Alison Riske of the US plays a return to Romania’s Simona Halep during their women’s singles first round match on day four of The Roland Garros 2018 French Open tennis tournament in Paris on May 30, 2018. Eric FEFERBERG / AFP

 

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World number one Simona Halep finally gets her French Open campaign underway on Wednesday while Novak Djokovic and Alexander Zverev seek spots in the second round.

AFP Sport looks at three matches to watch at Roland Garros on Wednesday:

Simona Halep v Alison Riske

— Romanian top seed and world number one Halep is a two-time runner-up at Roland Garros – losing to Maria Sharapova in 2014 final and giving up a set and 3-0 lead to lose to Jelena Ostapenko 12 months ago.

She was also runner-up to Caroline Wozniacki at January’s Australian Open which added to her frustrations as a Grand Slam bridesmaid.

The 26-year-old has endured a roller-coaster clay court season, a runners-up spot in Rome behind Elina Svitolina following back-to-back quarter-final runs in Stuttgart, where she lost to Coco Vandeweghe, and Madrid going down in straight sets to Karolina Pliskova.

Riske, the 27-year-old world number 83 has not won a match at Roland Garros since 2014 but the American enjoyed a run to the Nuremberg clay-court final at the weekend where she was defeated by Johanna Larsson of Sweden.

Halep holds a 2-0 career lead over Riske with a win on Rome clay in 2015.

Alexander Zverev v Dusan Lajovic

— German second seed Zverev is one of the in-form players on clay this year with titles in Madrid and Munich while he gave up a last-set advantage to lose to Rafael Nadal in the Rome final.

However, when the Grand Slams come around, the 21-year-old still suffers stage fright, losing in the first round last year in Paris and with a best run at the majors a last-16 place at Wimbledon in 2017.

He dropped just four games in his first-round win against Ricardas Berankis.

Serbian world number 60 Lajovic has clay-court form under his belt, making the last-eight in Madrid and semi-finals in Lyon last week where it took two-time Roland Garros semi-finalist Dominic Thiem to stop him in three sets.

Wednesday will be their first meeting.

Novak Djokovic v Jaume Munar

— 2016 champion Djokovic, seeded 20 and down at his lowest world ranking for 12 years following his struggles with an elbow injury, looked close to a return to his best form with a run to the Rome semi-finals.

The 12-time major winner faces Spanish qualifier Jaume Munar, ranked 155, who marked his Roland Garros debut by seeing off compatriot and former Paris finalist David Ferrer, coming back from two sets down to win in five.

Munar has just one win on the main tour in 2018 although that at least came on clay in Barcelona in April.

AFP

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