May 30, 2017 / 3:01 AM / 4 months ago

In-form Wawrinka takes on outsider Kovalik

Tennis - ATP - Rome Open - Stan Wawrinka of Switzerland v Benoit Paire of France - Rome, Italy- 17/5/17- Wawrinka eyes the ball. REUTERS/Max Rossi/Files

PARIS (Reuters) - Third seed Stan Wawrinka, the 2015 French Open champion, will be hoping his good claycourt form will spill over into the first round when he takes on rank outsider Jozef Kovalik of Slovakia on Tuesday.

Swiss Wawrinka enjoyed the best possible preparation for the French Open by claiming the title on Geneva’s claycourts last week, and is the clear favourite against the 152nd-ranked player in the world.

Local hero Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, who also warmed up for the French Open in perfect style by securing his maiden claycourt title in Lyon, takes on world number 91 Renzo Olivo from Argentina.

Moody Australian Nick Kyrgios, who is struggling with hip and shoulder injuries, has been receiving daily treatment ahead of his first-round match against experienced German Philipp Kohlschreiber.

The 22-year-old firebrand, seeded 18th at Roland Garros, pulled out of the Rome tournament and was eliminated in the first round in Lyon last week.

His Australian friend Thanasi Kokkinakis has a tougher task ahead when he faces eighth seed Kei Nishikori.

Britain’s Johanna Konta, the seventh seed, meets Taiwan’s Su-Wei Hsieh, knowing full well that the women’s draw lacks several big names including Maria Sharapova, Victoria Azarenka and world number two Serena Williams.

Men’s top seed Andy Murray, Konta’s compatriot, starts his tournament straight after her match, against Russia’s Andrey Kuznetsov.

Editing by Ed Osmond

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