Hollywoodbets Sports Blog: French Open Women - Round Two Preview

French Open Women - Round Two Preview

Caroline Garcia

Damien Kayat previews Caroline Garcia vs Aliaksandra Sasnovich and Zhang Shuai vs Alize Cornet from the Women's draw in the 2020 French Open.

Image Copyright - Steve Haag Sports

Two women looking excitedly at cellphone

WTA Tour 2020
French Open 
Stade Roland Garros, Paris, France (Outdoor Clay)
Selected 2nd Round Matches- 30th September

Caroline Garcia (5/10) | Aliaksandra Sasnovich (14/10)
It’s crazy to think that Caroline Garcia is still just 26 years of age. It feels like she should be in her early thirties. The Frenchwoman has certainly been on a downward trend over the past two years. Lest we forget, this is a woman who reached as high as four in the world rankings just two years ago. The 2017 French Open quarterfinalist seems to have been left behind with the arrival of more dynamic baseliners (think Osaka, Andreescu and Barty). Garcia did manage to help France win the Fed Cup last year- though I’d argue that event has diminished in value of late. 2020 has seen her reach only one quarterfinal (at an under-strength Lyon Open). But Garcia pulled off one of the shocks of the tournament thus far by beating in-form Anett Kontaveit. She used her powerful forehand to reduce rally length whilst utilizing those Grand Slam winning doubles skills at the net. Garcia may not be in vintage form but she tends to thrive in her home Slam. 

Continuing with my decision to use a seemingly obsolete event as a reference point, Aliaksandra Sasnovich really rose to prominence with her heroics alongside Aryna Sabalenka in the 2017 Fed Cup. She helped Belarus reach the final of that event for the first time. Since then her career has been steady if unspectacular. She reached the fourth round at Wimbledon in 2018 for her best ever result in a Grand Slam. She did manage to reach the semi-finals at Flushing Meadows last year in doubles competition. But she has never been able to evolve beyond a certain point. That’s why I have been so pleasantly surprised by her post-lockdown form. She has reached the quarterfinals in Palermo and Istanbul. She also managed to beat Marketa Vondrousova en route to a third-round finish at Flushing Meadows. She is almost the female equivalent of Dominik Koepfer, a player emboldened by the recent break and looking to climb the rankings. 

Caroline Garcia leads the head-to-head 3-0. Having said that, all of those victories came during Garcia’s ‘golden’ period on the tour. Sasnovich has actually been in solid form and could be wonderful upset fodder here. But the Kontaveit victory certainly clouds the matter. Perhaps the best choice would be to go for Garcia to win in three sets at 3/1.

Zhang Shuai (7/4) | Alize Cornet (4/9)
Keeping with the Gallic theme, I’m opting to cover Alize Cornet’s second-round match. It would certainly be a misnomer to consider Cornet a journeywoman. Cornet managed to reach the Italian Open final way back in 2008 (though that stat does allow a glimpse into her clay-court credentials). Cornet has reached eight singles finals on clay, with four of those finals resulting in victory. She actually lost last year’s Swiss Open Final whilst defending her title. Let’s be honest, Cornet’s most memorable contribution in recent years came in that fiasco at the 2018 US Open. She was given a code violation for removing her shirt, leading to a gender-based row and change of rules. But she has actually been very impressive post-lockdown. Her win-loss record of 7-3 includes a victory over Aussie Open champ Sofia Kenin.

One of only five Chinese tennis players to reach a Grand Slam quarterfinal, Zhang Shuai has looked much sharper since the tour’s abbreviated North American hardcourt season. Back-to-back opening round defeats at Flushing Meadows- host of both the Western and Southern Open and US Open- must have left her confidence reeling. And all this after a confident start to the season: she reached the final in Hobart. But Shuai looks to have found her feet in the clay, starting with a quarterfinal run in Strasbourg. But it was her opening round demolition of Madison Keys that really piqued my interest. Keys is something of a Grand Slam specialist, reaching the semi-finals here back in 2018. While most of her success has come on harder surfaces, it would seem that she is primed for a more concerted Roland Garros push this year. 

Both in their early 30’s, it’s little surprise that these two are no strangers to one another. The Frenchwoman leads the head-to-head 4-2. Cornet won their only ever match on clay and beat Zhang Shuai in straight sets last year. I think this will be Cornet’s at a canter. Cornet to win in straight sets at 11/10. 

Written by Damien Kayat for Hollywoodbets.

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