Murray and Wawrinka face Czech threats

Sun May 22, 2016 3:15pm EDT
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By Martyn Herman

PARIS (Reuters) - Wily Czech Radek Stepanek, the oldest player in the men's singles, will take his bag of tricks out on Philippe Chatrier Court against world number two Andy Murray as the French Open plays catch-up on Monday.

After a damp squib of an opening Sunday, Murray is joined on the order of play by defending champion Stanislas Wawrinka, who also faces a Czech challenge in the form of Lukas Rosol -- the man best known for beating Rafael Nadal at Wimbledon in 2012.

Stepanek, aged 37, is a few months older than Ivo Karlovic and is one of 51 men aged 30 and over in the first round -- a record for 30-somethings in the main draw of a grand slam.

Rome champion Murray needed three sets to beat Stepanek in Madrid recently and knows he will need to be on his guard against a player who rips up the claycourt textbook with a net-charging style.

Wawrinka arrived in Paris only late on Saturday after beating Marin Cilic to claim the title in Geneva, his first on clay since he stunned Novak Djokovic here last year.

Rosol, like his fellow Czech Stepanek, can be unpredictable.

"He's a dangerous player. He's serving big. He goes for his shots," Wawrinka said of Rosol whom he beat in a tight tussle on the way to glory in Geneva.

Women's top seed Serena Williams will not play until Tuesday, leaving the stage vacant for some of those trying to wrest the title from her on day two.   Continued...

Tennis - French Open training - Andy Murray of Britain returns a ball during a training session - Paris, France - 21/5/16. REUTERS/Pascal Rossignol