ROLAND GARROS — Carlos Alcaraz has had a whirlwind 12 months, so you can maybe forgive him for being a little forgetful.
That is particularly true of his last meeting with world No 112 and second-round opponent Taro Daniel. They last played at a Challenger event in Portugal, with Alcaraz winning the semi-final in three sets.
The context of the match suggests it was four or five years ago, but such is the gradient of Alcaraz’s accession that they were playing in front a couple of hundred people as recently as 2021.
There will be nearly 15,000 people watching them this time on Philippe Chatrier (expected on court around 1.45pm BST), so it will be a little bit more of an occasion.
“I have to watch that match because I didn’t know that I played against him, honestly. I don’t remember,” Alcaraz said.
“I grew up a lot since that match. Taro, as well. I know that Taro is having a great year, he’s playing great.
How to watch
- TV: Eurosport 1/2 (Sky 410/411, Virgin 521/522, BT 412/413)
- Live stream: Eurosport app/discovery+ (£6.99 a month)
“He has won great matches against great players, and of course he won easy against [first-round opponent Christopher] O’Connell.
“So I know that the level of Taro, so it’s going to be a really tough second round, really tough match. So I have to be ready of that, and I have to be prepared for a really tough one.”
Ones to watch
(All times BST)
First and foremost, Stan Wawrinka and Thanasi Kokkinakis are both brilliant shotmakers. Wawrinka may not be the player of yesteryear and Kokkinakis may not favour the clay, but they are unlikely not provide decent entertainment around 11.30am, second on Court Simonne Mathieu.
There is also the added frisson that Kokkinakis’s name was at the centre of a furious confrontation between Wawrinka and Nick Kyrgios back in 2015. Perhaps that’s all in the past, perhaps not…
On paper, Corentin Moutet has little chance of outplaying the No 7 seed Andrey Rublev when they start at around 1.45pm.
However, there is more to tennis than paper. Moutet is a notorious wind-up merchant (see his incident with Dan Evans a few years ago when he had to be escorted to the locker room by tournament officials) and will have a Parisian crowd entirely complicit in his strategy – all the more so because the top tier of Simonne Mathieu is unticketed and tends to get quite rowdy in the late afternoon.
Rublev meanwhile is a man who can beat himself up quite happily and might look at this year’s tennis balls, about which his fellow countryman Daniil Medvedev has already complained after his shock defeat, as yet another topic of frustration. Rublev self-deprecating on-court rants are explosive and destructive. Moutet will look to draw several out of him.
The British No 1 Cameron Norrie, who has been the last remaining Brit in the draw since Jack Draper’s retirement on Monday, is making sure he makes his mark in Paris – in more ways than one. Against Benoit Paire, he left one the umpire and afterwards he fanned the flames of his spat with Novak Djokovic.
Ordinarily though, he prefers to let his tennis do the talking and he will hope to reverse the result of his last French Open meeting with Lucas Pouille when they walk out last on Suzanne Lenglen, perhaps around 3.30pm.
The pair played in the second round on Chatrier when Norrie was still making his breakthrough in the game back in 2018, and Pouille triumphed in four sets. They played again at Wimbledon in 2021 and the scoreline was reversed, but this time it will be Pouille with a raucous home crowd behind him.
Wednesday’s order of play
(All courts start at 10am unless otherwise stated)
Court Philippe Chatrier (from 10.45am)
- Camila Giorgi vs Jessica Pegula (3)
- Caroline Garcia (5) vs Anna Blinkova
- Carlos Alcaraz (1) vs Taro Daniel
- (Not before 7.15pm) Novak Djokovic (3) vs Marton Fucsovics
Court Suzanne Lenglen
- Roberto Carballes Baena vs Stefanos Tsitsipas (5)
- Marketa Vondrousova vs Daria Kasatkina (9)
- Iryna Shymanovich vs Aryna Sabalenka (2)
- Lucas Pouille vs Cameron Norrie (14)
Court Simonne Mathieu
- Storm Hunter vs Elina Svitolina
- Stan Wawrinka vs Thanasi Kokkinakis
- Corentin Moutet vs Andrey Rublev (7)
- Leolia Jeanjean vs Elina Avanesyan
- Jelena Ostapenko (17) vs Peyton Stearns
- Lorenzo Sonego vs Ugo Humbert
- Sloane Stephens vs Varvara Gracheva
- Luca Van Assche vs Alejandro Davidovich Fokina (29)
- Elise Mertens (28) vs Camila Osorio
- Liudmila Samsonova (15) vs Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova
- Tallon Griekspoor vs Hubert Hurkacz (13)
- Lorenzo Musetti (17) vs Alexander Shevchenko
- Fabio Fognini vs Jason Kubler
- Yulia Putintseva vs Zheng Qinwen (19)
- Karen Khachanov (11) vs Radu Albot
- Leylah Fernandez vs Clara Tauson
- (Following men’s doubles at 10am) Mayar Sherif vs Anastasia Potapova (24)
- Matteo Arnaldi vs Denis Shapovalov (26)
- Sebastian Ofner vs Sebastian Korda (24)
- Karolina Muchova vs Nadia Podoroska
- Roberto Bautista Agut (19) vs Juan Pablo Varillas
- Magdalena Frech vs Kamilla Rakhimova
Sign up to our daily Inside Tennis newsletter to get the order of play in your inbox every morning during grand slams. Click here to register.