The number eight seed, Svetlana Kuznetsova continues her hunt for a second Roland Garros title against the always dangerous, Oceane Dodin in the second round of the French Open on Wednesday.
Kuznetsova d. McHale, 7-5 6-4
In a tight two setter that could very easily have swung into a deciding set, Kuznetsova stayed in the moment to close out the tenacious, McHale. Despite the American’s disappointing recent form, she has a versatile game that can adapt to all surfaces. McHale produced a gutsy display, recovering a double break in the first set and twice coming back from a deficit in the second set to level up at 5-5 and 4-4 resepctively. Kuznetsova managed to refocus on both occasions at the ends of each set with McHale missing in the key moments.
On the whole, it was a solid opener for Kuznetsova and she did well to win in straights – it did have that ominous feeling of being one of “those” matches where Kuznetsova couldn’t hold onto a lead as she became passive at times. The Russian player spoke in press of feeling the nerves at Roland Garros and this win will have likely gone a long way to calming the pre-tournament jitters.
Dodin d. Giorgi, 6-2 6-3
In a battle between two of the hardest hitters on tour, Dodin came out on top against Camila Giorgi in surprisingly straightforward fashion. The key stat from the match was the break point conversion – Giorgi went 1 out of 11 on break points, while Dodin was a perfect five out of five. Dodin came through a nine (!) deuce game serving for the first set at *5-2. If Giorgi had managed to convert on one of her six break points then perhaps the set may have played out differently.
Dodin quickly went up a double break 4-0 lead in the second set – although she lost one of the breaks, Giorgi’s brief comeback was soon halted as Dodin broke again for the win. The Frenchwoman’s serve was also key in this match as she won 76% of points behind her first serve compared to just 43% for Giorgi.
Head-to-head record: The pair have never played each other before on the WTA tour.
Interesting stat: Dodin’s win over Giorgi on Sunday was her first ever win at the French Open. In comparison, Kuznetsova has a wealth of experience in Paris and the win over McHale was her 51st (!) in Paris
Final thoughts: Dodin is a very dangerous player and she can hitttt the ball. However, with the weapons she possesses, the game can also stray and when things haven’t been going to plan, Dodin can lose her way. For example, after a sensational display to beat Dominika Cibulkova in the second round of Madrid, Dodin followed it up with a rather tame performance against fellow countrywoman, Kristina Mladenovic.
While Kuznetsova is still feeling her way into the tournament and the confidence may not be quite there yet, her repertoire of shots and ability to vary pace and spin on her favourite surface will likely give Dodin a much tougher match than her first rounder against the fast-paced but all-at-the-same-level, Giorgi.