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Roland Garros Picks • Kvitova, Keys, Stephens Stand Out On Intriguing Day Six In Paris Tennis

Sloane Stephens of the USA plays Magdalena French of Poland during their women’s second round match during the French Open tennis tournament at Roland Garros in Paris, France, 30 May 2018. EPA-EFE/CHRISTOPHE PETIT TESSON

 

 

With the chaos of early round action and the first and second rounds complete, action at the French Open is heating up with some interesting third round clashes on day six in Paris. With the bottom half of the women’s draw in action, three powerful players, not typical clay-court specialists, are set for intriguing matches as Petra Kvitova, Madison Keys, and Sloane Stephens take to the courts.

 

Here’s the three standout matches on day six at Roland Garros:

 

Petra Kvitova vs. Anett Kontaveit

Petra Kvitova of the Czech Republic plays Lara Arruabarrena of Spain during their women’s second round match during the French Open tennis tournament at Roland Garros in Paris, France, 30 May 2018. EPA-EFE/GUILLAUME HORCAJUELO

While in the past it had been thought that to have success on clay, one must defend well and play a crafty, counterpunching game, that notion is certainly no longer true. In 2018, big-hitters Petra Kvitova, a two-time Wimbledon champion, and rising Estonian star Anett Kontaveit showed power has its potency on the dirt as well, as Kvitova won back-to-back titles in Prague and Madrid while Kontaveit knocked off big name after big name en route to semifinal showings in Stuttgart and Rome.

 

So far in Paris, Kvitova survived a close call against unseeded Veronica Cepede Royg in the opening round, before cruising in straight sets in her following match against Lara Arruabarrena. Kontaveit too suffered a mid-match blip in her first rounder, but also booked her third round spot in straight sets. While the 22 year-old Estonian has been one of the most dangerous floaters on the dirt all season, Kvitova’s 13-match win streak, which included a hard-fought win over Kontaveit in Madrid, has seen the Czech play some nearly untouchable tennis and if she can keep up her impressive form, she’ll be into the second week.

Prediction: Kvitova in straight sets

 

Madison Keys vs. Naomi Osaka

Two of the biggest hitters in the women’s game go head-to-head Friday at Roland Garros, as American Madison Keys will look to her strong run going against Indian Wells champion Naomi Osaka. After two potentially difficult matches against countrywomen Sachia Vickery and Caroline Dolehide, 13th-seeded Keys is looking in strong form, while Osaka also impressed in her opening round victory over American youngster Sofia Kenin. Keys and Osaka will both be looking to get a devastating first strike in on Court Suzanne Lenglen tomorrow but Keys’ superior clay-court movement and maturity should prevail.

Prediction: Keys in three sets

 

Sloane Stephens vs. Camila Giorgi

Two of the most impressive players of the first two rounds will face off tomorrow late on Court Philippe Chatrier as defending US Open champion Sloane Stephens will take on big-hitting Italian Camila Giorgi. Perhaps no one impressed in their opening match as much as Stephens, as the American was in near-perfect form in a straight-sets demolition of Arantxa Rus. Just like her tenth-seeded opponent, Giorgi is yet to drop a set in Paris, striking the ball very cleanly, making her a threat to any opponent. The unseeded Italian Giorgi may be one of the best ball-strikers in all of tennis, but the impressive blend of power and athleticism that is Stephens should get herself into the second week of Roland Garros for the fifth time in her career.

Prediction: Stephens in straight sets

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