John Isner, the 31st seed, does not have a game that traditionally favors clay. Isner, a 6-foot-10 American, has a thriving serving that favors him on hard courts and grass, but he has worked in recent years to improve his ground play. This helped him as he broke his second-round opponent, Filip Krajinovic, three times in the second set. Now, Isner’s basic game will be tested to the extreme as he looks for a upset.
Stefanos Tsitsipas from Greece, the fifth seed, has had a strong clay court season, winning the Monte Carlo Masters and Lyon Open and reaching the final of the Barcelona Open. Tsitsipas, 22, swept the first two rounds of the French Open without losing a set and is a favorite to reach the final from his half of the draw. On Friday, he will have to find a way to adapt to Isner’s strong serve. If he can settle down in return matches and get some early breaks, he needs to be able to control the flow of the match.
Court 14 | 5 am
Casper Ruud vs. Alejandro Davidovich Fokina
Casper Ruud, the 15th frog, has spent the last few years knocking down national records once held by his father, Christian. This time, he appears to be the first Norwegian player to reach the last 16 of more than one Grand Slam event after doing so for the first time at the Australian Open this year. Ruud took his second ATP title and his second on clay in Geneva last week.
Alejandro Davidovich Fokina, ranked No. 46, fought in a five-set match against Botic van de Zandschulp in the second round. The match lasted for 3 hours and 42 minutes, with far more errors than winners from both players as they tried to hone long points and exhaust each other. It will be a challenge for Fokina, 21, to recover in time.
Here are a few more matches to keep an eye on.
Aryna Sabalenka vs. Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova; Simonne-Mathieu Court, at
Pablo Carreño Busta vs. Steve Johnson; Simonne-Mathieu Court, at
Daniil Medvedev vs. Reilly Opelka; Suzanne Lenglen Court, 10 am
Paula Badosa vs. Ana Bogdan; Simonne-Mathieu Court, noon.