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With the women’s draw opening up with lots of big names faltering in the early rounds, Grand Slam maiden Elina Svitolina will probably be eyeing this year’s edition as her best chance of Roland Garros glory since her epic meltdown again Simona Halep in 2017. Having said that, up next is a very tricky tie against someone who knows all about Grand Slam glory (in doubles) Barbora Krejcikova.
Krejcikova got a bit of a monkey off her back last week claiming her first singles success in Strasbourg, which you imagine would bolster her confidence to threaten in more singles events. One result which might have highlighted Krejcikova was on an upward curve prior was a loss to Iga Swiatek in Rome a couple weeks back.
That sounds counter-intuitive, but in losing to Swiatek she took the first set and pushed Swiatek in a tie-breaker for the second. This sounds more impressive when you consider that only Krejcikova and World No.1 Ashleigh Barty have taken a set off Swiatek since she’s been back on the clay this season.
On the other hand Svitolina has been a little unconvincing even though she took both her matches in straight sets against far inferior opposition. She looked like losing the second set against French teenager Oceane Babel, who is not even ranked in the top 1000, and likewise against Ann Li before eventually rallying to get over the line in both. I feel the way both players are trending, Krejcikova will be able to ride her recent wave of form to a victory and do so convincingly in straight sets.
This is an interesting tie between two Americans who 12 months ago you would have said were worlds apart in terms of class. Sofia Kenin was just off the back of a Grand Slam breakthrough and Jessica Pegula hadn’t done much to convince you she was a top 30 player in waiting. As it happens Pegula is the highest she’s ever been ranked at 27 years of age and will hope to further consolidate her place in the Tour’s elite.
She actually has a fantastic opportunity to get to the fourth round of the French Open for the first time against her compatriot. She has taken some decent scalps on clay this year, including a win over Naomi Osaka in straight sets whereas Kenin has only had this week’s wins to show for the clay court swing of the season.
Kenin might be reeling from being forced to miss part of the season due to an appendectomy and also a removal of her long-standing coach, who also happens to be her father.
These might be speculative points, but what’s not speculative is that Kenin has a 1-2 record against the rising Pegula and is a questionable favourite here. I fancy Pegula to add to her win total against Kenin and do so with the minimum of fuss.
This is another tie in which I think the favourite might be worth taking on. It’s quite difficult to make anything of Linette’s first set demolition of Ashleigh Barty, especially when Barty didn’t look quite right and subsequently retired in the second set. At the very least though she got an easy transition to the next round against another opponent who is just back from her own injury.
Jabeur was in a race to be fit for this French Open, but has shown no signs of it in getting to the third round in Paris. She has lost a few times to players in the lower echelon of the top 100 in the last few months, however, and I just believe that she is too short against a capable player in the top 50 here. I reckon Linette is worth chancing to do it in two.
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