With the second round of the French Open in the books, it's time to highlight which players are on the rise and which ones look most vulnerable heading into the next round. Players who have been eliminated are of little interest to fantasy players as the tournament unfolds, so this column is meant to take a look ahead based on what's happened so far rather than reflect on the past.
The top seeds in the men's draw mostly stabilized after a barrage of big-name eliminations in the first round, but half of the 32 players left in the draw are unseeded. On the women's side, just 13 of the 32 players remaining are seeded, creating opportunities for some unheralded players to join the remaining favorites in the latter stages of the tournament. Things are looking up for some past champions on both sides of the draw, while one of the top seeds could be in trouble against a player that beat them here in 2019.
Rafael Nadal - Nadal's aura of invincibility at Roland Garros seems as strong as ever, as he has dropped just 14 games over a pair of straight-set wins to open his tournament. The 12-time French Open champion has no seeded players left in his section until the quarterfinals at the earliest, and if Alexander Zverev – who needed five sets to get through the second round – loses, then Nadal won't need to face a seed until the semifinals. His third-round opponent is 28-year-old Italian Stefano Travaglia, who is ranked 74th and doesn't have the weapons to trouble Nadal if the No. 2 seed is in his usual form.
Stan Wawrinka - Wawrinka hasn't had too much trouble in the early stages of this tournament, defeating the shell of Andy Murray 6-1, 6-3, 6-2 before overcoming a momentary blip in form with a 6-3, 6-2, 3-6, 6-1 win over Dominik Koepfer. Things aren't projected to get much tougher in the third round, where Wawrinka will face 239th-ranked 20-year-old Frenchman Hugo Gaston. Wawrinka's one of three former French Open champions in the draw, along with Nadal and Novak Djokovic, and that championship pedigree will make him a dangerous fourth-round test for No. 3 seed Dominic Thiem if both guys can take care of business in the second round.
Grigor Dimitrov - Dimitrov has cruised into the third round without dropping a set, and he's primed to finally make a deeper run at the French Open after losing his previous four third-round matches here, including each of the past three years. The three-time grand slam semifinalist is seeded 18th here, and he avoided a potential clash with No. 9 Denis Shapovalov when 101st-ranked Roberto Carballes Baena eliminated Shapovalov 8-6 in the fifth in five hours flat. With a major edge in freshness, Dimitrov will be heavily favored against Carballes Baena.
Karen Khachanov - Khachanov's serving problems almost cost him in the second round, but he was able to grind out a 6-1, 6-7(4), 7-6(7), 7-6(2) win over Jiri Vesely despite finishing with only seven aces compared to 10 double faults. The level of competition climbs significantly for the No. 15 seed in the third round, as his opponent will be 20th-seeded Cristian Garin, who is a clay-court specialist. Garin has won four titles since the start of the 2019 season, and all of them have come on clay. If Khachanov doesn't raise his level significantly, expect Garin to send him packing.
Lorenzo Sonego - Sonego's in the third round of a grand slam for the first time, and the 25-year-old Italian has a nice opportunity to keep his run going against 27th-seeded American Taylor Fritz. It's no secret that Americans usually struggle on clay, and Fritz's big serve and big forehand just don't have the same bite on the slower surface at Roland Garros that they would on a hard or grass court. Fritz is yet to get past the third round of a major himself, and while the 22-year-old likely has many deep grand slam runs in front of him, he's a prime candidate to suffer an upset defeat to Sonego here.
Tsvetana Pironkova - Pironkova was the beneficiary of Serena Williams' withdrawal due to an Achilles injury, getting the second-round walkover. The 33-year-old mother is playing arguably the best tennis of her career, as she lost to Williams in the quarterfinals of the US Open in her return after three years off the tour and is picking up where she left off at Roland Garros. No seeded opponents stand between Pironkova and the quarterfinals, and her third round opponent will be 114th-ranked Barbora Krejcikova.
Garbine Muguruza - Muguruza bounced back in the second round with a 6-3, 6-2 win over Kristyna Pliskova after a first-round scare against Tamara Zidansek, whom she beat 7-5, 4-6, 8-6. The 2016 French Open champion played well in the Italian Open leading up to this tournament, falling to Simona Halep 6-4 in the third in the semifinals. The 26-year-old Spaniard is one of the title favorites at this tournament as the No. 11 seed, and she's rounding into form ahead of a matchup with American Danielle Collins, who is in the third round of the French Open for the first time in her career.
Petra Kvitova - Kvitova prefers faster surfaces, but the two-time Wimbledon champion has found success at Roland Garros before with a semifinal run in 2012, and she hasn't dropped a set through two rounds. The No. 7 seed has a favorable draw ahead of her, as she won't have to face another seed until the quarterfinals and wouldn't need to play one until the semis if 13th-seeded Petra Martic loses. Kvitova's third-round opponent will be 100th-ranked Candian teenager Leylah Fernandez, who has plenty of finesse and variety but will likely struggle to deal with Kvitova's power.
Elise Mertens - Mertens will have her hands full with local favorite Caroline Garcia, who already took out No. 17 seed Anett Kontaveit in the first round. Garcia has won both of her previous meetings with the No. 16 seed, while Mertens has struggled on her serve in this tournament, with three aces against seven double faults and a pair of sub-60 first serve percentage performances in the first two rounds.
Amanda Anisimova - Anisimova is rounding into form at the grand slam at which the 19-year-old American has found the most success in her short career. She reached the semifinals last year and had eventual champion Ashleigh Barty on the ropes before ultimately falling in three sets. Anisimova beat Simona Halep in straight sets in the quarterfinals of that 2019 run, and the No. 22 seed is set to give the top-seeded Romanian all she can handle in their third-round rematch.