2019 Roland Garros WTA Round 4 Previews: Stephens vs Muguruza, Vondrousova vs Sevastova

The round of 16 match-ups at the 2019 French Open have been confirmed and all these matches are intriguing in their own ways, but clearly the headline match on Sunday is the battle between the 2018 Roland Garros finalist and 2016 Roland Garros champion. There’s also a very intriguing match between two players with buckets of variety and it wouldn’t be surprising if that ends up to be another classic. Read on for match previews of Stephens-Muguruza and Sevastova-Vondrousova…

Roland Garros, Fourth Round

1. [7] Sloane Stephens (No.7) vs [19] Garbine Muguruza (No.19)

Image result for muguruza wta roland garros

Sloane Stephens hasn’t been close to playing her best tennis at Roland Garros but wins are wins as the American was forced to battle past Misaki Doi, Sara Sorribes Tormo and Polona Hercog in tough matches. Stephens teetered on the edge of dropping a set against Sorribes Tormo, who was proving to be a tough challenge with her topspin game and tricky backhand slice. Hercog, the Istanbul champion, had a similar game and was able to take a set off Stephens after saving four match points in the second set, but the latter was ultimately able to fend off Hercog with her more solid groundstrokes. Stephens is now into the second week of Roland Garros for the second straight year and seems to be finally finding some form on the red clay.

Stephens will now face Garbine Muguruza, who has also been enduring a mediocre season up till Roland Garros. Muguruza is now 29-6 in Roland Garros, and since 2014, has never lost in Paris in the first week. This statistic could have ended in the first round, where the tricky Taylor Townsend took a set off Muguruza, but since then the Spaniard has been in great form. She adjusted well to the loopy Townsend forehand, blasted past Johanna Larsson in the second round, then overpowered No.9 seed Elina Svitolina to record her second top 10 win of the season. Muguruza was in scarily good form against Svitolina, breaking the Ukrainian’s serve seven times and hit 23 winners, compared to Svitolina’s 11.

Head to head: The head to head is tied at one win apiece, with Stephens winning their previous clash last year in Miami, 6-3 6-4. This will be their first meeting on clay court.

Thoughts: Muguruza needs to keep the tactic she used against Svitolina, moving her from side to side and coming forward to finish the points at the net. However Stephens in her best form hits much more harder and cleaner than Svitolina and the American always seems to bring her best game in the big matches. If so, this could blossom into a classic between two clay-court lovers. Going for Muguruza here though, who has been very smart and aggressive in her last three matches.

Final Prediction: Garbine Muguruza d. Sloane Stephens in two sets

2. [12] Anastasija Sevastova (No.12) vs Marketa Vondrousova (No.38)

Image result for sevastova roland garros wta

Anastasija Sevastova will be bidding for her first Roland Garros quarterfinal after an epic win over Elise Mertens, 6-7 6-4 11-9. The match didn’t start off well as both players looked nervy to start, especially Sevastova who was spraying backhand errors all over the court. Mertens’ defence was supreme though as she defended the whole court, taking the first set in a tiebreak. Mertens served well in the beginning but wasn’t able to keep it up, from 74% first serves won in the 1st set to 50% in the 2nd. Sevastova was the bolder player of the majority of the match, though the scales tipped in favour of Mertens who was moving brilliantly and scrapping for every ball. After a slew of breaks to begin the third set, there were 13 straight holds of serve and Mertens had five match points in the process. Sevastova saved them all, with the best save a stunning dropshot winner from the back of the court. The backhand up the line save was pretty amazing too. Sevastova was rewarded for her bravery as she served the match out on the first time of asking. It was a great show of mental strength – something you don’t see often from Sevastova, which will definitely provide her with a confidence boost.

Marketa Vondrousova’s probably brimming with confidence at the moment too. She’s had a brilliant clay court season – she backed up a semifinal run at Istanbul with a quarterfinal appearance at Rome, before beating Wang Yafan, Anastasia Potapova and Carla Suarez Navarro all in straight sets to make it to the second week here for the first time in her career. Vondrousova has all the shots in her bag: lefty serve, powerful forehand, solid net play and a bucket load of drop shots and variety. She’s proven she can play on all surfaces and now that she’s projected to break into the world’s top 30, she’s going to be an even bigger threat to the rest of the tour.

Thoughts: There’s going to be a ton of drop shots in this one and it’ll depend on who can attack and control the rallies. Just wondering if Vondrousova will feel the nerves because she’s aiming for her first ever Grand Slam quarterfinal. Meanwhile, Sevastova has already reached two semifinals at the US Open, and should feel less pressure on her shoulders. Not sure if she’ll be feeling some fatigue after that epic match but edging towards her experience and clay court prowess to come through.

Final Prediction: Anastasija Sevastova d. Marketa Vondrousova in three sets

Thanks for reading!

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