Each day during Roland Garros, we'll preview three must-see matches.

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Roger Federer vs. Marin Cilic

Federer leads Cilic 9-1 in their head to head, but they have had their share of memorable contests. There was Federer’s five-set win in the 2018 Australian Open final; his comeback from two sets down at Wimbledon in 2016; and Cilic’s straight-set demolition of Federer in the 2014 US Open semifinals, to name just three. But they’ve only faced off once on clay, back in 2011 in Monte Carlo, a match Federer won 6-4, 6-3. More pertinent for their Chatrier contest on Thursday will be their current form. Federer looked good in his first-round win over a sluggish Denis Istomin, but how will he fare against an opponent who, presumably, won’t let him control every rally the way Istomin did?

Cilic should offer more resistance, but just how much is hard to tell. He’s 32, ranked No. 47, and has had an up-and-down clay-court swing at best. This match should go beyond three sets, and it may awaken some old ghosts—good ones for Federer, not-so-good ones for Cilic—in both players’ minds. Winner: Federer

Rafael Nadal vs. Richard Gasquet

Isn’t it just Gasquet’s luck that this late-career opportunity to take over center stage in his home country will come in a match with no fans? Gasquet and his fellow 34-year-old Nadal will play the night session in Chatrier; because of the 9:00 P.M. Covid curfew in Paris, they’ll have to do it on their own, and create their own energy. Of course, Gasquet might not want any witnesses for this particular match. He’s 0-16 against Rafa, and has lost all six sets he’s played against the Spaniard at Roland Garros. Gasquet still has the beautiful one-handed backhand; unfortunately, Nadal still has his left-handed forehand. Winner: Nadal

Rafa will celebrate his birthday at Roland Garros as the reigning French Open and Italian Open champion; he beat Djokovic in the Rome final last month.

Rafa will celebrate his birthday at Roland Garros as the reigning French Open and Italian Open champion; he beat Djokovic in the Rome final last month.

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Novak Djokovic vs. Pablo Cuevas

Have the 34-year-old Serb and the 35-year-old Argentine really never played before? I had to check three or four websites to make sure I was reading that right. Djokovic and Cuevas have been on tour since 2004, which means they’ve been steering clear of each other for 17 years. That streak will end on Thursday when they face off on the second show court at Roland Garros. Cuevas is ranked 92nd now, but he has cracked the Top 20 in the past, and has won six titles, all of them on clay. Djokovic, you know about. Winner: Djokovic