Welcome to Roland Garros Rewind, where wtatennis.com will take a look back at some of the most memorable matches from the past two decades at the French Open. From notorious upsets to great escapes, rewind the clock and check out our list of the Top 8 second-round matches, laid out in chronological order.
Roland Garros Round Reviews:
Serena, Sharapova and more first round classics
1999:  Lindsay Davenport def. [Q] Justine Henin 6-3, 2-6, 7-5
This clash between the reigning US Open champion and the hottest new face in women's tennis was much-anticipated from the moment the draw emerged, and delivered on every front. Henin, girls' champion in Paris two years previously, was fresh off a spectacular WTA debut at home in Antwerp two weeks previously, where the 16-year-old wildcard had taken the title; she had continued that form in her first Grand Slam tournament, qualifying for the main draw and then beating World No.60 Kristina Brandi in the first round, conceding just 16 games across those four matches.
World No.2 Davenport's antipathy towards red clay would become infamous over the course of her career, but it was not so pronounced at this point in her prime; indeed, she had reached her third major semifinal at Roland Garros the previous year and was coming off a clay title of her own in Madrid one week before. The 22-year-old began strongly, asserting her authority over the teenage debutante, who was playing a Top 30 opponent for the first time ever, by taking the first set - but as Henin settled, the Belgian's blazing backhand and claycourt nous took charge. Only when she came to serve for the match at 5-4 in the decider did the World No.121 falter, Davenport's experience again proving decisive as she escaped with the last three games and the win.
The American would go on to reach the quarterfinals, defeating Jennifer Capriati before falling to eventual champion Stefanie Graf in three sets - but would make that stage only one more time in Paris ever, while Madrid marked the last red clay title of her career. Meanwhile, closing out matches would be a struggle for Henin in the early years of her career. Once she overcame that, though, she would become one of the greatest champions the sport has seen, racking up four Roland Garros titles in total - and eventually emphatically turning around her rivalry with Davenport, winning their last seven encounters after having lost their first five.
2004:  Serena Williams def. Maria Kirilenko 4-6, 6-2, 6-4
The Russian Revolution was about to take over in 2004, and Maria Kirilenko provided another foretaste of it in this second round encounter. The 17-year-old, the US Open girls' champion two years previously, had already begun posting eyecatching pro results: a third-round run at the 2003 US Open as a qualifier, a maiden WTA final in Hyderabad in February, upsetting World No.54 Tamarine Tanasugarn in the semifinals. Coming into Roland Garros, her first Grand Slam event as a direct entrant, Kirilenko was also fresh off the Saint-Gaudens ITF 50K title, a result that had seen her crack the Top 100 for the first time.
Meanwhile, 2002 champion Serena Williams's comeback from the knee surgery that had sidelined her for nine months was still in its early stages: the 22-year-old had returned with a bang to take the Miami title, but on clay had suffered a quarterfinal loss to Nadia Petrova in Amelia Island and fallen to Jennifer Capriati in the Rome semifinals, withdrawing from Charleston in between to rest her knee further.
Ranked World No.7 but seeded No.2 in Paris due to the rule allowing protected rankings to be used for seeding purposes at the time, Williams's rust was initially exposed by the teenager. Redirecting the ball with ease and deploying the dropshot cannily, Kirilenko took the first set - and even after the American had fought back to level the match, held firm to take a 4-2 lead in the decider.
But with Williams's back to the wall, her visible frustration morphed into steely determination - as it had done so many times before, and would do so many times again. There was a toss of the racquet after the error that put Kirilenko two games from the win - and then Williams willed her game to become watertight as she reeled off four games of her own to snatch victory from the World No.100.
Williams's journey to top form was still some time away, and even longer on clay - she would lose to Capriati again in the quarterfinals this year, and her second Roland Garros trophy was still nine years away. But for Kirilenko, it was the first big-stage statement of intent foreshadowing a career that eventually took the Russian to six titles, three singles Grand Slam quarterfinals, two doubles Grand Slam finals and, nine years later, the Top 10 in the world.
2011:  Maria Sharapova def. [WC] Caroline Garcia 3-6, 6-4, 6-0
Nearly a decade after the match that put Caroline Garcia on the radar, the potential the Frenchwoman displayed as a 17-year-old can still be summed up in an unforgettable tweet: "The girl Sharapova is playing is going to be number one in the world one day Caroline Garcia, what a player u heard it here first," pronounced ATP champion Andy Murray midway through the contest.
The girl sharapova is playing is going to be number one in the world one day caroline garcia, what a player u heard it here first— Andy Murray (@andy_murray) May 26, 2011
It was a bold statement to make about a wildcard ranked World No.188, notwithstanding Garcia's former Top 5 junior ranking and 2011 US Open girls' runner-up showing. But the teenager showcased it all as she raced to a seemingly impregnable 6-3, 4-1 lead: a heavily topspun forehand that repeatedly fizzed past Sharapova, a fine serve that the Russian struggled to return, judiciously deployed touch on the volley and the dropshot.
But what Garcia, who had never faced a Top 50 opponent before, couldn't showcase was her ability to close out a competitor as hardened as Sharapova. Fresh off the biggest red clay title of her career in Rome, the 24-year-old's clay evolution from self-described "cow on ice" to Roland Garros champion was still a year away from completion, but her comeback here exemplified why it made sense. For all that Sharapova's power game was not a natural fit for the nuances of the terre battue, her dogged tenacity and refusal to give in went hand in hand with grinding out apparently lost causes on the surface. So it proved today: as Garcia faltered with the finishing line in sight, Sharapova struck - and took control, rattling off the last 11 games to take an improbable win.
2011: Arantxa Rus def.  Kim Clijsters 3-6, 7-5, 6-1
One of the most curious aspects of Kim Clijsters' legendary career is the five-time Grand Slam champion's growing aversion to clay over the years. The Belgian was brought up on the surface and reached her first two major finals on it - at Roland Garros 2001 and 2003 - but even by the end of her first career, her enthusiasm was waning: "I'll be very happy when the claycourt season is over," she said after completing the Sunshine Double in 2005.
Indeed, since 2006 Clijsters has only made one appearance at Roland Garros due to a combination of injuries and prioritizing other parts of the season. The former nearly prevented it in 2011, too: the 27-year-old had injured her ankle dancing at her cousin's wedding in April, and arrived in Paris with no match play since losing in the Miami quarterfinals to Victoria Azarenka.
The 20-year-old World No.114 Arantxa Rus was well-placed to take advantage. The 2008 Australian Open junior champion had been steadily rising through the ranks and was in good form, having taken Maria Sharapova to three sets in Madrid and reached the Saint-Gaudens ITF 50K final in preceding weeks. Still, the Dutchwoman had never defeated a Top 30 player before - and for the first hour, didn't look as though she was ready to, as Clijsters outgunned her en route to taking a 6-3, 5-2 lead.
But despite the lead, there was a shakiness to Clijsters' form, and the Australian Open champion would squander two match points. As her unforced error count grew, eventually tallying 65, Rus seized the momentum and ran away with the decider.
2015: Francesca Schiavone def.  Svetlana Kuznetsova 6-7(11), 7-5, 10-8
Francesca Schiavone and Svetlana Kuznetsova would square off 16 times over 14 years, but two of their last four matches alone would make the case for their rivalry to be discussed as an all-time great. Both occurred on the Grand Slam stage and totalled eight hours and 34 minutes combined - and though this three-hour, 50-minute classic, the second-longest Roland Garros match of the Open Era, was the sequel, there was no question that it was every bit as magnificent as their four-hour, 44-minute epic at the 2011 Australian Open.
Few expected the pair of former champions to replicate that, though. 2009 winner Kuznetsova had hauled herself out of a slump with a run to the Madrid final the previous month, but 2010 victor Schiavone seemed to be on a definite downward slope. The Italian had lost seven of her previous eight matches before arriving in Paris, and her ranking had sunk to its lowest position in 15 years at World No.92. The level she brought in the first set exceeded expectations, and contributed to a riveting tiebreak in which she fought off six set points, but after squandering one of her own, the odds were stacked even further against Schiavone after she was unable to fend off a seventh.
As the match drew on, though, the quality of tennis reached delirious heights as the two indomitable warriors threw every shot in the book and every desperate, battling improvisation at each other. An extraordinary sequence of nine straight breaks of serve showcased Schiavone's sheer will in particular as she clung on before finally sealing what would turn out to be the crucial hold of the decider in its 17th game. Another spectacular defensive play would get the 34-year-old to match point, and when Kuznetsova netted the subsequent volley, another chapter was concluded in the still-lengthening book on why never to write off Francesca Schiavone.
2015:  Elina Svitolina def. Yulia Putintseva 1-6, 7-5, 9-7
Elina Svitolina's rise into the elite was, generally, under the radar. Neither from a traditional tennis power nor - astonishingly for a future Top 3 player - the recipient of any WTA main draw wildcards in her early years, the Ukrainian instead grafted her way into the Top 20 in May 2015 off the back of titles in Baku and Marrakech. The tennis cognoscenti had taken note of performances such as stretching Serena Williams to three sets at the Australian Open, but the 20-year-old still needed a deep big-stage run to put her on the mainstream map.
This emotional rollercoaster of a match set one up perfectly. Like Svitolina, the 2010 Roland Garros girls' champion, Yulia Putintseva was a former junior standout - and prior to 2015 had been something of a nemesis for Svitolina, winning all three of their junior meetings and two ITF encounters. The Australian Open had seen Svitolina finally get on the board in their rivalry, but the 21-year-old Putintseva initially demonstrated exactly why she had otherwise dominated it. The Kazakh World No.99 was already renowned for her pugnacious attitude, but it was her speed around the court and phenomenal hand skills to dole out winning finesse from seemingly lost causes that stymied Svitolina, who rapidly fell behind 1-6, 0-3.
But the future WTA Finals champion's own tenacity would become a hallmark of her own career, and buckling down for a series of physically demanding extended rallies, Svitolina clawed her way back game by game. The decider also saw her overturn a 0-3 deficit, as well as escaping from within two points of losing serving at 6-7 - but after nearly three hours, Svitolina would survive by the skin of her teeth. Moving on to her maiden Grand Slam quarterfinal, this victory would characterize the ultimate hustler's approach to her career.
2016: Monica Puig def. Julia Goerges 7-5, 6-7(4), 7-5
Often, the most compelling Grand Slam contests end up not being hyped show court encounters but outside court epics that, as word spreads around the grounds and passionate fans pack the stands, gradually build into something special. This was one such moment: neither Monica Puig nor Julia Goerges were even ranked inside the Top 50 at the time, but the quality of shotmaking both produced as they went toe-to-toe for three hours was spellbinding.
In particular, a second set that featured zero breaks of serve, narrowly eked out by Goerges, was riveting - and the climax of the match was an edge-of-the-seat mini-thriller in itself. Puig, having seen Goerges valiantly escape from triple match point serving at 4-5 in the decider, would have to summon all of her resilience and bravery to continue to commit to her high-risk aggressive strategy, eventually closing out the win on her sixth match point.
Neither was the level a one-off. At this point, Goerges had not been a Top 20 player for over two years and would struggle with consistency between 2013 and 2017, but the German's best form remained dangerous to any opponent - and a surge that eventually took her into the Top 10 was still ahead of her. Puig, meanwhile, was quietly putting together a career-best season: the 23-year-old had already reached the biggest WTA final of her career in 2016 in Sydney, and the irresistible baseline hitting she showcased there and in this match would foreshadow one of the greatest underdog triumphs the sport has seen when she peaked to win Puerto Rico's first ever gold medal at the Rio de Janeiro Olympic Games that summer.
2019:  Naomi Osaka def. Victoria Azarenka 4-6, 7-5, 6-3
Though a two-time major champion, Naomi Osaka is still more given to self-deprecation than to bravado, and last year the former World No.1 was open to both media and fans about the self-doubt she still feels on natural surfaces compared to her preferred hard courts. That shouldn't be confused with an inability to perform on them, though - and if Osaka couldn't disguise her disappointment with her European results in 2019, that's illustrative of the high expectations she still has for herself on clay and grass.
Indeed, victory in this popcorn second-round clash was a perfect demonstration of Osaka's potential proficiency on the terre battue. Former World No.1 Victoria Azarenka's comeback from maternity leave has yet to see the Belarusian return to the Top 30, but she has proven herself a looming landmine in any draw: in the run-up to Paris, her scalps included Angelique Kerber, Karolina Pliskova and Elina Svitolina, and she had navigated past 2017 champion Jelena Ostapenko in the first round - while Osaka had barely scraped by Anna Karolina Schmiedlova after coming within two points of an opening exit.
Initially, that form held: Azarenka, controlling the baseline and looking comfortable on clay leapt out to a quick 4-0 lead over Osaka. Even when the Japanese player belatedly got her teeth into the contest, it didn't seem enough as Azarenka continued to build a 6-4, 4-2 lead with a point for the double break. But if Osaka's openness about her discomfort on clay belies her ability, so too does her frankness with the mental challenges of tennis sometimes obscure how steely a competitor she is.
Raising her level in terms of point construction and accuracy, Osaka would take 10 of the next 12 games to turn momentum around, demonstrating once more that, when dialled in, there are few players in the current game as able to snatch a match clean out of an opponent's control.