Commentary

Big things in store for Week 2 in Paris

Updated: June 1, 2013, 7:20 PM ET
By Jim Caple and Matt Wilansky | ESPN.com

PARIS -- John Isner sat in his chair at 8-7 in the fifth set against Tommy Haas with a calm sense of urgency. Isner already had saved 12 match points, and his feet were slowly betraying him.

Three games later, his latest epic came to close with a 7-5, 7-6 (4), 4-6, 6-7 (10), 10-8 loss, just a day after he beat Ryan Harrison 8-6 in the fifth. Thus, we won't see Marathon John for a few weeks, when Wimbledon takes center stage.

But the good news is there are plenty of other things to look forward to in Week 2 at Roland Garros. Here are the top 10:

10. A good diet: Will Bethanie Mattek-Sands continue her comeback? Beset by multiple injuries that kept her off the court, playing subpar and contemplating retirement, Mattek-Sands is back and looking good. After changing her diet in November because of 26 food allergies, she upset No. 6 Li Na to reach the third round and will face No. 12 Maria Kirilenko with a shot at her first Grand Slam quarterfinal on the line. If she wins, maybe there's a diet book in the offing.

[+] EnlargeSloane Stephens
Clive Brunskill/Getty ImagesSloane Stephens is having a great tournament. But she's not the only U.S. woman succeeding.
9. Wimbledon: OK, that's not exactly fair. The French Open is a fabulous event, one that truly showcases athleticism and raw talent. But we're looking at it from the perspective of American men, who, after an auspicious start, were shut out from the second week of the tourney for the fourth consecutive year. Jack Sock, Isner, Harrison and Sam Querrey all won their openers -- and in straight sets. Isner and Querrey advanced another round before losing. Now it's across the English Channel for the Yanks, who fancy the grass of the All England Club far more.

8. Ancient history: Who says old guys don't dig dirt? Actually no one has ever said that, but while the likes of Andy Roddick (retired a day before his 31st birthday) and 33-year-old James Blake (failed to get his own page in the ATP media guide) are among the many gone or languishing after a long grind on the tour, the surgically repaired Haas is aging in reverse. Although at 35, Haas may finally be feeling every bit his dotage after 4 hours, 37 minutes of tennis against Isner.

7. Call me Jamie: After a first-week match, Jamie Hampton talked about how, for some reason, everyone calls her Julie. A reporter even called her Julie after her match Saturday. But she has a chance to make a name for herself in her fourth-round match -- though she will have to beat former No. 1 Jelena Jankovic to do so.

6. The sun: An aerial shot across the grounds of Roland Garros in Week 1 showed fully bloomed umbrellas, fall coats and a few too many blue lips. Thanks to seven rain delays, the rhythm of play was knocked off-kilter, not to mention the scheduling strife that ensued (see: Nadal, Rafael). So here's to sunny skies -- and keeping the seven-time champ on cloud nine, so to speak.

5. The joy of youth: How far can Sloane Stephens go? The 20-year-old reached the semifinals of the Australian Open before stumbling a little in the months afterward. But she had a great time here the first week, beating opponents and stopping daily at Haagen-Dazs for her favorite ice cream fix. She'll have to keep up the solid play (not necessarily the ice cream) because her next opponent is 2012 champ Maria Sharapova.

4. Americans in Paris: You'll have plenty of women to cheer on in the second week. In addition to world No. 1 Serena Williams, Stephens, Hampton and Mattek-Sands reached the fourth round. That's the most Americans in the fourth round at a Grand Slam since the 2004 U.S. Open. That only one is named Williams tells you something about the U.S. women's depth.

3. More Federer perfection: Nine sets, nine wins so far for Roger Federer. And it was he who, oddly, came into the French Open laboring after bowing out in the second round of Madrid and getting totaled by Rafael Nadal in the Rome final. Federer also had been dealing with back spasms since Indian Wells in early March. So it has to come as somewhat of a surprise that he has been this efficient. What's on the line against Gilles Simon on Sunday for Fed? His 900th match win, a record-tying 58th Roland Garros victory and his 36th straight Slam quarterfinal appearance. You know, minor stuff.

2. No early exit this time: When will someone give Serena a match? After losing in the first round last year, Williams came to Roland Garros ranked the world No. 1 and highly expected to win the tournament -- and she hasn't disappointed. She won her first three matches in straight sets, dropping just six games.

1. Djokovic-Nadal semifinal: When the draw came out, our eyes skipped right over the first five rounds to check out the Djokovic-Nadal semifinal collision. They had the misfortune of ending up on the same side of the bracket. Awful news for them. Great news for Federer.

Jim Caple | email

Senior Writer, ESPN.com