WATCH: Ruud shook off a slow start to his 2023 season with a decisive opening-round win over Diego Schwartzman.

Casper Ruud vs. Cristian Garin

If you just looked at the rankings, you might assume this opening match in Stadium 1 will be blow-out city. Ruud is No. 4, and he’s coming off a year when he reached two Grand Slam finals. Garin, meanwhile, is 97th, and has been slowed with shoulder and wrist injuries that have had the 26-year-old Chilean hinting at retirement.

But when he’s not hurt, Garin is a quality all-surface player who has been to the quarterfinals at Wimbledon and the fourth round at Roland Garros. More pertinent on this day, he’s 2-1 against Ruud. Granted, both of his wins came on clay, while Ruud won their only match on hard courts, at the United Cup in January. Aside from that victory, though, Ruud hasn’t done a whole lot in 2023. Which means No. 97 may have a chance against No. 4.

Winner: Ruud


Ostapenko will face Kvitova for the 10th time in her career, splitting their two 2022 meetings.

Ostapenko will face Kvitova for the 10th time in her career, splitting their two 2022 meetings.

Petra Kvitova vs. Jelena Ostapenko

I know what you’re thinking: What decade is this? Kvitova-Ostapenko feels very pre-pandemic. It isn’t as though the 33-year-old Czech and the 25-year-old Latvian, who have three Slam titles between them, are irrelevant now. Kvitova is ranked 15th and Ostapenko 25th, and they can still hit the ball as hard as anyone from the ground. But neither is in the WTA vanguard anymore. They both play go-for-broke, hit-and-miss, flat-power tennis; the tour’s best players now—Swiatek, Sabalenka, Jabeur—use a little more spin and subtlety and safety, and they win much more consistently.

But if you like wham-bang tennis, with no hesitations or second thoughts, and a lot of blazing winners from surprising positions, this is the match for you. Kvitova leads their head to head 5-4, but Ostapenko won the best of those matches, last year in Dubai, 11-9 in a third-set tiebreaker.

Winner: Ostapenko


Coco Gauff vs. Linda Noskova

Who’s the best 18-year-old on tour? Gauff, who’s already in the Top 10, would seem to have that title wrapped up. But Noskova, an 18-year-old Czech, may be gaining on her soon. Gauff won the girls’ title at Roland Garros in 2018 and was in the WTA Top 50 not long after. Noskova won the Paris juniors three years later, and she just hit No. 50 in the pro rankings last month. She made her biggest move in Lyon, where she came out of the qualifiers to beat Garbiñe Muguruza and reach the quarterfinals.

Which makes this an interesting test for both players. Noskova will put herself up against the gold standard in her peer group, while Gauff will be forced to face that rarity on tour: Someone her age, and someone she could be facing for 15 or more years to come.

Winner: Gauff