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

Elina Svitolina vs. Caroline Garcia, Roland Garros R4 Preview

🇫🇷🐌 Roland Garros, R4 preview + prediction:
🇺🇦 (3) Elina Svitolina vs. 🇫🇷 Caroline Garcia

A blockbuster fourth round clash at Roland Garros on Sunday sees the 3rd seeded Elina Svitolina come up against a resurgent Caroline Garcia. It is Svitolina who heads into this clash as the favourite despite holding a problematic 1-3 head-to-head record against the Frenchwoman. Garcia has already beaten a couple of seeded opponents on route to the round of 16 and will have her eyes set on another big scalp on Day 8.

Elina Svitolina of the Ukraine in action during the third round at the 2020 Roland Garros Grand Slam tennis tournament

Elina Svitolina has now won 7 matches in a row on the red dirt in France. The world number 5 arrived in Paris fresh from winning her 15th title in Strasbourg. The third seed didn’t have things easy through the first week at Roland Garros, a 7-6 6-4 win over Varvara Gracheva was followed by a 6-3 0-6 6-2 victory over Renata Zarazua. Svitolina booked her spot in the round 16 in Paris for the 4th time with a hard-fought 6-4 7-5 win over the 27th seeded Ekaterina Alexandrova.

Caroline Garcia has flipped the script on her poor from in the lead up to her home major. Garcia started the tournament with a 6-4 3-6 6-4 upset victory over the 17th seeded Anett Kontaveit before getting the job done against Aliaksandra Sasnovich with a 7-6 6-2 win. Garcia booked her spot in the round of 16 at Roland Garros for the 3rd time with another upset win, a 1-6 6-4 7-5 win over the 16th seeded Elise Mertens. Garcia now has an opportunity to equal her best run at a major by reaching the quarterfinals, just as she did in Paris in 2017.

Caroline Garcia of France in action during the third round at the 2020 Roland Garros Grand Slam tennis tournament

Caroline Garcia has won the last 3 matches between the pair, interestingly Garcia won all 3 matches despite losing the opening set in a tiebreaker. The most recent match between the pair was in Stuttgart in 2018, Garcia won 6-7 6-4 6-2. Garcia also won a couple of tight matches over the Ukrainian at the later stages of 2017 in Beijing and at the WTA Finals.

I’m going to side with Svitolina despite her negative record against Garcia. Svitolina was beaten by Garcia’s absolute best tennis in their 3 previous matches, all of which took place in favourable conditions for the Frenchwoman at a time where Garcia was in career best form. On this occasion a heavy clay court will give Svitolina more opportunity to get into extended rallies and to grind down her opponent. The conditions also give Svitolina more of an opportunity to pass Garcia at the net. Svitolina has defeated several big hitters over the last few weeks, wins over Aryna Sabalenka, Elena Rybakina and Ekaterina Alexandrova are great preparation for the heavy hitting for will face against Garcia. Svitolina is too solid to make the same mistake for the 4th time in a row.

Prediction: Elina Svitolina to defeat Caroline Garcia in 3 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

Alize Cornet vs. Shuai Zhang, Roland Garros R2 Preview

🇫🇷🐌 Roland Garros, R2 preview + prediction:
🇫🇷 Alize Cornet vs. 🇨🇳 Shuai Zhang

Alize Cornet comes up against China’s Shuai Zhang at the second round stage in Paris. Cornet is a Roland Garros veteran, the Frenchwoman has played in the singles draw every single year since 2005. Unfortunately for Cornet she has only made it into the second week at her home major on 2 occasions out of her 15 previous appearances. Fresh from a fourth round appearance at the US Open earlier this month it is Cornet who brings the better form into this clash.

Alize Cornet booked her spot in the second round at Roland Garros with a comfortable 6-3 6-2 victory over countrywoman Chloe Paquet. Cornet played one warm-up event on clay prior to arriving in Paris where she stumbled at the second round stage in Strasbourg to the eventual finalist Elena Rybakina in what was a competitive match. Earlier this month Cornet reached the fourth round at the US Open for the first time in her career, the final in major in which she had yet to previously reach the final 16.

Shuai Zhang advanced to the second round in Paris courtesy of a 6-3 7-6 upset victory over the 12th seeded Madison Keys. Zhang has built up some decent momentum on the red dirt in France having come through the qualifying draw to reach the quarter-finals in Strasbourg last week. Roland Garros has traditionally been Zhang’s least successful major, unsurprisingly given clay is Zhang’s least successful surface in general.

Cornet holds a 4-2 head-to-head record over Zhang. It was Cornet who won the most recent meeting between the pair, a 6-2 6-2 victory on grass in Eastbourne last year.

I’m going to side with Cornet here. Clearly this is a decent match-up for Cornet given her head-to-head success over Zhang, I suspect this advantage to be especially true on a heavy clay court. Cornet and Zhang are both solid from the baseline, both move well, Zhang probably has slightly more firepower but Cornet’s far greater versatility is what gives her the edge in this match-up. Cornet’s backhand slice and drop shot will be very useful here, expect Cornet to be too solid at her home major in what should be a close match.

Prediction: Alize Cornet to defeat Shuai Zhang in 3 sets

Serena Williams vs. Tsvetana Pironkova, Roland Garros R2 Preview

🇫🇷🐌 Roland Garros, R2 preview + prediction:
🇺🇸 (6) Serena Williams vs. 🇧🇬 Tsvetana Pironkova

Serena Williams and Tsvetana Pironkova will go head-to-head at the second major in a row as the pair clash at the second round stage at Roland Garros. Williams just edged past Pironkova in 3 sets at the quarter-final stage of the US Open earlier this month, can the Bulgarian avenge that loss in Paris?

Both Williams and Pironkova are playing for the first time since their respective deep runs at the US Open earlier this month. Pironkova shocked the tennis world by reaching the quarter-finals at Flushing Meadows despite being away from the tour for over 2 years. Williams defeated Pironkova 4-6 6-3 6-2 in the final 8 before being eliminated in the semi-finals.

Serena Williams made a decent start to her 2020 Roland Garros campaign, the 3-time former champion claimed a 7-6 6-0 win over Kristie Ahn to advance to the second round. Meanwhile Pironkova claimed a decent 6-3 6-3 win over Andrea Petkovic, the Bulgarian’s best result in Paris was a run to the quarter-finals in 2016, a year that featured similarly cold and rainy conditions to this year’s event.

Williams holds a perfect 5-0 head-to-head record over Pironkova. 3 of the 5 matches between the pair went the distance, Pironkova certainly made Williams work hard during their quarter-final clash in New York.

This promises to be a close match. I am not convinced by Williams on clay at the moment, Roland Garros has been Serena’s least successful major in recent times, the heavy conditions will make life even more difficult for the 39-year-old. The problem for Williams is that her movement is the area of her game that has declined the most, that is an area that can be exploited on clay more than any other surface. Pironkova has the mix of power and versatility from the baseline to really challenge Williams in these conditions. Williams is undoubtedly rusty on this surface, Pironkova can take advantage. The Bulgarian will have learned from her mistakes in New York, with a couple of adjustments she has what it takes to get the win in troublesome conditions.

Prediction: Tsvetana Pironkova to defeat Serena Williams in 3 sets

Elina Svitolina vs. Renata Zarazua, Roland Garros R2 Preview

🇫🇷🐌 Roland Garros, R2 preview + prediction:
🇺🇦 (3) Elina Svitolina vs. 🇲🇽 (Q) Renata Zarazua

An in-form Elina Svitolina continues her 2020 Roland Garros campaign with a second round clash against Mexican qualifier Renata Zarazua. Svitolina is one of the form players on tour at the moment having won the Strasbourg title just a day before Roland Garros commenced. Svitolina is one of the best players in the world yet to win a major, something the Ukrainian will be hoping to change over the next few weeks, she has the game to make it happen.

Elina Svitolina arrives in Paris fresh from claiming her 15th WTA singles title last week in Strasbourg. The 3rd seed only had a couple of days to recover before her Roland Garros opener, which turned out to be a tough match, a 7-6 6-4 victory over Varvara Gracheva. Svitolina has a decent record at Roland Garros having reached the quarter-final stage in Paris on 2 previous occasions.

Renata Zarazua became the first Mexican woman to reach the main draw of a Grand Slam in 20 years when she successfully made her way through the qualifying draw in Paris. Zarazua claimed 3 wins over decent opposition in the qualifying draw, beating Olga Danilovic, Viktorija Tomova and Daniela Seguel. Zarazua made the most of a favourable opening round draw by beating local wild card Elsa Jacquemot 6-1 6-2.

I don’t see many problems for Svitolina in this match-up. Zarazua doesn’t possess any big weapons, that is a problem against Svitolina, especially on a heavy clay court. Svitolina thrives in these match-ups against fellow counter-punchers or defensive players, expect the Ukrainian to be far too solid for the Mexican. It has been a great run for Zarazua, but this is where her run comes to an end.

Prediction: Elina Svitolina to defeat Renata Zarazua in 2 sets

Kiki Bertens vs. Sara Errani, Roland Garros R2 Preview

🇫🇷🐌 Roland Garros, R2 preview + prediction:
🇳🇱 (5) Kiki Bertens vs. 🇮🇹 (Q) Sara Errani

An interesting second round match-up from Roland Garros sees the 5th seeded Kiki Bertens come up against a resurgent Sara Errani. Bertens has struggled in recent times to find the form that has seen her be one of the best performers on clay over the last few years, the world number 8 will need to raise her level for this match against an opponent that is on a roll.

Kiki Bertens arrived in Paris under an injury cloud after retiring from her opening round match in Strasbourg last week. The signs weren’t good for Bertens in her Roland Garros opener, but she managed to overcome a slow start to get the better of Katarina Zavatska 2-6 6-2 6-0, her first win since the tour restart. Bertens achieved her greatest result at a major in 2016 when she reached the semi-finals at Roland Garros.

Sara Errani confirmed a second round showdown with the 5th seeded Bertens thanks to a dominant 6-2 6-1 victory over Monica Puig, the Italian’s first main daw victory at a Grand Slam since Roland Garros 2017. The 2012 Roland Garros runner-up is yet to drop a set all tournament having also won 3 straight set matches over Ekaterine Gorgodze, Eva Guerrero Alvarez and Tereza Martincova to secure her passage through the qualifying draw.

Errani holds a 5-0 head-to-head record over Bertens, 2 of those victories came via retirement. The most recent match between the pair took place at the 2016 Rio Olympics, Errani won 4-6 6-4 6-3. Much has changed since their last meeting, Bertens is now one of the top players in the world and will be a strong favourite to claim her first victory over the Italian when they meet in Paris.

I’m going to give Bertens the benefit of the doubt here. Bertens hasn’t been convincing at all over the last few weeks but she should be able to find a level high enough to get the better of Errani. With a win finally under her belt, I expect Bertens to improve. Bertens should be too strong, Errani hasn’t defeated a player of the Dutchwoman’s calibre in a very long time. Errani’s dodgy serve is still her major weakness, a weakness Bertens should be smart enough to exploit. Bertens has the controlled aggression to outplay Errani from the baseline.

Prediction: Kiki Bertens to defeat Sara Errani in 2 sets

Petra Kvitova vs. Jasmine Paolini, Roland Garros R2 Preview

🇫🇷🐌 Roland Garros, R2 preview + prediction:
🇨🇿 (7) Petra Kvitova vs. 🇮🇹 Jasmine Paolini

Petra Kvitova continues her 2020 Roland Garros campaign with a second round clash with Italy’s Jasmine Paolini. Kvitova made a promising start to the tournament and enters this clash as a strong favourite in what will be the first career meeting between the pair.

Kvitova produced a strong serving performance to defeat Oceane Dodin 6-3 7-5 in her opening round match in Paris. Kvitova served 8 aces and won 86% of first service points in her victory over Dodin. Roland Garros has been Kvitova’s least successful major, the 2-time Wimbledon champion hasn’t reached the second week in Paris since 2015 but has a decent chance to change that in 2020.

Paolini moved into the second round at Roland Garros with a 6-4 6-3 win over Aliona Bolsova, her first ever main draw win at a major. Paolini has been playing some decent tennis on the red dirt over the last few months, the Italian plays her best tennis on clay so it’s no surprise to see her first major win come in Paris.

I’m going to side with Kvitova here, but this has the potential to be closer than the odds suggest. Kvitova is the far better player, but clay is Kvitova’s least preferred surface and clay is Paolini’s best surface, this levels things up somewhat. Paolini should be able to get into enough extended rallies to make this close, but ultimately the far superior serving, stronger baseline game and greater experience of Kvitova should see her through.

Prediction: Petra Kvitova to defeat Jasmine Paolini in 3 sets

Garbine Muguruza vs. Kristyna Pliskova, Roland Garros R2 Preview

🇫🇷🐌 Roland Garros, R2 preview + prediction:
🇪🇸 (11) Garbine Muguruza vs. 🇨🇿 Kristyna Pliskova

Garbine Muguruza and Kristyna Pliskova will go head-to-head for the first time when they meet at the second round of the French Open. Muguruza looms as one of the main contenders in Paris, the 2016 Roland Garros champion has generally had an impressive season and is always especially tough to beat on the red dirt in Paris.

Garbine Muguruza has a superb record at Roland Garros. The 26-year-old has reached at least the fourth round stage in Paris in each of her last 6 appearances, a streak which includes her triumph in 2016, a semi-final showing in 2018 and further 2 quarter-final runs. Muguruza came through an extremely tough opening round match to begin her 2020 campaign, a hard-fought 7-5 4-6 8-6 victory over Tamara Zidansek. The Spaniard will be hoping for a more straightforward victory against the big serving Czech.

Kristyna Pliskova claimed her first ever main draw victory at Roland Garros when she thrashed Viktoria Kuzmova 6-1 6-2, a big win for Pliskova given she had previously stumbled at the opening round stage in Paris on 5 occasions. Clay isn’t Pliskova’s best surface, but she is always a threat if she serves at her best.

I expect Muguruza to win this match quite comfortably. This is a good match-up for Muguruza on a clay court, especially in the heavy conditions in Paris this year. Muguruza has the game to take care of her own serve in this match-up then put pressure on the Pliskova serve. The slow conditions mean Muguruza will be able to return a lot of serves compared to a quicker surface. Muguruza’s heavier shots mean she will be able to dictate from the baseline more often than not, this spells trouble for Pliskova who won’t be very effective in defensive positions.

Prediction: Garbine Muguruza to defeat Kristyna Pliskova in 2 sets

Victoria Azarenka vs. Anna Karolina Schmiedlova, Roland Garros R2 Preview

🇫🇷🐌 Roland Garros, R2 preview + prediction:
🇧🇾 (10) Victoria Azarenka vs. 🇸🇰 Anna Karolina Schmiedlova

A red-hot Victoria Azarenka comes up against Anna Karolina Schmiedlova at the second round stage in Paris. Azarenka is one of the form players on tour at the moment, fresh from a runner-up appearance at the US Open the Belarusian has quickly found her footing on the red clay having reached the final 8 in Rome a few weeks ago. Azarenka enters this second round clash as a big favourite.

Azarenka made a strong start to her 2020 Roland Garros campaign when she easily defeated Danka Kovinic 6-1 6-2. Azarenka wasn’t pleased with the cold, rainy conditions, but her tennis certainly wasn’t thrown off by the conditions. Roland Garros has traditionally been Azarenka’s least successful major, unsurprisingly given clay has traditionally been Azarenka’s least successful surface, the 2-time major winner hasn’t reached the third round in Paris since 2015.

Schmiedlova broke a run of 4 consecutive opening round exits at Roland Garros thanks to a 6-4 6-4 victory over Venus Williams on day 1 of the 2020 tournament. Schmiedlova’s equal best run at a major took place in Paris back in 2014. Clay is Schmiedlova’s best surface but her mediocre results over the last few years haven’t reflected the talent she possesses.

This will be the first career meeting between the pair.

Azarenka is rightfully the big favourite heading into this match given her superb recent form. However, Schmiedlova has the game to make this closer than expected. Schmiedlova is one player that will enjoy the heavy conditions in Paris, conditions that could bring this match closer. Schmiedlova has a powerful return of serve and a handy drop shot, a few shots that are important against Azarenka, to punish the Belarusian’s weak second serve and to move her off the baseline. Schmiedlova has nothing to lose and a dangerous game. Nevertheless, Azarenka should prevail here, she is a class above and full of confidence at the moment.

Prediction: Victoria Azarenka to defeat Anna Karolina Schmiedlova in 3 sets