Day 6: Things to look out for

 - Chris Oddo

A blockbuster rematch, Cinderella stories and another stern test for Dominic Thiem highlight Friday's action

Day six of Roland-Garros features several dreamy clashes, including a heavily-anticipated rematch between top-seeded Simona Halep and her vanquisher from 2019, Amanda Anisimova.

Here’s what to look out for on Friday in Paris.

Halep seeks revenge on Anisimova 

68 minutes was all that was needed for Amanda Anisimova, then 17, to ease past Simona Halep and into the Roland-Garros semi-finals last year in Paris.

With the stunning 6-2, 6-4 victory, Anisimova became the first player born in the 2000s to book her spot in the last four of a major, and the first American woman to achieve the feat since 1997. 


On Friday, 2018 champion Halep will hope to assert herself as the prohibitive favourite on the women’s side, while also exacting a bit of revenge on the rising American for spoiling her title defence last year. 

The task could prove to be complicated. Anisimova has rifled her way through her first two rounds, dropping just four games and cracking 40 winners while spending just one hour and 56 minutes on court. 

“I know it's going to be tough because she's hitting the ball strong and flat, so it's going to be tough,” Halep said of the match-up. “I remember the match from last year, I remember also that I didn't play what I wanted, so I will do some changes and I will just try to play better and to take my chance.” 

Thiem’s rough and tumble draw gets Ruud 

One of the biggest takeaways from last Thursday’s draw reveal in Paris was that Dominic Thiem was going to have to run the gauntlet of a preposterously difficult draw in order to return to the Roland-Garros final for a third consecutive year. 

On Friday, the Austrian will lock horns with hard-hitting Norwegian Casper Ruud in a first-time meeting. So far Thiem has passed both of his tests with flying colors. He defeated Marin Cilic in four sets in his opening match and Jack Sock in straight sets in round two. But it hasn’t exactly been easy. 

“Of course, at one point I'm going to get super tired,” Thiem warned reporters in a press conference on Wednesday. “I guess all the tension and focus on Roland Garros, it's hiding still the tiredness and everything. I hope I can push it as far as I can.”

Casper Ruud, Roland Garros 2020, second round© Corinne Dubreuil/FFT

Ruud, the No.28 seed, entered the tournament as the ATP’s leading clay-court winner in 2020 and he has done nothing to disappoint in Paris thus far. The 21-year-old bowed out in the third round against Roger Federer last year on Court Suzanne-Lenglen. 

Thiem will have to contend with the Norwegian’s rambunctious forehand, and try to tilt the run of play over to the 21-year-old’s weaker backhand side. As long as the fatigue doesn’t set in, the Austrian, who owns a 26-6 lifetime record at Roland-Garros, should have the decided advantage. 

“I feel pretty good, to be honest,” Thiem said on Wednesday in Paris. “I mean, not perfectly perfect. I guess that's normal. I think the main thing is that I fight 100 per cent like I did today.” 

Cinderella stories abound 

A total of 11 players ranked outside of the top 100 will be in action across both singles draws on Friday in Paris, with five qualifiers among them. 

World No.239 Hugo Gaston of France, a wild card, is the lowest-ranked of the aforementioned 11 and he will face 2015 champion Stan Wawrinka.

16th-seeded Wawrinka will be one to watch on Friday as well. If the Swiss prevails he could be next in line for Dominic Thiem in the fourth round. 

Two qualifiers - Nadia Podoroska, who faces Anna Karolina Schmiedlova, and Martina Trevisan, who will battle Greece’s Maria Sakkari - and two wild cards, Eugenie Bouchard and Tsvetana Pironkova, will see action on Friday in third-round women’s singles action. 

If you're scoring at home: no qualifier or wild card has ever advanced beyond the quarter-finals of a Roland-Garros women's singles draw.

Bouchard faces Poland’s Iga Swiatek, who is bidding to reach the second week for the second consecutive year in Paris, while Pironkova, who took her place in the third round when three-time champion Serena Williams withdrew from the tournament with an Achilles injury, will face Barbora Krejcikova of the Czech Republic.