Roland Garros, Fourth Round Preview + Prediction:
(12) 🇪🇸 Carla Suarez Navarro vs. 🇰🇿 Yulia Putintseva
A fascinating fourth round match-up on Monday at Roland Garros sees Carla Suarez Navarro come up against Yulia Putintseva. These two have vastly different levels of experience at this stage of a Grand Slam, Suarez Navarro has reached the second week of a Grand Slam on eight previous occasions whilst this will be Putintseva’s first appearance in the second week of a Grand Slam. Nevertheless, Yulia is in great form at the moment and seems to have a strong chance heading into this match
Suarez Navarro has advanced through a couple of tricky matches to reach the fourth round in Paris. The Spaniard started the tournament with a three set win over Katerina Siniakova before recording a thumping straight set win over Qiang Wang. The Spaniard confirmed her place in the fourth round with a hard-fought 6-4 3-6 6-1 win over Dominika Cibulkova. Carla’s win over Cibulkova was impressive given the Spaniard appeared to be hampered by an injury throughout the match. Carla was able to remain solid throughout the deciding set to book her spot in the second week at Roland Garros for the fourth time in her career.
Yulia Putintseva’s route to her first appearance in the fourth round of a Grand Slam has been surprisingly easy. The Kazakh has been untroubled on route to the fourth round, recording three commanding straight set victories on route to the fourth round. Yulia dropped a combined 8 games in victories over Aleksandra Wozniack, Andrea Petkovic and Karin Knapp. Yulia’s dominance in her opening matches is a very good sign given the Kazakh is often prone to dips in her level and concentration throughout matches. There is no doubt that Yulia is a much more mature player in 2016, a much smarter player.
Suarez Navarro and Putintseva have met on one previous occasion. Suarez Navarro claimed a 1-6 7-6 6-2 win at the Australian Open in 2013. This is an interesting match-up because these two have quite similar playing styles, both move very well around the court and both play with a lot of variety from the baseline. Both prefer to play a clay court and will both see this as a winnable match.
This is tough match to call, especially considering Suarez Navarro’s injury concerns. I’m going to give the edge to Putintseva. Yulia has played outstanding tennis in her opening three matches in Paris and is currently playing the best tennis of her career. Yulia likes to play against fellow counter-punchers as opposed to playing more powerful opponents. Suarez Navarro’s form has been less impressive heading into this match and her fitness is questionable. This is a match-up that will feature a lot of long rallies which should favour the Kazakh given the condition of the two heading into this clash.
Prediction: Yulia Putintseva to defeat Carla Suarez Navarro in 3 sets
Roland Garros, Third Round Preview:
(1) 🇺🇸 Serena Williams vs. (26) 🇫🇷 Kristina Mladenovic
Serena Williams will continue her quest for a 4th Roland Garros title and a 21st Grand Slam title when she comes up against Kristina Mladenovic in the third round on Saturday. Serena has cruised through her opening couple of matches in Paris but is likely to face a much tougher test when she comes up against Mladenovic and the Parisian crowd on Saturday.
Serena Williams has been totally untroubled in her opening two match at Roland Garros. The defending champion started her title defense with a comprehensive 6-2 6-0 win over Magdalena Rybarikova before recording an equally emphatic 6-2 6-1 win over Teliana Pereira. Some of Serena’s biggest rivals have already been eliminated in Paris (Azarenka & Kerber) whilst the American is clearly working into some good form having now won all 7 of her matches during the clay court swing (all in straight sets).
Kristina Mladenovic is through to the third round of Roland for the third year in a row. The Frenchwoman will need to produce the match of her life if she is to advance to the fourth round for the first time in Paris. The early signs have been good for Mladenovic, advancing to the third round courtesy of straight set wins over Francesca Schiavone and Timea Babos. Mladenovic seems to thrive in front of a vocal home crowd and can potentially use the support of the home crowd to aggravate Serena.
This will be the first career meeting between Williams and Mladenovic. I suspect this will be Serena’s first real test of the tournament. Mladenovic has looked good in her first couple of matches and is the type of player that can really raise her level for big matches. Serena has also looked very good in her opening couple of matches and she will know that she needs to step it up a level here, Serena should win this match but there will probably be some tough moments.
Prediction: Serena Williams to defeat Kristina Mladenovic in 2 sets
Roland Garros, Third Round Match Preview
(12) 🇪🇸 Carla Suarez Navarro vs. (22) 🇸🇰 Dominika Cibulkova
Carla Suarez Navarro and Dominika Cibulkova will go head-to-head in a fascinating third round clash on Saturday. Carla and Dominika have each made a reasonably positive start to their 2016 Roland Garros campaign’s but will each face their greatest test of the tournament thus far on Saturday. Dominika has a strong record against Carla but this will be the first meeting between the pair on a clay court, which could favour the Spaniard.
Suarez Navarro made a somewhat shaky start to the tournament in her first round encounter in Paris, the Spaniard recorded a 6-2 2-6 6-4 win over Katerina Siniakova. Carla was in a good position to close the match out in straight sets but her level dropped towards of the second set, it didn’t matter in the end as Carla won the deciding set quite comfortably. Carla’s second round performance was a bit more consistent, recording a 6-1 6-3 win over Qiang Wang. Carla will face a far greater test in her third round match against Cibulkova on Saturday.
Dominika Cibulkova has taken a similar path to the third round as Suarez Navarro. Cibulkova recorded a comfortable 6-3 6-1 win over Saisai Zheng in the first round before being pushed to three sets by Ana Konjuh on Thursday. Cibulkova suffered from a lapse in concentration early in the second set and was unable to recover in time to win in straight sets, it didn’t matter in the end as Cibulkova won the deciding set quite comfortably. Dominika can’t afford any lapses in concentration on Saturday if she is to record a win over Suarez Navarro.
Dominika Cibulkova holds a 3-1 head-to-head record over Suarez Navarro. The Slovakian won the first three meetings between the pair but it was the Spaniard who won the most recent match between the pair, a 6-4 7-5 win in Moscow last year. All four of the previous matches between the pair have been played on a hard court, it will be interesting to see how their first clash on a clay court will end up.
This should be a really close encounter; it is tough to split the pair heading into this third round match. Cibulkova has the superior firepower, but Suarez Navarro is usually the more consistent player. Suarez Navarro is very comfortable on a clay court whilst Cibulkova’s clay court results have been mixed in recent years. I’m going to give the slight edge to the Spaniard on this occasion just because her level of play is generally more stable throughout matches.
Prediction: Carla Suarez Navarro to defeat Dominika Cibulkova in 3 sets
Roland Garros, Third Round Match Preview
(2) 🇵🇱 Agnieszka Radwanska vs (30) 🇨🇿 Barbora Strycova
Barbora Strycova will be aiming for her first career victory over Agnieszka Radwanska when the pair meet in an interesting third round clash on Friday at Roland Garros. Radwanska and Strycova have both made a strong start to their 2016 Roland Garros campaigns and will be confident heading into this match.
Agnieszka Radwanska has never really enjoyed playing on the clay courts of Paris having only reached the quarter-final stage at Roland Garros on one previous occasion. Nevertheless, the second seed has made a strong start to her 2016 Roland Garros campaign by recording two comprehensive straight set wins to reach the third round. The Pole started the week with a 6-0 6-2 thumping of Bojana Jovanovski before claiming a surprisingly comfortable 6-2 6-4 win over Caroline Garcia. Aga looked quite comfortable in both of those matches and has a good chance to go on a deep run in Paris if she can maintain a similar level throughout the tournament.
Barbora Strycova arrived in Paris having lost 8 consecutive matches at Roland Garros. The Czech broke that huge string of losses when she claimed a 6-4 7-5 win over Lucie Hradecka in the first round. Strycova backed up that victory with a 6-4 6-4 win over Polona Hercog to advance to the third round at Roland Garros for the first time in her career. Strycova will need to take her game to another if she is to advance any further given her poor head-to-head record against Radwanska.
Radwanska has a commanding head-to-head record over Strycova. The Pole has won all four of their previous encounters, all in straight sets. The most recent meeting between the pair resulted in a 6-4 6-4 win for Aga at the Rogers Cup in 2014.
This will be the first career meeting between Radwanska and Strycova on a clay court, but I expect a familiar result. This is a good match-up for Radwanska because Strycova lacks the firepower to hurt the Pole. Strycova relies on her ability to destabilise her opponent through variation but Radwanska is one of few opponents that is unfazed by Strycova’s variety. Radwanska looked good in her opening couple of matches and I expect her to keep that momentum going here.
Prediction: Agnieszka Radwanska to defeat Barbora Strycova in 2 sets
Roland Garros, Second Round Match Preview:
(8) 🇨🇭 Timea Bacsinszky vs 🇨🇦 Eugenie Bouchard
Thursday’s most exciting second round clash in Paris sees 2015 Roland Garros semi-finalist: Timea Bacsinszky come up against 2014 Roland Garros semi-finalist: Eugenie Bouchard. This is a huge early round test for both ladies, both will be extremely unsatisfied with a second round exit and will look to step up their level for this crucial clash. A close, high quality encounter is very likely.
Timea Bacsinszky has become one of the tour’s most consistent players on a clay court in the last couple of seasons. Timea showed great form in the lead up to Roland Garros, claiming her first title of the year in Marrakesh before reaching the quarter-final stage in Rome. Timea carried that solid form into her opening round match in Paris where she recorded a reasonably comfortable 6-3 6-1 win over Silvia Soler-Espinosa. The Swiss number 1 got off to a slow start but was ultimately far too solid once she got going. Timea will face a far greater test in the second round when she comes up against a resurgent Eugenie Bouchard.
Bouchard’s form in 2016 has generally been quite unspectacular but the Canadian has shown better signs in recent weeks. Bouchard had a good week in Rome where she recorded wins over Jelena Jankovic and Angelique Kerber and made a very strong start to her Roland Garros campaign on Tuesday with a comprehensive 6-2 6-2 win over Laura Siegemund. Bouchard has no points to defend over the next fortnight having fallen in the first round of the event last year, meaning the Canadian can play with more freedom this time around as she looks to replicate her run to the semi-finals at Roland Garros in 2014.
The only previous meeting between the pair took place in Indian Wells earlier this year. It was a fiery clash that ultimately ended with a 6-2 5-7 6-2 win for Bacsinszky. That matched showed that these two are quite evenly matched, it’s all about who can execute their plan on the day.
I’m going to give the slight edge to Bouchard heading into this match. Bacsinszky is obviously very competent on a clay court but so is Bouchard, the surface may actually favour Bouchard because of the Canadian’s superior firepower which gives her a greater ability to hit through the court. Bouchard is probably in the best shape that she has been in all year and seems ready to claim a big win.
Prediction: Eugenie Bouchard to defeat Timea Bacsinszky in 3 sets
Roland Garros, Second Round
(18) 🇺🇦 Elina Svitolina vs (wc) 🇺🇸 Taylor Townsend
Elina Svitolina will be aiming to replicate her stunning 2015 run to the quarter-final at Roland Garros in 2016. Svitolina made a strong start to her 2016 campaign with a crushing straight set win over Sorana Cirstea on Tuesday, Svitolina will look to build on that win when she comes up against Taylor Townsend in the second round on Thursday.
Elina Svitolina progressed to the second round in Paris courtesy of a surprisingly straightforward 6-1 6-3 win over a previously in form Sorana Cirstea. Svitolina’s form in the lead up to Roland Garros was quite poor, Elina managed to claim just 1 victory in three clay court tournaments prior to Paris. That poor form counted for little on Tuesday, the Ukrainian was far too good for an erratic Cirstea. Elina never once looked threatened as she finished the match with 20 winners to just 8 unforced errors. Elina is once again working with Justine Henin this week and now has a good opportunity to advance to the third round when she comes up against Taylor Townsend on Thursday.
Taylor Townsend is through to the second round of a Grand Slam for just the second time thanks to a commanding 6-2 6-1 win over Amandine Hesse. Townsend was far too powerful, blasting 20 winners past Hesse and winning 20 of 21 points behind first serve. Maintaining a high first serve percentage will key for Townsend’s chances when she comes up against Svitolina on Thursday.
This will be the first career meeting between Svitolina and Townsend. I suspect Svitolina will be far too solid for Townsend on this occasion. Townsend has a powerful game but Svitolina is one of the best movers on tour and will force Townsend to play more shots than she would like to. Townsend has not played a top 30 player for well over a year and is likely to struggle against in this match-up. Last year’s quarter-finalist should win this match quite comfortably.
Prediction: Elina Svitolina to defeat Taylor Townsend in 2 sets
Roland Garros, Second Round
(6) 🇷🇴 Simona Halep vs 🇰🇿 Zarina Diyas
Simona Halep continues her quest for maiden Grand Slam title on Wednesday with a second round clash against Zarina Diyas at Roland Garros. Halep came agonizingly close to claiming her first Grand Slam title at Roland Garros in 2014 when she lost a tight three set final against Maria Sharapova, the Romanian seems to be in a reasonable position to go one step further in 2016 and made a solid start with a strong first round win.
Halep made a commanding start to her 2016 Roland Garros campaign on Tuesday, recording a comprehensive 6-2 6-0 victory over Nao Hibino. Halep was in a comfortable position throughout the match and ended the match with some decent numbers, hitting 16 winners to 11 unforced errors and maintaining a high first serve percentage. Halep is one of the most in form players heading into Roland Garros after a confidence boosting title run in Madrid a couple of weeks ago, it will be interesting to see just how far Simona can go on the Parisian clay in 2016.
Zarina Diyas advanced to the second round in Roland Garros for the second time in her career courtesy of a 2-6 6-4 6-2 win over Carina Witthoeft. It was a fairly typical win for the Kazakh who often finds a way to outlast opponents ranked similarly to herself. Diyas will clearly face a far greater challenge on Wednesday when she comes up against Simona Halep in the second round.
Halep holds a 2-0 head-to-head record over Diyas, winning both of the previous matches between the pair very comfortably: a 6-1 6-4 win at the Australian Open and a 6-3 6-0 win at Wimbledon (both in 2014). This is a good match-up for Halep because these two have a reasonably similar style but Halep does everything better than Diyas and is far more experienced at this level. This should be another comfortable win for Halep as she looks to continue to gain momentum in Paris.
Prediction: Simona Halep to defeat Zarina Diyas in 2 sets
Roland Garros, Second Round
(2) 🇵🇱 Agnieszka Radwanska vs 🇫🇷 Caroline Garcia
A blockbuster second round clash at Roland Garros sees Caroline Garcia (the highest ranked Frenchwoman in the draw) come up against the second seeded Agnieszka Radwanska. This promises to be a challenging encounter for both players. Radwanska is clearly the more consistent player but Garcia has the weapons to hurt Radwanska on a clay court and will have the full support of the vocal Parisian crowd.
Radwanska made a dominant start to her 2016 Roland Garros campaign, thumping Bojana Jovanovski 6-0 6-2 to advance to the second round in Paris. Aga’s impressive movement was clear too see in her opening round win and she ultimately finished the match with some impressive statistics, finishing the match with 22 winners to just 9 unforced errors. Aga will face a far greater challenge in the second round when she comes up against Caroline Garcia.
Caroline Garcia made a reasonably solid start to her 2016 Roland Garros campaign on Monday, recording a 6-3 7-5 win over Lesia Tsurenko. It wasn't the highest quality match but the Frenchwoman’s aggressive game was ultimately too much for Tsurenko to handle. It was an important win for Garcia because she has failed to deal with the pressure and expectation at Roland Garros in previous years.
Radwanska holds a 2-1 head-to-head record over Garcia. All three of those matches went the distance and ended with a tight deciding set. Their most recent clash was in Dubai last year, Radwanska recorded a 6-3 2-6 6-3 win. Garcia’s only win over Radwanska was in Wuhan in 2014, a 3-6 7-6 7-6 win.
This will the first meeting between Radwanska and Garcia on a traditional clay court, a surface that certainly favours Garcia in this match-up. Garcia has the firepower and the skill to get the better of Radwanska, that has been clear throughout periods of their previous matches. This is probably a good match-up for Garcia because she knows that she needs to be very aggressive and she also will feel like she has nothing to lose because there isn't much pressure on her coming up against the second seed. Despite all this, it is hard to predict a Garcia win with much confidence, Radwanska is far more consistent and far more experienced and will probably find a way to win this match.
Prediction: Agnieszka Radwanska to defeat Caroline Garcia in 3 sets
Roland Garros, First Round
🇨🇦 Eugenie Bouchard vs 🇩🇪 Laura Siegemund
One of the Tuesday’s most intriguing first round matches at Roland Garros features arguably the two most dangerous unseeded players in the draw: Eugenie Bouchard and Laura Siegemund. Bouchard and Siegemund both showed some good form in the lead up to Roland Garros, particularly Siegemund who went on a remarkable run to the final in Stuttgart. It will be interesting to see if Siegemund can bring that spectacular form to Roland Garros, or will Bouchard be too strong on the big stage?
Eugenie Bouchard arrives in Paris arguably in the best condition she has been in all year. The Canadian hasn’t been playing her best tennis in recent months but she is physically much stronger than she has been in recent times, her best form is probably just around the corner. Bouchard claimed a couple of valuable victories in Rome a couple of weeks ago, tough three set victories over Jelena Jankovic and Angelique Kerber, victories Bouchard can build on. Bouchard has had mixed results at Roland Garros in her past two appearances, reaching the semi-finals in 2014 but suffering a first round loss in 2015 to Kristina Mladenovic.
Laura Siegemund has achieved the best results of her career in recent months. The German went on a stunning run from qualies to the final in Stuttgart, reached the quarter-final in Charleston and won multiple matches in Madrid. However, Siegemund’s most recent tournament ended in disappointment last week, suffering a second round loss to Mariana Duque-Marino in Nurnberg. Tuesday’s match with Bouchard will be Siegemund’s first ever main draw match in Paris, at the age of 28.
This will be the first career meeting between Bouchard and Siegemund. Despite Siegemund’s recent success, I think Bouchard should be winning this match. Bouchard is a class above Siegemund and that is likely to be evident at the Grand Slam level, a level where Bouchard has had far more success than Siegemund. These two have quite similar games, both are very aggressive but Bouchard is clearly more experienced at this level and often raised her game for Grand Slams.
Prediction: Eugenie Bouchard to defeat Laura Siegemund in 3 sets
Roland Garros, First Round
(2) 🇩🇪 Angelique Kerber vs 🇳🇱 Kiki Bertens
Angelique Kerber will begin her 2016 Roland Garros campaign with a potentially dangerous first round clash against an in form Kiki Bertens. Kerber arrives in Paris on the back of consecutive opening round losses whilst Bertens arrives in Paris on a 7 match winning streak after coming through the qualifying draw to win the title in Nurnberg last week. Bertens is very comfortable on a clay court, whilst the same cannot be said about Kerber. An upset looks like a real possibility.
Angelique Kerber’s form has generally been unspectacular since she claimed her first Grand Slam title in Melbourne earlier this year. The German has often struggled on the clay and that has once again been true in 2016. Kerber suffered first round losses in Madrid and Rome, beaten by Barbora Strycova and Eugenie Bouchard. Kerber did win the title in Stuttgart but the conditions in Stuttgart are nothing like the heavy conditions in Paris. Roland Garros has been Kerber’s least successful slam, but Kerber has still had some decent results in Paris having made the quarter-final stage in 2012 and has twice reached the fourth round.
Kiki Bertens is a player on the rise. The 24-year-old has already won 35 matches in all competitions in 2016 and arrives in Paris on a high after claiming the singles and doubles title last week in Nurnberg. Bertens dropped just 1 set in 7 victories on route to the title last week, the prefect preparation for her first round match at Roland Garros. Bertens has thrived in Fed Cup action, guiding the Netherlands to the semi-finals in 2016 where she won both of her singles matches in an away tie with France (on clay against Mladenovic and Garcia). Clearly Bertens is not daunted by the big stage.
The only previous meeting between Kerber and Bertens took place earlier this year in Miami. Bertens was all over Kerber in that match, but an injury halted her progress and she was forced to retire from that match in the third set with the score at 1-6 6-2 3-0. Bertens has all the weapons to trouble Kerber, especially on a traditional clay court. If Bertens serves well she has a good chance to cause an upset here because she will be able to put pressure on Kerber in the majority of the German’s service games. It seems like a top seed is always eliminated from the early stages of a Grand Slam, it looks like it could be Kerber on this occasion.
Prediction: Kiki Bertens to defeat Angelique Kerber in 3 sets