Five Storylines To Follow In The French Open Women’s Draw - UBITENNIS
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Five Storylines To Follow In The French Open Women’s Draw

From Swiatek’s winning run to Jabeur’s success on the clay, here are the key things to watch out for in this year’s tournament.



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Over the next two weeks all eyes will be on the developments taking place in the French capital of Paris where the 126th edition of Roland Garros will be taking place.


128 players will be fighting it out for the title which also rewards the singles champion with 1000 ranking points and prize money of €2,200,000. The women’s draw is one full of intrigue with the past six editions of the tournament being won by different players. Iga Swiatek has established herself as the frontrunner but there are others following in close pursuit.

Here’s a look at some of the talking points in the women’s draw this year.

Swiatek’s dominance

Can anybody stop Swiatek? The Pole has enjoyed a sensational past few months which has seen her win 28 matches in a row, claiming five straight titles. Out of those five, four were at WTA 1000 events. To put the run into context, only three other players on the WTA Tour have achieved such a winning streak since 2000 – both of the Williams sisters and Justine Henin.

The 20-year-old is already a strong clay court player having won half of her career titles (4/8) on the surface, including the 2020 French Open. Following her most recent triumph at the Italian Open on Sunday, Swiatek played down the potential pressure she faces of being the title favourite.

Honestly, I’m going to do the same way I’ve done here (in Rome), also in other tournaments,” she said of her preparations for the French Open. “For sure it’s going to be a little bit harder with all the breaks that we’re going to have between matches. I also like the rhythm that we have on Grand Slams. Again, I’m going to try to do step by step, just think of the next match as I did in these tournaments.”

Out of the past 14 French Open tournaments that have taken place, the top seed has only won the title three times. Serena Williams prevailed in 2013 and 2015, followed by Simona Halep in 2018.

Swiatek’s potential path to French Open title No.2

R128 – Q
R64 – Riske/Yastremska
R32 – Samsonova
R16 – Halep/Ostapenko
QF – Pliskova/Pegula
SF – Badosa/Sabalenka
F – Krejcikova/Sakkari/Jabeur

Is Barbora Krejcikova fit enough?

12 months ago Barbora Krejcikova achieved the unthinkable by winning the French Open at a time when she only had one Tour title to her name and was yet to crack the world’s top 20 in singles. Since then, the Czech has peaked at a high of No.2 in the world with quarter-finals appearances at both the US Open and Australian Open.

However, Krejcikova enters Paris with a huge question mark over her head. Due to a troublesome elbow injury she hasn’t played a Tour match since February 23rd at the Qatar Open.

“Last year was extremely amazing,” the 26-year-old said during the French Open draw on Thursday. “I think the results that I had during that year was something incredible. I’m really happy that it happened but it was something that I didn’t expect.’
“I’m super happy to be back here (in Paris). I’m looking forward to start playing and I hope it will be a good year again.”
She added.

The defending champion will be hoping to avoid a first round loss this year. Players to have won a Grand Slam and then lose in the first round 12 months later include Anastasia Myskina, Steffi Graf, Jennifer Capriati, Svetlana Kuznetsova, Angelique Kerber and Jelena Ostapenko.

Krejcikova will start her campaign against France’s Diane Parry.

Top names target Grand Slam breakthrough

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Out of the five top seeds in the draw, three of them are yet to play in the final of a major tournament. Paula Badosa, Maria Sakkari and Anett Kontaveit are yet to achieve such a milestone. Out of the trio Greece’s Sakkari has the best record at the majors with runs to the semi-final stage on two occasions, including last year’s French Open. Although she has only played six matches on the clay so far this season, winning just three of them.

Second seed Badosa has only won 15 Grand Slam main draw matches in her career to date with seven of those occurring at Roland Garros. In fact she has won more matches at the tournament than any other major with runs to the fourth round in 2020 followed by the quarter-finals a year later. Out of her three WTA titles, only one was one on clay.

Finally, Kontaveit has only managed to reach the second week at Roland Garros once in six previous attempts. Despite her success on the women’s Tour, she is yet to make a significant breakthrough at the big events and is a more formidable force when it comes to playing on the hard courts.

The past three editions of the French Open have been won by players who entered the draw with no Grand Slam titles to their name.

Emma Raducanu’s French Open debut

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Since winning the US Open title last September, Emma Raducanu has endured a rollercoaster journey on the Tour and is yet to reach the final of another tournament. So far in 2022 the Brit has achieved a win-loss of 7-9 and only managed to record back-to-back wins in two out of eight tournaments. Although both of those were at a clay court event (Stuttgart and Madrid).

Part of the reason for the lacklustre results has been down to physical issues. The latest of which is a back problem that forced Raducanu to retire from her first round match against Bianca Andreescu at the Italian Open.

‘That is definitely a journey [where] I’m learning on the way but it’s just what works for me as an individual,” Raducanu recently told the Wall Street Journal when asked about her decision to split with three coaches within a year.
‘It might not work for anyone else and people might look at me like I’m crazy but I trust my own decision-making and my own beliefs of what I think is right for myself.
‘I’m pretty confident in how I’m working and my mindset and outlook towards how I’m approaching my tennis right.’

Raducanu will make her main draw debut at the French Open this year. She has previously played in the junior edition back in 2018 when she lost in the second round to Denmark’s Clara Tauson.

Will Jabeur cause a surprise?

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Looking at the performances on the clay this year alone, Tunisia’s Ons Jabeur has to be considered as a strong contender for the title. She has achieved an impressive win-loss record of 17-3 on the surface and recently won 11 matches in a row. Something she had never done in her career before. The 27-year-old has reached the final in three out of her past four tournaments, winning the Madrid Open.

“I enjoy Roland Garros a lot. I have great memories of that Grand Slam. I didn’t think about being the favourite to go there and people expecting me to do things. But it’s for sure a good pressure for me. I hope I will be ready for it,” Jabeur told reporters in Rome last Sunday.

Seeded sixth in this year’s draw, Jabeur could potentially face Petra Kvitova in the third round should the draw go according to rankings. Then she may have to face either Raducanu or Angelique Kerber followed by a last eight clash with Sakkari.

Jabeur won the French Open junior title back in 2011 when she beat Daria Gavrilova, Caroline Garcia and Monica Puig en route to the trophy.

The full French Open draw can be viewed HERE.

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Arthur Fils beats Luca Van Assche in all-French semifinal at the Next Gen ATP Finals in Jeddah



World number 36 Arthur Fils beat his friend Luca Van Assche 2-4 4-1 4-3 (7-1) 4-3 (8-6) in an all-French clash after 1 hour and 37 minutes to reach the final at the Next Gen ATP Finals in Jeddah. 


Van Assche, who was born in Belgium but moved to Belgium when he was three years old, broke serve in the fifth game to take a 3-2 lead and served out the first set to 15. Van Assche won 12 of the last 14 points. 

Fils hit a couple of big forehands to earn three break points at 2-1 15-40. Van Assche saved one break point with a volley, but Fils converted his second chance to open up a 3-1 lead, as Van Assche netted a backhand. Fils served out with a hold at 15 to level the match at one set apiece. 

The first five games of the third set went on serve. Van Assche led 2-3 30-40 on Fils’serve to earn two set points. 

Fils saved them before racing out to a 5-0 lead. Van Assche won his first point with a forehand. Fils earned five set points and closed it out when Van Assche netted a backhand. 

Fils won 22 consecutive points on his first serve until 2-1 in the fourth set. Van Assche faced a match point at 2-3, but Van Assche saved it to force another tie-break. Fils opened up a 4-1 with a mini-break. Van Assche won three points to 4-4 before saving two match points at 4-6 and 5-6. Fils hit a forehand to earn a fourth match point and converted it when Van Assche sent a backhand over the baseline. 

Van Assche beat Fils in the boys’ singles final at 2021 Roland Garros. Fils won his first title in Lyon last May. 

“I played every point trying everything with my forehand, moving very good. I was very happy with the tie-break. Today was a tough match against a great friend. We have known each other since we were nine, so it was a little bit tough and I am happy with the win. I came onto the court with the mindset that I can win. The first set was tough, he was playing very good and defending so well, running very fast. I kept my focus and I am really happy with the win”, said Fils. 

Fils set up a final clash against Hamad Medjedovic, who advanced to the championships match, when Dominic Stricker was forced to withdraw in the second set due to a back injury in the semifinal. 

Medjedovic was leading 4-3 (7-5) 2-1 when Stricker walked to the net and ended the match. 

Medjedovic hit 12 winners to 3 unforced errors. The Serbian player won three matches in the round-robin group. 

Medjedovic won 93% of his first serve points in the first set. Stricker did not drop a point on his first serve. Medjedovic earned his only mini-break to seal the tie-break 7-5. 

Medjedovic earned an early break in the third game of the second set to take a 2-1 lead before Stricker retired from the match. 

Medjedovic reached two semifinals in Gstaad and Astana. He is coached by Viktor Troicki. Stricker advanced to the semifinals at the 2022 Next Gen ATP Finals in Milan. 

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World Tennis League: Swiatek And Medvedev Among Top Names To Play Exhibition Event



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During the off-season, some of the world’s best players will head to the United Arab Emirates next month to play in a four-day team event. 


The World Tennis League (WTL) will host its second edition between December 21-24 at the Yas Island’s Etihad Arena in Abu Dhabi. The event features a total of 16 players split into four groups with each of those teams competing for the trophy. Every group will have their own coach and even an owner. 

Earlier this week, organizers confirmed the last players to be added to the line-up. Casper Ruud, Hubert Hurkacz and Taylor Fritz will all play in the event which will feature a combination of singles and mixed doubles matches. Those who have already confirmed their entry include Iga Swiatek, Daniil Medvedev, Aryna Sabalenka, Elena Rybakina, Andrey Rublev and Stefanos Tsitsipas.

As for who is in what group, the SG Mavericks Kites features Sabalanka, Tsitsipas, Paula Badosa and Grigor Dimitrov. The owners of that team are SG Sports, the sporting arm of APL Apollo Tubes. An Indian-based structural steel tube brand. Their coach will be former Australian Open doubles champion Robert Lindstedt.

Team Eagles will be made up of Medvedev, Rublev, Sofia Kenin and Mirra Andreeva. Their owners are the Punit Balan Group. Balan is an Indian film producer and owner of several sporting teams. They will be coached by John-Laffnie De Jager who has previously worked with the likes of Kevin Anderson, Daniella Hantuchova and Ajla Tomljanovic.

The Honor FX Falcons is named after owners Honor FX features. Rybakina, Fritz, Frances Tiafoe and Leylah Fernandez are in that group which will be led by Chris Groh. Groh has previously coached Fritz during his teenage years. 

Finally, The Hawkes team has Swiatek, Hurkacz, Ruud and Caroline Garcia. The team are the only one yet to have an official owner. Sweden’s Simon Aspelin will be their coach. 

“We’re thrilled to be announcing more star names to our exceptional tennis line-up for season two of the World Tennis League,” Rajesh Banga, chairman of the World Tennis League, said.
“These players are of the highest calibre and prominent names around the world so we’re pleased they will be competing in the unique tournament at our new home in Etihad Arena.”

The schedule of the event will be the following:-

DAY ONE: Hawks Vs Honor FX Falcons, Team Eagles Vs SG Mavericks Kites

DAY TWO: Honor FX Falcons Vs SG Mavericks Kites, Team Eagles Vs Team Hawks 

Day Three: Team Eagles Vs Honor FX Falcons, SG Maverick Kites Vs Team Hawks

Day Four: knockout rounds

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Luca Van Assche rallies from two sets to one down to beat Alex Michelsen



Luca Van Assche came back from two sets to one down to defeat Alex Michelsen 4-3 (7-0) 3-4 (4-7) 3-4 (4-7) 4-1 4-3 (8-6) in 2 hours and 36 minutes at the Next Gen ATP Finals in Jeddah in the second longest match in the history of this tournament. 


Van Assche and Michelsen went on serve in the first three sets. Both players saved all five break points they faced in the first three sets. 

There were three consecutive breaks in the fourth set. Van Assche earned two of them and served out the set at love in the fifth game. 

Both players traded breaks in the fifth and sixth games of the fifth set. Van Assche earned a chance to serve for the match, but Michelsen pulled back on serve to force a tie-break. 

Van Assche built a 3-0 in the tie-break with an early mini-break. Michelsen saved two match points to draw level to 6-6. Van Assche sealed the win with another mini-break on the second match point. 

“He was playing very well the whole match. It was really close. Not a lot of breaks and it was difficult for me but I am very happy”, said Van Assche. 

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