Three to See, French Open Day 9: Thiem-Monfils; Zverev-Fognini; Halep

Three to See, French Open Day 9: Thiem-Monfils; Zverev-Fognini; Halep

At this stage of Roland Garros, just about every men’s match not featuring one of the Big 3 feels like it could be a five-setter.

Before each day's play at the 2019 French Open, we'll preview three must-see matches.


Alexander Zverev vs. Fabio Fognini

At this stage of Roland Garros, just about every men’s match not featuring one of the Big 3 feels like it could be a five-setter. And that’s true for this fourth-round contest in Lenglen; Zverev has already played two five setters in this tournament, and Fognini has never been known for efficiency. Still, none of their three previous meetings have lasted longer than two sets. Zverev leads their head to head 2-1, but Fognini has the most recent and perhaps the most significant win, which came during his run to the Monte Carlo title in April. Zverev’s form has slowly, in dribs and drabs, improved since then, while Fognini hasn’t come close to matching what he did in Monaco. All of which leads me to think this one really might go five. Winner: Zverev


Dominic Thiem vs. Gael Monfils

What was I just saying about potential roller-coasters and marathons? This afternoon Chatrier showcase has both of those things written all over it. Or does it? Thiem has won all four of his previous meetings with Monfils, including two on clay. However long it lasts, though, the Frenchman and the Austrian should provide plenty of power, plenty of topspin, plenty of leaping, and plenty of GIF-able shotmaking moments. Each of these guys loves nothing more than to stand at the back of the arena and wail on the ball, and Chatrier gives them more room than just about any other court in the world to do it. Monfils will probably get the home folks’ hopes up for at least set, if not two, but Thiem will probably crush them in the end. Winner: Thiem


Simona Halep vs. Iga Swiatek

Iga, not Aga. Just a few months after Radwanska’s retirement, there’s a new Polish woman in town. Teenager, actually: Swiatek turned 18 earlier this week, so you might as well get used to watching her now. With her strong serve, point-ending forehand, and jumping backhand, Iga looks like the proverbial real deal—and not much like Aga. She also looks like someone who could give Halep in particular some trouble. The defending champion is going to want to make a high percentage of first serves, because Swiatek won’t waste any time pummeling her second serves when they sit up. But as promising as Iga looks, is she really ready to walk onto Chatrier and take out the woman who has made the last two finals there? I’m guessing Halep will make her play one ball too many—this time. Winner: Halep


Catch up on Week 1 at Roland Garros on the TENNIS.com Podcast: