Best defence: Iga Swiatek aims to be the first woman since 2007 to successfully defend the French Open title
Paris (AFP) - World number one and defending champion Iga Swiatek begins her push for a third French Open title on Tuesday.
Daniil Medvedev, the men’s second seed, buoyed by a first clay title in Rome last week, also gets his campaign underway.
Here, AFP Sport takes a look ahead at three stand-out matches of the third day of the 2023 tournament (x denotes seeded player).
- Iga Swiatek (POL x1) v Cristina Bucsa v (ESP) -
Swiatek, the reigning French and US Open champion, is bidding to become the first woman to successfully defend her singles title at Roland Garros since Justine Henin in 2007.
The 21-year-old Pole arrives in Paris shrugging off a thigh injury suffered in Rome.
“Luckily nothing serious happened. I’m still recovering from the thigh injury, but I’ll be good for my first round. That’s the most important thing for me,” she said.
Bucsa, a 25-year-old Moldova-born Spaniard ranked at 70, knows what she’s facing after Swiatek thumped her 6-0, 6-1 at the Australian Open in January.
However, Bucsa took heart from making the last 32 of the main draw from qualifying and knocking out former US Open champion Bianca Andreescu in the second round.
- Daniil Medvedev (x2) v Thiago Seyboth Wild (BRA) -
Clay master: Daniil Medvedev kisses the Italian Open trophy
Former US Open champion Medvedev comes to Roland Garros having clinched his first ever clay court title at the prestigious Italian Open in Rome. It was also his fifth trophy of the year.
The Russian has endured a bitter-sweet relationship with the French Open, losing in the first round in his first four visits. He ended that streak with a run to the quarter-finals in 2021.
A former US Open junior champion, Brazil’s Thiago Seyboth Wild is ranked 172 and had to play the qualifiers in Paris.
Back in 2020, when he was still 19, he lifted his maiden ATP title in Santiago by beating Casper Ruud in the final, becoming the tour’s first champion born in the 2000s.
Seyboth Wild has been plagued by controversy. In 2021 he was reportedly investigated for abuse of a former girlfriend. He denied the allegations, describing them as “fabricated and vengeful”.
- Holger Rune (DEN x6) v Christopher Eubanks (USA) -
Title contender: Denmark's Holger Rune
Rune is tipped as a potential title winner in Paris having made the quarter-finals on his debut last year, defeating Stefanos Tsitsipas on his way. It took eventual runner-up Casper Ruud to halt his progress in a bad-tempered affair.
Rune accused Ruud of a “lack of respect”; Ruud told the Dane to “grow up”.
The 20-year-old Rune has enjoyed an impressive clay court season with a title success in Munich sandwiched by runners-up spots in Monte Carlo and Rome.
Eubanks is playing in the Paris main draw for the first time on a career-high ranking of 74.
He made a run to the Miami Masters quarter-finals out of qualifying this year, knocking out top 20 player Borna Coric in the first round before losing to Daniil Medvedev in the last-eight.