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How Jasmine Paolini Can Compete with Iga Swiatek in French Open Final

Jasmine Paolini French Open

Jasmine Paolini had already made a name for herself before her French Open semifinal against Mirra Andreeva. But the Italian became a bigger worldwide star after progressing to the final with a victory over the teenager. The 28-year-old now faces the monumental task of overcoming three-time champion Iga Swiatek. Paolini is a major underdog, meaning some adjustments to her tactics are needed to have a chance of causing a shock. This article gives three strategies she can use to help her compete with Swiatek.

How Jasmine Paolini Can Compete with Swiatek in French Open Final

1. Adjust Her Return Position

Paolini usually prefers to work her way into points. On return, she stands a long way behind the baseline to get a full swing at the ball. It also allows her to counter kick serves from her opponent, since the Italian is only 163 centimeters tall.

However, Paolini playing like that against Swiatek plays directly into the Pole’s hands. The world No. 1 is by far the best in the world on clay when she has time on her shots, which Paolini’s deep return position would give her from the start of the rally. Stepping in and taking the return early may not be as natural to the Italian, but it is a risk worth taking. Paolini did step up a few times on return during her quarterfinal triumph against Elena Rybakina. Although Swiatek has improved her serve, it can still be attacked if Paolini is brave.

2. Use The Drop Shot At The Right Times

Swiatek’s exceptional pace makes hitting winners from drop shots difficult. But it does take the three-time champion at the French Open into an area of the court where she is less comfortable. Although Paolini does not utilize the drop shot a lot, the Italian plays it well when she does use it. When Swiatek gets into a rhythm, she is able to regularly take a deep position in the court. Surprising her by changing the tempo is important to prevent her from dominating from the baseline. If the drop shot is good enough and played at the right time, the world No. 1 is likely to need to play a volley after. The Pole’s net play is the weakest part of her formidable game, meaning it is a shot she tries to avoid. In addition, Paolini also possesses excellent passing shots, making the play even more worthwhile.

3. Hit Flatter With The Forehand When There Is A Chance

Paolini has one of the best forehands in the women’s game, especially on clay. She hits it with heavy topspin to create angles and force her opponents back in the court. Due to Paolini’s height and Swiatek’s quality, expecting her to try and suddenly hit it flat from anywhere in the court is unrealistic.

What Paolini can do is hit flatter and harder than usual when Swiatek drops the ball even a little short. Because of Paolini’s athleticism and consistency, she can usually afford to continue the rally off slightly short balls and wait for an absolutely ideal ball to attack. Since the Italian cannot just rely on her rallying skills against Swiatek, she will need to try and hit through shots if any hint of an opening presents itself. Jasmine Paolini cannot cause a shock without being brave and clinical when she gets any opportunity.

Main Photo Credit: Susan Mullane-USA TODAY Sports


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