Day 2 in Paris on the women’s side features two of Italy’s best Sara Errani and Francesca Schiavone in action, plus the in-form Kiki Bertens. Our panel of Steen Kirby, Jakub Bobro, and Jeff Crady are on hand to offer their previews and predictions.
(4)Garbine Muguruza vs. Francesca Schiavone
Steen: A pair of solid clay courters, Muguruza comes off the semis in Rome though and has the h2h edge. Schiavone still has talent but her time in the sun has come and gone, while the Spaniard is higher ranked for a reason. Muguruza in 2
Jakub: Muguruza had a worrying start to clay with first round losses to Kontaviet and Bacsinszky. Things started to turn around for the Spaniard, as she beat Venus Williams to make semifinals in Rome, but she had to retire from that semifinal with a shoulder injury. Francesca Schiavone worked incredibly hard to get her ranking up and not be reliant on a wildcard to get her in her last Roland Garros of her career. The Italian won Bogota and reached the final in Rabat, obviously against weaker opposition. If Muguruza is still carrying an injury, Schiavone could do some damage with her untiring retrieving style. However, a healthy Muguruza should not have any trouble putting Schiavone away. Muguruza in 2
Jeff: Although Schiavone has found form again this spring (having won Bogota and being runner up in Rabat, she will be hard matched to fend off the offense of the defending champion. Her main hope is that the oft injured Muguruza will be less than 100% after retiring in her warm up tourney. Muguruza in 2
(18)Kiki Bertens vs. Ajla Tomljanovic
Steen: 12-2 in recent matches, Bertens is red hot on clay, while Tomljanovic is not. Barring fatigue being a problem, the Dutch woman should prevail in this one easily. Bertens in 2
Jakub: Kiki Bertens has had an impressive clay lead-up, making quarterfinals in Madrid, semifinals in Rome, and winning Nurnberg last week. She has further motivation to do well at Roland Garros, as she defends a semifinal, and the loss of Angelique Kerber has made it a very real possibility. Alja Tomljanovic is currently down at No. 309 and is starting with a Protected Ranking as she comes back from injury. Tomljanovic hasn’t done much on clay, and her best result is a semifinal at ITF $60K Charlottesville. Last week, Tomljanovic lost to Flipkens in Nurnberg. Bertens is the clear favorite for this match, and is among the favorites to win the whole tournament. Bertens in 2
Jeff: Tomlanjovic is returning from injury and has found success on the ITF tour, but Bertens enters off a win in Nuremburg, and had a great run at Roland Garros last year. Bertens in 2
(Q)Sara Errani vs. Misaki Doi
Steen: Doi is higher ranked but less accomplished on clay than the qualifier Errani. This is a tough match to predict, but Errani’s experience should help her get through. Errani in 3
Jakub: Sara Errani ran the table in qualifying, losing only 7 games over the course of 3 matches, showing that she is still a capable player on clay. It seems that the former finalist has played herself in form in qualifying and is ready to make waves. Do I has had admirable results for a player whose style doesn’t really fit on clay, like beating Madison Keys en route to a Round of 16 in Madrid or semifinals in Nurnberg. The worrisome thing for Doi is that she retired in her previous match, so her fitness is unknown. Fit or unfit, I think that Errani will have the edge over Doi either way, coming in with a lot of confidence.
Errani in 3
Jeff: The former queen of the clay had to qualify to make the main draw field here at Roland Garros and plays a tenacious big hitting Doi, but Errani will work her magic and make it to the second round. Errani in 3
Anett Kontaveit vs. Monica Niculescu
Steen: Niculescu has lost six straight while Kontaveit has been in tremendous form in recent tournaments. Niculescu is always a tricky opponent, and this will be a fun match to watch but I’d be shocked if Kontaveit loses momentum in this one. Kontaveit in 2
Jakub: Kontaveit has been absolutely brilliant through the clay season, reaching quarterfinals in Stuttgart and Rome, having to qualify both times. The Estonian got wins over players like Kerber and Muguruza in the recent weeks. She will be looking to get her first ever win at Roland Garros in only her second main draw appearance. Niculescu has struggled since she made the final in Hobart, winning only one match since then, and no matches since Indian Wells. The Romanian has gone winless on clay and even retiring from her match against Cirstea in Nurnberg, contrasting Kontaveit’s great form. I am confident that Kontaveit will get past Niculescu easily and maybe even give Muguruza a run for her money in the second round. Kontaveit in 2
Jeff: Niculescu’s game will prove tricky for the big hitting Kontaveit, but Kontaveit will ride her power and confidence to the first round victory in straight sets. Kontaveit in 2
Varvara Lepchenko vs. Andrea Petkovic
Steen: Close in the rankings, this match should also be close. Lepchenko has shown slightly better form on clay and she’s better suited for the surface, thus she should prevail. Lepchenko in 3
Jakub: Varvara Lepchenko has had a balanced clay season, going 5-5, her best result being semifinals in Rabat. Petkovic continued to struggle through the clay season, not earning a single win in main draws on red clay. It seems like the former Top 10 players has peaked and is struggling to motivate herself. It is almost surprisingly their first meeting, considering how long they have been around on the WTA tour. Lepchenko has the higher ranking, better record, and her game is better suited for clay, but Petkovic won’t give up without a fight. Lepchenko in 3
Jeff: Tour favorite Petkovic looks to out hit the American Lepechenko in the first round. Lepechenko and Petkovic are both inconsistent and rely on getting hot to win. Petkovic finds enough and wins. Petkovic in 3
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