The 2022 French Open, the second Major of the year, will begin on Sunday! The main storyline for this tournament – can anyone stop Iga Swiatek? Read on for my preview of the draw including the stand-out first round matches and potential match-ups to circle from the first week. I haven’t done my draw yet so i’ll try to add some predictions to the blog tomorrow. Hoping to have some new content to share next week…
The draw 🎇
First rounders 🔥
Amanda Anisimova vs. Naomi Osaka: Boom. When they were about to place the 24-32 seeds I was screaming Anisimova-Osaka at the screen!!! Anisimova beat Osaka earlier this year at the Australian Open, 4-6 6-3 7-6(5) which remains – spoiler alert – my match of the season so far. I don’t think it’s a terrible draw for Osaka and tend to think that she’s better off playing another big hitter than a clay-court specialist. Anisimova still the clear favourite for me.
Garbiñe Muguruza vs. Kaia Kanepi: Eek! Kanepi has beaten a seed in the first round at the last two Slams and gets a shot at the hat-trick. Muguruza is having a rough season and actually has a losing record in 2022 (7-8 W-L record). Muguruza has lost four matches this year from a set up and her confidence seems shattered right now. The only thing I will say with Mugu is she has turned it on for the Slams before without any warning. I will never forget when she won Wimbledon having been trounced by Barbora Strycova (1-6 0-6!!!) the week before in Eastbourne.
Ons Jabeur vs. Magda Linette: A tough opener for the Madrid champ and Rome finalist. Linette is one of the most solid ballstrikers on tour. Linette had a decent week in Strasbourg where she reached the quarter-finals and lost out in three sets to Kerber. In their head-to-head, Jabeur has won their last three meetings on tour including most recently in Miami in straight sets.
Simona Halep vs. Ana Konjuh: Halep’s draw is littered with huge hitters and it starts off against Ana Konjuh. Konjuh is having a tough season, an 8-13 W-L record in 2022 and just one main draw win on the clay. Still, I see Konjuh’s name and always think DANGER!
Coco Gauff vs. Rebecca Marino: Slightly left-field but I like the sound of this match which should bring a neat contrast in styles. A ding ding ding first time meeting.
First week potential match-ups to circle 🤞:
Jelena Ostapenko vs. Alizé Cornet (R2): Please. Pretty please.
Jessica Pegula vs. Anhelina Kalinina (R2): This would be a brutal second rounder between two of the most in-form players on the WTA tour this year, particularly over the past few months. They were due to play in Rome but Kalinina withdrew and they did play in Madrid but Kalinina retired after a set. Their Australian Open clash earlier this year went the distance – Pegula won, 4-6 7-6(1) 7-5.
Aryna Sabalenka vs. Madison Brengle (R2): Lol.
Camila Giorgi vs. Yulia Putintseva (R2): Omg imagine the handshake 😂😂😂.
Belinda Bencic vs. Bianca Andreescu (R2): Ok let’s get serious again. This would be a cracker of a second round. Their only previous meeting was in the semi-finals of the US Open.
Maria Sakkari vs. Karolina Muchova (R2): Muchova has not hit her stride yet since returning from injury but her quality is undeniable. I don’t know where Sakkari’s head is at after her loss in Rome to Jabeur from 6-1 5-2 up.
Iga Swiatek vs. Liudmila Samsonova (R3): The last player to take a set off Swiatek was…
Simona Halep vs. Jelena Ostapenko (R3): Oof. A rematch of the 2017 French Open final in Paris would be quite something.
Ons Jabeur vs. Petra Kvitova (R3): Aww this would be a nice occasion.
Emma Raducanu vs. Angelique Kerber (R3): I’d love to see this.
Belinda Bencic/Bianca Andreescu vs. Leylah Fernandez (R3): The third quarter is lit 🔥.
Maria Sakkari/Karolina Muchova vs. Amanda Anisimova/Naomi Osaka (R3): I’m down with all the possibilities.
Anett Kontaveit vs. Elise Mertens (R3): There was a time post-lockdown when this pair were widely regarded as the most consistent performers on tour. Mertens leads Kontaveit, 3-2 in their head-to-head and their last two encounters, both three setters, have included a middle bagel set!
Fun facts 🤓
There are five former champions in this draw: Barbora Krejcikova (2021), Iga Swiatek (2020), Simona Halep (2018), Jelena Ostapenko (2017) and Garbiñe Muguruza (2016).
Of the 13 French women in the draw, six have drawn seeds and five of them will face off against top eight seeds.
Seven players will compete in the main draw of a Slam for the first time in their career. Leolia Jeanjean, Oksana Selekhmeteva, Fernanda Contreras Gomez, Linda Noskova, Mirjam Bjorklund, Carole Monnet and Jule Niemeier. Noskova won the girls title at Roland Garros last year and opens against Emma Raducanu.
Taylor Townsend is back! Townsend, who gave birth to her first child in March 2021, returned to competitive tennis last month and won her most recent tournament at $100K Charleston. This will be her first Slam appearance since the 2020 US Open. Townsend plays home favourite, Caroline Garcia in an intriguing opener.