A lot has been made of the French Open organizers failing to pick a women’s match for their night session and they may well point to one sided matches with their top players as an excuse. However, the match between Coco Gauff and Mirra Andreeva could well have been a perfect match to showcase the present and future of the tour. Last year’s losing finalist will rarely have years of experience on any player but that is the case with the highly rated Andreeva only recently turning 16.
For all her pre-French Open struggles, Gauff has looked a bit better so far this week. After fighting past Rebeka Masarova, she secured an easy win over Rabat finalist Julia Grabher in straight sets. “She’s not an easy player. She likes to dictate with her forehand and hit those high, heavy balls. I think I did a good job of taking the time away from her, really rushing her. I think I played well at the net, too, and making those adjustments.” she said after.
In making the third round, Andreeva became the seventh player to make the third round at Roland Garros as a player under 17 years-old. She will be hoping her career goes the way of the likes of Martina Hingis and Serena Williams, who both achieved this feat in the 90s. The manner of her wins so far has been just as impressive with just six games dropped in the main draw and a great win against Camila Osorio in the final qualifying round.
Gauff is obviously going to be a step up from Diane Parry, who Andreeva thrashed in round two. The Gauff forehand is going to continue to plague her but it just needs a player good enough to consistently target it. Andreeva has shown enough potential to suggest she can be that player but with her being untested against top tier players so far, it is hard to predict how she will be able to hold up against better defensive players. If the Russian does not get a statement win here, it does seem almost guaranteed that we will see one at either of the next two slams instead.
Prediction – Coco Gauff in three sets