On Day 7 at Roland-Garros, two former Roland Garros junior champs face off in a tremendously poised singles match as the 2014 juniors winner Daria Kasatkina plays her third round match against the 2008 champ Simona Halep.
The two players both play their best tennis on a clay court. Kasatkina can apply heavy, loopy, topspin on the ball, particularly on her forehand side, which is executed much better on the red clay, while Halep is one of the game’s dynamic movers across the baseline and she often glides around the court on her preferred red clay.
Both Kasatkina and Halep have had their serious concerns coming into the tournament as both suffered freak ankle injuries in the Italian Open in Rome a week prior to Roland-Garros.
If the No.3 seed is fully fit then I see no reason why she cannot reach the business end of this year’s Roland-Garros and I expect her to have too much for Kasatkina in this third round match-up.
Prediction: Halep in straight sets.
Richard Gasquet  vs Gael Monfils  H2H: Monfils leads 7-6
In a match that will please the Parisian crowd, the No.24 seed Richard Gasquet and the No.15 seed Gael Monfils meet for a spot in the fourth round of Roland-Garros. Often a match can be overanalysed as to who has the stronger forehand or backhand, but this match will be decided on who handles the expectation and pressure from the onlooking French spectators.
Monfils is the natural showman and puts on a performance every time he enters the court, whereas Gasquet has not always naturally responded well to expectation especially when playing at Roland-Garros. I think Monfils will get the better of Gasquet and advance to fourth round for the seventh time in his career.
Prediction: Monfils in 4 sets.
Feliciano Lopez vs Marin Cilic  H2H: Cilic leads 4-2
Marin Cilic‘s results on the clay in 2017 have been incredibly impressive. He won the title in Istanbul and made the quarter-finals in Rome and Monte Carlo, which has given him the confidence to express himself on a clay court in the way he would normally do on his natural hard court surface.
In the third round he faces Feliciano Lopez. The tricky thing about facing Lopez is that there are so many layers to his game, which makes him difficult to topple on any surface. His first serve is an underrated shot and it buys him many free points, which is vitally important in a match against a strong server like Cilic.
Lopez has never lost a clay court match against the Croat, but Cilic holds three wins in a row including two wins at Queens on a much quicker surface. This third round encounter will be extremely serve-dominated and I expect several tiebreaks to decide this one with Cilic just about getting over the line.
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