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Preview: Alcaraz, Djokovic Headline Day 2 In Paris

World No. 1 Carlos Alcaraz and two-time champion Novak Djokovic kick off their Roland Garros campaign on a jam-packed Monday in Paris, where Jannik Sinner, Frances Tiafoe, and Cameron Norrie are also among the seeded players in action.

ATPTour.com previews three key matches on Day 2 of the clay-court major.


[1] Carlos Alcaraz (ESP) vs. [Q] Flavio Cobolli (ITA)

The top seed Alcaraz, who boasts a 30-3 season record, begins his quest for a second major title against a confident Cobolli, who advanced through qualifying en route to his maiden Grand Slam main draw appearance. Alcaraz on Monday will play his first match at a major since winning the 2022 US Open (withdrew from the Australian Open with a right leg injury).

A quarter-finalist last year in Paris, Alcaraz has shown his best level on the clay this season, collecting three of his four 2023 titles on the surface. When asked in his pre-tournament press conference how his game differs from a year ago, Alcaraz stated his improvements have been on the mental side of the game.

“I would say I'm the same player as last year, only change that I would say is that I'm more mature. Mentally I'm better,” Alcaraz said. “I can read what happened on court better than last year. For me, it's really, really important, and I would say it's the [aspect that is] most different [from] last year.”

The #NextGenATP Italian Cobolli, who is seventh in the Pepperstone ATP Live Next Gen Race, has been enjoying a rise on the ATP Challenger Tour. In 2022, the 21-year-old won his first Challenger title on the clay of Zadar, Croatia. A year later, Cobolli will contest in one of the biggest matches of his career against World No. 1 Alcaraz. Cobolli and Alcaraz met on the Challenger Tour in 2020, with the Spaniard triumphing in straight sets. Monday will be their first tour-level encounter.

[3] Novak Djokovic (SRB) vs. Aleksandar Kovacevic (USA)

The 36-year-old Djokovic seeks his top form in Paris after tallying a 5-3 match record across this year's clay swing. But the Serbian always rises to the occasion on the biggest stages and will be dialled in this fortnight as he aims for a record-setting 23rd major title.

It will be Djokovic’s first match across the net from Kovacevic, who grew up idolising him and sat courtside for the Serbian’s first-round victory at the 2005 US Open. Since that encounter, Kovacevic has been inspired by Djokovic, and will make his Grand Slam debut against the 93-time tour-level titlist.

Kovacevic made his tour-level debut last year in Seoul, where he was a semi-finalist and introduced the tennis world to his smooth one-handed backhand. Enjoying a steady rise since graduating from the University of Illinois in 2021, Kovacevic will face a Top-20 opponent for the first time.

[10] Felix Auger-Aliassime (CAN) vs. Fabio Fognini (ITA)

Three-time major quarter-finalist Auger-Aliassime and former World No. 7 Fognini will clash in an intriguing first-round match on Court Simonne-Mathieu.

Auger-Aliassime brought a high level to Roland Garros last season, including in a five-set, fourth-round thriller against eventual champion Rafael Nadal. The 10th seed will have to be on guard out of the blocks as Fognini’s shotmaking ability always provides a unique challenge for even the best players.

Felix won his lone tour-level meeting against Fognini in 2019, a commanding 6-2, 6-3 victory at the ATP 500 event in Rio de Janeiro.

Also In Action…

Eighth seed Jannik Sinner and home hope Alexandre Muller will close the evening on Court Philippe-Chatrier. Cameron Norrie, seeded 14th, aims to maintain his perfect record against Frenchman Benoit Paire.

Arthur Fils, who arrives in Paris fresh off a dream title run in Lyon, will meet 29th seed Alejandro Davidovich Fokina. On Court 7, 26th seed Denis Shapovalov opens the day against Brandon Nakashima and 12th seed Frances Tiafoe will later play Filip Krajinovic.

The 2015 Roland Garros champion Stan Wawrinka will face Spaniard Albert Ramos-Vinolas for an eighth time. Two-time finalist Dominic Thiem will play Argentine Pedro Cachin.


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