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Roland Garros Rookies Paris Picks • Wozniacki-Kasatkina And Stephens-Kontaveit Duels @ The French Open

Caroline Wozniacki of Denmark plays Georgina Garcia Perez 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

 

 

By: Thomas Cluck

 

After an eventful first three rounds of women’s action at Roland Garros with some big names falling early, the second week is upon the tournament, with a wide-open bottom half on the women’s side in action Sunday. After title contenders Elina Svitolina and Petra Kvitova were upset in the third round, all the women playing on day eight will sense the opportunity for a maiden French Open final.

 

Here’s the two standout round of 16 matches on the second Sunday at Roland Garros:

 

Caroline Wozniacki vs. Daria Kasatkina

The losses of Svitolina and Kvitova will have benefited no one better than the second seed and the most recent major champion, Caroline Wozniacki, a champion in Melbourne to begin 2018. The former top-ranked Dane has enjoyed a solid run of form since her maiden Grand Slam triumph in Australia, however she’s struggled to go deep in tournaments since January and twice the reason for that has been crafty young Russian Daria Kasatkina, who’s variety has fooled Wozniacki in St. Petersburg and Indian Wells so far in 2018.

 

Wozniacki is at her most vulnerable on clay, having never been past the quarterfinals in Paris, and struggling with her typically quick movement on the slippery, red stuff, however, the Dane has been imperious through three rounds, yet to drop a set and having surrendered only five games in the last five sets she’s played. Kasatkina posses the heavy spin and variety needed to succeed on clay, and the Indian Wells runner-up has showcased the talent that won her the junior title here four years ago, coming through a hard-fought match against Greek Maria Sakkari in the last round. Kasatkina might have the flare and craftiness to entertain the art-loving Parisian crowd, but Wozniacki’s solid game and defense should carry her through to another last eight showing at Roland Garros.

Prediction: Wozniacki in three sets

 

Sloane Stephens vs. Anett Kontaveit

Anett Kontaveit of Estonia plays Petra Kvitova of Czech Republic during their women’s third round match during the French Open tennis tournament at Roland Garros in Paris, France, 02 June 2018. EPA-EFE/CHRISTOPHE PETIT TESSON

After rain postponed their respective interesting third round matches to Saturday, both Sloane Stephens and Anett Kontaveit showed the grit and champion’s mentality needed to succeed on clay, both coming through hard-fought, dramatic matches early on day seven. Back on the bottom half schedule on day eight and Stephens and Kontaveit will face off in a popcorn battle on Court Philippe Chatrier, as the two powerful, athletic players look to battle for a maiden French Open quarterfinal berth. Having made the fourth round for the fifth time in her career, the defending US Open champion has looked very impressive so far at Roland Garros, playing the tennis of a title contender, barely dropping games through the first two rounds before squeezing out every last bit of competitive fight in her 8-6 third set victory over big-hitting Italian Camila Giorgi Saturday.

 

Up next for Stephens will be another powerful player, one of the most dangerous floaters on clay, rising 22 year-old Kontaveit, who herself has made a splash once again on the dirt in 2018. After runs to the semifinals in Stuttgart and Rome this season, Kontaveit has made a habit of knocking off top ten players, edging out two-time Wimbledon champion and title favorite Petra Kvitova in two tiebreaks, snapping the Czech’s 13 match-win streak for her fifth top ten victory of 2018.

 

While Kontaveit has played with the confidence and composure of a future Roland Garros winner, the belief and experience of the American should be too much for the 22 year-old as Stephens looks to move closer to major title two in Paris.

Prediction: Stephens in three sets

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