Day 5: Three to watch

Third-round spots are on the line - but established stars have their hands full. And can Gael go again?

Rybakina - Noskova
 - NIck McCarvel

How does one translate junior success into the senior ranks? For world No.1 and two-time Roland-Garros champion Iga Swiatek it happened fast – very fast.

In summer 2018, she was Wimbledon junior champion, and just over two years later she captured her first of two Roland-Garros titles. Today, still just 22 years old, she is a heavy favourite to win the women's title.

But her second-round opponent on Day 5, Claire Liu, is also a junior Wimbledon champ. In fact, the American Liu won the title at the All England Club a year before Swiatek, and after breaking into the top 100 in 2021 she's had a slow, steady climb up the rankings.

Thursday features a plethora of rising young talent, the most recognisable in 2022 runner-up Coco Gauff, still a teenager at 19, as well as last year's quarter-finalist Holger Rune, who turned 20 just last month.

Each tennis path is its own. So who journeys their way into round three of Roland-Garros 2023 on Day 5?


Claire Liu, first round, Roland-Garros 2023© Clément Mahoudeau/FFT

Rybakina takes on teen Noskova

Other than No.6 Gauff, the highest-ranked teen in women’s tennis is 18-year-old Linda Noskova, the Czech talent who turned heads with a run to the Adelaide final to jump-start 2023, beating Ons Jabeur and Victoria Azarenka along the way.

Another big name stands in her way in round two on Court Suzanne-Lenglen in a first meeting with Wimbledon winner and Australian Open runner-up Elena Rybakina. The Rome champion, Rybakina arrives here in unfamiliar territory: as one of the standout favourites alongside Swiatek.

Linda Noskova, first round, Roland-Garros 2023© Clément Mahoudeau/FFT

It was another Czech teen, Linda Fruhvirtova, that Rybakina had to face down on this same court two days ago, but Noskova is a singular talent: She will meet Rybakina’s raw, unrelenting power with a wise court sense and an attempt to change the pace of the ball – often.

The Kazakh is playing with confidence, however: She’s won seven consecutive matches after starting the red clay season just 1-2.

US of Clay: Gauff, Tiafoe, Fritz eye runs

Gauff is already a finalist here, though she would like to do nothing more than go one further this year. Her test on Thursday is Julia Grabher, a 26-year-old Austrian ranked No.61 who reached the Rabat final last week.

Gauff is still adjusting to life at the top: “It's a day-by-day process,” she said. “Even though there are [always] going to be some setbacks, as long as I keep moving forward, I should be okay.”

It’s not just Coco who is making big Parisian plans. Compatriots Frances Tiafoe and Taylor Fritz are top-12 seeds, and will meet Aslan Karatsev and Arthur Rinderknech, respectively.

Tommy Paul made the Australian Open semi-finals and meets Nicolas Jarry on Court 14, which has already seen its share of dramatic contests this RG.

While Emma Navarro is another US junior success story looking for her big break (also on Court 14 against Bianca Andreescu), an all-American battle will ensue between qualifier Kayla Day and Madison Keys, herself once a teen star, who is still playing some of her best tennis at 28.

Madison Keys, 1er tour, Roland-Garros 2023©Philippe Montigny / FFT

Andreeva v Parry: teen dream takes on home hope

No player has made as much of a splash this clay season as 16-year-old Mirra Andreeva, who used a wildcard in Madrid to win her first three WTA matches and score three top-50 wins before bowing out to eventual champion Aryna Sabalenka.

Even Andy Murray took notice, the two now trading texts, Andreeva confirmed after she qualified and then knocked out Alison Riske in the first round in Paris.

Mirra Andreev, 1er tour, Roland-Garros 2023©André Ferreira / FFT

But the teen dream will be tested against home hope Diane Parry on Day 5, the 20-year-old French player who has hopes of a storybook run herself after stunning Rome runner-up Anhelina Kalinina 6-2, 6-3 in the first round.

Parry, a former junior world No.1, has little experience being the more senior player on court in a pro match, but she is making a habit of playing her best at her home event: a year ago she made the third round at Roland-Garros, a run that included a win over then-defending champion Barbora Krejcikova.

Diane Parry, 1er tour, Roland-Garros 2023 ©Julien Crosnier / FFT