All the key facts and talking points as third-round action concludes at the second major of the year.
Alex Macpherson
June 1, 2018


Serena Williams has made the second week in Paris on 11 out of 15 appearances, while Maria Sharapova has reached that stage on 11 out of 13 visits. The only players to beat Williams in the first week are Mary Joe Fernandez (1999), Katarina Srebotnik (2008), Virginie Razzano (2012) and Garbiñe Muguruza (2014); the only first-week conquerors of Sharapova are Magui Serna (2003) and Justine Henin (2010). If both multi-Slam champions make it 12 today, they will clash for the first time since the 2016 Australian Open quarterfinals.

Simona Halep faces Andrea Petkovic for the eighth time today - and has not lost to the German since their very first meeting in the Bucharest ITF $100,000 event in 2009, when Petkovic won their quarterfinal 6-2, 7-6(2). However, their last three meetings - in the third round of Beijing in 2014, the third round of Cincinnati in 2015 and their Fed Cup World Group play-off rubber in 2016 - all went to three sets.

For Halep, victory would mark the first time that she has made the second week at a Slam for three consecutive years. For Petkovic, it would be her first week-two showing since Roland Garros 2014 - when she lost to the Romanian in the final.

Five matches today will reprise a prior French Open encounter. Two were semifinals: as well as Halep/Petkovic, Garbiñe Muguruza defeated Samantha Stosur in 2016 en route to her first Slam title. Two were first rounds: in 2016, Kiki Bertens inflicted Angelique Kerber's only pre-final Slam loss that year in Paris 6-2, 3-6, 6-3; and last year, Elise Mertens overcame Daria Gavrilova 7-6(4), 1-6, 6-4. One was a second-round match: Serena Williams defeated Julia Goerges 6-1, 6-1 in 2010.

No.7 seed Caroline Garcia is the last Frenchwoman standing, and leads her head-to-head with Irina-Camelia Begu 3-2. Three of those encounters took place in New Haven, with Begu winning their qualifying match in 2014 - before Garcia promptly took revenge in the first round as a lucky loser, and reprised that win in 2016. The other two took place on clay, and have been split with the Frenchwoman taking the most recent, in the first round of Bastad last year 5-7, 6-3, 6-4. Both of Begu's victories have come via third-set tiebreaks.

Garbiñe Muguruza - Roland Garros 2016 - Getty
Garbiñe Muguruza celebrates after defeating Samantha Stosur in the 2016 Roland Garros semifinals, en route to winning her maiden Slam title (Getty)

Samantha Stosur is playing her tenth consecutive third round at Roland Garros - where she will face Garbiñe Muguruza, who is aiming for her fifth straight fourth round. The Spaniard leads their head-to-head 2-1: each has beaten the other on their home turf, with Stosur triumphing in Madrid in 2014 and Muguruza in Brisbane 2017, and the No.3 seed took their 2016 Parisian encounter 6-2, 6-4.

Karolina Pliskova has only played Maria Sharapova once before - in the 2015 Fed Cup final, which the Russian won 6-3, 6-4 on indoor hard courts in Prague.

Every player in action today has reached the second week of a Slam at least once before. Lesia Tsurenko has the least fourth-round appearances among them, having been to that stage only once before, at the 2016 US Open. Those bidding for their first fourth round in Paris are Tsurenko, Elise Mertens, Daria Gavrilova and Magdalena Rybarikova.

Angelique Kerber has reached the second week at Roland Garros three times to date between 2012-14 - but none since that year. The German has won just 13 matches here in her career, compared to 26 at the Australian Open, 23 at Wimbledon and 23 at the US Open.

Magdalena Rybarikova's run this year means that the Slovak has won more matches at Roland Garros (9) than any other Slam - despite clay historically being her weakest surface.



Daria Kasatkina's win over Maria Sakkari yesterday put the 21-year-old into the second week of Roland Garros for the first time. Joel Drucker describes her variegated vision of the game as "a parallelogram of possibilities" at

Mihaela Buzarnescu sent the first major shockwaves through the draw by ousting Elina Svitolina. Read the 2017 primer on why the Romanian holder of a PhD would be one to watch this year - and why she's the "poster child for late bloomers everywhere", by Dave James for France 24.

Once again, Serena Williams has redefined tennis fashion with her "Wakanda-inspired" catsuit this week. Christina Cauterucci pays tribute to the outfit that makes Serena look like "an Afro-futurist superhero" at Slate, explaining why it's so important for the sport.

Once upon a time, Caroline Garcia would try to avoid getting scheduled on Philippe Chatrier, such was her dislike of the pressure of playing her home Slam. In an interview with the French No.1 and her coach and father, Louis-Paul, Reem Abulleil finds out how that's changed at Sport 360.

Experience prevailed as 23-year-old Madison Keys defeated 20-year-old Naomi Osaka yesterday. Briana Foust breaks down the progress - and "trusting the process" - of the two young talents for Tennis With An Accent.


Thursday evening gave us a classic three-set battle on Philippe Chatrier between Serena Williams and Ashleigh Barty, with the 23-time Slam champion triumphing 3-6, 6-3, 6-4 - and demonstrating how quickly she is returning to form following maternity leave. Revisit highlights here.