Players will need to adjust to the surface quickly

Updated: May 24, 2005, 9:18 AM ET
By Howie Schwab | Special to ESPN.com

The second Grand Slam of the year often has wild results. Just look at the 2004 tournament. Gaston Gaudio, who was down two sets to one in the first round, went on to become an unseeded champion. On the women's side, none of the top five seeds even made the semifinals as No. 6 Anastasia Myskina was the surprise winner.

This time around, the top seeds have potentially competitive first-round matches, though they should move on.

Let the fun begin. Here is a look at men's and women's first-rounders to keep an eye on:

MEN
No. 9 Guillermo Canas, Argentina, vs. Gael Monfils, France
The young Frenchman will be the fan favorite here, and maybe he should be the pick, as well. Canas has not won a match at the French since making the quarterfinals in 2002. This should be a battle.

Albert Costa, Spain, vs. Vince Spadea, United States
Costa, the 2002 champion, will be favored on clay, but Spadea has won his first-round match at Roland Garros three consecutive years.

WOMEN
No. 7 Nadia Petrova, Russia, vs. Mashona Washington, United States
This is Washington's first singles match at the French. Sister to Wimbledon finalist MaliVai Washington, Mashona is a great athlete but is at a disadvantage against a former French Open semifinalist.

No. 10 Justine Henin-Hardenne, Belgium vs. Conchita Martinez, Spain
Henin-Hardenne is back from her injury woes and playing very well. Martinez has had great history in Paris, making the quarterfinals or better 10 times. That streak won't be extended here. No. 28 Marion Bartoli, France, vs. Shahar Peer, Israel
The up-and-coming Israeli just turned 18 and is capable of a surprise. Bartoli has lost in the first round of the French three of the past four years.

Marissa Irvin, United States, vs. Nicole Pratt, Australia
Irvin has lost three Grand Slam singles matches since making the third round of the French last year. Can she turn things around? I think so!

Howie Schwab is a coordinating producer for ESPN.

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