One of the enticing matches that feature on Day Four of Roland Garros sees the 13th seeded Kristina Mladenovic come up against the former Roland Garros finalist Sara Errani.
Errani has bulldozed her way through the field, coming through the qualifying rounds and winning her opener in the main draw, while Mladenovic suffered a considerable scare in her first round against Jennifer Brady as she won 9-7 in the third set. In that match, Mladenovic was clearly suffering from a niggling back injury, but the question will be whether the day of recovery will set her up for her second round match against one of the fiercest competitors on a clay court in Errani.
The Frenchwoman enjoys this match-up and has won all of the last three matches against Errani, who is trying to improve her ranking after slipping outside the Top 120 in the rankings earlier this year.
Prediction: Mladenovic in two sets.
Lucas Pouille  vs Thomaz Bellucci H2H: First meeting
When playing in front of a home crowd in a big stadium, some players embrace the occasion and play inspired tennis, while others struggle to conjure up their best tennis under the circumstances. In the case of 23-year-old Lucas Pouille, he has improved his positioning in the rankings through sensational progress at some of the other majors, which includes a quarter-final run at last year’s Wimbledon and US Open, but he has yet to put it all together in front of the demanding French audience in Paris at Roland Garros.
Pouille’s second round opponent is Thomaz Bellucci, who sights the red clay as his favourite surface. This could very well be decided by a fifth set and I can see many peaks and troughs throughout the entirety of this match. Bellucci may be the more comfortable and best-suited to a clay court, but the Brazilian does struggle to close matches from winning positions, which directly impacts his shot selection under pressure.
Prediction: Pouille in five sets
Oceane Dodin vs Svetlana Kuznetsova  H2H: First meeting
The 2009 Roland-Garros champion Svetlana Kuznetsova is one of the main contenders for this year’s title. Her second round opponent is French star Oceane Dodin, who won her first WTA title in Quebec City last year.
Kuznetsova is noted for her great speed around the back of the court behind the baseline and her ability to get to some tennis balls that many other players could only dream of. Dodin, on the other hand, likes to be the aggressor and dictate the course of a rally with her giant first serve and her following forehand. Dodin knows she will make a lot of unforced errors and a great amount of double faults because of the high-risk nature to her approach to tennis. It should be fascinating to see the Dodin’s power game against the variety of Kuznetsova on the red clay in Paris.
Prediction: Kuznetsova in two sets.
Play on Roland Garros Day Four begins at 11am (10am BST).
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