Iga Swiatek vs. Sofia Kenin, Roland Garros Final Preview

??? Roland Garros, F preview + prediction:
?? Iga Swiatek vs. ?? (4) Sofa Kenin

After a whacky couple of weeks in Paris we are left with a blockbuster championship match at Roland Garros when Iga Swiatek comes up against Sofia Kenin. Swiatek has stormed into her first major final without dropping a set, the Pole’s dominance throughout the last fortnight means she will enter this final as the favourite. Kenin has been here before, the reigning Australian Open champion has overcome some stern tests in Paris and has her eyes set on a second major title in 2020. This will be the first career meeting between the pair, who will prevail?

Iga Swiatek’s pathway to the final:

R1: d. (15) Marketa Vondrousova 6-1 6-2
R2: d. Su-Wei Hsieh 6-1 6-4
R3: d. Eugenie Bouchard 6-3 6-2
R4: d (1) Simona Halep 6-1 6-2
QF: d. (Q) Martina Trevisan 6-3 6-1
SF: d. (Q) Nadia Podoroska 6-2 6-1

Sofia Kenin’s pathway to the final:

R1: d. Ludmilla Samsonova 6-4 3-6 6-3
R2: d. Ana Bogdan 3-6 6-3 6-2
R3: d. (Q) Irina Bara 6-2 6-0
R4: d. Fiona Ferro 2-6 6-2 6-1
QF: d. Danielle Collins 6-4 4-6 6-0
SF: d. (7) Petra Kvitova 6-4 7-5

Iga Swiatek has been dominant, the 19-year-old hasn’t dropped more than 4 games in a single set on route to the final. The Pole has conceded an average of just under 2 games per set all tournament. It should be noted that the last 8 women who reached a major final having not dropped more than 4 games in a set went on to lose in the final, a record that dates back to 1978. It should also be noted that Swiatek enters her first Grand Slam final on the back of facing 2 qualifiers in a row, that’s surely not ideal preparation for a maiden Grand Slam final, especially considering neither of those opponents tested Swiatek in the slightest.

Sofia Kenin is the only woman to reach 2 major finals in 2020, the American hasn’t been as dominant as Swiatek on route to the final in Paris, but she has overcome some strong opponents and tough situations. Most notably Kenin was able to overcome a red-hot Fiona Ferro in the fourth round, from a set down, in front of a vocal French crowd. Kenin booked her spot in the final with a tough straight set win over Petra Kvitova, a significant win given how well the American played in the tight moments against a proven champion.

I’m going to side with Sofia Kenin. History is against Swiatek, with good reason. Swiatek simply hasn’t been tested all tournament, there have been no tight moments for the Pole. In her first major final, against a major champion, this will be tight, there will be pressure, totally unpredicted territory for the teenager. Can she del with the pressure? We don’t know. Kenin is mentally tough, she has proven that all year, a 16-1 record at Grand Slam events in 2020, including a huge with over the top seeded Ash Barty in Melbourne and a win from a set down in the Australian Open final against Garbine Muguruza. Kenin can work her way through tough situations, as she has in Paris where she has come through 4 three set matches, twice from a set down. Kenin has the complete game: power, versatility, great movement, and most importantly a champions mentality, expect the American to be too strong here.

Prediction: Sofia Kenin to defeat Iga Swiatek in 2 sets

Simona Halep vs. Iga Swiatek, Roland Garros R4 Preview

??? Roland Garros, R4 preview + prediction:
?? (1) Simona Halep vs. ?? Iga Swiatek

Simona Halep and Iga Swiatek will meet at the round of 16 stage at Roland Garros for the second year in a row. Halep thrashed Swiatek 6-1 6-0 in 2019 and will be a strong favourite to claim another commanding when they meet again 12 months later in Paris. Halep is the form player on tour, whilst Swiatek is a player on the rise, an interesting match-up, has Swiatek improved enough to pull off the upset?

Simona Halep of Romania in action during the third round at the 2020 Roland Garros Grand Slam tennis tournament

Simona Halep has won 17 matches in a row. The top seed stormed through the opening week in Paris without dropping a set, a 6-4 6-0 win over Sara Sorribes Tormo, followed by a 6-3 6-4 win over Irina-Camelia Begu eased Halep into the tournament. The reigning Wimbledon champion produced an extremely impressive performance to secure her spot in the round of 16 when she smashed Amanda Anisimova 6-0 6-1 in less than hour, avenging her shock loss to the American at the quarter-final stage of last year’s event.

Iga Swiatek is into the round of 16 at a major for the third time, a promising record for the 19-year-old. Swiatek also cruised through the first week in Paris without dropping a set. The Pole started the tournament with a 6-1 6-2 win over the 15th seeded Marketa Vondrousova before beating Su-Wei Hsieh 6-1 6-4. Swiatek booked a rematch with Halep thanks to a commanding 6-3 6-2 win over Eugenie Bouchard. Clay is the Pole’s preferred surface, a surface she will win many matches on over the next decade.

Iga Swiatek of Poland in action during the third round at the 2020 Roland Garros Grand Slam tennis tournament

The only previous match between the pair was Halep’s 6-1 6-0 victory at Roland Garros last year.

I’m going to side with Halep here. Halep absolutely overwhelmed Swiatek 12 months ago in Paris and heads into this match in top form. Swiatek has undoubtedly improved over the last 12 months, but not enough to seriously challenge the top seed when they meet again on Sunday. Swiatek doesn’t have the power to consistently hit through Halep and she doesn’t have the consistency or stamina to outlast the Romanian from the baseline. Halep is too solid at the moment.

Prediction: Simona Halep to defeat Iga Swiatek in 2 sets

Anett Kontaveit vs. Iga Swiatek, Australian Open R4 Preview

?? Australian Open, R4 preview + prediction:
?? (28) Anett Kontaveit vs. ?? Iga Swiatek

Anett Kontaveit and Iga Swiatek will both be competing to reach a maiden Grand Slam quarter-final when they do battle in the round of 16 at Melbourne Park on Monday. Kontaveit will be making her fourth appearance at this stage of a major whilst Swiatek is making her second appearance in the fourth round of a major. This is a huge opportunity for both. 

Anett Kontaveit has been in surprisingly damaging form. The Estonian spent the later stages of 2019 away from the tour due to illness and injury but has quickly found her range in 2020. Kontaveit started her Australian Open campaign with a 6/0 6/2 win over Astra Sharma before claiming a less convincing 6/2 4/6 6/1 win over Sara Sorribes Tormo. It was at the third round stage where the 28th seed made her biggest move with a hugely impressive 6/0 6/1 demolition of the 6th seeded Belinda Bencic.

Iga Swiatek is a player on the rise, the 18-year-old is one of the brightest young prospects on tour and is already making an impact at the majors. Swiatek reached the round of 16 in Paris last year and has emulated that run in Melbourne. Swiatek didn’t drop a set during the first week, starting with a 6/3 6/2 win over Timea Babos before beating Carla Suarez Navarro 6/3 7/5. Swiatek also made her biggest move in the third round where she upset the 19th seeded Donna Vekic with a 7/5 6/3 win.

It was Kontaveit who emerged victorious in the only previous meeting between the pair, a 6/4 7/6 win in Cincinnati last year.

I’m going to give the slight edge to Kontaveit here. This is a very tough match-up to predict, a fairly even match-up. Both players have weapons to cause damage, the key differentiator is levels of experience. I’ll give Kontaveit the benefit of the doubt given her greater experience on the big stage and at the later stages of big events. Kontaveit has been at this stage before in Melbourne and has played in some big matches elsewhere, certainly more so than her vastly less experienced opponent, that could be the difference in an otherwise tight match-up.

Prediction: Anett Kontaveit to defeat Iga Swiatek in 3 sets
Become a WTAADDICT subscriber to receive daily betting tips and analysis
50% off sale on subscriptions during the Australian Open. Join here