Stay tuned for updates throughout the French Open as Nick’s Pick will bring you daily analysis and predictions!
Jo-Wilfried Tsonga (FRA) vs. Juan Monaco (ARG)
Tsonga is playing in only his second French Open, and for the first time he is out of the opening round. He needed four sets to beat fellow Frenchman Julien Benneteau, and I agree with Mats Wilander who says that Tsonga is a potential Grand Slam winner.
Monaco advanced to the second round of the French Open for the first time since 2007 when he advanced to the fourth round. He is a very good clay-court player, and just recently reached the quarters in Rome.
Tsonga is 1-0 against Monaco with that win coming earlier this year in the first round at the Aussie Open. Monaco knows how to win on clay. He moves well, has excellent groundstrokes, and is extremely comfortable on the surface. Against Tsonga, he is going to need more than that though. Tsonga can do all of those things, and he does them a little better and with more power. The key for Tsonga is going to be staying healthy and keeping his focus. If he can do those two things he will be fine, especially with the crowd behind him.
Nick’s Pick – Tsonga in 4 sets
Novak Djokovic (SRB) vs. Sergiy Stakhovsky (UKR)
Djokovic only needed to play 13 games in his first round match because Nicolas Lapentti was forced to retire with an injury. He should be well-rested and ready to roll in this match. He has had excellent results on clay this year, reaching the finals in Monte Carlo and Rome and winning the title in Belgrade. Every time he has lost on clay this year it has been to Nadal; he cannot let that effect him going forward.
Stakhovsky came through qualifying and won his first match against Argentine Brian Dabul in four sets. He comes into the tournament ranked #110 in the world and has reached the quarters of two tournaments this year. This is his first appearance in the main draw of the French Open.
This is the first career meeting between the 22-year old Djokovic and the 23-year old Stakhovsky. This match is certainly on Djokovic’s racket as he is the clear favorite to advance. Skathovsky has a big game and is a big guy (6’4”). He is going to have to hit out and go for his shots whenever he has a chance. He cannot sit back and wait for Djokovic to make mistakes, he has to force the issue all the time. Stakhovsky certainly has the potential to make Djokovic work, but I like Djokovic in straight sets.
Nick’s Pick – Djokovic in 3 sets
Gilles Simon (FRA) vs. Robbie Kendrick (USA)
Simon needed five tough sets to get by American Wayne Odesnik in the opening round. Now, he gets a second American in Robbie Kendrick. A win here would put him in the third round of the French Open for the first time in his career.
Kendrick also went five sets in the first round, bearing German qualifier Daniel Brands 6-7(7), 7-5, 7-6(11), 4-6, 6-3. This is only his second appearance at the French Open and it marks the first time he has gotten out of the opening round.
Simon is 1-0 against Kendrick, with that win coming a couple of weeks ago on clay at Estoril. Despite Simon’s lack of success at Roland Garros and his tough first round match he is still my pick to win this battle. Both men play a similar style as they have excellent groundstrokes, move well, and have good serves. Overall, Simon is just more accustomed to the clay and much more consistent then Kendrick is. To have a chance, Kendrick needs to win this match quickly because the longer it goes the more it favors Simon.
Nick’s Pick – Simon in 4 sets
Stan Wawrinka (SUI) vs. Nicolas Massu (CHI)
Wawrinka had a marathon match in the first round, ousting Frenchman Nicolas Devilder in just about four hours. Wawrinka is having a solid clay-court season so far, reaching the semis in Monte Carlo (where he beat Federer) and he advanced to the Round of 16 in Madrid. He is looking to get back to the third round of the French Open for the third time in his career.
In what is becoming a common theme here between these four players, Massu also needed five sets to reach the second round. The former top-ten player beat Daniel Koellerer 6-3, 6-4, 1-6, 2-6, 6-3 and with a win he will reach the third round for the first time since 2006.
Wawrinka and Massu are 1-1 against each other, but they haven’t played since 2005. Wawrinka did beat Massu at Roland Garros in the first round in 2005. Massu is definitely getting up there in years, but has always been an excellent clay-courter (has won five titles on the surface). The problem he will face in this match is that he cannot really hurt Wawrinka with his groundstrokes. Wawrinka is too powerful for Massu and can do a little bit of everything very well. Massu will definitely challenge Wawrinka, but in the end I look for Stan to be “The Man!”