Tennis hotties... the names to watch in future
THE usual suspects have triumphed at the French Open - King of Clay Rafael Nadal and American powerhouse Serena Williams dominated the courts.
Although the masses turn out for big names, events like the French Open are actually chances to observe those moving up the ranks.
They're easy on the eye, and are the ones to keep track of in the future.
My Paper gives you six names to look out for.
KEI NISHIKORI (JAPAN)
Turned pro: 2007
World ranking: 13
He lost in the fourth round in Paris to Nadal, but Asia's top player has shown great promise, climbing 85 places from 2010 to his current ranking.
Nishikori won his third ATP World Tour singles title in February, and has chalked up wins over top players Novak Djokovic, Roger Federer, Thomas Berdych and David Ferrer.
What's next: Nadal said in 2008 that Nishikori was one to watch. In Paris, he again praised the Japanese player, saying "I think he's a candidate to be in the top 10, without any doubt".
Nishikori is now playing for the first time in the Gerry Weber Open, the first grass-court event in the lead-up to Wimbledon. He will face either Mikhail Youzhny or Daniel Gimeno-Traver in the second round, slated for today or tomorrow.
GRIGOR DIMITROV (BULGARIA)
Turned pro: 2008
World Ranking: 28
Tennis' "little Federer" posted an impressive three-set victory over world No. 1 Djokovic at the Mutua Madrid Masters last month, only to lose to the Serbian in the third round of the French Open.
The 2008 Wimbledon and US Open junior champion also made it to three ATP Masters semi-finals last year.
What's next: French daily newspaper L'Equipe is predicting that Dimitrov will be world No. 1 in 2018.
He played Dudi Sela of Israel in the Aegon Championships in London yesterday.
BENOIT PAIRE (FRANCE)
Turned pro: 2007
World ranking: 25
Paire was no match for Nishikori in Paris, losing to him in four sets in the third round of the French Open.
Still, "La Tige", or "The Stalk", had been a finalist for two ATP Masters singles tournaments and winner of an ATP doubles title since last year.
The Frenchman also toppled world No. 8 Juan Martin del Potro and world No. 9 Richard Gasquet in ATP tournaments this year.
What's next: Fellow Frenchman Gasquet said earlier that "Benoit is a very dangerous player. He has a very special game that can be disconcerting".
Paire faced Jack Baker of Britain in the first round of the Aegon Championships in London yesterday.
SLOANE STEPHENS (UNITED STATES)
Turned pro: 2008
World ranking: 17
She's known as "Little Serena" - a title she does not like - and at this year's Australian Open, she beat the reigning world No. 1 en route to her first grand-slam semi-final.
She reached the fourth round of Roland Garros last year, becoming the first American teenager to do so since Serena Williams in 2001.
Stephens was ousted by Maria Sharapova in the fourth round of the French Open, but Sharapova, the world No. 3, had this to say about her: "I think Sloane has a tremendous amount of potential... She has a big game already - big strokes, pretty good serve...If she's in the right hands at the right time, I'm sure she's going to have a great career."
What's next: Stephens will next feature in the Aegon International. Who she will play, and when, have yet to be determined.
SABINE LISICKI (GERMANY)
Turned pro: 2006
World ranking: 26
The German has been gaining momentum since recovering from injuries, finishing as the runner-up in two WTA singles tournaments and winning one WTA doubles title, but losing in the third round of the French Open.
Still, she has a great track record. She beat world No. 6 Li Na in the second round of Wimbledon 2011 and Sharapova in the fourth round the following year, making it her third victory against the Russian.
What's next: Her best showing has been at Wimbledon - the next grand slam after the French Open - where she reached one semi-final and two quarter-finals since 2009.
Lisicki will face either American Coco Vandeweghe or Czech Kristyna Pliskova in the second round of the Aegon Classic in London today.
LAURA ROBSON (BRITAIN)
Turned pro: 2008
World ranking: 37
The Brit fell in the first round of the Women's Singles in Paris, when she played against former world No. 1 Caroline Wozniacki. But she has previously triumphed over the likes of four-time grand-slam winner Kim Clijsters and French Open champion Li Na.
She has also beaten top-10 players Petra Kvitova, Agnieszka Radwanska and seven-time grand-slam winner Venus Williams.
What's next: Miles Maclagan, Robson's new coach who previously worked with world No. 2 Andy Murray, called his new charge "a young player with a lot of firepower and the ability to take on the top players".
She is up against either Daniela Hantuchova of Slovakia or Casey Dellacqua of Australia in the Aegon Classic in London today.