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Tennis - Five things to watch out for at the French Open on Thursday
May 31, 2017 / 8:49 PM / 6 months ago

Tennis - Five things to watch out for at the French Open on Thursday

PARIS (Reuters) - Five things to watch out for on day five of the French Open on Thursday:

Tennis - ATP 1000 Masters - Madrid Open - David Ferrer of Spain v Mikhail Kukushkin of Kazakhstan - Madrid, Spain - 8/5/17 - Ferrer returns a backhand. REUTERS/Sergio Perez

* Old-school claycourt style

Claycourt connoisseurs should head straight to Court Three at Roland Garros where two of the most obdurate of proponents will go head to head for a spot in the third round.

When David Ferrer plays fellow Spaniard Feliciano Lopez, you know you are in for a marathon. Expect 40-50 stroke rallies on the slow Parisian dirt, as both men will hug the back of the court and send looping, spinning shots deep into enemy territory.

Both men are 35 years old, they are separated by just three world ranking spaces - there is almost nothing between them. Ferrer, though, has won 11 of their 18 meetings, which gives him the edge.

* A contrast

Fans who last the distance on Court Three will be instantly rewarded with a total switch of styles, when Australian Nick Kyrgios takes on Kevin Anderson.

The 18th-seeded Kyrgios isn’t known for his great patience, and 2.03 m (6 ft 8 ins) Anderson is not backwards in coming forwards, rushing the net at every opportunity.

Fans can expect whizz-bang tennis at its finest.

* Mixing it up

The mixed doubles gets underway at Roland Garros, and seasoned campaigner Daniel Nestor takes to the court, some 21 years after his first appearance at the French Open.

Canadian Nestor is partnering Alla Kudryavtseva.

There is not much the 44-year-old Nestor doesn’t know about the art of doubles, and in January 2016 he became the first doubles player in ATP history to win 1,000 matches.

* More Schiavone, anyone?

One of the best claycourt players of her generation, Francesca Schiavone was knocked out in the first round of the singles’ tournament by defending champion Garbine Muguruza, but she is still at Roland Garros.

The 2010 singles’ champion is back in action for a doubles match with Belgian Kirsten Flipkens, against Kazakh Yulia Putintseva and Russian Natalia Vikhlyantseva.

* Pick a number

Something will have to give when world number three Stan Wawrinka takes on Alexandr Dolgopolov.

The third seed has never lost to a player outside the top 50 at the French Open. The unpredictable Ukrainian is ranked 89th - but holds a winning record against Wawrinka.

Reporting by Ossian Shine, Karolos Grohmann, Julien Pretot and John Stonestreet, editing by Ed Osmond

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