Hollywoodbets Sports Blog: French Open Women: Ro32 Preview

French Open Women: Ro32 Preview

Danielle Collins

Damien Kayat previews the women's' French Open ties between Danielle Collins and Gabrine Muguruza as well as Aryna Sabalenka and Ons Jabeur. 

Image Copyright - Steve Haag Sports

Two women looking excitedly at cellphone

WTA Tour 2020
French Open
Stade Roland Garros, Paris, France (Outdoor Clay)
Selected Round of 32 Matches- 3rd October

Danielle Collins 11/4 | Garbine Muguruza (11) 2/9
The Covid crisis came at the worst possible time for Spaniard Garbine Muguruza. The former World Number One seemed to have turned a corner this year, emboldened by some late 2019 soul-searching. She reunited with coach Conchita Martinez and climbed Mount Kilimanjaro. That gruelling odyssey seemed to reawaken the competitive spirit of Muguruza. She started the year with a semi-final in Shenzhen. She hasn’t failed to reach the quarterfinal stage of any event she has entered this year (US Open aside). That included a glorious run to the final of the Aussie Open. The 2016 French Open Champion flexed her considerable clay-court muscle with an excellent semi-final run in Rome. She ultimately lost in a three-set epic against clay-court queen Simona Halep. She was far from convincing in her opening match, needing to pull off a minor miracle to stave off Zidansk. But her easy straight-sets victory over Krystyna Pliskova seems to suggest that she has found her comfort zone. 

A former top-ranked collegiate player, Danielle Collins is one of a myriad of highly talented American players that has seemingly sprung from nowhere in recent years. She came to everyone’s attention with a semi-final run in the 2018 Miami Open. She upped the ante last year, utilizing her ultra-aggressive, all-or-nothing approach to advance to the semi-finals of the Aussie Open. 2020 has been a strange year for Collins (as it has for everybody). She recorded three victories over top 15 opponents in her opening two events (Kenin, Bencic and Svitolina). This included a run to the semi-final of the Adelaide event. But she has played a limited amount of tennis since, with little success. Despite having two ITF titles on clay, Collins is much more assured on harder surfaces. She beat Niculescu in the opening match whilst enduring the petulance of an underarm serve. She then eased past the up-and-coming Clara Tauson. As I noted earlier, Collins is mercurial. In her opening round match against Niculescu she hit 53 winners and 42 unforced errors. 

This will be their 2nd meeting, with Muguruza edging the American on the clay of Rome last year. I feel that this one has upset written all over it. Collins is exactly the sort of tempestuous talent that top players dread to encounter in the early stages. 11/4 isn’t bad for a recent Grand Slam semi-finalist. 

Aryna Sabalenka (8) 4/10 | Ons Jabeur (30) 33/20
The new queen of grunt, Aryna Sabalenka is one of the steadiest players on the WTA Tour. After rising to prominence alongside Aliaksandra Sasnovich in the 2017 Fed Cup, Sabalenka has just gone from strength to strength, winning the 2018 WTA Newcomer of the Year title. She won back-to-back titles in Wuhan in 2018 and 2019, picking up her third title this year in Qatar. While her ultra-aggressive baseline approach is ideal for harder surfaces, she has reached the final of the Ladies Lugano Open on Clay. She is also coming off of a semi-final run in Strasbourg. Sabalenka has yet to convert her positive juju into Grand Slam success. But she seems to be enjoying these new balls (she is yet to drop a set thus far, despite a tricky second round fixture against Daria Kasatkina). 

Ons Jabeur has credited her recent surge in form to a stronger mental attitude and clearly defined goals. She has navigated the perils of the pandemic astutely, retaining her pre-pandemic form. Her win-loss ratio this year reads an impressive 24-9. She broke through the sound barrier in Melbourne, becoming the first Arab woman to reach a Grand Slam quarterfinal. She then had a match point saved against Halep in Dubai prior to another quarterfinal in Qatar. Since the resumption of the tour she has reached the quarterfinal of the Western and Southern Open and 3rd round of the US Open. Her wide variety of slice options and creativity should make her an ideal clay-court fit. She has said that it has taken some time to adapt to the slower balls (though her victory against Nao Hibino showed very little in the way of discomfort).

I really feel that Jabeur has what it takes to down the Belarusian. Her lower-tier success on clay shows a definite comfort on these surfaces. I think that Jabeur could make it to the 2nd week of a Grand Slam twice this year. 
Written by Damien Kayat for Hollywoodbets.

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