???? Roland Garros, R1 Preview
?? (9) Elina Svitolina vs. ?? Venus Williams
The pick of the opening round match-ups in Paris sees the 9th seeded Elina Svitolina take on Venus Williams. Svitolina is still desperately searching for a maiden Grand Slam title whilst Williams is the most experienced player on tour and can never be underestimated. Can Williams produce another vintage performance to eliminate the 9th seed?
Elina Svitolina arrives in Paris on the back of her worst clay court lead-up ever. Svitolina has not won a match on clay in 2019 having suffered opening round losses in Madrid and Rome. Svitolina was beaten by Pauline Parmentier in Madrid and beaten by Victoria Azarenka in Rome where she was the two-time defending champion. Perhaps Svitolina’s poor form will be a blessing in disguise, she is fresh and has less expectations from the critics given her recent struggles on court.
Roland Garros has always been the most troublesome major for Venus Williams but she has been competitive on the surface in recent times. Venus reached the second week in Paris in 2016 and 2017 and is always a threat, no matter the circumstances. Venus played just the one clay court event prior to Paris where she reached the third round in Rome, Venus claimed an epic 3 set win over Elise Mertens in the first round in Rome, in a match that proved Venus is still capable on the red dirt, even in a lengthy battle.
The head-to-head record between the pair is split at 1 win apiece. The most recent match between the pair took place n Cincinnati in 2017, Svitolina claimed a comfortable 6-2 6-1 win on that occasion, Interestingly, it was Venus who won their only previous match on a clay court, a 6-4 6-3 win in Rome in 2015.