May 29, 2022

2022 Roland Garros Women's Round Four Writeup

Swiatek vs Zheng :

HOWWWWW DID YOU GET HEEEERE (to 5-5), NOBODY SPOSED TO BE HEEEEEERE. I’VE TRIED THAT LOSS THING FOR THE LAAAAAAAST TIIIIIIIIME. But yeah, Kovinic mananged through hard work and solid counterpunching to get into deep waters with Swiatek. It was a good look at how Iga would handle that, and her response was good. She remained composed and closed out with some hard work, but the untouchable aura she had cultivated recently may be gone. Zheng is beating the tours best defenders, but her win against Cornet was mostly Cornet nursing a leg issue. She tried to stick it out but at 6-0, 3-0 you’re kinda just hoping your opponent gets injured if you finish (which is poor form) so she pulled out.

Zheng and Swiatek will have a great match. Zheng crushes the ball off both wings and has a pretty good serve. Her movement isn’t great but her shotmaking makes up for it. She’s a bit like Hurkacz to me, but the problem here is that Swiatek takes time away from her opponents very well. For Kovinic, this was fine since she’s quick and is looking to reflect power anyway. For someone like Zheng who wants to play offense, it could lead to errors. Swiatek in 2.

Pegula vs Begu :

Pegula has a minor leg issue, so there’s a question mark here. She had her usual blowout first set, and her usual second set letdown. Begu ended the return of Jeanjean, but hopefully she finds more time to compete on tour as she’s a remarkably good player. This will be the same equation for Pegula, and outlasting Begu is something that will call her fitness into question. Zidansek plays mainly behind her forehand but Begu hits big down the line off both wings. She has good variety and power and mixes paces well. Her own downfall is her mobility and her temper, and playing Pegula (if she’s healthy) is likely to expose both those things. The second set lapse is something that Begu is likely to capitalize on, so Pegula in 3.

Kudermetova vs Keys :

Badosa had some work done on her leg and was forced to withdraw from her match with Kudermetova (Veronika’s 6th forfeit win in recent history). It’s a disappointing clay season but we may be overestimating her prowess on the dirt. She has a lot of power for a defensive player, and a very good serve for one also. This gets her across the finish line on hardcourt since she’s a unique player. On clay, both these things are diminished. Keys and Rybakina played a fairly even match, trading lopsided sets and then winding up in one of the few 10 point tiebreaks in the WTA side. Keys was slightly better on the day, and the later rounds are a scary place to play Keys since it means she’s not really throwing in errors and everyone else’s ability to scramble on defense is getting slightly worn down.

Kudermetova has had a few big matchups against great power and has lost most of them. She thrives against conservative baseliners since she hits with tremendous depth and accuracy, but there are stretches of games where she isn’t landing those shots. I absolutely think she beat Keys, but it will take a ton of work and those lapses can’t show up. With extra rest, she’ll have a chance. Most likely outcome here is Keys in 3 though.

Kasatkina vs Giorgi :

This is one of the best 4th rounds I’ve seen in a WTA event. Almost every has a really dangerous challenger and there are a bunch of new names, but no one that you’re really shocked to see. Kasatkina beat Rogers much quicker than I expected, and it’s her 3rd quick win in a row. She’ll start as a favorite against Giorgi, but Camila has just the type of lights out offense that seems necessary to impact Kasatkina’s game. Giorgi’s match with Sabalenka featured a lot of fistpumping and swinging for the fences, and Giorgi’s defending to her forehand proved to be the big difference maker. She was able to take a number of balls down the line and open up the court, and Sabalenka did play well but she couldn’t properly defend. Rather than say I know whether Giorgi can hit through Kasatkina, I’ll say that I’m excited to see if she can. Giorgi is a player who it’s reported many on tour don’t even want as a hitting partner since she has such aggressive swings, and since she’s pretty inconsistent with her results there isn’t a ton of strategy out to best her besides playing consistent and keeping the ball on her backhand. Kasatkina can do both, but this will be close if Giorgi brings the same level. Kasatkina in 3.

Trevisan vs Sasnovich :

It’s so wild to watch Martina Trevisan just run through these talented players. I have been a fan of hers since her first RG run but I just never expected her to make such strides in her gameplay. When I see a defensive player I expect that this is their best route to success on tour, and that they’ve worked their way there. Trevisan makes it seem like she was just figuring out tennis, and now she’s in a tremendous rhythm. If it wasn’t for the style she plays, she’d be a darkhorse for the title right now since she’s coming off a finals and is winning in straight sets. I don’t even know what to make of the pickem line with Sasnovich. Sasnovich has just beaten a solid defensive lefty in straight sets in Kerber, but Angelique may have been slowing down round by round after a title run a week ago in Strasbourg.

Sasnovich probably is the end of the road for Trevisan. She’s really solid off both wings and has a ton of experience on tour. Playing two lefties in a row is always a bonus also since your shot patterns can remain the same. If Trevisan wins here, I’ll be happy, but I think Sasnovich wins in 3.

Fernandez vs Anisimova :

The level of tennis for the losers of these matches was unreal. Belinda Bencic played so well in this event, and Fernandez outlasted her anyway. Karolina Muchova looked like she’d practically challenge for the title, and Anisimova’s constant aggression wore her down (and likely caused the retirement). I can’t say enough about Fernandez’s grit. She plays like you’re going to fall apart and you do. Sure, the match was close and Bencic could have won, but Bencic’s frustration was because she knew exactly what was happening and still couldn’t stop it. It’s the beauty of tennis to see someone just dig in and say “ok we play forever then” when facing an offensive talent. Anisimova vs Muchova felt like a 250 semi. Muchova hopefully has a speedy recovery, because having her back on tour was so refreshing even if it was brief. Anisimova’s backhand though is world class. Someone please tell me who has a better backhand on the WTA right now.

This is another outlast moment for Fernandez, but I think Anisimova has the power to actually hit through her. Call it the ARV vs Alcaraz moment for Anisimova’s run, but I think she has a good chance to make the finals here. Fernandez was able to frustrate Bencic into errors, but Anisimova has a much better level of emotional stability than Bencic. Anisimova may get frustrated with errors, but she goes right back to swinging freely on the next point. That commitment to offense and belief is what is necessary to beat Fernandez. Anisimova in 3.

Mertens vs Gauff :

Once I stop backing Trevisan, she balls. Once I give up on my Mertens #1 dreams, she makes a run at RG. A quick win against Gracheva is just perfect for this next round, which is a somewhat winnable match against the young WTA phenom Cori Gauff. Gauff reversed a result against Kanepi which is pretty impressive. I haven’t caught more than a set or two of her play (early rounds make it tough) but she’s hitting the ball solid and tends to string together long runs of form when she does play well. This match is one where Gauff has a lot more power than Mertens, but will need to manage her unforced errors as much as possible. Mertens is the quintessential gatekeeper; she hits well off both wings, can change direction and execute every shot, but just doesn’t have the big power or the dominant serve to set herself apart in these spots. It’s likely that these two play 3 sets, and if Gauff wins this she has a chance in the next round also. I think Mertens will be a bit too good defensively though. Mertens in 3.

Teichmann vs Stephens :

Azarenka started off her match against Teichmann as if she knew she couldn’t win the direct way. It’s odd to be looking to drag the match out as plan A, but it worked. Azarenka hit her forehand with a bunch of height, and constantly went behind Teichmann when she had offensive opportunities. It worked, as Jill had to work hard to supply offense. When Teichmann would play her own looping shots or take pace off, Azarenka was excellent at hitting her forehand inside out for winners. This was probably the most competitive match of the third round, and Teichmann will be extremely satisfied with the come from behind win as she was down a set and a break.

Stephens had a fairly easy time against Diane Parry, who won rallies but was unable to execute the final shots. A lot of missed volleys and inside out forehands, but a good run and something to build on for next year. Stephens could beat Teichmann but it would require some good offense on her part. Teichmann has really played herself into form in the past few weeks and Stephens has been thriving on her power and defense frustrating her opponents. Coming off the Azarenka match, Teichmann should be used to this. Only real concern for JT is fatigue. Teichmann in 3.