way to a 6-4 6-1 6-4 victory over Carballes Baena on Arthur Ashe Stadium.

The Serbian star mixed 25 winners with 30 unforced errors, breaking four times in a commanding win.

Djokovic will next face Juan Ignacio Londero after the Argentinian got past Sam Querrey 3-6 6-1 7-6 (7-3) 7-5.

FEDERER FIGHTS THROUGH

Federer, a 20-time grand slam champion, was well below his best in a 4-6 6-1 6-2 6-4 win against world number 190 Nagal.

The Swiss star finished with 57 unforced errors – and 61 winners – as he won through in two hours, 29 minutes.

Federer will hope for an improved display when he faces Damir Dzumhur, who recorded a 4-6 6-2 6-3 6-0 win over Elliot Benchetrit.

ONE STEP AT A TIME FOR MEDVEDEV

Kei Nishikori advanced as Marco Trungelliti retired on Monday, before the Japanese reeled off a list of names he believes are capable of challenging the 'Big Three', potentially starting at Flushing Meadows.

Nishikori named himself, Dominic Thiem, Alexander Zverev, Felix Auger-Aliassime, Denis Shapovalov, Nick Kyrgios and also Daniil Medvedev. "I think things are starting to change a little bit now," he said.

But fifth seed Medvedev, who defeated Prajnesh Gunneswaran in straight sets, while appreciative of Nishikori's words, is not ready to talk of titles just yet.

"At this moment of my career, I haven't even been in the quarters of a slam yet," he said. "So that's the first step to make.

"If I make this step, then I can talk about bigger goals and bigger achievements."

Stan Wawrinka, the 2016 champion and 23rd seed, battled through, overcoming Jannik Sinner 6-3 7-6 (7-4) 4-6 6-3.

Only three seeds exited, with Fabio Fognini (11), Guido Pella (19) and Taylor Fritz (26) departing.

Rafael Nadal moved into the Rogers Cup semi-finals as Alexander Zverev and Dominic Thiem crashed out on Friday.

Nadal was pushed early before getting past Fabio Fognini in their quarter-final clash in Montreal, where the Spanish great stayed on track in his title defence.

Rain saw the day's final match – between Gael Monfils and Roberto Bautista Agut – pushed back, but not before Thiem and Zverev made straightforward exits.

 

NADAL SURVIVES FOGNINI TEST

Nadal, the 18-time grand slam champion, was troubled early before proving too good for Italian seventh seed Fognini 2-6 6-1 6-2.

The Spaniard has now won 12 of 16 meetings between the pair, impressively losing just 12 points on serve in the final two sets.

But Nadal must wait to find out his semi-final opponent after the rain arrived in Montreal.

Monfils and Bautista Agut had played just two points when their clash was stopped and pushed back to Saturday.

 

RUSSIAN DUO CAUSE UPSETS

Thiem and Zverev, the second and third seeds respectively, bowed out with straight-sets losses.

Daniil Medvedev had lost his previous two meetings with Thiem, but the Russian needed less than an hour to crush the Austrian 6-3 6-1.

He will face compatriot Karen Khachanov, who rushed past 2017 champion Zverev 6-3 6-3.

Rafael Nadal kept his Rogers Cup title defence alive with a three-set victory over Fabio Fognini in their quarter-final on Friday.

The top seed struggled to deal with Fognini early before coming from behind to secure a 2-6 6-1 6-2 win against the Italian seventh seed in Montreal.

Nadal lost to Fognini at Monte Carlo earlier this year, but his win at the ATP Masters 1000 event marked his 12th in 16 meetings between the pair.

A four-time champion at the tournament, the Spanish great – who now has 40 wins this year – was in trouble early as Fognini made a flying start.

Nadal, an 18-time grand slam winner, sent a forehand long to fall 2-1 behind as Fognini raced out to a 5-1 lead before claiming the opening set.

However, that drew a response from Nadal, who won the first nine points of the second set, Fognini unable to recover from a 3-0 deficit.

A break in the opening game of the decider set up Nadal, who dropped just five points on serve during the set to secure his spot in the last four.

Fabio Fognini's Los Cabos Open title defence came to an end with a loss to the in-form Taylor Fritz, while Guido Pella and Diego Schwartzman set up a semi-final showdown.

Fognini, last year's champion in Mexico, bowed out in the quarter-finals with a 6-1 7-6 (7-1) defeat to Fritz on Thursday.

Fritz is coming off a run to the Atlanta Open final and got the better of Fognini to record his 12th victory in his last 14 matches.

The 21-year-old American saved five break points against Italian top seed Fognini, who had won their only previous meeting last year.

Fritz will face Radu Albot in the semi-finals after the Moldovan seventh seed beat 2017 runner-up Thanasi Kokkinakis 6-3 6-3.

Pella, the second seed, edged past qualifier Kwon Soon-woo 4-6 6-1 6-2, breaking serve six times.

He will meet Schwartzman in an all-Argentinian last-four clash after the third seed crushed Mikhail Kukushkin 6-1 6-2.

Pella and Schwartzman were the second seeds in the doubles at the tournament, but lost in the quarter-finals on Thursday.

Defending champion Fabio Fognini moved through to the Los Cabos Open quarter-finals, while Thanasi Kokkinakis ousted Lucas Pouille.

Top seed Fognini kept his title defence on track with a 4-6 6-3 6-4 victory over Marcel Granollers at the ATP 250 tournament on Wednesday.

Fognini dropped the opening set, but the Italian rallied to set up a clash with fifth seed Taylor Fritz, who outlasted Prajnesh Gunneswaran 4-6 6-3 6-2.

There were contrasting results for seeds Pouille and Guido Pella on the Mexican hard courts midweek.

Pouille – the French fourth seed – was sent packing by Kokkinakis, who backed up his drought-breaking victory with a 2-6 6-4 6-3 triumph.

Prior to this tournament, Kokkinakis had not claimed a tour-level win since stunning Roger Federer in March 2018 and he will now face Radu Albot after the seventh seed defeated Taro Daniel 6-1 6-2.

Second seed Pella, meanwhile, saw off Grigor Dimitrov 6-4 6-2 to seal his eighth quarter-final berth of the year.

Next up for Pella is South Korean qualifier Kwon Soon-woo, who trumped Juan Ignacio Londero 6-4 3-6 6-3 for his first ATP Tour quarter-final.

Third seed Diego Schwartzman topped Ernests Gulbis 7-5 6-0 and Mikhail Kukushkin claimed a 7-5 7-5 win over Cameron Norrie.

Alexander Zverev stormed back to beat Filip Krajinovic and reach the German Tennis Championships semi-finals after splitting with coach Ivan Lendl, while Andrey Rublev claimed the scalp of Dominic Thiem.

Zverev and Lendl have parted ways less than a year after starting their collaboration ahead of the US Open.

The German could start the post-Lendl era with a second ATP Tour singles title of the season, having come from a set and a break down to beat Krajinovic 2-6 7-5 6-2 in his homeland on Friday.

Krajinovic served for the match at 5-3 up in the second set, but Zverev showed great resistance to pull himself off the ropes, winning four games in a row to level the match before largely dominating the decider.

Second seed Zverev will take on defending champion Nikoloz Basilashvili in the last four after the fourth seed beat Jeremy Chardy 6-2 6-3 in Hamburg.

Former World No. 1 Ivan Lendl and Alexander Zverev have parted company after a partnership that included a run to the 2018 #NittoATPFinals. #ATP

— ATP Tour (@ATP_Tour) July 26, 2019

Top seed Thiem's titles hopes were ended with a 7-6 (7-3) 7-6 (7-5) loss to 21-year-old Russian Rublev, who will face Pablo Carreno Busta - a 3-6 6-2 7-6 (7-4) conqueror of Fabio Fognini.

Carreno Busta's fellow Spaniard Roberto Bautista Agut was knocked out of the Swiss Open Gstaad by Joao Sousa, a 4-6 6-3 7-5 quarter-final winner.

Pablo Andujar and Albert Ramos Vinolas continue to fly the flag for Spain in Switzerland, though, and will meet at the semi-final stage following defeats of Dusan Lajovic and Roberto Carballes Baena respectively.

Nicolas Jarry enjoyed a winning start at the Swedish Open on Tuesday, while Fabio Fognini learned his second-round Croatia Open Umag opponent.

Fifth seed Jarry came through his opener unscathed, beating Henri Laaksonen 7-6 (7-1) 7-5 despite trailing by a break early in the first set.

The Chilean joins compatriot and top seed Cristian Garin, who was handed a bye, in the next round, with the latter to face Jeremy Chardy.

Chardy came through in three sets in his first-round clash with Pablo Carreno Busta, a qualifier this week.

Juan Ignacio Londero and Joao Sousa eased through, while Damir Dzumhur had too much for Casper Ruud.

In Croatia, Fognini was in doubles action as Stefano Travaglia secured a date with his compatriot, beating another Italian in Thomas Fabbiano.

Filip Krajinovic had to wait until late in the day to take on and defeat Taro Daniel, but Martin Klizan let a one-set lead slip up against Facundo Bagnis. Leonardo Mayer, meanwhile, beat Pablo Andujar in straight sets.

Wimbledon great Roger Federer gave a modest response to becoming the first player to win 350 singles grand slam matches on Saturday.

Federer defeated Lucas Pouille 7-5 6-2 7-6 (7-4) on Centre Court to bring up the milestone.

But while Billie Jean King dedicated a Twitter post to the Swiss, describing him as "this GOAT", Federer himself preferred to explain why the achievement was slightly biased.

"The records mean something to me but not everything just because I am very much aware that not everybody for the last 100 years played all the slams," he said.

"It's really only the last 20 years that that's been going on. Travelling has gotten easier. I'm sure that's going to keep happening from now on, most of the players will keep playing."

Federer was at least positive about his performance, though, adding: "I'm very happy how it's going so far. I thought it was a good match with Lucas.

"Of course, I hope it's going to take a special performance from somebody to stop me, not just a mediocre performance. I'm happy that I'm able to raise my level of play."

 

NADAL: CHALLENGERS NEED TIME...

It is a question that is asked of Nadal, Federer and Novak Djokovic time and again. Who can end their dominant reign?

There was certainly no sign of Nadal slowing on Saturday as he blitzed Jo-Wilfried Tsonga 6-2 6-3 6-2, although the Spaniard acknowledged the end is nearing for the big three after a "special" stretch.

"There are a couple of very good players on the Tour. Yeah, a couple of young ones," he said. "They need some time.

"I don't know. For me, it is not easy to answer this question because I am part of it. It is difficult to have clear answer.

"Honestly, what we have achieved in the grand slams, in tennis in general, during the last 14, 15 years, is something special. To have three players that achieved that much is something difficult to repeat because we played more or less at the same time.

"But here we are. Of course, somebody is going to come and beat us or we are going to leave because we are not young anymore."

 

...AND SOUSA TAKES IT

This might not be quite what Nadal meant. His next opponent Joao Sousa was the last man off the court on Saturday after being taken to five sets by Briton Dan Evans.

An entertaining match might have enthused the two-time champion in more ways than one as the contest dragged on in draining fashion until Sousa won 4-6 6-4 7-5 4-6 6-4 in three hours and 56 minutes, becoming the first-ever Portuguese player to reach the last 16.

 

SANDGREN SETS UP ALL-AMERICAN CLASH

Tennys Sandgren and Sam Querrey, two Americans, will face each other in the next round following impressive wins.

Sandgren kept his composure as opponent Fabio Fognini lost his cool, extraordinarily ranting about a wish to see Wimbledon bombed, while Querrey's superb form continued against John Millman.

A third American fell by the way side as Kei Nishikori breezed past Steve Johnson, though.

Matteo Berrettini will play Federer, with Mikhail Kukushkin also through.

Fabio Fognini launched into an astonishing on-court outburst during his defeat to Tennys Sandgren, claiming he "wished a bomb would explode" at Wimbledon.

Saturday's third-round tie on No.14 Court had to be stopped with Fognini a set down to Sandgren due to a disturbance in the crowd.

Fognini was visibly frustrated at the delay and began ranting in Italian until play was resumed, apparently unhappy with the remote venue.

The outburst was picked up by microphones, however, and Fognini could face retrospective action given the nature of his comments.

"It's fair to play here?" the Italian, who went on to lose the match 6-3 7-6 (14-12) 6-3, said. "Damn English, really. Damned English.

"Wish a bomb would explode on this club. A bomb should explode here."

Fognini is serving a suspended two-grand slam ban for abusing an umpire at the 2017 US Open, with the suspension to be served if he committed a "major offence" within two years.

The world number 10 was asked about the scheduling and his subsequent comments in a terse post-match news conference.

"That's the schedule. The schedule is like that, I have nothing to say," he said. "The court was not really good."

He added: "Something happened on court. If I feel sorry for somebody, I have to say sorry. Now I have to be focused on the second half of the season.

"I will say sorry. If somebody feels offended, I will say sorry. No problem."

An eventful contest also saw Fognini receive treatment after punching his racquet, while he weaved through the Wimbledon crowds to visit a public toilet after the second set.

Fabio Fognini thanked fans for their support on "an incredible journey" after becoming the oldest player to break into the top 10 since the inception of the ATP world rankings.

The Italian finally made the top 10 at the age of 32 on Monday, when the men's rankings were updated following the French Open.

Fognini is the oldest men's player to break into the top 10 since the rankings were first established in August 1973. 

Ken Rosewall and Rod Laver were older than Fognini at 38 and 35 respectively when they appeared in that first-ever top 10, and this year's Monte Carlo Masters champion is the oldest man to enter in the 46 years since.

"To reach the Top 10 is like the fulfilment of a dream," Fognini told the ATP's website. "I see myself as a kid on a tennis court with a racquet bigger than me and I think, 'This kid has gone a long way'.

"Right now I am happy and I want to thank my family, my wife, my son and all the people who have always been close to me. This is another piece of the puzzle which will push me to continue to give my all to the sport I love."

On Twitter, Fognini – who lost to Alexander Zverev in round four at Roland Garros - added: "What an incredible journey! Thank you for all the support."

Russia's Karen Khachanov (9) also moved into the top 10 for the first time.

Novak Djokovic was irrepressible in a straight-sets win over Jan-Lennard Struff at the French Open and faces an exciting quarter-final against Alexander Zverev.

Top seed Djokovic showed no mercy in a 6-3 6-2 6-2 dismissal of Struff but will likely face a much tougher test against Zverev, who ousted Monte Carlo Masters champion Fabio Fognini 3-6 6-2 6-2 7-6 (7-5).

After Kei Nishikori ousted Benoit Paire 6-2 6-7 (8-10) 6-2 6-7 (8-10) 7-5 in a match held over from Sunday, Dominic Thiem hit a ridiculous tweener as he saw off Gael Monfils - the last remaining Frenchman in the draw - 6-4 6-4 6-2.

Next up for last year's runner-up Thiem is Karen Khachanov, who broke new ground by defeating eighth seed Juan Martin del Potro 7-5 6-3 3-6 6-3 to reach the last eight of a grand slam for the first time in his career.

 

DJOKOVIC ON SONG

Struff started positively on Court Philippe-Chatrier but Djokovic quickly shifted through the gears to take control of the match.

The world number one produced some of his cleanest hitting at Roland Garros this year, leaving Struff powerless to resist in a one-sided encounter.

If Djokovic can maintain or even build on that sort of form, it will take something incredibly special to deny him a fourth major title in succession.

 

BIRTHDAY BOY NADAL LEARNS FATE

With the meeting between Paire and Nishikori suspended due to bad light on Sunday, the 'King of Clay' faced a wait to find out who his opponent would be in the quarter-finals.

It looked like being the Frenchman when, having trailed two sets to one overnight, he broke to have a chance to serve out the fifth set.

However, Paire faltered and Nishikori pounced, winning four games in succession to get a shot at 11-time champion Nadal on Tuesday.

Going up against an opponent who went the distance in the previous round might be a bit of a gift for newly minted 33-year-old Nadal.

 

ZVEREV HAPPY TO SHARE SPOTLIGHT

Having long been tipped as the next young player to win a major, Zverev has relished Stefanos Tsitsipas – who exited after losing a five-set epic to Stan Wawrinka in round four on Sunday – taking a share of the spotlight by winning in Estoril, reaching the final in Madrid and getting to the semi-finals in Rome.

After admitting he was enjoying not being the centre of attention, Zverev said: "The best thing that could have happened for me is how good Tsitsipas' clay-court season was.

"I'm happy for him. He played a great match [against Wawrinka] which unfortunately didn't go his way. But Stan and him played unbelievably well. So, he can be proud of something.

"But he was kind of the new superstar all of a sudden and for me, it was actually quite a nice thing that not all of the attention of the kind of NextGen thing is only going towards me."

 

THIEM'S TWEENER THE SHOT OF THE TOURNAMENT

Monfils could do little but applaud when Thiem backtracked to chase down a backhand from a net and fire the ball into the open court between his legs.

"It was an amazing shot. It was really amazing, of course, because it was the only choice I had. I was so far off the ball and couldn't play it any different way," said Thiem.

"And if that ball goes in it's always a big highlight. And I'm happy I have my first tweener of the year, I guess."

Novak Djokovic was made to work harder than he expected for a straight-sets victory over Salvatore Caruso, with Jan-Lennard Struff awaiting in round four of the French Open after outlasting Borna Coric.

Top seed Djokovic triumphed 6-3 6-3 6-2 against qualifier Caruso but was made to sweat on the hottest day at Roland Garros this year. The Serbian will face Struff after the unseeded German dug in to down Coric 4-6 6-1 4-6 7-6 (7-1) 11-9.

Last year's runner-up Dominic Thiem came through a testing encounter against fellow clay-court specialist Pablo Cuevas 6-3 4-6 6-2 7-5, but the going was easier for Gael Monfils and Karen Khachanov, who beat Antoine Hoang 6-3 6-2 6-3 and Martin Klizan 6-1 6-4 6-3 respectively.

Despite an injury scare while beating Yoshihito Nishioka in five sets last time out, Juan Martin del Potro sealed a 6-4 6-4 6-0 victory over Jordan Thompson.

Stefanos Tsitsipas and Stan Wawrinka triumphed in matches held over from Wednesday, while Alexander Zverev once more required all five sets to advance.

 

"I WAS PLEASANTLY SURPRISED"

Djokovic acknowledged that Caruso caused him problems during the first half of their match and he had to change his approach and up his game in order to close it out in three sets.

"Caruso was very motivated. I thought he stepped into the court having a clear game plan, attacking the ball from both forehand and backhand. He was hitting backhand very, very good, very solid," said Djokovic.

"He actually pleasantly surprised me with his game. I had to change my tactics quite a bit throughout the match. I think midway through the match I kind of stepped it up a little bit. I feel like I took my game to a different level, which then resulted with easier third set.

"It was a straight-set win, but it was tougher than the score indicated."

 

TSITSIPAS EDGES THROUGH

Tsitsipas had just reeled off three games in succession to draw level in the third set, having won the first two, when bad light forced his match against Filip Krajinovic to be suspended.

Krajinovic made the most of that reprieve by winning a tie-break to force another set, in which Tsitsipas twice had to fight from a break down to take it ot another breaker.

The Greek sixth seed then had to save a set point before finally getting over the line. He still managed to get off court before his next opponent Wawrinka, who failed to serve out the third set and had to save five set points before getting over the line in a tie-break against Grigor Dimitrov.

It was Wawrinka's 500th career win and means he has now beaten Dimitrov at every single grand slam.

 

OLD HABITS DIE HARD FOR ZVEREV

After playing three straight five-set matches before his quarter-final exit at Roland Garros last year, Zverev kicked off his bid for a French Open title this year with yet another against John Millman.

Getting past Mikael Ymer in three in round two seemed to suggest his progress was going to be more serene, but once again he was taken the distance by Dusan Lajovic - as he was in 2018.

The fifth seed has another tough opponent in the last 16 in the shape of Monte Carlo Masters champion Fabio Fognini, who ousted Roberto Bautista Agut to move one match away from a second grand slam quarter-final appearance.

The world of tennis will descend upon Paris this weekend for the start of the French Open.

Novak Djokovic has an opportunity to become just the second man to hold all four major titles on two separate occasions at Roland Garros, but Rafael Nadal is always a leading contender for success on clay.

There is no clear-cut favourite in the women's draw, though Naomi Osaka can win a third straight grand slam and consequently match a feat only previous achieved by seven women in the Open Era.

Ahead of the tournament, three Omnisport writers put their necks on the line and share their picks for glory.

 

JON FISHER

My women's tip: Simona Halep

Halep will return to Paris seeking to become just the sixth woman to retain her crown at Roland Garros in the Open Era. The Romanian claimed her maiden grand slam title 12 months ago after beating Sloane Stephens in a three-set final and comes back as favourite despite a mixed start to 2019. She reached the final of the Madrid Open – losing to Kiki Bertens – but made a second-round exit a few days later in Rome. Halep has proved she has the game and the temperament to win on the biggest stage, though, and, in what appears a wide-open event, can be backed to emerge victorious once again.

My men's tip: Novak Djokovic

Nadal's inconsistent clay-court performances in 2019 have given renewed hope to a pack forever in the slipstream of the relentless Spaniard. Nadal did edge out Djokovic in the Rome final, but the Serbian is unquestionably the most likely to capitalise should the draw open up. Djokovic's sole triumph at Roland Garros came in 2016 but the four-time finalist is in good form – a runner-up finish at the Foro Italico coming after victory in the Madrid Open.

Ones to watch: Belinda Bencic and Fabio Fognini

Bencic has re-emerged as a major player on the WTA Tour after a rankings slump caused by injury and a dramatic loss of form. The Swiss does not fear reputations, evidenced by her Rogers Cup success which saw her beat four top-10 players as a prodigiously talented 18-year-old in 2015. Having regained her mojo, Bencic beat world number one Naomi Osaka en route to the semi-finals of the Madrid Open in May. Now 15th in the world, she could go deep if the favourites falter.

Bencic's reputation as a dangerous floater on the women's side is matched on the men's by Fognini. The enigmatic Italian holds most matches on his racket depending on his mood. A woeful defeat to 101-ranked Jiri Vesely in his clay-court season opener in Marrakech in April was followed just a week later by victory at the Monte Carlo Masters – a run that saw him beat Nadal in the semis. Whether he can wake up on the right side of the bed every day for a fortnight in Paris remains to be seen, but he has the game to challenge the world's best.

PETER THOMPSON

My women's tip: Kiki Bertens

Bertens made great strides last season and has gone from strength to strength this year. The 27-year-old from the Netherlands moved up to a career-high fourth in the rankings after beating French Open champion Halep in the final of the Madrid Open this month. Bertens also demonstrated her clay-court pedigree with runs to the last four in Stuttgart and Rome. She reached the semi-finals at Roland Garros three years ago and is much improved since then, packing a punch with her potent forehand and developing her all-round game to become a serious grand slam contender.

My men's tip: Rafael Nadal

Nadal has not been as dominant as usual on clay this season, but normal service was resumed when he claimed a first title of the year in Rome. The 'King of Clay' struck a big psychological blow by defeating Djokovic at the Foro Italico to be crowned champion in the Eternal City for the ninth time. Court Philippe-Chatrier was knocked down after the legendary Spaniard lifted the Coupe des Mousquetaires for an 11th time last year and, fitness permitting, the world number two will take some stopping as he aims to demolish his rivals yet again at Roland Garros.

Ones to watch: Sloane Stephens and Stefanos Tsitsipas

Stephens looked set to inflict more heartbreak on Halep last year before the Romanian came storming back to end her wait for an elusive major title. The 2017 US Open champion reached the quarter-finals and semi-finals in her first two clay-court tournaments of the season and is more than capable of banishing the memories of her defeat in the final 12 months ago.

Greek sensation Tsitsipas surged to a career-high sixth in the rankings after he was beaten by Nadal in the semi-finals in Rome following a loss to Djokovic in the final in Madrid. The fearless 20-year-old produced his best showing at a major when he reached the last four of the Australian Open in January and can ruffle more feathers on the red stuff in the French capital.

 

TOM WEBBER

My women's tip: Karolina Pliskova

Despite starting the season with glory in Brisbane, Pliskova's season has been blighted by illness since she lost the Miami Open final to Ashleigh Barty in March. After disappointing displays in Stuttgart and Madrid, Pliskova became just the third player to win multiple WTA Tour titles this year with success at the Internazionali d'Italia. The Czech - a semi-finalist at Roland Garros in 2017 - may not have had to beat a single seed in Rome, but she is the form player heading to Paris and, with a strong record on clay in recent years, has a great opportunity to break her major duck.

My men's tip: Rafael Nadal

Since Nadal lifted the Coupe des Mousquetaires for the first time in 2005, he has only failed to triumph at Roland Garros on three occasions. No man has dominated a single tournament in the Open Era, let alone a major, in the manner of Nadal at the French Open. Although his performances on clay this season have not been as impressive as in past years and he considers Djokovic to be the favourite for success in Paris, the world number two looks in decent shape to claim an unprecedented 12th title after his victory over the Serbian in Rome.

Ones to watch: Serena Williams and Dominic Thiem

It is a rare thing for Williams to head to a major as an outsider for success, but that is the case at the French Open. Margaret Court's all-time record of 24 grand slam triumphs continues to hang over her but the 37-year-old has made two major finals since her return from giving birth and the complications that followed in September 2017. A troublesome knee caused her to pull out of a second-round match against sister Venus in Rome, but she should not be overlooked as a contender for the Coupe Suzanne Lenglen.

Thiem has consistently proven a strong competitor on clay – all but four of his titles on the ATP Tour have been claimed on the surface. He scored a big win over Nadal en route to the trophy at the Barcelona Open in April and, although he fell to Fernando Verdasco in the second round in Rome, he has reached at least the semi-finals at Roland Garros in each of the past three years. The world number four will be keen to improve on his final defeat to Nadal last year and bring about his major breakthrough.

Denis Shapovalov will face Novak Djokovic in the second round of the Internazionali d’Italia after beating Pablo Carreno Busta, while Gael Monfils crashed out in Rome on Monday.

Shapovalov arrived in the Eternal City on a dismal run of four consecutive losses, but he got up and running on clay with a 6-3 7-6 (7-5) defeat of Carreno Busta.

The 20-year-old faces a huge test in round two at the Foro Italico, with world number one Djokovic eyeing back-to-back titles following his Madrid Open triumph.

Monfils has enjoyed an impressive season - giving Roger Federer a major test in Madrid last week - but the 15th seed went down 6-3 6-1 to Albert Ramos-Vinolas.

Fernando Verdasco will come up against Dominic Thiem after fighting back to see off Kyle Edmund 4-6 6-4 6-2, while Borna Coric also came from a set down to eliminate Felix Auger-Aliassime.

Fabio Fognini toppled Jo-Wilfried Tsonga to join the likes of Karen Khachanov, Nikoloz Basilashvili and Marco Cecchinato in round two.

French duo Richard Gasquet and Jeremy Chardy were locked at a set apiece when play was suspended for the day due to rain as they battle for the right to play defending champion Rafael Nadal.

 

SHAP SNAPS LOSING STREAK

Shapovalov has been out of sorts since losing to Federer in the Miami Open, but the Canadian prodigy showed what he is capable of in the Italian capital.

Carreno Busta did not force a single break point and although Shapovalov converted only one of 12, he got through in straight sets.

Shapovalov will face Djokovic for the second time in his fledgling career, having been beaten in a four-setter at the Australian Open earlier this year.

 

MISERY FOR MONFILS 

Monfils dropped below the high standards he has set for much of this year and Ramos-Vinolas capitalised.

Frenchman Monfils won only 66 per cent of points behind his first serve and Ramos-Vinolas won all four break points he earned.

Monfils' compatriot Tsonga also bowed out, with 10th seed Fognini winning 6-3 6-4.

Alexander Zverev sent David Ferrer into retirement at the Madrid Open, while Juan Martin del Potro's return ended in defeat.

Zverev ended Ferrer's career with his second-round win on Wednesday as the 37-year-old 2013 French Open runner-up bid farewell to the ATP Tour.

Back after more than two months out with a knee injury, Del Potro went down to Laslo Djere at the ATP 1000 clay-court event.

But the seeds were relatively strong otherwise, with Rafael Nadal joining defending champion Zverev in easing through his second-round match.

 

FERRER'S CAREER ENDS WITH ZVEREV DEFEAT

A 27-time title winner on the ATP Tour, Ferrer was unable to extend his career another match.

The Spanish veteran suffered a 6-4 6-1 loss to Zverev, the third seed and last year's champion, in the second round.

"I never expected a goodbye or farewell like today," Ferrer said, via the ATP Tour website. "I tried to play at a high level during the last year, but a day like today, people at work tomorrow, everyone stays here to support me and that is something that I will only have in my mind and in my heart.

"It's something I will never forget."

DEL POTRO BOWS OUT ON RETURN

The seventh seed, Del Potro's return ended with defeat as the Argentinian was edged by Djere 6-3 2-6 7-5.

Djere has already secured the title in Rio de Janeiro this year and the Serbian made the most of his opportunities in the deciding set.

As Del Potro won more return points and squandered five break-point opportunities, and a match point, Djere took his only chance to seal victory in two hours, 22 minutes.

 

NADAL, WAWRINKA CRUISE ON GOOD DAY FOR SEEDS

A record five-time champion in Madrid, Nadal brushed past talented Canadian teenager Felix Auger-Aliassime 6-3 6-3.

Of the eight seeds in action, six won, with only Del Potro and Karen Khachanov – who was edged by Fernando Verdasco – departing.

Stan Wawrinka, the 2013 runner-up, is unseeded, but the Swiss star was too good for Guido Pella 6-3 6-4, setting up a last-16 showdown with Kei Nishikori.

Nishikori survived a test against qualifier Hugo Dellien before recording a 7-5 7-5 victory.

Stefanos Tsitsipas, the eighth seed, had few problems getting past Adrian Mannarino 6-2 7-5, while there were also wins for Gael Monfils and Fabio Fognini.

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