??? Roland Garros, R1 preview + prediction:
?? Monica Puig vs. ?? (Q) Sara Errani
Sara Errani will be searching for her first ever victory over Monica Puig when the pair clash at the opening round stage at Roland Garros. Puig has won all 4 of the previous meetings between the pair, but heads into this match in poor form. It is Errani who heads into this match as the favourite despite her miserable record against the Puerto Rican, thanks to her solid form during the qualification stages in Pairs and greater reliability on the red dirt.
Monica Puig has a dismal 2-10 win/loss record in 2020 (including exhibition matches). Puig arrives at Roland Garros short of match practise given that she hasn’t played any clay court matches since the tour restart. Puig was last in action in New York where she was beaten in the opening round of the qualifying stage at the Western & Southern Open by Katie Volynets, followed by an opening round loss to Margarita Gasparyan at the US Open. The good news for Puig is that Roland Garros has been her most successful Grand Slam, the 27-year-old reached the third round in Paris last year.
Sara Errani enters this opening round clash with form on her side after successfully navigating her way through the qualifying draw with 3 victories. The 33-year-old moved through the qualifying draw without dropping a set, claiming straight set wins over Ekaterine Gorgodze, Eva Guerrero Alvarez and Tereza Martincova. Roland Garros has been the Italian’s most successful major. The Italian reached the final in 2012 and progressed to at least the quarter-final stage 3 years in row after her run to the final.
Monica Puig holds a 4-0 head-to-head record over Errani, 3 of those victories were commanding straight set victories, including a 6-0 6-1 victory on green clay in Charleston last year.
I’m going to side with Errani here despite her horrible head-to-head record against Puig. Puig has not won a tour level match in 2020, she hasn’t won a tour level match on clay since Roland Garros last year. Errani is battled-hardened having won 3 matches in the qualifying draw at a tournament she has had great success at in the past. Puig’s powerful game has clearly caused Errani problems in the past, but it is unlikely Puig will be able to consistently hit through Errani on a slow clay court given her recent form and lack of confidence. Expect Errani to be too solid here.
Prediction: Sara Errani to defeat Monica Puig in 2 sets