With Novak Djokovic, Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal all landing in the same half of the Roland Garros draw, the second Grand Slam of the year is already bringing plenty of drama and promising epic clashes.
But further down the draw, there are plenty of popcorn matches in the early rounds as heavyweights are set to meet rising stars and top players clash with unseeded threats.
Here are the top six first-round matches to watch at Roland Garros – and a few potential second-round meetings to keep an eye on this fortnight in Paris.
Daniil Medvedev already shook up the draw by claiming the second seed position, but he’ll have his work cut out for him as he seeks his first victory at Roland Garros (0-4). The Russian got one of the toughest first-round challenges in the field as he will start against an unseeded Alexander Bublik.
Tennis fans will enjoy the clash between two talented players with unorthodox styles. Bublik will arrive in Paris at a career-high FedEx ATP Ranking of World No. 37, and has claimed wins over Matteo Berrettini, Alexander Zverev and Aslan Karatsev in 2021.
Australian Open finalist Medvedev owns the 1-0 advantage in ATP Head2Head, but their lone meeting was back in 2016 at St. Petersburg, an indoor hard-court event. The Russian won comfortably 6-4, 6-0 on home turf, but could be in for a bigger battle in Paris.
 Rafael Nadal vs Alexei Popyrin
Defending champion Rafael Nadal will start his quest for a record-extending 14th Roland Garros title against Aussie Alexei Popyrin. The Spaniard will pit the weight of his 100-2 record at this event against Popyrin, who has reached the second round once in two appearances.
But 21-year-old Popyrin has shot up the FedEx ATP Rankings in 2021, peaking at World No. 61 after claiming his maiden tour-level title in Singapore. Nadal, who was pushed to five sets in his opening match against John Isner in 2011, will be aiming to neutralise the Aussie’s own big serve to avoid a repeat in their first-round battle.
Nadal has a 1-0 ATP Head2Head lead, and will be contesting his second match of the season against Popyrin. The third seed claimed a comfortable 6-3, 6-3 victory last month at the Mutua Madrid Open on his way to the quarter-finals.
News Source: atptour