??? 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 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 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