Saturday Final Preview
My thoughts on Saturday’s final between Ash Barty and Marketa Vondrousova can be found in Friday’s Set Points post here.
Saturday Final Poll
Friday SF Previews
Johanna Konta vs. Marketa Vondrousova: This match is a huge opportunity for both players as they will square off for a place in their first ever Slam final. Things have just clicked for Konta on clay this year. The Brit has enjoyed 15 wins on clay this year, more than she had amassed in the last three seasons combined. Her relentless display against Stephens in the quarters was one of her best of the year so far.
Like Konta, Vondrousova has maintained her excellent run during the clay court season into Roland Garros. Vondrousova has yet to drop a set all tournament. In the quarters, she faced her toughest match of the tournament so far against Petra Martic. The Czech player saved three set points in the first set and overcame a late wobble serving for the match. Vondrousova had never previously advanced past the fourth round of a Slam so she’s deep in uncharted territory.
The pair are tied at 1-1 in their H2H. Vondrousova won in Indian Wells last year, 7-6(5) 6-4, while Konta won recently, just last month in Rome, 6-3 3-6 6-1. It is worth noting that Vondrousova did seem to be struggling in that Rome match with a leg injury. Tough one to call with both in a first French Open semi-final. It’s impossible to know how both will react mentally. If Konta serves like she did against Stephens then she’s the fave. But can she replicate? Vondrousova has been so solid since February and moves beautifully on the clay. Heart says Jo, head says Marketa.
Ash Barty vs. Amanda Anisimova: What an exciting prospect – first-time match-up, first Slam semi-final and both players going for a first Slam final! While I certainly wouldn’t rule out Anisimova, I would favour Barty hypothetically in the match-up with no data points. Anisimova was allowed to find her rhythm on Thursday as Halep hit mostly at one level. I think Barty is such a tricky player to play, even with this not being her best surface, and she will no doubt mix it up. Interested to see how Barty handles this match mentally because while she is the favourite, it’s easy to overlook that this is still the biggest match of her career and a completely new experience for the Aussie.
Friday SF Polls
Wednesday’s QF Previews
Ash Barty vs. Madison Keys: Two of the most consistent recent Slam performers are back in the last eight. Barty is the only player this year to reach the QFs at both the Australian Open and the French Open, while Keys has reached the quarter-finals at four of the last six Slams. Both are quite similar in that they openly express their love of grass and that they are learning to love the clay (perhaps love is still a bit strong!).
The pair are tied at 1-1 in their H2H. Back in 2017, they played in the first round (!) of the French Open where Keys won, 6-3 6-2. In their most recent meeting in Fed Cup earlier this year, Barty won, 6-4 6-1. It’s probably my favourite of the four quarter-finals as I really like both players. I’m going for Ash in this one. The Aussie has so much variety to her game and I think the backhand slice could be huge in this match-up. Keys was allowed to find her rhythm against Siniakova who was resorted to defence for the most part, while Barty is likely to mix it up and make life awkward.
Simona Halep vs Amanda Anisimova: Halep is slowly making her way through the crop of teens on tour at this tournament! The defending champ looked in irresistible form against Iga Swiatek, dropping just the one game in 45 minutes. Despite winning a title, a first on the WTA tour, on clay earlier this year, Anisimova hadn’t shown much form pre-French Open. With a draw that opened up, Anisimova has grabbed the opportunity and reached her first Slam QF without dropping a set.
This will be a first-time match up on the tour. Halep will be the clear favourite on the clay based on her recent form and experience. Anisimova has an incredible inner belief and a great head on her shoulders. The American has some big weapons (that backhanddd) so i’m definitely intrigued by this one. Still, Halep for the win.
Wednesday QF Polls
Tuesday QF Previews
Petra Martic vs. Marketa Vondrousova: On paper, this is a wildly unexpected quarter-final at a Slam. Delve a little deeper and it totally makes sense. Martic has won 15 matches on clay this year, the most of any WTA player. Vondrousova has won 11 matches on clay and has been generally brilliant since February. Vondrousova continued her breeze through the draw with a 6-2 6-0 win over a clearly spent, Sevastova in the R4. Martic was pushed to three sets for the first time this tournament and showed impressive resolve to beat Kaia Kanepi in a see-saw encounter.
A fascinating narrative to this first ever Slam QF for both players is that Martic leads the head-to-head, 4-0. The pair played most recently in the final of Istanbul where Martic won, 1-6 6-4 6-1. Vondrousova did manage her first set against Martic in Istanbul. Definitely not a given that Martic extends that H2H and there so many external factors – I’m not sure who will feel more pressure if at all? I do think the last 16 win was huge for Martic, to have been pushed to the brink and survived, and to break through the last 16 barrier having failed four times at this stage of a Slam. Pondered long and hard, and find myself leaning slightly towards Martic.
Sloane Stephens vs. Johanna Konta: A rematch from the third round of Rome will take place in the last eight in Paris. Konta’s had a stunning clay court season. Up against tricky opponents, Viktorija Kuzmova and Donna Vekic in the 3rd and 4th rounds respectively, she handled them both comfortably. Stephens battled into the last 16 where she produced her best performance of the year to beat Muguruza.
Like the first QF, the H2H is very interesting! Konta leads it 2-0 with both encounters taking place this year. Konta won last month in Rome, 6-7(3) 6-4 6-1. I don’t know how much to read into that as Stephens doesn’t always show her best fight in tour-level matches. I think Konta’s playing great right now. That performance though from Stephens against Muguruza was a real marker laid down. I’m going for Sloane but rooting for Jo!
Tuesday QF Polls
Monday R4 Previews
Madison Keys vs. Katerina Siniakova: Another first-time match-up and one of three set for Monday. Keys has had to scrap her way into the last 16, being taken to three sets by Priscilla Hon and Anna Blinkova. She raised her level at the end of the match vs. Blinkova which was encouraging. Siniakova is in uncharted territory after the biggest win of her career against Naomi Osaka in the third round. I totally wrote her off in my second round previews!
As much as I do like Siniakova and her crazy ways, I’m still wary how she will cope in this new situation. Despite not at her best form, I would still favour Keys’s experience and generally just getting up and being pretty solid at the Slams.
Ash Barty vs. Sofia Kenin: Barty has gone under-the-radar this week with three straight set wins and her best ever run in Paris. Kenin was due a big win and she got that on Saturday, showing impressive composure to beat Serena in straights. Loved a quote I read shared on Twitter where Barty said about Kenin “she certainly respects every opponent but doesn’t play their reputation. She plays them just on the other side of the net, and that’s one of her best attributes”. Hit the nail on the head.
The pair have played twice before with Barty winning both in straight sets. I wouldn’t write off Kenin with her fearless competitive streak but I just like how Barty is making her way through the draw and I think she has the weapons to unsettle Kenin.
Simona Halep vs. Iga Swiatek: What a great moment for the 18-year-old, Swiatek to get a shot at the defending champ! I was so impressed with Swiatek in her third round win over Monica Puig. She’s going to be a star. Halep has been solid so far and the draw looks pretty cushty. Interested to see how Swiatek adapts to the situation. Hard to look past Halep reaching the semi-finals considering all three players in her section, while very talented and dangerous, have little experience at this stage of a Slam.
Amanda Anisimova vs. Aliona Bolsova: Huge match with a first Slam QF on the line. I still haven’t watched either of these players play yet so I don’t have much to add on this one. I’ve always liked Anisimova so would naturally favour her in this match. What a run from Bolsova who I hadn’t even heard off pre-Charleston.
Monday R4 Polls
Sunday R4 Previews
Garbiñe Muguruza vs. Sloane Stephens: Muguruza faces her second blockbuster match of the tournament. Muguruza continued to flaunt her superb record at Roland Garros with an impressive 6-3 6-3 third round win over Svitolina. The Spaniard just looks so much more comfortable on these courts and was being noticeably aggressive vs. Svitolina. Stephens has had to battle her way into the last 16, losing her first set of the tournament to Polona Hercog. The level isn’t quite there yet but I like the fight.
The pair are tied at 1-1 in their H2H with Stephens winning their most recent encounter in Miami last year, 6-3 6-4. They’ve never played on clay before. I was high on Muguruza pre-tournament and she’s looking good again in Paris. While I have this slight nagging feeling that Stephens is going to explode into form in this clash, I’m ultimately going for Muguruza.
Anastasija Sevastova vs. Marketa Vondrousova: The drop shot queens collide in a first time match-up… ring the bells, ring the bells! This is a gorgeous match-up on paper. Vondrousova has yet to drop a set this tournament, while Sevastova was on the brink of exiting yesterday, surviving a thrilling third rounder against Elise Mertens where she saved five match points.
Wondering how Sevastova reacts physically to that Mertens match although she looked OK and was playing some incredibly bold stuff. Also wondering how Vondrousova will cope in what is pretty new territory for her at a Slam. I’m surprised to see Vondrousova as the clear favourite with the bookmakers! I keep changing my mind with this one. Originally I was going for Vondrousova but more 50-50 now. I just wonder if the gravitas of the situation may affect Vondrousova.
Donna Vekic vs. Johanna Konta: Both Vekic and Konta are into the second week of Roland Garros for the first times in their career. The pair are split at 3-3 in their H2H and they’ve never played on clay. Not a scooby with this one, I can’t call it. I think they are very evenly matched.
Petra Martic vs. Kaia Kanepi: Another first-time match-up and surprised because they have both been on the tour for a while! Martic is enjoying a sensational clay court season with 15 (!) match wins on the clay. It’s been a standard Kaia-peaking-at-a-Slam run that I didn’t really see coming. Not surprised though because Kaia can always Kaia. Martic definitely the favourite on form. However, Martic has never reached the quarter-finals of a Slam and is 0-5 in last 16 Slam matches. This feels like her best shot in arguably the form of her career but I do think it will take a huge mental effort to get across the finish line. Rooting for Petra in this one.
Sunday R4 Polls
Saturday R3 Previews
Snap thoughts in Friday’s Set Points post HERE.
Friday R3 Previews
Elina Svitolina vs. Garbiñe Muguruza: Unsurprisingly, the bookmakers can’t split them apart. Svitolina definitely has the nod in the H2H, winning five of their seven completed matches including a 6-1 6-2 rout in Dubai earlier this year. Muguruza definitely has the nod at the French Open where she has reached at least the 3rd round for the past six years and even when not in form, seems to click at RG. For overall form, they are probably about level. Muguruza has been competing well but certainly nowhere near vintage form during the clay court swing. Svitolina hasn’t played much due to the knee injury. I thought she played some stunning tennis at times against Vika and Venus in her last two matches and her forehand looked great. I think that not playing in the second round due to Kozlova’s walkover was not ideal as she’s played little tennis of late. Fascinated to see how this one unfolds and not really sure what to expect. I think i’d go Muguruza with her French Open record and how well she’s served during her first two matches but I will say that I have written off Svitolina before in big matches!
Karolina Pliskova vs. Petra Martic: Two of the in-form players during this clay court season will collide in the third round. Both have danced through the draw up till now. Martic leads the H2H, 3-1, but the important note from that is that Pliskova won their most recent meeting in Miami earlier this year, 6-3 6-4. As well as Martic is playing right now, Pliskova has bundles of confidence too and has arguably been the most consistent and reliable player all year. I would stick with Pliskova in this one.
Friday R3 Polls
Thursday R2 Previews
Naomi Osaka vs. Victoria Azarenka: I have no idea what is going to happen in this one and even more so after Osaka’s bizarre first round win over Schmiedlova. Osaka rescued a shock upset, just two points from defeat. Azarenka came through a dicey opener against a hit-or-miss, Ostapenko. The two previous matches between Osaka and Azarenka have been one-sided affairs. I don’t think I’d read anything in to them because so much has changed for both players, even in the last year.
Pre-tournament, I went for Vika in this clash, perhaps slightly heart over head! I like them both but I really want to see Vika do well. I’m not reading too much into Osaka’s first round performance because I think it’s all about getting through the early rounds. In my opinion, near-escapes tend to make a player stronger. In my moment of indecision, I’m going to stick with my original hunch with Vika. I think she’s playing good ball and with three top ten wins already to her name in 2019, I think she’s starting to believe again.
Maria Sakkari vs. Katerina Siniakova: The pair have played on hard court and grass so will now complete the set with a clay-court match. I don’t have much faith in Siniakova these days. So much talent but still very unpredictable and emotional on court. Sakkari’s had a great clay court season and is clearly feeling confident. Sakkari in 2.
Hsieh Su-Wei vs. Andrea Petkovic: Ring the bells for a first time match-up! Both players won their opening matches in three sets. Petkovic came from a set and a break down to beat Riske. On any other surface I’d pick Hsieh. I think Petkovic is much more comfortable on clay but still not entirely convinced. Upset alert, 50-50 for this one!
Ash Barty vs. Danielle Collins: A repeat match-up after the pair played in Madrid in what Barty described as one of the most bizarre matches she’s ever played. Barty won, 6-1 1-6 6-1 in just one hour and 22 minutes. I think Collins has been competing well since her AO semi-final run and has had a couple of dominant recent wins including first round here in Paris over Tatjana Maria. I think it’s a dangerous match-up for Barty because Collins can catch a hot streak. Barty managed to turn their Madrid match around by mixing up the rhythm and using more backhand slices. She’ll need to do it again! Edge to Barty again.
Daria Kasatkina vs. Monica Puig: All three of their previous matches have gone the distance! I think Kasatkina is starting to find her feet in 2019 after a miserable start to the season. There were encouraging signs in her opener against Jasmine Paolini – a small wobble at the end but it didn’t detract from an all-round solid performance. Puig will always be a dangerous player. Kasatkina will need to keep her depth otherwise Puig could dominate this one. I’ll give Dasha the benefit of the doubt.
Wang Qiang vs. Iga Swiatek: Wang Qiang has been solid yet unspectacular this year and her form has generally dipped a bit on the clay. The 17-year-old, Swiatek, is a very talented teen who reached her first WTA final in Lugano and breezed through her opener on Tuesday night. Just a feeling Swiatek will cause an upset here. I thought I was being bold but it turns out Swiatek is the favourite with the bookmakers!
Aryna Sabalenka vs. Amanda Anisimova: So many good second round matches from the top half! The pair played in Melbs where Anisimova produced a sensational performance to beat Sabalenka, 6-3 6-2. Anismova kicked off the clay court season with a first WTA title in Bogota but hasn’t done much of note late. I think Sabalenka has been struggling with expectation but had a good win over Cibulkova in the first round on Tuesday. I don’t read too much into Domi’s results this year, I think she’s playing well and is still a dangerous match-up at a Slam. My instinct is Sabalenka but I’m not convinced!!!
Karolina Muchova vs. Irina-Camelia Begu: I always thought the winner of Kontaveit-Muchova would reach the second week. A tad wary about this one as Begu does have history on the clay but I’m going for Muchova.
Sam Stosur vs. Ekaterina Alexandrova: I was delighted to see Stosur win her opener and with a really fine display against Strycova. It just proved you can never write off Sam at Roland Garros. Alexandrova is up and down but always capable of a big-hitting display. This feels like a 50-50 clash. After her first round display, I’d go for Stosur who is so perfectly attuned to these Parisian courts.
Thursday R2 Polls
Wednesday R2 Previews
Sloane Stephens vs. Sara Sorribes Tormo: I thought Stephens played a decent opener against a dangerous, Misaki Doi. The Japanese player served for the second set. Stephens was getting pushed back but managed to turn things around with a clear intent to be more aggressive as she rallied to win in straights, 6-3 7-6(4). Sorribes Tormo had an excellent win over Alison Van Uytvanck, failing to serve out the match in the second set and eventually winning in three sets, 6-1 5-7 6-2. The pair played recently in Charleston where Stephens came through a slogfest, 7-6(4) 7-6(4). SST is a tricky player on clay with her heavy topspin and took a set off Naomi Osaka in Madrid. I’ll go for Stephens but she’ll need to be patient and find the right time to attack.
Garbiñe Muguruza vs. Johanna Larsson: Muguruza had never lost a first round match at Roland Garros and had to fight hard on Sunday to keep that stat intact. From a set down, Muguruza was increasingly aggressive to put away a fading, Taylor Townsend. I thought the net approaches (25/32 won) was a positive sign and she served very well. Larsson snapped an eight-match losing streak in Nurnberg last week and opened with a straight sets win over a slumping, Magdalena Rybarikova. Not a surprise with Rybarikova’s preference lying on the grass. The pair have never played before on tour. I think Muguruza will be too strong in all departments. Muguruza in 2.
Elina Svitolina vs. Kateryna Kozlova: Svitolina snapped a four-match losing streak with a solid win over Venus Williams, 6-3 6-3. Her forehand has been terrific at times in her last two matches against Vika and Venus. Kozlova beat the qualifier, Bernarda Pera, to reach the second round of Roland Garros for the second time in her career. The pair have only ever played on the ITF circuit and not for nearly six years! I still remember the fantastic match that Kozlova played against Pliskova in Madrid which was one of the best performances I’ve seen all year. Kozlova has given Halep and Sabalenka tough matches this year and knocked out the defending champ, Ostapenko in Paris last year. Svitolina’s not played a great deal of tennis of late so I think this could be an interesting match. Svitolina the fave, but wary of the threat that Kozlova poses. Svitolina in 3.
Belinda Bencic vs. Laura Siegemund: Bencic looked sharp in her first round win over French wildcard, Jessika Ponchet. Siegemund also won her opener in straights. Like Svitolina-Kozlova, the pair haven’t played each other in nearly six years and never before on the WTA tour. I’d tag this with a mild upset alert as Siegemund is a tricky customer on clay and much more experienced on the surface compared to Bencic. I still think Bencic’s general confidence in her game right now will pull her through.
Donna Vekic vs. Rebecca Peterson: I remember watching this match-up from the stand on court 12 at Wimbledon last year! On that occasion, Vekic won in two tight sets, 7-5 6-4. Both players won their opening matches at Roland Garros with Peterson’s win over recent Nurnberg champion, Yulia Putintseva, perhaps a surprise. I’ve always been a big fan of Peterson’s game. I’d give Peterson a good shot at the upset here on the clay. Peterson in 3.
Jo Konta vs. Lauren Davis: Very happy for Konta to get a first MD win at Roland Garros. It was a big mental victory and her 11th on the clay this year. I bet she’s pleased to finally get the British media off her back! Next up is Lauren Davis who won her first match at RG since 2012 and sounded in very high spirits after her match in an interview on Tennis Channel. The pair haven’t played in nearly six years. After breaking her duck and with all those matches on clay this year, I’d go for Konta.
Kiki Bertens vs. Viktorija Kuzmova: A first test for Bertens up against the huge-hitting, Kuzmova. The young Slovakian player looked in good form as she powered her way past Alize Cornet in the first round. Bertens served well in her opening round win over Pauline Parmentier. The pair are tied at 1-1 in their H2H – Kuzmova’s win over Bertens in Dubai was the first top ten win of her career. Bertens levelled up in Indian Wells, rallying from a set down to storm through the final two sets, 3-6 6-0 6-1. I think this could be a really tricky match for Bertens. The last time I mildly tipped Kuzmova’s chances of a big upset she got double bagelled! One to watch.
Marketa Vondrousova vs. Anastasia Potapova: An all-teen clash with both aiming to reach the last 32 of the French Open for the first time in their respective careers. Vondrousova’s had a fabulous year and got off to a fine start in Paris with a hard fought straight sets win over Wang Yafan. The drop shots were working well at the end. Potapova upset Kerber for the biggest win of her career. Despite Kerber’s dodgy ankle, all credit to Potapova who played aggressively and went after her shots. In their only previous match, Vondrousova thrashed Potapova in Budapest, 6-0 6-2. I would expect more of a scrap here. Potapova is a really feisty competitor. I love Vondrousova’s game and I think her variety matches up nicely with the clay. Vondrousova in 2.
Anastasija Sevastova vs. Mandy Minella: Sevastova will surely have been thrilled not to see Pavs here as she has a 0-7 record against the Russian player! Minella beat Pavs in straights in the first round. I’ve found a Sevastova to be impossible to call this year. There have been flashes of geniusness but it has rarely been sustained for a match. Plum draw for Sevastova now and defending few ranking points after a R1 loss last year. I really hope she doesn’t over think it.
Veronika Kudermetova vs. Zarina Diyas: An opening in the draw for both players after Kudermetova came back from a first set bagel to beat Caroline Wozniacki in the first round. This feels like a 50-50 clash with a third round Slam appearance on the line. Barely edging towards Kudermetova.
Petra Martic vs. Kristina Mladenovic: The pair played earlier this year in Istanbul in what was one of the longest matches of the year. En route to winning the title, Martic won, 7-6(4) 4-6 7-6(2) in three hours and 17 minutes. Both bring good form into this encounter. Mladenovic has won 11 of her last 14 matches, while Martic has won 13 of her last 15 matches. Based on the tennis, I think I’d give the edge to Martic who has played some beautiful tennis since Charleston, mixing power and variety seamlessly. I wonder if the home crowd will have an impact though as Mladenovic’s matches from two years ago were raucous affairs. I think this will be the match of the day.
Karolina Pliskova vs. Kristina Kucova: Pliskova got off to a drama-free start against Madison Brengle, powering her way to a straight sets win. Kucova was a surprise first round winner over Svetlana Kuznetsova. Delving deeper into Kucova’s results, it wasn’t as big a surprise as I had thought as Kucova had won ten matches in a row before playing Kuznetsova. I caught glimpses of the end of the match and she was playing superbly! On a big run, this may actually be a tougher match for Pliskova than the ranking would suggest.
Wednesday R2 Polls
Tuesday R1 Previews
Naomi Osaka vs. Anna Karolina Schmiedlova: Good draw on paper to start with for Osaka. The path looks much trickier after this. Schmieds had some good wins in Madrid but I don’t think she’ll have the staying power to unsettle Osaka. Interesting to see how Osaka’s hand is as it sounds as if she hasn’t been practising for long and did pause briefly when asked about it in her press conference. Osaka in 2.
Jelena Ostapenko vs. Victoria Azarenka: Ring the bells for a first time match-up! Tough draw for both with the number one seed potentially looming in the next round for the winner. Azarenka has been slowly building momentum in a sea of brutal draws. She hasn’t yet managed to string it all together at one tournament but has amassed three top 10 wins so far this year and has already come a long way since January.
Ostapenko has won just six matches all year and only won back-to-back matches once in 2019. Her ultra-aggressive game has been mostly erratic in 2019 and the serve continues to be a weak point that opponents have exploited. Azarenka is certainly the more obvious and dependable pick based on form. I think it will come down to who can hold onto their serve more often. Azarenka in 3.
Madison Keys vs. Evgeniya Rodina: Rodina beat Keys last year, 7-5 5-7 6-4 in a shock third round result at Wimbledon. Keys hasn’t been all that convincing since her title run in Charleston but she often seems to get up for the Slams. Rodina hasn’t beaten a player inside the world’s top 150 in 2019 so far. Keys in 2.
Simona Halep vs. Ajla Tomljanovic: Is it just me or is this a tricky opener for Halep? Under the radar mostly, Tomljanovic has developed into a pretty well-rounded player. The Croatian player enjoyed her best ever Slam result at the French Open in 2014 when she beat Agnieszka Radwanska en route to the fourth round. There’s a chance that Halep could be feeling the nerves in the first match as defending champ. Ultimately, I think Halep will figure it out, but I think Tomljanovic could get a set.
Daria Gavrilova vs. Aleksandra Krunic: Both are struggling in singles – Krunic has lost her last six matches, while Gavrilova snapped a five match losing streak in Strasbourg with a pair of wins. Gavrilova wrote on social media recently about struggling with adjustments, responsibilities and illness/injuries. I really hope Dasha can find her form again because I really like her. This looks to be a decent draw for Gavrilova against another player is clearly struggling for confidence.
Aryna Sabalenka vs. Dominika Cibulkova: One of the most intriguing first rounders. I would look past Cibulkova’s record this year with just TWO tour level wins. She lost to the world number one, Osaka in both Madrid and Rome, the former match which was high quality tennis from both players. Sabalenka scored some confidence-boosting wins in Strasbourg but I do still question how she’s feeling mentally in what will be one of the last tournaments where she has ground to make up in the rankings. I think Cibulkova thrives as the underdog and has another giant-killing upset in her.
Anett Kontaveit vs. Karolina Muchova: There’s always one match at every Slam that I just can’t make my mind up on and this is it! It’s probably my favourite first round match.. I’m a fan of both players and eyed up both for a big run in Paris so i’m a tad disappointed to see they have drawn each other. Both reached a final on the clay this year – Muchova in Prague, a first WTA final, and Kontaveit in Stuttgart. Muchova hasn’t played since Prague, while Kontaveit won just one match through in Madrid and Rome. Not a major concern IMO. Pretty much 50-50 for me, going for Kontaveit with her greater experience. I’ve seen improvements in her mentality on court this year.
Tuesday R1 Polls
Monday R1 Previews
Barbora Strycova vs. Sam Stosur: Fascinating match-up. The pair haven’t played in over two years and are split at 2-2 in their head-to-head. Neither are in great form. Strycova reached the semi-finals of both Istanbul and Prague, her best results of the year, but has lost her last three matches. Stosur has won back-to-back matches just twice this year. This has always been Stosur’s strongest tournament and her game matches up so well in Parisien clay so i’d go for Stosur.
Petra Kvitova vs. Sorana Cirstea: Not a straightforward match for Kvitova. Cirstea just reached the semi-finals in Nurnberg and likes the clay. I watched her match with Garcia in Madrid where I thought she played well. Cirstea’s beaten Kvitova twice before but they haven’t played each other in a while. I feel like early Slam matches are always dangerous for Kvitova. Intrigued to see how this one goes. I’ve gone for Petra as my champ 🙈.
Kiki Bertens vs. Pauline Parmentier: Parmentier leads the head-to-head, 2-0! The pair haven’t played though in three years since Bertens’s massive improvements. I would guess there will be some nerves for Kiki. I think she will be OK. Bertens in 2.
Carla Suárez Navarro vs. Dayana Yastremska: This could be a cracker. The pair played recently in Rome where CSN won in three sets, 6-3 3-6 6-1. Yastremska though has just won Strasbourg, beating Sabalenka and Garcia to win her 3rd WTA title. Quick turnaround for the Yas but she’ll be buzzing with confidence. Yastremska in 3.
Caroline Wozniacki vs. Veronika Kudermetova: Woz hasn’t finished a match on red clay this year, being forced to retire in her two matches against Cornet (back injury in Madrid) and against Collins (leg injury in Rome). The leg was still taped up in her appearance at Radwanska’s exhibition match in Poland. Step forward, Kudermetova, who has more than halved her ranking since this time last year and is steadily improving on the tour. Kudermetova is very much under the radar. The Russian player has reached three quarter-finals on clay this year. I’m not convinced Woz is fit so tend to think Kudermetova will advance into the second round, via retirement or with the win.
Julia Goerges vs. Kaia Kanepi: A pure 50-50 big-hitting clash. Goerges has endured so many injuries over the past few weeks but seems to over the worrying neck/shoulder injury that forced her out of her home tournament. I’ll go for Goerges but it’s a coin toss for me.
Hsieh Su-Wei vs. Viktorija Golubic: Hsieh’s form has tailed off a little on the clay which is not surprising. This has always been her weakest surface. She only won her first main draw match at Roland Garros back in 2016. Golubic is a decent player on clay so wouldn’t be surprised to see an upset.
Alison Riske vs. Andrea Petkovic: I think Riske is willing the grass court season on as she is yet to win a match on clay in 2019. Would favour Petkovic on clay. Petkovic in 3.
Monday R1 Polls
Sunday R1 Previews
Sloane Stephens vs. Misaki Doi: I was surprised to see that Doi was in the main draw. The Japanese player has been steadily rising up the rankings again having dropped outside the world’s top 300 at one point. This will be a first time meeting and I think Stephens will be too solid for Doi. Stephens in 2.
Sara Sorribes Tormo vs. Alison Van Uytvanck: Interesting match on the clay and a complete clash in styles. I think this could be a close match. Van Uytvanck in 3.
Aliaksandra Sasnovich vs. Polona Hercog: Not too sure what is going on with Sasnovich who didn’t play a match through Miami and Madrid, coming back at the latter and scoring an excellent win over Anett Kontaveit. I think she’s working with Vladimir Platenik now which is a nice pairing. Hercog won a title on clay in Lugano last month and has been consistently top 100 for the past 18 months. Her most recent losses on tour were to last year’s RG semi-finalists, Sloane Stephens and Madison Keys. Not too shabby. I’d tag this one with an upset alert. Hercog in 3.
Garbiñe Muguruza vs. Taylor Townsend: Despite recent form, I will always remain on high on Muguruza at Roland Garros. Her last five appearances in Paris have been QF, QF, Champion, R4 and SF. Not to be ignored in my opinion. Townsend can be a tricky match-up as she plays a different style of game but it’s rarely consistent enough to rival the top players. I’m sure there is a reason but Townsend rarely plays outside of the big events and this will be her first non-US tournament since the Australian Open. Muguruza in 2.
Elina Svitolina vs. Venus Williams: A blockbuster match-up, especially for the first round. I admire Venus’s passion and thirst for the sport and battling through obvious injuries with her sky high tennis IQ. She fought tremendously to bag an opening round win over Elise Mertens in Rome in one of the longest matches of the year. Svitolina seemed physically OK in Rome and played sensationally at times vs. Azarenka. Once again, she suffered a pretty crushing loss and it was of the same vein of 2019 losses to Halep, Bencic and Andreescu. Svitolina has lost her last four matches on tour but this stat doesn’t concern me. The most important thing though is she looked healthy having spent some time on the sidelines with a knee injury.
The pair are split at 1-1 in their H2H. Venus won their only previous match on clay in Rome in 2015 (6-4 6-3) while Svitolina dropped just three games in their most recent match on the hard courts of Toronto in 2017 (6-2 6-1). A tough ask for Venus on clay against someone as someone as solid and steady as Svitolina. She’ll need to play an all-out aggressive game to unsettle Svitolina. Svitolina in 2.
Angelique Kerber vs. Anastasia Potapova: I’m looking forward to this one. This will be Potapova’s 3rd Slam main draw and only 2nd match against a top 10 player. A good opportunity to test her mettle against the best. I think Kerber will be vulnerable having not played since a first round win in Madrid over Lesia Tsurenko due to an ankle injury. Not feeling an upset alert though. Kerber in 2.
Marketa Vondrousova vs. Wang Yafan: Vondrousova has won seven matches on the clay to Wang Yafan’s 0. Wang Yafan missed match points in her first round match against Konta in Rabat and hasn’t won a set since then. I’d fancy this to be a breakthrough Slam for Vondrousova, assuming she’s fully recovered from her exertions in Rome. Vondrousova in 2.
Petra Martic vs. Ons Jabeur: Fun match-up between two players with buckets of variety. Jabeur hasn’t played much tennis this year (injury?) while Martic has been in superb form, spearheaded by a first ever title in Istanbul. Form definitely favours Martic, although wary to write off the enigmatic, Jabeur, who has plenty of tricks up her sleeve. Martic in 3.
Karolina Pliskova vs. Madison Brengle: The pair last played in the second round of this year’s Australian Open where Pliskova won in three sets, 4-6 6-0 6-1. Not feeling an upset alert. Pliskova has been remarkably consistent this year and only lost one straight sets match in 2019. Definitely a title contender IMO. Pliskova in 2.
Sunday R1 Polls