Day 1: Three to watch

 - Alex Sharp

A qualifying rematch is on the menu on opening day of Roland-Garros 2023 on Sunday

Lucas Pouille, Jurij Rodionov, Roland-Garros 2023, Qualification© Cédric Lecocq/FFT

From Day 1 the world's finest players will 'move the lines, with style' at Roland-Garros 2023.

The qualifying week was the perfect entrée and now the main draw feast begins on Sunday. Here’s a reminder of a few matches you won’t want to miss.

Déjà vu for Pouille

On Thursday a packed Court 14 sang out a chorus of "Lucas, Lucas, Lucas" to celebrate the renaissance of Lucas Pouille.

The former top-10 star completed qualifying with a spirited 1-6, 7-5, 6-0 comeback against Austrian Jurij Rodionov. It was the first time the 29-year-old had won three successive matches at any level since September 2021.

In a remarkable twist of fate, they'll duel again on Sunday.

World No.134 Rodionov will hope to seize his opportunity as a 'lucky loser' in the main draw and gain revenge over Pouille.

The Austrian has history in the first round facing a Frenchman. In 2020, Rodionov qualified and reeled in Jeremy Chardy from two sets down to go through 10-8 in the fifth set.

Will there be similar drama on Court 14?


Lucas Pouille, Jurij Rodionov, Roland-Garros 2023, Simple Messieurs, Qualifications© Pauline Ballet / FFT

Sabalenka knows she's the hunted

Australian Open champion Aryna Sabalenka is talking up her chances on the terre battue. 

The world No.2 geared up for Roland-Garros as Stuttgart finalist and Madrid champion [both finals against Iga Swiatek], and is looking to go past the third round in Paris for the first time.  

Having ruled at Melbourne Park, the 25-year-old knows players will be after a Slam champion conquest.

"I thought it's going to be easier, but it's not. I have one Grand Slam in my pocket, it's not going to help me to win this one," Sabalenka said.

"Everyone will come and try to beat me. So, I have to bring my best tennis every time I'm on the court."

Step forward world No.39 Marta Kostyuk, whom Sabalenka defeated 6-4, 6-1 in their only previous meeting in Dubai last year.

However, the 20-year-old has plenty of pedigree for an upset. The Ukrainian's Grand Slam best is a last 16 appearance at Roland-Garros 2021. Two years ago, Kostyuk defeated 2016 champion Garbine Muguruza 6-1, 6-4 in their Parisian opener.


Aryna Sabalenka, entraînements, Roland-Garros 2023 ©Philippe Montigny / FFT

All-American test for Pegula

Last spring, Jessica Pegula's ultra-consistent play paid dividends to take her to the Roland-Garros singles quarter-finals and doubles final.

The world No.3 has been drawn a tricky opener against compatriot Danielle Collins. Pegula has shaken hands as the victor on all four previous encounters, surrendering just one set along the way.

Last time they met, Pegula enjoyed a 6-1, 7-6(0) victory over Collins in Miami two months ago.

World No.45 Collins has 10 career top-10 wins to her name, but is still seeking a first top-10 triumph on clay and has only competed in one match on the surface this season. But she should never be underestimated.


“It makes her kind of a sleeper in the draw,” Pegula told Eurosport. “You know she can play and she’s had good results here so she’s always super dangerous.”

Collins, 2020 quarter-finalist in Paris, has also demonstrated Grand Slam prowess with an Australian Open final showing in 2022.

Get ready for plenty of firepower and fighting spirit.

Jessica Pegula, practice, Roland-Garros 2023© Loïc Wacziak/FFT