Svitolina vs Podoroska French Open tennis preview, head-to-head and predictions

Elina Svitolina, now the favourite to make the French Open final, is out to end the run of Argentine qualifier Nadia Podoroska in the quarterfinals.

Svitolina vs Podoroska is live from Roland Garros on Tuesday 6 October, 1pm local/12pm BST

The only seeded player remaining in the top half of the French Open draw, Elina Svitolina has earned a golden opportunity to make her first Roland Garros semifinal if she can impose her authority on Nadia Podoroska, a surprise quarterfinalist in Paris.

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Podoroska has been on a brilliant run, winning seven matches to make the main draw and then the last 16, but the world no. 131 has never so much as faced a top-20 player, let alone beaten one inside the top 10 – can she pull off the biggest surprise of this upset-filled Roland Garros yet?

Read on for our preview, predictions and live streaming information.

How to watch Svitolina vs Podoroska live

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Svitolina vs Podoroska: Head-to-head

Elina Svitolina and Nadia Podoroska have never played.

Svitolina vs Podoroska: Preview

Elina Svitolina has looked like a potential Grand Slam champion since the Ukrainian first established herself as a fixture inside the top 10 and started winning prestigious titles like the Internazionali BNL d’Italia and the WTA Finals – and when she made her first two Grand Slam quarterfinals at the French Open, Roland Garros looked like a likely place for her to claim her first crown. But she’s never had an opportunity like this to reach her first Grand Slam final, in conditions in which she should be so comfortable: There’s no Simona Halep or Serena Williams with a major advantage of experience over her waiting in the semifinals; she’s the only seeded player remaining in her half of the draw, and the only one with any experience of getting this far in Grand Slams.

I didn’t think Svitolina was playing very well at the start of the tournament – she was lucky to avoid any really threatening opponents, and still got bagelled by qualifier Renata Zarazua – but when she did face a genuine obstacle in the last 16 in the form of Caroline Garcia, who had beaten her in their last three meetings, she did something she’s been unable to do at times in previous majors: Lift her game to meet the occasion. Svitolina played her best match of the tournament in tricky, windy conditions to smother Garcia with relentless depth, serving well, keeping the crowd from becoming a factor as they had done when Garcia played Elise Mertens and above all giving away as few unforced errors as possible off the ground.

Nadia Podoroska (Photo by Rob Prange/DPPI/Icon Sportswire)

Svitolina’s 6-1, 6-3 win, in which she was broken twice but broke Garcia six times, sets up a quarterfinal clash with Nadia Podoroska, not a player with whom many were familiar before this tournament. Podoroska, 23 years old, was on her way into the top 150 back in 2017 but was derailed by injury and began the 2020 season as the world no. 258, winning her first 15 matches of the season at ITF level. Since the shutdown, Podoroska has successfully qualified for Palermo, made the semifinals of the Prague 125k event and now made her run at Roland Garros, beating Greet Minnen, Yulia Putintseva, Anna Karolina Schmiedlova and Barbora Krejcikova to reach the quarterfinals. She’s been impressive, but she hasn’t faced anybody of the calibre of Kenin and if the Ukrainian plays another relatively clean match, she should book her place in the semifinals in short order.

Svitolina vs Podoroska: Prediction

Caroline Garcia is on a three-match winning streak against Elina Svitolina – will the third seed rise to the challenge and secure a place in the French Open quarterfinals?

Garcia vs Svitolina is live from Roland Garros on Sunday 4 October, 3pm local/2pm BST

Third seed Elina Svitolina is out to make the quarterfinals of the French Open for the third time, and with no seeded players among her potential opponents if she does, there is a big opportunity on the line – but there is also a big test waiting in the form of Caroline Garcia.

French Open 2020: Find out tournament information for Roland Garros 2020 and how to stream French Open matches live

Powerful Garcia has upset Anett Kontaveit and Elise Mertens to reach the fourth round, and has won her last three matches against Svitolina – is another upset on the cards?

Read on for our preview, predictions and live streaming information.

How to watch Svitolina vs Garcia live

French Open matches including Elina Svitolina vs Caroline Garcia are streamed live alongside odds and in-play betting at bet365.

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Svitolina vs Garcia: Head-to-head

Caroline Garcia has a 3-1 record against Elina Svitolina, and has won their last three matches, including the only clay-court match they have played at Stuttgart in 2018.

All three of Garcia’s wins have come in three sets – six of the nine sets in those matches have gone past 5-5.

Svitolina vs Garcia: Preview

Third seed Svitolina has been largely under the radar at the French Open until now, but her match against Garcia is sure to be on Court Philippe-Chatrier and to attract the small but enthusiastic crowd in Paris this year – a crowd whose support certainly helped power Garcia to a comeback win over Elise Mertens in the last round.

While Garcia was getting roared on against Mertens, Svitolina was quietly winning a tight match 6-4, 7-5 against Ekaterina Alexandrova, breaking at the end of each set in a real test of nerve to beat the Russian who is more dangerous on hard courts but so much improved over the past 18 months or so.

The Ukrainian hasn’t really looked convincing so far at the French Open, but has survived with the loss of just one set (to Mexico’s Renata Zarazua in the second round). Here is the test against Garcia: Can she raise her game when needed? It’s something she was unable to do in the third round of the French Open for the past two years, but which she proved she could do when she made her first Grand Slam semifinals at Wimbledon and the US Open in 2019, imposing herself like a top player to stop the runs of in-form opponents.

Caroline Garcia (Photo by Laurent Zabulon/ABACAPRESS.COM)

This is the third time in four years that Garcia, who made her first and so far only Grand Slam quarterfinal at the French Open in 2017, has made the fourth round at Roland Garros, but the first time she’s done it as an unseeded player. Clearly Garcia, who used to be excruciatingly uncomfortable on Philippe-Chatrier, is enjoying the reduced numbers of spectators – not to mention the conditions, which advantage players who can really power through the courts, as she is able to do with her big serve and forehand.

Garcia played well at the US Open to beat Karolina Pliskova, and seems to be one of the players who has really put her shutdown time to good use – and she’s on a three-match winning streak against Svitolina. They have never played on outdoor clay, nor should it be forgotten that two of those wins came during Garcia’s career-best season in 2017 – a level of play she’s not found consistently since. Still, Garcia’s playing well, Svitolina hasn’t so far seemed entirely convincing, if they play under the closed roof on Philippe-Chatrier the conditions will mimic that of Stuttgart – Garcia has a real chance of getting the win, or at least of playing a long, close match: Their last three clashes have lasted 29, 34 and 38 games respectively, with the winning margin 5, 4 and 2 games.

Svitolina vs Garcia: Prediction

Fifth seed Elina Svitolina brings a six-match winning streak into an intriguing third-round French Open clash with the hard-hitting Ekaterina Alexandrova.

Svitolina vs Alexandrova is live from Roland Garros on Friday 2 October, 

The draw has opened out for fifth seed Elina Svitolina at the 2020 French Open with the exits of Serena Williams and Victoria Azarenka and she is guaranteed to face an unseeded opponent in the quarterfinals – if she can get there.

French Open 2020: Find out tournament information for Roland Garros 2020 and how to stream French Open matches live

Svitolina takes on Russia’s Ekaterina Alexandrova, one of the WTA Tour’s most quietly and relentlessly improved players over the past 18 months, for a place in the fourth round on Friday.

Read on for our preview, predictions and live streaming information.

How to watch Svitolina vs Alexandrova live

French Open matches including Elina Svitolina vs Ekaterina Alexandrova are streamed live alongside odds and in-play betting at bet365.

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Svitolina vs Alexandrova: Head-to-head

This will be the first match between Elina Svitolina and Ekaterina Alexandrova.

Svitolina vs Alexandrova: Preview

Elina Svitolina has largely flown under the radar so far at the French Open, partly because of the big guns in her quarter of the draw, Serena Williams and Victoria Azarenka, and partly because her form coming into the tournament wasn’t overwhelmingly impressive: She skipped the US swing, returned to competition in Rome where she was beaten 3-6, 0-3 by Marketa Vondrousova in the quarterfinals and though she went on to win her second title of 2020 in Strasbourg last week, beating top-20 players Aryna Sabalenka and Jil Teichmann to do so, the eyes of the tennis world were largely elsewhere.

There’s also Svitolina’s reputation as a Grand Slam underperformer – when she fell to Garbine Muguruza in the third round of last year’s French Open, she had never been past the quarterfinals at a major despite having won the WTA Finals and been ranked as high as world no. 3. But Svitolina seemed to turn a bit of a corner on that front in 2019 when she made consecutive Grand Slam semifinals at Wimbledon and the US Open, and though the beginning of her 2019 season was not too inspiring – she lost early to Muguruza at the Australian Open again, and must be happy the Spaniard is on the other side of the draw this time – she had just picked up a title in Monterrey when shutdown came.

One would not say that Svitolina is in entirely convincing form at Roland Garros, which is part of what makes this match potentially interesting. She beat Varvara Gracheva 7-6(2), 6-4 in the first round, but found herself bagelled by Mexican qualifier Renata Zarazua as her level dipped dramatically in the second round before pulling herself together to win 6-3, 0-6, 6-2.

Ekaterina Alexandrova (ChrysleneCaillaud/Panoramic.)

Meanwhile, Alexandrova has been making her way quietly into the last 32, beating Australians Maddison Inglis and Astra Sharma 6-3, 6-3.

The Russian is not someone I think of as a clay-court player – in her 42-27 season in 2019, she went 3-7 on clay – but she has made a habit of winning a lot of matches over the past 18 months or so, beating some good players, including Muguruza and Rybakina to win the Shenzhen title in January. She got her second top-10 win over Halep in Beijing last year, but Halep was going through a poor stretch and troubled with injury at the time. On hard courts, I’d like Alexandrova’s chances a lot more, but clay gives Svitolina the advantage; on the other hand, Svitolina didn’t play well in the second round against Zarazua. However, she has to impose her authority on the tournament at some point if she hopes to go far, and this match is an opportunity to do just that.

Svitolina vs Alexandrova: Prediction

Six of the WTA’s top 10 highlight an Internazionali BNL d’Italia draw which will be electric from the word go, with Victoria Azarenka vs Venus Williams among first-round clashes.

We break down the women’s singles draw, analyse the contenders and predict the semifinalists and champion as world no. 2 Simona Halep, defending champion Karolina Pliskova and two-time winner Elina Svitolina lead the field at the Internazionali BNL d’Italia.

WTA Rome Preview

Usually played in May but rescheduled to September in 2020, the Internazionali BNL d’Italia is among the most prestigious clay-court tournaments on the WTA Tour and is a key battleground ahead of the French Open.

Many of the top players who chose not to travel for the US Open will be playing the first big event of their comebacks to competition, including Halep, Svitolina and Belinda Bencic, while defending champion Pliskova, Sofia Kenin and Garbine Muguruza are among those looking to improve on early US Open exits.

WTA Rome Draw Analysis

Top Quarter

Simona Halep is a two-time Rome runner-up (PA Images)

Projected quarterfinal by seeding: Simona Halep (1) vs Petra Martic (8)
Halep has already picked up a title post-shutdown on clay in Prague, but elected not to travel to the USA.

A Rome finalist in 2017-18, Halep will open against Anastasija Sevastova – who is not in great form, and has lost her last five vs Halep – or Italian wildcard Jasmine Paolini; her third opponent will be one of a cluster of unpredictable power players, with big servers Donna Vekic and Amanda Anisimova facing off in the first round and Camila Giorgi or Dayana Yastremska awaiting the winner.

Martic did play the US Open, and could have a chance to avenge her fourth-round defeat in New York to Yulia Putintseva in the second round. Her projected third-round opponent is Elena Rybakina, who impressed so much in the early part of the year, but has yet to regain that form post-shutdown and will probably go out in the first round to Ekaterina Alexandrova, who leads their head-to-head 2-0. Alexandrova has never had particularly strong results on clay but she’s always a danger at the moment.

Predicted semifinalist: Halep

Second Quarter

Projected quarterfinal by seeding: Sofia Kenin (3) vs Johanna Konta (8)
Konta reached the Rome final and the French Open semifinals last year, proving (including to herself) that she could play on clay, but is having some mixed results at the moment. She could open against Elisabetta Cocciaretto, an Italian wildcard having some good wins recently, but it’s the third round where things get dangerous. Konta’s projected third-round opponent is Garbine Muguruza, who looked so resurgent when she made the Australian Open final but lost early at the US Open to Tsvetana Pironkova; Muguruza faces Sloane Stephens in the first round, with the winner to take on either Ons Jabeur or Coco Gauff.

Australian Open champion Kenin played well at the US Open before losing to Elise Mertens, but she’s got a tough draw: Her first opponent will be either Venus Williams or Victoria Azarenka, although the latter will surely pull out after reaching the US Open final. Angelique Kerber could await in the third round, although clay is probably Kerber’s worst surface. In a quarter full of inconsistent shotmakers, I trust counterpunching consistency.

Predicted semifinalist: Kenin

Elina Svitolina won back-to-back Internazionali BNL d’Italia titles in 2017-18 (PA Images)

Third quarter

Projected quarterfinal by seeding: Kiki Bertens (5) vs Elina Svitolina (4)
A quarterfinal between 2019 Madrid champion Bertens and two-time Rome winner Svitolina would be a real treat, but will we see it?
Svitolina is playing her first tournament since Monterrey in Rome, and she has a hell of a tough draw, with Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova a probable opening opponent and Anett Kontaveit, who plays very well on clay, likely to await in the third round if she can get past former French Open champion Svetlana Kuznetsova in the second.

Bertens’s draw is not so tough – she’ll probably open against Polona Hercog and could face 2019 French Open runner-up Marketa Vondrousova, who is really not on great form at the moment, in the third. I anticipate a powerhouse quarterfinal battle between Bertens and Kontaveit.

Predicted semifinalist: Bertens

Fourth quarter

Projected quarterfinal by seeding: Belinda Bencic (6) vs Karolina Pliskova (2)
Defending Rome champion Pliskova was the only WTA top-10 player based in Europe to make the trip to the USA, and she was not well rewarded, going 1-2 in New York. Pliskova could face Veronika Kudermetova, who beat her in ‘Cincinnati’, as her first opponent and while Alison Riske, on clay, is not a very dangerous opponent, Jil Teichmann could be. Teichmann is 13-8 in 2020 and won two WTA clay titles in 2019.

Bencic, playing her first tournament since February, could face hard-hitting Julia Goerges in the second round – not an easy task – while Elise Mertens, who played very well at the US Open on her way to the quarterfinals, could be a real threat in this section if she’s able to bring that same form to clay.

Semifinalist: Mertens

WTA Internazionali BNL d’Italia Prediction

Semifinals:

Halep d. Kenin
Mertens d. Bertens

Final:

Halep d. Mertens

Top-10 players Kiki Bertens and Elina Svitolina have announced that they won’t be playing the US Open in 2020, joining a list of high-profile withdrawals.

As the Grand Slam tournament, scheduled to be played behind closed doors from 31 August-13 September in New York, draws closer, two top-10 WTA players became the latest to pull out.

World no. 5 Elina Svitolina, a US Open semifinalist in 2019, announced her withdrawal on Twitter, writing:

‘Considering all the aspects, I have decided not to play the US Open 2020 … I still don’t feel comfortable to travel to US without putting my team and myself at high risks.’

 

Bertens posted a statement on her Instagram announcing that she wouldn’t be playing the US Open, explaining:

‘The situation around COVID-19 is still that worrying and the health of everyone and the control over this virus is priority.

‘Our prime minister indicated yesterday that we should be quarantined for 14 days after coming back from the states.

‘Off course [sic] we respect this as a team and this would disturb our preparation for my beloved clay court tournaments in Rome and Paris.’

 

Bertens has also withdrawn from the Western & Southern Open, usually played in Cincinnati but relocated to New York to form a two-tournament bubble with the US Open in 2020. The Dutch player won the title in Cincinnati in 2018.

World no. 1 Ashleigh Barty, her compatriot Nick Kyrgios and defending champion Rafael Nadal all pulled out of the US Open over the past week. Gael Monfils, Fabio Fognini and Stan Wawrinka are among other players who won’t be appearing. On the other hand, Andy Murray has taken a wildcard, as has fellow former champion Kim Clijsters.

Travel restrictions, rather than having to comply with COVID-19 health and safety regulations, are likely to be the biggest stumbling block for most players who are trying to decide whether to make the trip to the USA or not.

Marca reported yesterday that the ATP top 20 had delivered an ultimatum to the ATP and USTA to guarantee that they would not have to quarantine for 14 days on travelling to Europe from the USA. This has not been confirmed.

The concern is that having to quarantine for 14 days, or any length of time at all really, would decimate the player’s chances at the French Open. After the cancellation of the Mutua Madrid Open, which was due to begin on the day of the US Open men’s final, there is now only one ATP Tour event scheduled between the US Open and the French Open – the Internazionali BNL d’Italia in Rome from 20-27 September. With the French Open to be played at Roland Garros from 28 September-11 October, transitioning between surfaces and continents is going to be brutal enough – in Nadal’s words, ‘barbaric’ – without potentially having to quarantine for the entire fortnight between the two Grand Slams.

In addition to already being based in Europe, Bertens has won six of her ten career WTA Tour titles on clay including the Mutua Madrid Open in 2019, her biggest to date. She is 18-9 at the French Open, where she reached the semifinals in 2016, but has a poor record at the US Open where she has never been past the third round.

World no. 2 Simona Halep is among other top WTA Tour players who have yet to confirm that they intend to play the US Open. Halep pulled out of this week’s Palermo Ladies Open at which she was supposed to lead the draw, citing a surge in COVID-19 cases in her native Romania and ‘anxieties’ about international air travel, but has flown to the Czech Republic today for next week’s Prague Open.