May 25, 2022

2022 Roland Garros Women's Round Two Writeup

First round is in the books and everyone’s brackets are collectively busted. Swiatek has completely and totally leveled up, and I haven’t seen a second round this competitive and close since I started watching the WTA.

Swiatek vs Riske :

Ok then. Tsurenko in form is one of the trickiest first rounds a one seed could get. She doesn’t miss, she covers the court incredibly, and none of that really mattered against Swiatek. Frequently Tsurenko wasn’t even getting to run for the winners that were hit. Lunging late is one thing, but not even getting to take a swing is really clean hitting. Swiatek is just windmilling away on her forehand and making great and early contact on her backhand. She’s seeing angles and reading her opponents; it’s beautiful. Riske has had a great win against Yastremska, but I just don’t know what people are going to do to unravel Swiatek. Swiatek in 2, and she’s so good right now she might even start winning in 1.

Schmiedlova vs Kovinic :

Kucova had a set and a break lead when Anna Schmiedlova woke up. A bunch of very close games ensued, but Schmiedlova won a lopsided tiebreaker and was solid in the third. She’ll get no change in gamestyle here, as Danka Kovinic steps in to likely set up another three set marathon. Samsonova remains one of the best prospects on tour, but Kovinic is a really tough defender. People will remember her marathon match with Jiang in the Aussie Open, but she’s nearing her previous peak (finals run in Charleston last year) again and her leg seems fully healed.

This is a tight match because Schmiedlova has heavier shots than Kovinic but Danka is a better mover. Hard to point to anyone running away with it, but Kovinic upending Samsonova means she has the defensive ability to stop Schmiedlova as well, even though she’ll get the benefit of fewer mistakes. Kovinic in 3.

Halep vs Zheng :

SCHUNK! Take away the 6-1 final set and this was an incredible match. Schunk has everything going for her, and just needs experience at this point. She put her all into hitting through Halep in the first two sets, and it worked. Halep really resorted to just trying to add height to all her shots, and eventually Schunk started to grow impatient. A good win for Halep, but not one that makes me think she’s going to thrive in this next matchup.

Qinwen Zheng is one of the more reliable juniors on tour, and her quick dispatch of Zanevska in round one bodes well for her chances here. The problem here will again be, how can Zheng manage her physical fitness while the task for her is to hit through Simona Halep. She has easy power off both wings, but is still prone to stretches of errors. It almost would make sense for her to tank the second set if she wins the first, since the problem with beating defensive talents is always that once the edge is off your own game, it’s harder to play offense without the “please let the rally be over” thought arriving on every swing. These players will have decent perspective on this, but Halep still remains a player who is going to force you to come up with two complete sets of offense if you want to win. Schunk probably has one of those per match. Zheng right now has one and a half. Should be a great contest, in a round that really showcases the depth of the WTA. Halep in 3.

Cornet vs Ostapenko :

Bronzetti seemed a bit burnt out here, and Ostapenko played solid in taking advantage. I don’t think she has a huge chance, but Ostapenko getting through to play Swiatek would be the best for the tournament. If she gets there she’ll be in form courtesy of one of the best defenders on tour. I know they’re contemporaries, but it often feels like Cornet learned her style from Simon. She has an unreal handle on her depth of shot no matter where she is in the court, and if someone tries to use her own height and looping moonballs offerings against her she has the ability and the timing to come up with big winners from unexpected positions. This is all assuming a slow pace though, and Ostapenko takes the ball as early as possible and pretty much never slows the pace down. The match will be on her racquet, and Cornet’s job is to frustrate her.

It’ll happen, but it’s hard to predict an implosion from Ostapenko when she’s playing on her best surface and just beat a similar defensive talent. This draw will humble me because the matchups are so close, but I think Cornet is unlikely to get blitzed and Ostapenko is unlikely to miss enough to just give the match away. The weather is a bit cool and I think that benefits Cornet a tiny bit. Cornet in a very close 3.

Pegula vs Kalinina :

Jessica Pegula never let Wang into the match, and that’s been her hallmark on tour. She plays within herself, and that steady level let’s her run away with things. It’s just really tough to create offense against Pegula since she keeps the ball hard and over the low part of the net most of the time. Wang also plays a pretty linear game so playing someone who can hit solid off her power is a bad matchup. Kalinina may fare better, but it feels like a similar situation. Kalinina got a nice forfeit from Baptiste who had to pull out down 5-2 in the first, but being fresh isn’t really the issue here. Kalinina is an offensive player and most of her big results have been against other players willing to play lower percentage tennis. Pegula is going to drag rallies out, and Kalinina’s lateral movement is a bit slow, even if always saying that feels wrong. Kalinina might get off to a quick start, but Pegula should be able to control the flow of the game for most of this match. Pegula in 2.

Sherif vs Zidansek :

Mayar Sherif definitely earned her first round win, with a spirited contest and a late comeback in the second. Kostyuk was down a set and a break and surged back, which makes it even more impressive that Mayar shut her down. Kostyuk still seems a bit more interested in the story of the match than the match itself. She was very frustrated at times, angry at her box, and a bit impatient after winning a big point. The “heat check” is a bad plan, and Sherif kept driving the ball with commitment until it paid dividends. On the other court in this section, Zidansek was announcing the return of her forehand to the tour. Liu played fine, but Zidansek basically had control of any rally she got to hit a forehand in. She hit sharp angles and it never really took more than 2-3 swings to get the point done. She could be poised for a decent run, and Sherif is the right test for that since she’s excellent defensively. I don’t think Zidansek gives up the same errors as Kostyuk, so she should get through to the third. Zidansek in 2.

Alexandrova vs Begu :

Alexandrova continues to fix her season. A 7-5, 6-3 win against Minnen is a fine result, and she’ll like her chances against Begu in this round since they bring a similar approach. Begu should have better feel in these conditions and her offense is more versatile. She’s a bit taller and her serve is more likely to go unreturned. Where Alexandrova has a pretty solid edge is in weight of shot. She really crushes the ball when she has time and she moves slightly better than Begu. Still, there’s not a lot to separate these two and Begu tends to struggle to close out sets so even if I think she’s slightly better, Alexandrova should have her chances. Alexandrova in 3.

Jeanjean vs Pliskova :

How is Leolia Jeanjean not on tour? Watching her match with Parrizas-Diaz I expected to see a promising youngster play a tough baseliner. Instead I saw one of the sharpest forehands in the tournament. I think Parrizas Diaz was equally surprised by her play, as Jeanjean started going big on her groundstrokes but never really had a letdown. Whether it was the home crowd, or the particular ball NPD hits, or the adrenaline of being in her first major, Jeanjean played great. It’s why I’m somewhat interested in the -500 line that’s been placed on Pliskova in the next round. Pliskova dropped the first against Andrianjafitrimo because dropping the first set is what she does. From there Karolina settled in, but that early blip makes me think Jeanjean actually has a chance here. She was adept at taking forehand inside in, and her backhand was extremely solid. Since clay takes a bit of speed away from Pliskova’s serve, the question is whether Jeanjean can expose Pliskova’s lack of speed. I actually think the answer is yes.

The -500 is interesting because the books can’t possibly price this match accurately. Jeanjean is completely unknown, and googling her results won’t help any but the most dedicated of WTA fans since casual bettors don’t know how solid Parrizas-Diaz is. Everyone betting this match is basically taking Pliskova, so in the interest of balancing investment -500 is as low as they could conceivably go. Now, does Pliskova’s power and serving win 4,4 tomorrow? Possible, but these are the spots where the books hands are tied and there are some cushions in things like the games markets.

Anyway, don’t gamble cuz it’s bad. I think Jeanjean will take a set here, but Pliskova could just as easily win this and the next round so I’m not sure calling the upset outright makes sense. Pliskova in 3.

Badosa vs Juvan :

Juvan was down 5-0 in the second while Badosa was up 5-0 in the second. They both won. It was a really solid performance from the qualifier against Juvan, and a great comeback win. Ferro was outclassed today, and lack of matches seem to have her at a bit of a plateau. She can play at the top level, but can’t string games together at that level. Juvan’s comeback was inspiring, but she might crash out of this second round. The finals run last week and a 7-5, 7-6 first round has to have her running on fumes, and despite humanity’s tendency to live near fumes, fumes are not good things to run on. Badosa’s lockdown baselining is really only unravelled when her time is taken away. Juvan can do that but her game actually reminds me a bit of Badosa’s and Paola is just a much better server in general. Badosa in 2.

Krunic vs Kudermetova :

Zhu almost snuck out with the win after looking like she might get zipped in the first set. Kudermetova has gone from playing 1-6, 6-1, 1-6 losses to playing much closer but still swingy wins. I think the trend will continue in her favor since Krunic isn’t going to be as durable in rallies as Zhu. Kudermetova in 2.

Keys vs Garcia :

I goofed on both of these matches. I talked about how Keys makes errors and gets frustrated, and she did both of those things. She dug in though, and it’s easy at home to forget that these players feel confident against lower ranked players. Keys had belief and good energy throughout the match, and Kalinskaya was hopeful. In the other match, I let the recent results skew my concept of both players ability. Townsend won an ITF event, and I decided it was worth more than a WTA level forfeit. To be fair, health issues on tour are something it’s hard to get the inside scoop on, but understanding why the books have set a price a certain way doesn’t mean they are correct. Townsend may win this match 3 times out of 5, but on the day I didn’t give Garcia enough respect, AND GARCIA WILL HAVE HER RESPECT GLOBDAMNIT.

This match is fun because neither of these players has a plan B. Garcia has a cannon of a forehand that can lose range easily. Her ball toss has been an issue her whole career, to the extent that she takes an abbreviated takeback on her serve just to maintain consistency. On the flipside, Keys takes such a huge swing on her second that her double faults wind up in the stands. I’m crossing my fingers that both play well, because they are going to hit the fuzz off the ball. To me, Keys is the better player this season and she’s more likely to deal with Garcia’s power. On the flipside, I think Garcia will be rushed into errors by Keys. Keys in 2.

Volynets vs Rybakina :

Volynets seems to just thrive at majors, and I have to admit it’s a good strategy. Her win against Golubic gets a small asterisk because Victorija isn’t the best on clay, but she is one of the most skilled players on tour so any win is earned. Rybakina also got through a tough match, upending Aranxta Rus in a 6-1, 5-7, 6-2 affair, but you knew that because you have the internet. Rybakina should win this match, but Volynets is a tough test because she has proven to be able to hang with top players from the baseline. Her backhand is solid and her forehand is more likely to break down but it still is pretty adept at adjusting to pace. Rybakina will need to push here but should get through. She hits bigger off each wing, and her serve is top 10. Rybakina in 2-3.

Collins vs Rogers :

I somehow missed Collins’ first round match, but I can tell you it probably included a few “COME ONNNNNNNN”s. The master of getting fired up and marching quickly, Collins is the inspiration for many other marches, such as Kenin, Fernandez, and the month of MAAAAAAAAAAARCH. Sorry. Am I running out of jokes? Yes. Rogers and Martincova had excellent play, but Rogers’ defending stood out and won her that match. She was constantly scrambling and the cumulative pressure of having to hit extra shots eventually got to Martincova. It’ll be a really close contest in this next round, as the American WTA players tend to always have tight matches. Despite Rogers doing some of her best work on clay, I think Collins wins here. She’s a more aggressive returner, and she’s had a few more wins recently. Collins in 3.

Contreras Gomez vs Kasatkina :

Can anyone stop Contreras Gomez? Probably, yes. Still, a relative newcomer breezing through qualifying and beating Udvardy in straights (after having lost to her less than a year ago) is a great run. While she was playing a tense match with Panna, her opponent Kasatkina was getting a very welcome retirement. Sramkova can ball, but not anywhere near the level of Rebecca Peterson. Kasatkina will be a real good glimpse at the top level of Contreras Gomez. She’s got a good kick serve, and no weak wing. Kasatkina has been on a great run on clay, so she should be fine navigating this, but it’s always fun seeing a potential Cinderalla story play their first big test. Regardless of the results, Contreras Gomez should make her way onto the tour by the end of this year. She best on clay, but hardcourt won’t be unbeatable for such a talented player. Kasatkina in 2.

Giorgi vs Putintseva :

Tricky first round for Giorgi, who struggled to find form but didn’t stop swinging. She was up 3-1 in the first and lost 6-3, so this likely could have been over in straight sets. Putintseva beat Bara fairly quickly, and it looks like a good match is about to occur. INCREASE THE VOLUME!!!!! Who wins this contest? That’s pretty much up to Putintseva. If she can manage her temper, she’s playing an inconsistent opponent on a slow surface. If she gets discouraged, Giorgi is one of the better frontrunners on tour and offensive players with a lead are really tough to reel back in. Brand new matchup on tour between these two, and very hard to know what to expect. I’d lean towards Putintseva outlasting Giorgi in 3.

Brengle vs Sabalenka :

Sabalenka is known for winding up in third sets she shouldn’t be in, but today Chloe Paquet kinda earned her way there. Paquet is a great server but her baseline play today was solid, and she really managed her nerves well in the situation. Sabalenka, as usual, found a way through. She hits such a heavy ball that it seems like there are more bad bounces for her opponents than usual, and Paquet had to lunge for a number of backhands that slid through the court. Brengle will beat Sabalenka if she’s off. Her own season has had some injury issues and forfeits though, and while she’s a very consistent player, Sabalenka’s ball is a lot different than Buzarnescu. Sabalenka is always a risk to crash out, which makes it exhausting to try to peer into a crystal ball and see what’s gonna happen. Sabalenka innnnnn 3 is the most likely event. She plays better as matches progress, and Brengle’s serve can falter late in matches.

Linette vs Trevisan :

Linette pulled the upset of the tournament in round one, downing Ons Jabeur in a high quality shootout. It’s a well deserved win for the Polish player and her reward is a completely different type of opponent. Trevisan is fresh off a title win and opened her week with a 0,2 win over Harriet Dart. With the run she’s on, it’s hard to pick against her, but Linette has a real impressive level of offense and Trevisan is largely succeeding with her excellent defending. The Linette Fernandez clash stands out in my mind as a similar type of contest, and Linette played great in those extended rallies. Leaning into what has only recently become an upset here. Linette in 3.

Saville vs Kvitova :

Daria Saville looked impressive in round one, and the price for round two makes me hopeful her run can continue. Kvitova wasn’t really given a nod in round one being almost a pickem against Anna Bondar, but she won a 7-0 tiebreaker in the first and ran away with the second. The win is good, but Bondar is mostly a server so Saville represents a much different opponent. The goal will be extending rallies and isolating Kvitova’s backhand, which tends to send the ball long a little bit more often than Petra would like. For Kvitova, it’s important to keep this a 2 set match. Once her serve goes, she tends to go as well. Kvitova in 2 or Saville in 3.

Kerber vs Jacquemot :

Jacquemot had her leg heavily taped in round one, but still got the job done against Watson. There was a tense moment when she was trying to serve things out, but Elsa is legit. Her next match is an incredible opportunity to meet with a former grand slam champion in Angelique Kerber. Kerber had a really tough time with Frech, but came from behind to set up another winnable match. The price for this is actually a concern for Kerber fans. Jacquemot, who is relatively unaccomplished on tour, is only +230 for this. I don’t expect her to really garner that much investment, so I’d avoid this one in general. That being said, Kerber is playing well, and should win this. Kerber in 2.

Sasnovich vs Raducanu :

After complaining a bit about Raducanu not going to a more defensive approach to get wins, I tuned in to watch her do exactly that against Noskova. The qualifier was up a set and a break and Raducanu dug in. She may have lost, but Noskova plays great tennis. The third set didn’t need to be a blowout (Radu won 6-1), but it’s tough as the underdog to get so close to the finish line and then have it moved 45 minutes into the future. Emma will have a tough time in this next round because Aliaksandra Sasnovich is absolutely ballin. That’s the technical term for it. Where other players may falter, Sasnovich is likely to play solid throughout. She’ll have a power deficit against Raducanu, but Emma will need to iron out the errors or this will be one way traffic. If anything, these are the types of matches Raducanu needs to test herself. Low profile but extremely difficult. I don’t think she’s ready yet, but it’s a matter of when not if. Sasnovich in 2.

Bencic vs Andreescu :

Haha. Do you know who is going to win this match? I don’t. Add it to the list. I don’t see how any of the 3rd round players won’t be playing extremely sharp given how perfect the 2nd round matchups are. Right now it looks like there are no challenges for Swiatek, but in a week’s time I think things will change. Bencic was scary good in round one against Jani, and Andreescu took a while to find her sea legs but finished in style. I want a vintage Andreescu run, and she certainly will compete, but Bencic might be more prepared than her for this one. Staying healthy for the hardcourt season is the one thing I hope for with Andreescu, and there’s no reason to write her off, but Bencic should win this in 3.

Siniakova vs Fernandez :

Siniakova got a good win which is a big boost to her season. Playing Fernandez will be tougher, but doable. Siniakova has good power, and Fernandez has been inconsistent lately. A 6-0 first set against Mladenovic was followed up by Mladenovic actually leading and serving for the second set, but she was reeled back in and unfortunately ended the match by double faulting. Siniakova’s lack of consistency on tour is tough because Fernandez will make you play a ton of balls. She misses herself, but has a way of making her opponent supply most of the offense. Should be close, in a world where apparently I think all matches will be close. Fernandez in 3.

Anisimova vs Vekic :

Anisimova is a scary player when she’s on, and she’s been solid this season. Her ability to hit through the court is rare on tour and her backhand is probably near the best of anyone currently playing. Osaka played well, but clay just isn’t her thing and she hasn’t been active enough to pick it up just yet. Anisimova gets a much lower profile match against Vekic, but Vekic crushes the ball. She was solid and resilient against Bjorklund, and I don’t really buy the -700 price tag affixed to Anisimova. If they play 5 matches, Vekic is winning one. What Vekic is lacking here is matchplay, and it’s hard to defend when you’re a bit rusty. Anisimova in 2 close sets, but this is a tricky match if she loses her range at any juncture since Vekic will take your time away.

Muchova vs Sakkari :

This is the real minefield section of the draw. Muchova is incredible, but hasn’t been the same after a brief time off tour. Sakkari is the heir apparent, yet seems stuck in that position. As a gatekeeper, Sakkari does a fine job. All her fans want more though, and it seems feasible. Sakkari should be able to beat Muchova, but will she? Sakkari has a better serve but will probably land a worse percentage. Sakkari has more power but will probably make more errors. The match is really always on her racquet but she’s just not executing in the biggest moments yet. Muchova tends to play these moments well and isn’t afraid to do simple things rather than force the issue in crunchtime. Someone in a very nervous 3.

Mertens advances by forfeit to the 3rd round by the way, Go Mertens
Gauff vs Van Uytvanck :

Gauff zipped Marino, now she has another big server. Alison Van Uytvanck was down a set to Ann Li when she had to retire. It’s a welcome gift, but despite Gauff’s recent struggles to find consistency she should win this. Gauff in 2.

Haddad Maia vs Kanepi :

Solid 3 set wins for both in the first round. Haddad Maia being lefty is a big key to her success on tour, but she just seems to have all the shots at her disposal also. Some players just look comfortable on the court, and she’s definitely one of them. Kanepi pulled a great upset beating Muguruza, but I think she gets outlasted by Haddad. Haddad Maia in 3.

Azarenka vs Petkovic :

Not sure how Petkovic can just show up having not played and win matches, but she does this a few times a year. Oddsmakers actually have this set relative low imo with Petkovic at just +220. Azarenka could very well have lost to Bogdan, but her defending and ball movement is exactly what tends to unravel Petkovic. When Petkovic wins, I’ll feel foolish, but Azarenka should win this in 2.

Danilovic vs Teichmann :

Big come from behind win from Danilovic who had to save a few match points in the second set. Galfi’s making solid improvements so it’s not a total loss for her team. This would be a closer match last season, but Teichmann is on a tear right now. The more she wins the more her serve works, and the sharper her offense gets when she gets to net. I think there’s hope for Danilovic because they’re both lefty and Teichmann plays the standard lefty claycourt game, but Olga has been giving up too many breaks and Teichmann is already breaking serve at a high clip. Teichmann in 2.

Cirstea vs Stephens :

It might be a lower ranked player, but that was a great win for Stephens. Julie Niemeier crushes the ball and has been winning a lot on the lower tier. It’s just the player that Sloane generally crashes out against. Next is another big hitter in Sorana Cirstea. I’m a little startled by this being set rather close by oddsmakers (+125 for Stephens), but Cirstea does win most of her matches by hitting big and Stephens is excellent at reflecting power. I’m unsurprisingly expecting a third set here, since Cirstea’s offense is too good to leave her blanked and Stephens is too consistent a player when she’s on to let Cirstea past quickly. Cirstea in 3.

Osorio vs Parry :

Huge win for Parry to get her first tour level win against the RG champion. The circumstances are half an asterisk since Krejcikova is returning from injury, but a win feels good. It’ll be a short celebration since Camila Osorio Serrano is waiting in the next round. I’m sleepy and the matches are about to begin so this will be quick. Parry is excellent but Osorio is going to have more clear direction to her shots. She knows how to move her opponents and Parry is very much in the feeling out stages. Osorio in 2.