PARIS (Reuters) - Two seasoned French entertainers will light up the main Roland Garros showcourt on Saturday, guaranteeing the dream of seeing a homegrown men’s champion for the first time since 1983 stays alive into next week.
Neither 15th seed Gael Monfils nor Richard Gasquet, seeded 24th, would realistically expect to feature in the June 11 final. Monfils’ best showing at Roland Garros is a semi-final in 2008 while his opponent made the quarters for the first time last year.
But as the pair of 30-year-olds renew a rivalry dating back to 2004, both will want to claim the local bragging rights that will go with a place in the last 16.
Due on Court Philippe Chatrier immediately before the Frenchmen are world number one Andy Murray and 29th seed Juan Martin del Potro, renewing a classic rivalry nearly 10 months after the Scot beat the Argentine to Olympic gold in what has the potential to be the match of the third round.
Youth will take on experience on Court Suzanne Lenglen when former runner-up Simona Halep - one of the favourites to go one better this time - faces the burgeoning challenge of 20-year-old Russian star-in-the-making Daria Kasatkina.
Reporting by John Stonestreet; Editing by Amlan Chakraborty