10 Things to Know, Day 2: Serena plays first match on clay in 485 days

10 Things to Know, Day 2: Serena plays first match on clay in 485 days

The three-time Roland Garros champion hasn't played on the surface since falling to Sofia Kenin in the third round of last year's tournament.

UPDATE: Three-time French Open champion Serena is through to the second round after battling past compatriot Kristie Ahn, 7-6 (2), 6-0. Next up for the American is fellow mom Tsvetana Pironkova, who tested the 23-time major champion in the US Open quarterfinals just three weeks ago.

Trivia: Serena Williams is 74-1 in first-round matches at majors. Who beat her, when and where?

Five of the eight players on Chatrier today are Grand Slam champions. The first round continues with an absolutely star-studded line-up, particularly on Chatrier, where five of the eight players in action have won majors (and there’s another men’s first-round clash between major champions, too).

Three of the Top 4 men’s seeds play their openers today. Rafael Nadal, Dominic Thiem and Daniil Medvedev—the No. 2, No. 3 and No. 4 seeds, respectively—make their debuts. No. 1 seed Novak Djokovic starts on Tuesday.

Nadal’s 42-0 as the No. 2 seed at Roland Garros. This is the seventh time he’s been the second seed here and he's won the title the other six times in 2006, 2007, 2008, 2010, 2012 and 2019.

Nadal’s 57-2 in first-round matches at majors. His only two losses came against Steve Darcis at 2013 Wimbledon and Fernando Verdasco at the 2016 Australian Open. He’s 15-0 in first-round matches here.

Serena’s playing her first match on clay in 485 days. Her last match on this surface was a 6-2 7-5 loss to Sofia Kenin in the third round of last year’s French Open on June 1, 2019.

It’s only been 27 days since Serena played her opponent today, though. She played Kristie Ahn in the first round of the US Open four weeks ago, rallying from 2-0 down in both sets to prevail, 7-5 6-3.

Getty Images

It’s Marin Cilic’s birthday today! For his 32nd birthday, the 2014 US Open champion plays Thiem, who he’s 0-3 against. He’s also 0-8 against Top 10 players at Roland Garros (and 2-24 in sets).

The last time Thiem and Cilic played, it was two days after Thiem’s birthday. Thiem turned 27 on the first Thursday of the US Open, beat Cilic in four sets on Saturday night, then won the title the next Sunday. Cilic was the only player to take a set off of the Austrian before the final, though.

Medvedev’s 0-3 at Roland Garros. He’s 25-14 overall at majors, going 7-4 at the Australian Open, 5-3 at Wimbledon and 13-4 at the US Open. He lost in the first round here the last three years.

“It can help me that it's a bit colder, so the balls don't fly as much, don't go as spinny,” the 2019 US Open finalist said coming into the tournament. “So maybe I can play some flat tennis, obviously in practices, before the match. I think it can be an opportunity for me actually, an advantage.”

The 1990 French Open champion’s son makes his Grand Slam main-draw debut on Court 3. Emilio Gomez, the son of Andres Gomez, is in the main draw of a major for the first time—after his eighth attempt at qualifying—and plays Italy’s Lorenzo Sonego on Monday for a spot in the second round.

Sebastian Korda, the son of another major champion, 1998 Australian Open winner Petr Korda, is also in the draw here. “It’s pretty cool and I’m really happy that Emilio got through as well, and to keep our dads’ names out there,” Sebastian, who won his first round on Sunday, told ATPTour.com.

Yesterday’s Trivia Answer: While Coco Gauff was a junior No. 1, Jannik Sinner’s career-high ranking in the juniors was (surprisingly) No.133.