Match Preview: Elina Svitolina v Magda Linette

This is the fourth match out on Philippe-Chatrier Court and we will see one of the tournament’s favourites go up against one of the event’s surprise players. Svitolina was forced to three sets in her second round but won her opener in straight sets and Linette has won both her matches in straight sets so far dropping just ten games in two matches. Elina Svitolina is entering this encounter as the favourite by quite a large margin as she is one of the contenders for the event.

Recent Form

Svitolina has been the best player of the year so far and a lot of that success has come on the clay courts. The end of her hard court season didn’t go to plan as she lost in the fourth round of Indian Wells to Garbine Muguruza and second round of Miami to Bethanie Mattek-Sands. Her first tournament on clay went very well as she won her third title of the year at the International level event in Istanbul where she got wins over Sorana Cristea and Elise Mertens. She went to Madrid the week after looking tired and worn out and that showed as she fell in the first round to Zheng Saisai. She turned that around a week later as she won her fourth title of the year in Rome at the Premier 5 level event with wins over Karolina Pliskova, Garbine Muguruza and Simona Halep, who are all contenders for the French Open as well. Magda Linette has been posting relatively good results for her ranking recently but she has been forced to go through qualifying for a lot of her events. At the end of the hard court season she qualified for both Indian Wells and Miami before falling in the second round of Indian Wells to Caroline Wozniacki and in the first round of Miami to Ajla Tomljanovic. On the clay she fell in the second round of Charleston to Ons Jabeur, she then posted one of her best results of the year as she reached the quarterfinals of Bogota before going out to Sara Sorribes Tormo. Her last couple of tournaments in the lead up to Roland Garros did not go well as she she fell in the first round of Prague to Lucie Hradecka, she failed to qualify for Madrid and she fell in the second round of Strasbourg to Caroline Garcia.

Roland Garros Record

Elina Svitolina is taking part in her seventh French Open this year after she made her first appearance in 2011. Over her six appearances the average round she has reached is the second round but I see her making it past that average this year. Her best result at the tournament came when she played the 2015 event as she reached the quarterfinals, which is also her best ever result at any slam. She ended up falling to Ana Ivanovic that year but she did get a win over Alize Cornet during that run. Her worst result was when she fell in the first round of qualifying to Anastasia Pivovarova in 2007, which was her first appearance. Magda Linette is playing in Paris for the fifth time in her career after making her debut in 2011 but before this year she had never won a main draw match. Her average result over the four years she has played the event is the first round but until now she had never has success in that round. Her worst result came in 2014 when she fell in the first round of qualifying to Ksenia Pervak in straight sets. Her best results came in 2015 and last year, 2016, when she played in the first round but lost to Flavia Pennetta and Johanna Larsson respectively. She has already defended all her points and got her best result at a grand slam ever so she is playing with no pressure and nothing to lose.

Head to Head Record

These two women have never played each other in an official WTA match in their careers.

Prediction

I think that Svitolina will come into this match feeling the pressure and Linette will be playing on house money and just swinging freely while going for all her shots. I think that early on Linette will be bossing Svitolina around the court with a new attitude and from 2-2 she will blitz through the rest of the set before taking it 6-2. In the second set I think that Linette will come back down to earth and start missing a lot more of her shots which will give Svitolina a chance to assert her dominance and her consistency to win the set 6-0 and force a decider. I think Linette will start playing fantastically again for the decider and she might go up a break or two to lead 5-2 or 5-3. I think that Svitolina’s survival instinct will kick in and she will race back to level it at 5-5. At that very tight moment in the match I believe it becomes a physical battle which Svitolina will just manage to sneak through, probably after saving match point.

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