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Djokovic and Sabalenka return - day five preview

Split image of Novak Djokovic and Aryna Sabalenka
Djokovic won last year's French Open, while Sabalenka reached the semi-finals [Getty Images]

Novak Djokovic and Aryna Sabalenka will headline an action-packed schedule at the French Open on Thursday after days three and four were disrupted by rain.

Only matches completed under the two roof-covered show courts were completed on Wednesday.

Matches on the outdoor courts, including the first rounds of the men's, women's and mixed doubles, were called off as rain wreaked havoc on the schedule.

Second seed Sabalenka will get play under way on Court Philippe Chatrier on Thursday when she takes on Japan's Moyuka Uchijima.

World number one Djokovic is also in second-round action in the men's singles and will take to the same court to face Spain's Roberto Carballes Baena.

'Only the beginning' for Djokovic

Novak Djokovic
Djokovic is a three-time champion at the French Open [BBC Sport]

Djokovic began his bid for a record 25th Grand Slam title with a solid 6-4 7-6 (7-3) 6-4 victory over French home hope Pierre-Hugues Herbert.

The 37-year-old has had a turbulent season so far, failing to reach a final, while his world number one ranking is under threat from Italy's Jannik Sinner.

The Australian Open champion will move into the top spot if Djokovic is knocked out before the semi-finals.

"I felt better compared to the previous weeks. I'm moving in the right direction," Djokovic said following Tuesday's first-round win.

"But it's only the beginning. It's only one match. We have to see how I will progress in the tournament, how my feelings will evolve."

Serbia's Djokovic holds a 2-0 win record over Carballes Baena, who has advanced past the second round just once at a Grand Slam tournament, reaching the third round at Roland Garros in 2020.

Elsewhere in the men's draw, German sixth seed Alexander Zverev, who defeated Rafael Nadal in the first round, takes on Belgium's David Goffin.

Zverev, who many expect to challenge for the title, has insisted a court case over domestic abuse allegations will not distract him.

The 27-year-old has denied the charges, with a hearing set to begin on Friday in Germany.

Sabalenka and Rybakina back in action

Aryna Sabalenka
Before reaching last year's semi-final, Sabalenka had never gone past the third round at Roland Garros [Getty Images]

Sabalenka dropped just three games in a 69-minute demolition of Russian teenager Erika Andreeva on Tuesday.

The Belarusian was ranked 98 places above Andreeva, while Thursday's opponent Uchijima is ranked 172 places lower.

Uchijima sailed into the second round of a Grand Slam for the first time with a emphatic 6-1 6-1 win over fellow qualifier Irene Burillo Escorihuela of Spain.

It will be a tougher ask against Sabalenka, however. The Australian Open winner has not lost in the second round of a major since 2020.

Meanwhile, third seed Elena Rybakina also returns to action, taking on Arantxa Rus of the Netherlands on Court Suzanne Lenglen.

The Kazakh overcame a slow start to beat Belgium's Greet Minnen 6-2 6-3 in the first round, while Rus knocked out three-time major champion Angelique Kerber.

It will be the first time the pair have met since last year's French Open, when Rus forced the former Wimbledon champion to three sets before falling to a 6-1 5-7 6-2 defeat.

Should Sabalenka and Rybakina both win on Thursday, they will remain on course to meet in the semi-finals.