Day 4: Three things to look out for

 - Simon Cambers

Second round action commences on Wednesday with Serena Williams and Stefanos Tsitsipas both on the schedule.

Serena Williams, Roland Garros 2021, first round© Cédric Lecocq/FFT

The bottom halves of the men's and women's draws are back in action on day four at Roland-Garros and the Williams family will be front and centre, with Serena in singles and Venus on the doubles court in what promises to be an electrifying partnership with Coco Gauff.

Serena under the radar?

It hardly seems possible but for someone who has won 23 Grand Slam titles, Serena Williams has gone somewhat under the radar at Roland-Garros so far.

Even though she was given the honour of playing the first-ever night session match on Monday, and is considered a contender wherever she plays, few people are talking about her as a possible champion this year.


That might change if she turns on the style in the second round on Wednesday and she might just need to do that if she’s to get the better of Mihaela Buzarnescu, a 33-year-old Romanian now ranked 148 but who has been inside the top 20 at her best.

Williams has never played Buzarnescu before but the way she found her game when she needed it to beat another Romanian, Irina-Camelia Begu in round one bodes well for her chances of progressing.

Pressure on Tsitsipas, pressure off Medvedev

As two of the world’s top five, Stefanos Tsitsipas and Daniil Medvedev are among those hoping to profit should there be any slip-up from the likes of Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic.

Expectations are higher for Tsitsipas, a semi-finalist last year and a man who showed his clay-court prowess by winning the title in Monte Carlo in April.

He faces Spanish world No.103 Pedro Martinez on Court Suzanne-Lenglen on Wednesday.

With Nadal and Djokovic in the same half, Tsitsipas is heavily tipped to make his first Grand Slam final but he says he wants to be the “surprise” of the event.

“I would be surprised if, let's say, if our Spanish friend (Nadal) wouldn't want to make new (victims) this year for the French. That would be, first of all, one surprise," he said.

“The second one would be, anything better than semi-finals (for Tsitsipas) I guess that would be a surprise, I think.”

After four previous attempts, No.2 seed Medvedev finally won a match at Roland-Garros in round one and is apparently feeling no pressure heading into a second-round night-session battle with the American Tommy Paul.

Responding to a tweet from the ATP Tour asking people for their favourite Roland-Garros moment so far, Medvedev wrote: “So far? Actually hearing my name together with game, set and match”.

The Russian, who reached his second Grand Slam final at the Australian Open in February, said he was enjoying himself on the clay, a surface he openly dislikes.

“I feel really hopeful,” he said. “This year, with this weather, with these balls, I can play like on hard courts. It doesn't feel different than Australian Open for me coming into this tournament.

“Now when I'm coming to these big tournaments feeling like this, I know I'm capable of doing big things. If I lose here in Roland-Garros it's probably going to be because my opponent will play really good.”

Dream doubles pairing

When Caty McNally pulled out of the doubles event after picking up an injury, Coco Gauff needed a replacement. She found a good one.

Venus Williams, seven times a singles Grand Slams champion, 14 times a doubles champion and twice more in mixed doubles, will partner Gauff, who is 23 years her junior.

"I think we're hopefully going to be a perfect match. She's so extremely talented that I'll definitely be expecting her to do all the work," Venus said of their partnership following her first-round exit in singles on Tuesday.

The Americans take on Ellen Perez of Australia and Zheng Saisai in the first round on Court 13, a match sure to draw a healthy crowd.

And with Gauff and McNally called McCoco by their fans, we need a new nickname for Gauff and Williams. VeeCoco anybody?

Venus Williams, Roland Garros 2021, first round singles© Nicolas Gouhier/FFT