??? Roland Garros, R1 preview + prediction:
?? Danielle Collins vs. ?? (Q) Monica Niculescu
Expect a fiery encounter when Danielle Collins and Monica Niculescu go head-to-head for the first time when they meet at the first round stage at Roland Garros. It is Collins who heads into this clash with a far greater ranking and more impressive overall results over the last few years, but it’s Niculescu who enters this clash with the better form on clay having come through the qualifying draw in Paris. A tough match to call.
Danielle Collins hasn’t had much success on clay over the last couple of years, certainly not the same success she has had on hard courts at the tour level. Collins arrives in Paris in poor form having not won a tour level main draw match since the Australian Open. The American hasn’t played any matches on clay since the tour restart. Collins was last in action in New York where she suffered opening round losses at the Western & Southern Open and at the US Open, beaten by Jill Teichmann and Anett Kontaveit.
Monica Niculescu navigated her way through the qualifying draw at Roland Garros with 3 victories over a couple of reasonably tough opponents. Niculescu defeated Chihiro Muramatsu in straight sets, before requiring 3 sets to get the better of Elitsa Kostova and Vera Zvonareva.
I’m going to side with Niculescu here. The Romanian has form on her side and is better adjusted to the tricky conditions in Paris, on a surface that she is more comfortable on than her opponent. Off a limited preparation I don’t think Collins will be able to consistently execute the game required to hit through a tricky opponent in difficult conditions. Collins hasn’t played a match since the US Open and will surely need some time to get adjusted, getting adjusted against one of the most unorthodox players on her least preferred surface will be a tough ask. Expect Niculescu to be too solid here.
Prediction: Monica Niculescu to defeat Danielle Collins in 3 sets