On Day Nine of Roland Garros, the fourth round matches will be concluded. One of the standout matches on the schedule sees Serena Williams continue her quest for a fourth Roland Garros title, when she faces Ukraine’s Elina Svitolina in the fourth round. Many tennis aficionados will recall Svitolina pushing the World Number one to a close three sets in Melbourne last year. Svitolina understandably will be a considerable underdog as the 3-0 H2H clearly demonstrates.
Svitolina, now coached by one of the game’s greatest clay courters in Justine Henin, will be high on confidence following her big win over former Roland Garros champion Ana Ivanovic in the third round. It can also be argued that Serena will feel great having progressed in straight sets despite a considerably competitive match and second set tiebreak with Frenchwoman Kristina Mladenovic. That serious examination from Mladenovic could benefit Williams for the latter rounds.
David Ferrer and Tomas Berdych collide in the best Men’s match on offer on Monday. The Spaniard Ferrer leads the H2H 7-6, but the most significant of stats is the realization that both players are tied at 3-3 on previous clay court matches played. It’s a big opportunity for both players at this stage in the tournament when taking into consideration their woes in 2016. Berdych split with his coach Dani Vallverdu after a poor string of results culminating in the Rome Masters.
Incidentally, Ferrer isn’t experiencing the greatest of form by his exceptional standards of consistency. The Spaniard is currently outside the Top 10 in the ATP world rankings for the first time since 2010, which earmarks the slump in results in 2016.
Ferrer has the greater clay court credentials in this match up, but Berdych was striking the ball beautifully and with supreme authority against a good clay court player in Pablo Cuevas in Round three. Berdych’s firepower and ability to strike through the court could be the difference maker when these two go toe to toe.
Serena isn’t the only Williams sister in the second week of Roland Garros as Venus also features against Timea Bacsinszky. In terms of measuring the pressure of the occasion, the Swiss is defending semi-final points from her exploits in Paris last year. The eighth seed is the more natural clay-courter of the two players, but in this match up Venus has the power to trouble Bacsinszky on any court. It can be argued that the state of the conditions plays a major part in this encounter. If the conditions were heavy that could be a serious neutralizer that plays into the hands of Bacsinszky.
Venus leads the H2H 2-0 in fairly comfortable fashion. In previous meetings it’s apparent that the ninth seed has exploited the form of Bacsinszky’s forehand, which is by far the weakest area of her game.
Prediction: Venus in 2 sets
The French Open continues on Monday May 30th.
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