Mackie McDonald vs. Sebi Korda.
Mackie McDonald, the last player who played Rafael Nadal when he beat the hobbled legend at the Australian Open earlier this year, will face another hobbled player of much less accomplishments in fellow American Sebi Korda. Neither players has fared well on the clay this year, McDonald losing in the first round in all five clay events this Spring and Korda, coming back from a wrist injury, is 0-2 in his comeback since reaching the quarterfinals of the Australian Open and begging off with his wrist. Wrists are nothing to fool at and Korda is well-off his prime form that many think can at least equal the accomplishments of his father Petr, a former runner-up at Roland Garros in 1992. McDonald is probably in better form at the moment so we will take him to pull the win over Korda, who we hope can get back into top playing shape soon.
John Isner vs. Nuno Borges
Nuno Borges of Portugal has a UTR of 15.36 and John Isner is at 15.37. That means this is about as close to a toss-up as you can have. However, Isner is trending downward at age 38 and Borges, age 26, is just getting used to cracking the top 100 in the world for the first time late last year and at No. 76 in the ATP rankings, is near his career high. Isner has not played on the European clay this year, last playing in Houston in April. His wife just had their fourth child so take Isner in the diaper changing contest, but lean towards Borges in the clay court match in Paris. Isner will be looking to get in top match shape on the grass courts following Roland Garros.
Yibing Wu vs. Roberto Bautista Agut
Yibing Wu was the first player from China to win an ATP singles event when he won in Dallas earlier this year. He is trending upwards and moving up the rankings fast to his current No. 59. (He had ONE ATP point 14 months ago – that’s how fast he has been rising.) He has had some success on the red clay this Spring, but Roberto Bautista Agut, while a Spanish dirt-baller, has really struggled on the European clay, going 4-3 on the dirt and he is only 11-13 this year. He’s 35 years old and trending downward so this looks like a first-round upset on paper of the No. 19 seed.