Meet the French Open underdogs

May 24, 2015, 08:52 IST | midday Correspondent

A guide to the first round opponents of star players at the French Open which gets underway today... 

Jarko Nieminen vs Novak Djokovic (1)

Head-to-head: 4-1

33-year-old Nieminen is ranked 86 in the world having been as high as 13 in 2006. The left-hander has won two titles in his career -- both on hard courts, in Auckland in 2006 and Sydney two years ago. A three-time quarter-finalist at the majors, Nieminen famously knocked Andre Agassi out of the French Open in the first round in 2005. 

Alejandro Falla vs Roger Federer (2) 

Head-to-head: Federer leads 7-0

Left-handed Colombian Falla, another lucky loser, is ranked 111 in the world having been as high as 48 just two years ago. Federer will be aware of Falla’s potential -- in 2010, he had to come from two sets down to beat the Colombian in the first round at Wimbledon. Falla’s best run at a major was a fourth round slot in Paris in 2011.

Facundo Arguello vs Andy Murray (3)

Head-to-head: First meeting

Arguello reached the main draw as a lucky loser having lost in the final round of qualifying. Ranked 139 with a career high of 104, the 22-year-old from Cordoba is a pupil of 2004 Roland Garros champion and former World No 5 Gaston Gaudio. Made his Grand Slam debut in Paris last year where he lost in the first round

Quentin Halys vs Rafael Nadal (6)

Head-to-head: First meeting

Halys is just 18 and playing on a wildcard on his main draw debut at a Grand Slam. The World No 304 tried and failed to qualify for the French Open in 2013 and 2014. 

Serena Williams (1) vs Andrea Hlavackova

Head-to-head: Williams leads 1-0

Part-time law student Hlavackova is 191 in the singles rankings but has won 15 doubles titles in her career. The 29-year-old has never got beyond the first round in Paris. The last time she played Williams was at the 2012 US Open where she lost 6-0, 6-0 in the fourth round. 

Maria Sharapova (2) vs Kaia Kanepi

Head-to-head: Sharapova leads 4-0

Experienced campaigner Kanepi is ranked 49 having been 15 in 2012 but whose career has been dogged by Achilles injuries. Made the quarter-finals in Paris in 2012 where she lost to Sharapova and 2008, losing to Svetlana Kuznetsova. Has also made the Last 8 at Wimbledon and US Open.

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