With the first 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 owners 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.
There were few surprises on the men's side in the opening round, while the women's side saw some early upsets and some other stars survive scares. While a Next Gen men's star seems to have put some recent struggles behind him, a big name on the women's side has plenty of positives to glean from what looked like a rocky first-round match on the surface.
Karen Khachanov - Khachanov is seeded 10th, but there were plenty of reasons to doubt his ability to make a deep run coming in, as the 23-year-old Russian entered with a 3-5 record on clay this season. Many of those doubts were erased in a dominant 6-1, 6-1, 6-4 first-round win over Cedrik-Marcel Stebe, and Khachanov's draw doesn't get much harder with 127th-ranked Gregoire Barrere up next.
Diego Schwartzman - Schwartzman survived an opening-round scare against Marton Fucsovics, ultimately escaping with a gritty five-set win. That win could be the start of a deep run for the 17th seed from Argentina, especially with 2018 semifinalist and potential third-round opponent Marco Cecchinato falling by the wayside. The next step for Schwartzman is to take care of countryman Leonardo Mayer, who entered the tournament mired in a three-match losing streak, all against opponents ranked no better than 70.
Stan Wawrinka - Wawrinka snapped a three-match losing streak in the first round, but crafting a winning streak won't be easy with Christian Garin up next for the Swiss 34-year-old. Garin has been one of the world's best clay-court players this season with a pair of titles on the surface, and he'll have plenty of belief against the more accomplished Wawrinka given their respective recent performances.
Ivo Karlovic - Karlovic isn't usually thought of as a clay-court player, but the 6-foot-11 Croatian's monstrous serve is a handful on any surface, while the slower conditions help him sink his teeth into more return games. After outlasting Feliciano Lopez 7-6 (4), 7-5, 6-7 (7), 7-5, the 40-year-old Karlovic is going to be a tough out moving forward despite being ranked 94th. He faces a fellow unseeded opponent in Jordan Thompson in Round 2.
Serena Williams - Despite dropping a set in the first round at a Grand Slam for the first time since 2012, Williams had many positives to take away from her 2-6, 6-1, 6-0 win over Vitalia Diatchenko. Her movement wasn't quite at 100 percent, but Serena looked terrific after shaking off the rust in the opening set. For someone who hasn't made it through consecutive full matches since the Australian Open, Williams looks awfully dangerous.
Victoria Azarenka - Azarenka couldn't have been thrilled with her draw when it came out, but she has a great opportunity to make the most of a tough situation. After disposing of 2017 champion Jelena Ostapenko 6-4, 7-6 (4) in the first round, Azarenka will now have to contend with No. 1 seed Naomi Osaka. While that's a tall order, Azarenka has to be encouraged by Osaka's poor first-round performance – she sprayed 38 unforced errors in her 0-6, 7-6 (4), 6-1 opening-round win over Anna Karolina Schmiedlova.
Elise Mertens - Mertens was far from her best in the opening round, pulling out a 6-4, 3-6, 6-2 victory over Tamara Zidansek despite finishing with just one ace and 26 winners compared to five double faults and 33 unforced errors. All the pressure will be on the No. 20 seed against local favorite Diane Parry, who is the youngest player to win a French Open match this decade at 16.
Danielle Collins - Collins is a feisty competitor who has rocketed up the rankings since starting 2018 outside the top 150. She's a proven Grand Slam performer with a semifinal run at the Australian Open already under her belt this season, and Collins looked dominant in a 6-2, 6-0 first-round win over Tatjana Maria to kick off Roland Garros. Look for Collins to give eighth-seeded Ashleigh Barty all she can handle in Round 2.