Simona Halep vs Daria Kasatkina, Roland Garros R3 Preview

Roland Garros, ??? R3 Preview + Prediction
(3) ?? Simona Halep vs (26) ?? Daria Kasatkina

Tournament favourite Simona Halep will face her first big test of the event when she comes up against talented young Russian Daria Kasatkina in the third round on Saturday in Paris. Simona Halep had some injury concerns surrounding her Roland Garros campaign but has looked comfortable enough early in the tournament as she has cruised through her opening few matches. Daria Kasatkina also had some injury concerns heading into the event after being forced to retire injured in Rome. Kasatkina has had to work slightly harder for her first two wins but has still come through her first few matches in straight sets to set up a clash with Halep.

Simona Halep has seemingly handled the pressure of being tournament favourite pretty well in her opening couple of matches in Paris. Halep has had her ankle heavily taped but insists that her movement is not being hindered at all. Halep cruised through her first two matches at Roland Garros, beating Jana Cepelova 6-2 6-3 and Tatjana Maria 6-4 6-3. Halep is undoubtedly the form player on tour having won 12 of her last 13 matches after arriving in Paris on the back of a title run in Madrid and a runner-up appearance in Rome. Halep’s first real test in Paris will be against Kasatkina, an opponent that will show us exactly where Halep is at right now.

Daria Kasatkina has equalled her best showing at a Grand Slam by moving into the third round in Paris for the second time in her career. Kasatkina got off the mark with a hard-fought 7-5 6-4 win over Yanina Wickmayer, the Russian then overcame an early deficit to defeat an in-form Markéta Vondroušová 7-6 6-4. The next step for Kasatkina will be to beat a player of Halep’s calibre on the biggest of stages.

Simona Halep won the only previous match between the pair, a 6-3 7-5 victory in Miami last year.

I expect this to be a close one. Halep is going to be tested by Kasatkina, the Russian is extremely comfortable on this surface, has incredible movement and a big forehand, the recipe for a tough opponent on a clay court. Halep’s fitness and movement will be tested by Kasatkina. The clear advantage for Halep is in her mentality and confidence at this level and also her far superior backhand. Kasatkina can still be fragile under pressure, whilst Halep is playing with a great amount of belief at the moment. I can see the Russian sneaking set but ultimately Halep will be too strong and should come through this test.

Prediction: (3) Simona Halep to defeat (26) Daria Kasatkina in 3 sets

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