Swiatek a potential QF in Roland-Garros : the draw


As usual, the Roland-Garros women’s draw is extremely wide open. Serena Williams is lacking confidence, Ashleigh Barty returns to Paris two years after her only Grand Slam title, Naomi Osaka has been struggling on clay, Iga Swiatek has the pressure of defending her first Grand Slam title, and Aryna Sabalenka is always capable of exploding…. It is very difficult to pinpoint any clear favorite for the title. Could we have another surprise champion like Jelena Ostapenko in 2017 or Swiatek in 2020; maybe even an unseeded player?

Barty (recent title winner in Stuttgart) and Swiatek (the Rome champion), are both in the top half of the draw. Elina Svitolina is a possible quarter-final foe for Barty, who leads their 2021 head-to-head series 2-0. Swiatek could face Sofia Kenin in the quarters, and that would be a rematch of the 2020 final that the Pole dominated. However, Swiatek’s early-round draw could be a problem; it may include the likes of Annett Kontaveit, Garbiñe Muguruza, Kristina Mladenovic, and Petra Martic.

Barty and Swiatek at least avoided the Sabalenka tornado, which has been shining since the end of 2020. The Rome champion is without question favored in the bottom half of the bracket. Among the tough opponents for the Belarusian could be Serena Williams (a major question mark on clay) Bianca Andreescu (her health is an issue), Naomi Osaka (struggling mightily on this. Surface). Belinda Bencic, Petra Kvitova, and Victoria Azarenka could well take the opportunity to shine.

NOTABLE FIRST-ROUND MATCHUPS: TWO DUELS OF FORMER GRAND SLAM WINNERS

  • Ashleigh Barty (No.1) – Bernarda Pera
  • Karolina Pliskova (No.9) – Donna Vekic
  • Carla Suarez Navarro – Sloane Stephens
  • Sofia Kenin (No.4) – Jelena Ostapenko
  • Garbine Muguruza (N ° 12) – Marta Kostyuk
  • Victoria Azarenka (No.15) – Svetlana Kuznetsova
  • Madison Keys (N ° 23) – Océane Dodin
  • Belinda Bencic (N ° 10) – Nadia Podoroska

FIRST-WEEK MATCHES WE WOULD LIKE TO SEE: YOUTH MOVEMENT

  • Jennifer Brady (No 13) – Cori Gauff (No 24) in the third round

Following a semi-final run in Rome and a title in Parma, Gauff inevitably approaches Roland-Garros – where she won the junior tournament in 2018 – with high hopes. A third round is the minimum objective for the new darling of American women’s tennis. That’s where she could meet her compatriot Jennifer Brady, runner-up at the last Australian Open.

  • Elina Svitolina (No 5) – Venus Williams in the third round

Venus Williams will be playing her 24th Roland-Garros. She has not passed the first round since 2017, but her draw (Ekaterina Alexandrova in the first round, Barbora Krejcikova or Krystina Pliskova in the second) at least allows her to have realistic aspirations for a third-round appearance. At that point she could meet Svitolina, who is still hoping for her clay-court game to click such that she reaches the semis in Paris for the first time.

  • Elise Mertens (No 14) – Maria Sakkari (No 17) in the third round

On paper this is the most promising duel of the third round. Maria Sakkari has been a semi-finalist at three tournaments this year. Elise Mertens, who has a title, a final, and two other semi-finals to her credit in 2021. The head-to-head series is 4-3 in Mertens’ favor.

  • Garbiñe Muguruza (No 12) – Sara Sorribes Tormo in the second round

This matchup would feature one of Spain’s Grand Slam champions against one of its players on the rise. National duels always have a special flavor, especially in slams, and this one would have it for sure. Excellent during the American hard-court swing, Sara Sorribes Tormo is playing with confidence and an upset wouldn’t be out of the question.

THE PROJECTED QUARTER-FINALS: REMATCH OF THE 2020 FINAL?

  • Ashleigh Barty (No.1) – Elina Svitolina (No.5)
  • Sofia Kenin (No.4) – Iga Swiatek (No.8)
  • Aryna Sabalenka (No.3) – Serena Williams ( No.7 )
  • Naomi Osaka (No.2) – Bianca Andreescu (No.6)
  • 1st round: Bernarda Pera
  • 2nd round: Magda Linette or Chloé Paquet
  • 3rd round: Ons Jabeur or Yulia Putintseva
  • Round of 16: Coco Gauff or Jennifer Brady
  • Quarter-final: Karolina Pliskova or Elina Svitolina
  • Semi-final: Iga Swiatek or Sofia Kenin
  • Final: Aryna Sabalenka, Naomi Osaka, or Serena Williams
  • 1st round: Patricia Maria Tig
  • 2nd round: Ana Bogdan or qualifier
  • 3rd round: Alison Riske, Lauren Davis, Clara Burel, or Danka Kovinic
  • Round of 16: Marketa Vondrousova or Kiki Bertens
  • Quarter-final: Belinda Bencic or Bianca Andreescu
  • Semi-final: Aryna Sabalenka or Serena Williams
  • Final: Ashleigh Barty, Iga Swiatek, or Elina Svitolina

SERENA’S PROJECTED PATH

  • 1st round: Irina-Camelia Begu
  • 2nd round: Arantxa Rus or Mihaela Buzarnescu
  • 3rd round: Angelique Kerber
  • Round of 16: Petra Kvitova or Elena Rybakina
  • Quarter-final: Victoria Azarenka or Aryna Sabalenka
  • Semi-final: Bianca Andreescu or Naomi Osaka
  • Final: Ashleigh Barty, Iga Swiatek, or Elina Svitolina



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