French Open 2016: A sweeping preview of Thursday’s best second round matches

This post previews the best of the second round matches set for Thursday at Roland Garros including Bouchard-Bacsinszky, V.Williams v Chirico, Petkovic v Putintseva and Mladenovic v Babos. A final Set Points will come later tonight to wrap up day 4 action at the French Open.

1. Timea Bacsinszky (8) v Eugenie Bouchard

Timea BacsinszkyIn a battle of the B’s, the stand-out match from Thursday’s list of second round matches will feature Timea Bacsinszky and Eugenie Bouchard. Bacsinszky was embroiled in a clay-court tussle early on against Silvia Soler-Espinosa in her first round match; twice she went down a break in the first set but after levelling up at 3-3, the Swiss player won nine of the last ten games.

Bouchard had a smooth victory over Laura Siegemund, 6-2 6-2; she recovered from an early break down in the second set after Siegemund had taken an extended break. Considering how well the German player has been playing in 2016, it was a superb win. Both players sounded very positive in press and happy with their first round performances with quotes in this WTA article HERE.

Head-to-head record: In their only previous match-up, Bacsinszky defeated Bouchard at Indian Wells earlier this year, 6-2 5-7 6-2. It was the match where Timea had an almighty tumble but got patched up and came back to win.

Interesting stat: Bacsinszky and Bouchard have had past success at Roland Garros with Timea reaching the semi-finals in 2015 and Genie reaching the same stage in 2014. Both players were just one set away from the final.

Final thoughts: I’d fancy the winner of this match to come through this second quarter of the draw… but i’ve got no idea who that will be! I like how both players are sounding in press and this could be a brilliant match. As a Bacsinszky fan, i’m wary of the threat that Bouchard poses and I think coming in as the underdog will favour the Canadian player. I think the surface is decent for both players although i’m slightly more confident in the level that Bacsinszky can produce as Bouchard has thrown in some sub-standard displays of late. I’m really torn…

2. Venus Williams (9) v Louisa Chirico

Chirico

An all-American second rounder is on the the cards when Venus Williams and Louisa Chirico meet in the second round on Thursday, last up on Suzanne Lenglen. After her season started with a stutter due to a nasty ankle sprain, Chirico has settled into her groove on clay and won 12 matches before heading into Paris. Of course, the highlight was a run to the semi-finals of Madrid as a qualifier. Since her ranking wasn’t high enough at the entry deadline, Chirico was forced to play qualifying and she dealt with the pressure and expectation to reach the main draw.

In the first round, Chirico edged a nailbiter against Lauren Davis, 6-2 2-6 8-6. Chirico missed two match points having had a sizable lead in the third set, but then saved multiple break points that would have given Davis the opportunity to serve for the match. Venus faced the big-hitting Anett Kontaveit in the first round and did well to survive, winning a very tight two setter.

Head-to-head record: This will be the first time that Venus and Louisa have played each other on the WTA tour.

Interesting stat: Chirico’s win over Davis was in fact her first Slam main draw win of her career. For Venus, she’ll be bidding to reach the third round of the French Open for the first time since 2010.

Final thoughts: I like Chirico’s chances in this match… she has confidence, not only from winning plenty of matches on clay and coming through qualifying, but also from the win over Davis where she was on the brink of letting things slide and had to refocus. One thing you know you will get in this one is a committed display and tons of fight from Venus. If Chirico can make Venus move and stay calm herself, I think this one is a legitimate upset alert.

3. Andrea Petkovic (28) v Yulia Putintseva

Yulia Putintseva

Bring it onnnn… this one has all the ingredients to be a feisty affair between Andrea Petkovic and Yulia Putintseva. Petkovic came into Paris on a three match losing streak. Her last match in Rome, a defeat to Madison Keys, was one of her weakest performances of the entire season. The German player rebounded in the first round with a solid win over Laura Robson, 6-2 6-2. It was a good draw for Petkovic and while the scoreline didn’t quite reflect the tightness of some of the games, particularly at the start of the second set, it was a decent performance. Putintseva flew through her opener against Aleksandra Wozniak, 6-1 6-1. The Canadian player was in action for the first time since the middle of April.

Head-to-head record: Petkovic and Putintseva are tied at 1-1 in their head-to-head; Petkovic won their only completed encounter at Indian Wells in 2013, 6-0 6-2. In their last match in Nurnberg, Putintseva advanced up 5-0 when Petkovic retired.

Interesting stat: Putintseva will be aiming to reach the third round of the French Open for the first time in her career, while Petkovic is a former semi-finalist from 2014.

Final thoughts: It’s tough to separate these two… The first round win will have freed up Petkovic following a couple of poor losses. Putitntseva has all the weapons and tactics to make this an uncomfortable day for the German player but she remains unconvincing at times, particularly in maintaining leads. On the fence with this one and it’s a hugeee match with Azarenka no longer in this section of the draw.

4. Kristina Mladenovic (26) v Timea Babos

Mladenovic

Former doubles, partners, Kristina Mladenovic and Timea Babos will meet in this intriguing second round clash that will be played last up on Philippe Chatrier. The pair have gone in opposite directions in singles this year; while Mladenovic has been struggling for form, Babos is enjoying her best ever season in singles. Mladenovic has at least stopped the rot and played well in Strasbourg last week, snapping a four match losing streak to reach the semi-finals.

Mladenovic continued to show improved form with a first round win over former champion, Francesca Schiavone, 6-2 6-4. Babos went in as the favourite in her first round match against Samantha Crawford and delivered the goods, coming through, 6-4 6-0.

Head-to-head record: Mladenovic leads Babos in the head-to-head, 3-1. Mladenovic won their most recent encounter at ‘s-Hertogenbosch, 7-6(4) 4-6 6-2. It was Babos though who won their only clay court encounter in Marrakech last year, 6-4 6-4.

Interesting stat: Mladenovic has lost her first match at nine out of 14 tournaments this year. On the other hand, Babos has only lost her first match at three tournaments this year, posting a superb 21-13 W-L record. The Hungarian player is currently at number 15 in the Race to Singapore.

Final thoughts: Mladenovic will have the home support and she seems to thrive off this based on her recent performances at Roland Garros as well as the run in Strasbourg. However, it’s hard to ignore Babos’s excellent form throughout most of the year…

Photos in this post by Jimmie48 Tennis Photography and mootennis.com

17 thoughts on “French Open 2016: A sweeping preview of Thursday’s best second round matches

  1. I agree Chirico could cause big problems for Venus as she hits hard but with quite a lot of spin and that can be difficult for flat ball strikers as seen with Ivanovic recently. She’ll also be playing pressure free you’d think.

    I’m also leaning with Babos based on form, with Bacsinszky and Putinseva based on the way they play and get into an opponents head, though Bouchard and Petkovic are probably bigger match players. I’d think Timea will have a lot of crowd support after last year though.

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  2. Radwanska won against Garcia. I saw the whole match. Radwanska is a very clever woman in the way she quickly changed her game after first few tight games of the first set and continued the same way for first half of the second set. I have never been a fan of Garcia, she has no game plan whatsoever and no patience, just hitting few very good shots is not going to get her any significant titles (and no surprise she has none) and there are 100s like her capable of hitting 4-5 beautiful shots in a match. Her game completely fell apart in the first set once Radwanska started her awkward game.

    For a second I felt that Garcia had chances in the second set when Radwanska lost her focus and Garcia was hitting better, but she has no patience and no plan A forget about a plan B.

    Also, Radwanska is clearly uncomfortable on clay, she looked tensed in her movement, she moves easily on grass, here she was clearly struggling. I dont think she was at her best today, but nevertheless she won. She didnt had much success with her dropshots and I saw only one inside-out forehand (her money shot) which went long,

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    • I think your comments are a bit unfair. Garcia was obviously uneasy with the crowd and Radwanska returned VERY well. By the time Caroline started to find her range it was just a bit too late. But not a bad loss for her at all and I hope she isn’t discouraged by it.

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      • uneasy with the crowd? the crowd was already fully behind her, she twice raised her hands asking the crowd to cheer her even more and they immediately obliged. the truth is she has no game plan and no mental fortitude. her career statistics speak for themselves, she knows how to hit the ball (and honestly I dont even see her as a great ball hitter I dont know what this hoopla is all around her ball hitting, if I want to see effortless ball hitting I will go for Giorgi) and that’s it, there is absolutely nothing else in her game.

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      • It’s well documented that Garcia feels a lot of pressure being a ‘home favourite’. She did become more comfortable with it as the match wore on but you could clearly see how tense she was in that first set.
        Go stick with Giorgi in future then.

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      • Garcia lost first round at australian open, us open, wimbledon, she gets uncomfortable being ‘home favorite’ at wimbledon, us open, and australian open as well? I am not sticking with Giorgi, I only meant Giorgi is a better ball striker! both are erratic!

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      • Bryan, you are absolutely right. Garcia has the full support from the local crowds. The difference is the level of intelligence Aga displayed on the court.

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    • I agree with you Bryan, her impatience actually influences her poor choice of play and lack of ‘variety’ in strategy. Playing a switched on Aga is already bonkers on the mind. I expected Aga to come through, wished Garcia could have made it a bit more interesting.

      On the other hand though, I wouldn’t read too much into Aga’s feel for the clay surface. Clay tennis is not like it used to be and few of the girls even on her side of the draw move well on it. Begu for example and Halep to some extent. I will take a fit, ready Aga on clay over many of the top girls. Begu just played a marathon with Coco of all girls( a true baseline player) on this clay surface and I enjoyed it, two contrasting styles.

      I believe patience can help her cope with some of the pressure Andrew speaks of. She really needs to work on that mental aspect.

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  3. Let’s just say that Radwanska’s win against Garcia was super tough. Garcia really showed her skill in doubles, which is what took her to three consecutive clay court titles in Charleston, Stuttgart, & Madrid with Mladenovic. With that being said though, is the way Aga played today enough for her to snatch Serena’s top ranking? Most likely not. The number of errors in her game already increased in this round. She’s already served up three aces, four double faults, 34 winners, and 21 errors. But, despite serving fewer aces than what we’re used to seeing from her, Serena only served up four aces, one double fault, 25 winners, and five errors.

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    • super tough? did you see the match? it was tight near the end of second set, that’s it. it was not super tough.

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      • Yes, I saw the match. What I meant was that Garcia wasn’t going to go down without a fight in the sense of how tough the match was.

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    • No, that was not a tough match… and it was a good performance by Radwanska. Whether Garcia wasn’t going down without a fight or not – she still lost, quite convincingly.

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  4. Serena will take down Pereira in two sets. When she took the medical timeout when playing doubles with Venus, she probably wanted to make sure that her feet are 100% OK and she wants to be 100% healthy. She’s the big favorite to win the title now.

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  5. As I have been saying for some time,Garcia needs a proper coach not her father,I have to agree at times her shot selections during matches leaves me scratching my head.Garcia has such easy power off both wings,though to me her forehand is her best shot,I love the way she takes the ball on.Also she has good movement around the court.Garcia has the weapons to defeat Aga,especially on clay,though she needed more patience and has to ‘stay in the moment’ mentally.

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  6. Tough playing her good friend Babos on such a big stage, I think the home support will work in Mladenovic’s favour but Timea is playing the better singles tennis now.Head says Timea, heart says Mladenovic. Heart it is for me, nothing to lose, but I think Timea will edge it.

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  7. I think Babos is a better player than Mladenovic. Although the crowd may help to reboot Mladenovic but I think Babos will go through.

    I also think Bouchard will beat T. Bacs if she can maintain her level of games. I believe she can do that in RG.

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