Roland Garros Daily Preview: Iga Swiatek Plays Jasmine Paolini in the Women’s Final - UBITENNIS
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Roland Garros Daily Preview: Iga Swiatek Plays Jasmine Paolini in the Women’s Final

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Iga Swiatek on Thursday in Paris (twitter.com/rolandgarros)

The championship matches in women’s singles and men’s doubles will be played on Saturday.

Iga Swiatek is becoming one of the best clay court players of all-time.  As per Tennis Abstract, she is 86-10 on this surface, a winning percentage of nearly 90%.  At Roland Garros, Iga is 34-2, and is currently on a 20-match win streak.  With a victory on Saturday, the 23-year-old will join an elite list of players who have won four or more French Open singles titles in the Open Era: Rafael Nadal, Chris Evert, Bjorn Borg, Steffi Graf, and Justine Henin. 

This is a shocking and impressive result for Italy’s Jasmine Paolini.  Prior to this year, the 28-year-old had never advanced beyond the second round of a Major.  But after reaching the second week of the Australian Open, and then winning a WTA 1000 title in Dubai, Jasmine is a Major finalist and a new member of the top 10.  And just as her doubles partner Sara Errani achieved in 2012, Paolini is also a finalist in women’s doubles.  What a fortnight it has been for the WTA veteran.  But is there anything Paolini can do to challenge Swiatek on Saturday?

Following the women’s final, it will be Marcelo Arevalo and Mate Pavic (9) vs. Andrea Vavassori and Simone Bolelli (11) in the men’s doubles championship match.  Arevalo won this event two years ago with a different partner, while this would complete a career Grand Slam for Pavic.  This is a second consecutive Major final for the Italian team of Vavassori and Bolelli, who lost the championship match in Melbourne this past January.  It would be the first taste of Grand Slam glory for Vavassori, though Bolelli won the Australian Open back in 2015 alongside another Italian, Fabio Fognini.


Iga Swiatek (1) vs. Jasmine Paolini (12) – Not Before 3:00pm on Court Philippe-Chatrier

Swiatek is now 44-4 on the year, and 20-1 on clay.  She is on an 18-match winning streak, after collecting back-to-back titles at the WTA events in Madrid and Rome.  She has dropped only one set through six matches in Paris, to Naomi Osaka in the second round, when she saved a match point.  Since that escape, it’s been completely smooth sailing for the two-time defending champion, averaging less than two games lost per set.  And that includes consecutive victories over reigning Major singles champions (Vondrousova, Gauff).

Paolini is 22-10 in 2024, and she survived a trio of three-setters during this tournament.  Her biggest win came against fourth-seeded Elena Rybakina in the quarterfinals, as she was the smarter and more composed player on that day.  In the semifinals, she easily eliminated 17-year-old Mirra Andreeva, who was emotionally drained coming off an upset of her own against Aryna Sabalenka the day before.  Between singles and doubles, Jasmine is 11-0 during this fortnight.

Swiatek is 2-0 against Paolini, and the set scores have not been close: 6-2, 6-1, 6-3, 6-0.  One of those matches occurred six years ago in Prague, while the other was in the first round of the 2022 US Open.  And Iga is a perfect 4-0 in Major finals, having lost only one set.  Perhaps even more intimidating is her record of 21-4 in WTA-level finals, and she’s claimed her last eight, dating all the way back to this same event a year ago.

Paolini is just 2-3 in WTA finals, and of course this is completely new territory for her: the championship match at a Major. However, I do not expect Jasmine to be overwhelmed by this occasion.  She has an aggressive mindset, and Paolini has taken it to opponents favored over her multiple times during this tournament.  Jasmine knows Iga is a huge favorite on Saturday, and that most of the pressure is on the World No.1, so Paolini should play rather freely.

The issue is there is not much in Paolini’s game that can threaten Swiatek.  While Jasmine has defended her serve rather well, especially in crucial moments, the diminutive Italian’s serve is vulnerable against such a world-class returner like Iga.  Opposition has referred to Swiatek’s play on clay as “suffocating,” as she possesses an elite yet low-risk level of aggression on this surface that she is able to maintain. 

The only players across the past three years who have been able to truly challenge Iga on clay are big-hitters like Sabalenka, Rybakina, Muchova, and Osaka.  Paolini just does not have the power necessary to make Swiatek uncomfortable.  Iga is a huge favorite to win her fifth Major title on Saturday.


Saturday’s full Order of Play is here.

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Novak Djokovic Starts Rehab Ahead Of Ambitious Wimbledon Return

Novak Djokovic could make an ambitious return to Wimbledon.

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(ubitennis/Francesca Micheli)

Novak Djokovic has started his rehab after having surgery on a meniscus injury he suffered at Roland Garros.

The Serb suffered the injury during his fourth round clash with Francisco Cerundolo where Djokovic came back from two sets to one down to claim victory.

However Djokovic played no further part at Roland Garros as he suffered a bad meniscus injury and had to withdraw from the tournament.

It resulted in Djokovic having to have surgery the following day in Paris as he gave up his world number one ranking to Jannik Sinner.

Now the road to recovery starts for Djokovic as he posted on Instagram the start of his rehabilitation programme.

Usually the programme takes three weeks to six months to recover from but Djokovic’s injury wasn’t as bad as first reported.

It remains to be seen as to whether Djokovic will make his return at Wimbledon or whether he will wait until the Olympic Games to make his return.

Last year Djokovic reached the final at Wimbledon before losing to Carlos Alcaraz in a five set epic.

However it would be no surprise to see Djokovic withdraw as the one thing the Serb is yet to achieve is to win Olympic Gold.

A fully healed Djokovic could be tough to stop in Paris as he looks to achieve a lifetime goal.

Wimbledon starts on the 1st of July while the Olympics starts on the 27th of July.

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Determined Andreescu Ready To Maintain Consistency After Defeating Osaka

Bianca Andreescu is back to her best after defeating Naomi Osaka in s-Hertogenbosch.

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Bianca Andreescu is ready to maintain consistency as her form continues to improve with her latest victory coming against Naomi Osaka in S-Hertogenbosch.

In a battle of the former US Open champions, Andreescu defeated Osaka 6-4 3-6 7-6(3) to move into the semi-finals.

The Canadian is only playing her second tournament this year after her run to the third round at Roland Garros, losing to eventual finalist Jasmine Paolini.

However that hasn’t stopped Andreescu from producing incredible performances as has gone back to the variety that earned her the US Open title five years ago.

Speaking about the match Andreescu praised her consistency on return as she admitted that she really wanted to the victory, “So the key for. me was to stay as consistent as possible,” Andreescu told the WTA website.

“My return today, the goal was to just bunt it back and then take control of the second serve. At 5-2, I might have let up a little bit on my serve. I was saying to myself ‘Go for it’ but the other side of myself said ‘Calm down’. So I got a bit conflicted with that.

“But really could have gone either way. It was two points difference maybe, in the whole match. I never give up. I ran a lot today. More than her for sure. I really wanted it. I really wanted it today and I think that made the big difference.”

Since that US Open title win five years ago, Andreescu has failed to live up to her potential as she has gained the reputation of being one of the most injury prone players on the tour.

Now the Canadian is aiming to find some consistent playing time as she aims to rebuild her ranking.

Speaking ahead of the semi-finals in Holland, Andreescu is not getting to far ahead of herself, “These are the reason we play this sport,” Andreescu commented after beating former world number one Osaka.

“Winning against players like this, at least for me, it really shows me where my level is at. I don’t want to get too ahead of myself because every day is different. I just want to take it in and use it to my advantage.”

Next for Andreescu will be Dalma Galfi in the semi-finals as she plays her first WTA semi-final since January 2023.

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Jack Draper Stuns Tiafoe in Stuttgart; Becomes New British Number One

The Brit serves up astonishing 31 aces in just 17 service games

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Britain’s Jack Draper was pushed all the way before beating defending champion Frances Tiafoe in a third set tie-breaker to reach the semi-finals of the Boss Open in Stuttgart today – a result which also makes him the new British number one.

Draper’s biggest wins of his career came when he defeated world number five Stefanos Tsitsipas in Montreal last year as a qualifier, and also beating Felix Auger-Aliassime in reaching the US Open third round. However, today’s victory over Tiafoe confirms his ascent to the top spot in the British rankings, something which is extremely proud of.

“It’s an incredible privilege, an honour to be in that position,” he said afterwards. “I’ve been so lucky to have guys like Andy Murray, Cam Norrie and Dan Evans ahead of me all these years and they’re still in the mix pushing me, so it’s a real honour, a big milestone.”

Games went with serve in the opening set until Tiafoe broke when the scores were even at five games all. Tiafoe, whose three ATP titles have come on all three surfaces, survived a break back point in the next game to take the set with 15 winners and an impressive 71% of first serves in. The payers stopped briefly for a rain delay at the start of the second set.

“It was difficult, it wasn’t easy after the first set, I thought Frances played a really good game, just the one break.” Said Draper. “Going off, I was very frustrated, but then I came back really strong, I knew I had my opportunities and I knew I would have some more. I’m really happy with the way I served and competed and how brave I was at the end.”

As the second set continued, Draper missed two breakpoints when 4-3 ahead including a huge chance when he pushed his opponent out wide and approached the net – but put too much on his drop volley which Tiafoe punished. Draper had been serving unbelievably throughout the set with 11 aces overall, and blitzed through another love service game to go 5-4 up and apply some scoreboard pressure.

In the next game he hit a strong forehand up the line to win the crucial first point and then chased down a drop shot to hit another flashy winner to go 0-30 ahead. Tiafoe won the next point but then double faulted to give Draper set points – and he converted with yet another superb forehand up the line to level the contest at a set all.

Both players held serve easily at the start of the third but then tested each other out as the set progressed. Tiafoe fought through a deuce game and got to 30 all on Draper’s serve but the Brit averted the danger. Draper missed a match point when 5-4 up with a missed return but entered the tie-break in good shape – his first serve was almost unplayable winning over 85% when in.

“I’m incredibly happy with the win. I’ve lost all my last three third set tie-breakers so to come through today was really amazing, I’m really proud of my effort. I’m really happy with the way I served and the way I played; it was a really high-quality match. Frances was serving very well himself so to serve the way I did; it was a really big positive for me.”

Draper now goes on to face another American Brandon Nakashima who progressed after Jan-Lennard Struff withdrew with sickness. Speaking about his next opponent who was born in the same year as Draper, he said: “He’s someone who is an incredibly good young player, a really exciting talent, I think he had a lot of injuries last year like myself but he’s been rising this year and playing a lot of matches. Like everyone here, they’re all amazing players and it will be a tough battle.”

After the match, Draper spoke to Sky Sports and elaborated further about the positive influence of the other British top five, and about the Euro 2024 tournament beginning this evening.

“Those guys have all inspired me to be better. Obviously, Andy is a two-time Wimbledon and Olympic champion and has achieved so much in the game. For me he’s one of the greatest players. I’ve learned so much from those guys, the professionalism, the discipline and they’ve always been really good for me, just as a young player looking up to them and copying what they do so I’m very grateful for that.”

“[In the football]: Hopefully England can do one better than three years ago because we did well to get to the final. We have an incredibly strong team. It’s going to be a lot of tough matches but hopefully they can pull through.

On the other side of the draw, former champion Matteo Berrettini faced qualifier James Duckworth.  The Australian, who reached the third round of Wimbledon in 2021, could only manage 64% of first serve points won and committed 16 unforced errors while also facing eight breakpoints. A single break of serve in both sets was enough for the Italian to move forward into the semis, as he won 6-4, 7-5 with another strong serving display.

“It was a really solid match, especially on my serve, I didn’t give him any breakpoints,” said Berrettini afterwards. “I felt like the rhythm on the serve was really good, on grass it’s really important and in the right moments I stepped in and was more aggressive. It’s really important to put a lot of returns in and that’s what I tried to do and it worked out, and so I’m happy for that.

When asked why he was so hard to beat on the faster surface he replied, “you should ask my opponents that! I think obviously for my weapons, my serve, it pays off on grass to play aggressively and that’s what I like to do. I’m using the slice as well on the backhand side and it’s important to play good in the important moments and being able to put pressure on your opponent when you’re serving is really important, and I think that’s the key. And when I step on grass, I feel like I want to play for hours and hours so here I am”

The 28-year-old is a big football fan, and was also asked about whether he would watch the opening match of the tournament. “Germany is playing tonight so I will watch tomorrow’s match. I love Germany but to supporting Germany is a little bit too much! Tomorrow is the start [for Italy] so good luck to the guys. Three years ago, we had really good memories during this time, so let’s see!”

Following Struff’s earlier withdrawal against Nakashima, it meant there was only one other quarter final today where Lorenzo Musetti progressed despite dropping the first set 4-6 to Hungarian Alexander Bublik. The Italian raced through the second set 6-1, and when he broke serve to go 1-0 ahead in the decider, Bublik retired.

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