The French Open at Roland Garros returned this week and British fans had something to feel optimistic about after Andy Murray looked dominant in the weeks leading up to it.
Earlier this month he won his first title on the red at the Munich Open after a competitive final against home favourite Philipp Kohlschreiber. He then followed that up with victory against the King of Clay, Rafael Nadal, in the final of the Madrid Open, his first victory against the Spaniard on this surface.
Things are looking positive for Murray, who himself confessed this is his best form:
“It’s probably the best I have played on clay, for sure,” he told Sky Sports.
Murray, seeded third at this year’s tournament, has twice been a semi-finalist but has never reached the final, his worst record at any of the Grand Slams (He has won the US Open and Wimbledon, obviously, and he has been a finalist at the Australian Open). Could this be his year to make that push to the final? Or even win it? Could Murray come away from Paris in two weeks’ time with his third grand slam trophy?
He breezed through the first round without even breaking a sweat against Argentine hopeful, Facundo Arguello, 6-3 6-3 6-1. He now faces Portugal’s Joao Sousa in the second round today at 2:30pm BST.
Most of the second round ties have already been played and if Murray is victorious today, he will come up against Australia’s Nick Kyrgios, who automatically progressed from the second round after his opponent, fellow Brit Kyle Edmund, pulled out of the competition due to an abdominal injury.
World number one, Novak Djokovic, Rafael Nadal, Serena Williams and British hopeful, Heather Watson are also in action today. Watson will be hoping to better her performance last year and reach the third round with victory over Sloane Stephens of the USA.
Players who have already progressed to the third round include Benjamin Becker (no relation), who overcame 30th seed, Fernando Verdasco. Lukáš Rosol (you know, the guy that beat Nadal at Wimbledon three years ago), fan favourite Jo-Wilfried Tsonga and legend, Roger Federer.
In the second round of the women’s competition, Ana Ivanovic of Serbia, a generally inconsistent but ever-present player on the tour, faces Donna Vekic (Croatia) in the third round. I think Ivanovic has a real chance of going far in this competition.
Elsewhere, we could be in for a loud third round if serial screamers Sabine Lisicki (Germany) and second seed Maria Sharapova (Russia) win in their second round matches and face each other: they play Lucie Safarova (Czech Republic) and Sam Stosur (Australia) respectively.
Others through to the third round include Angelique Kerber of Germany, Carla Suarez Navarro of Spain and ninth seed Ekaterina Makarova of Russia.
The draw of the competition can be seen here:
How do you think Murray will do? What about Heather Watson? Comment your thoughts below.
The French Open runs until 7th June and it is shown on ITV4 and ITV Player.