The highlight of the women’s draw on day 1 of the French Open looks on paper to be the clash between Venus Williams and Elina Svitolina. Svitolina isn’t quite coming into the tournament full of confidence or match sharpness while Venus’ best days on the surface are long gone but both players are still capable of high quality tennis.
2002 finalist Venus has not had many great French Open’s recently, losing in the French Open three times since 2013 – including last year. She picked up a hard fought win against Elise Mertens in Rome before falling in her next match to Johanna Konta. While still a disappointing loss for her, it doesn’t look so bad in retrospect with the Brit making the final.
Svitolina can still go deep if she over her injury woes but her last month doesn’t do a lot to inspire confidence. She lost to Pauline Parmentier in Madrid before a tough loss in Rome to Victoria Azarenka. She held a 5-2 lead and match points in the decider, only to lose the last five games of the match. “That means I don’t have any expectations for this tournament.” she commented in a blog post for the BBC before the tournament. “What I have been through has not been easy because it is the first time I’ve had such a setback like this and struggling with a pain like that.”
“I have played her a couple of times, and Serena as well, and as I know a little more about this experience, I’m more relaxed and focusing on what I’m doing and what is in my power. You have to be ready mentally and physically when you’re playing one of the world’s greats.” she said on the matchup. There’s a possibility of both an all-American clash or all-Ukranian clash in round two with the winner here taking on either Kateryna Kozlova or Bernarda Pera.
Prediction – Elina Svitolina in straight sets