The women’s side of the 2020 French Open draw has some exciting matches on day one of the competition on Monday, September 27 including Barbora Strycova and Marie Bouzkova. Get live streaming options and predictions for the following matches in this piece:
- Barbora Strycova v Varvara Lepchenko
- Marie Bouzkova v Kaia Kanepi
- Greet Minnen v Nadia Podoroska
- Anna Blinkova v Astra Sharma
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Barbora Strycova v Varvara Lepchenko Prediction
- Start Time (approx.): 4 pm local (3 pm BST or 10 am Eastern Time)
- Head to Head: Strycova leads 2-1
World nummber 37 Marie Bouzkova should not have too many worries against the 183rd-ranked Varvara Lepchenko when they meet for their opening round match at the 2020 French Open. Strycova has won two of their three matches but all those three encounters came in 2015, and since then a lot seems to have changed.
Strycova, for one, has helped herself to a career-best of world number 16, and won a title in Linz, while ever-striving to improve her record on clay. Lepchenko, on the other hand, was once ranked 19th in the world, but has fallen to 183rd, resulting in the need to play at the lower circuit.
Over the past two years, Lepchenko has done rather well on clay at the ITF level (and exhibitions), winning 35 and losing just 14 matches. That said, she hasn’t won a single ITF-level tournament on red dirt since 2005.
Despite Strycova’s obvious issues on clay, she did make it to the second round in Rome recently, and was a semifinalist at both, the Prague Open and Istanbul Open last year. She looks good to pouch this.
Prediction: Strycova to win: 4/7 (bet365)
Marie Bouzkova v Kaia Kanepi Prediction
- Start Time (approx.): 11 am local (10 am BST or 6 am Eastern Time)
- Head to Head: Bouzkova leads 1-0
The 46th-ranked Marie Bouzkova had played Kaia Kanepi in only one match which came earlier this year at the Brisbane International. Bouzkova won that qualifying round and then proceeded to make it to the main draw before losing to Madison Keys in the opener.
The 22-year-old is currently at her career-best ranking of 46th in the world, but on clay, has a 8-10 win-loss record across tournaments of different tiers and stature. This year, she has played in just two matches, winning and losing one at Rome.
On the other hand, Kanepi is a two-time French Open quarterfinalist, and has done well at the WTA Premier events on clay too – getting to the quarterfinal at both, the Italian Open and Madrid Open.
Three of Kanepi’s four WTA titles have also come on the same surface, making this a potentially exciting match between a high-ranked youngster with little experience on clay and a very experienced, 106th-ranked clay court specialist. Could end up as a three-setter.
Prediction: Three sets in the match: 6/4 (bet365)
Greet Minnen v Nadia Podoroska Preview
- Start Time (approx.): 7 pm local (6 pm BST or 1 pm Eastern Time)
- Head to Head: 0-0
This is a match between two players ranked outside the top 100. Greet Minnen, ranked 111th in the world, made a direct entry into the main draw following the withdrawal of Carla Suarez Navarro, while Nadia Podoroska, the world number 131, came through the qualifiers.
And it didn’t get too difficult for the 23-year-old Podorska either. Across her three rounds of qualification, the Argentine dropped only 14 games to make the main draw.
Podoroska has played in only clay court events since the return of tennis. She came through the qualifiers to make the main draw at Palermo, lost in the qualifiers of the WTA Prague before winning five matches to end up a semifinalist at the Prague Open.
Turning her attention to the Saint-Malo ITF competition, she went on to win the title – her third of the season. And what’s interesting to note is the Argentine’s first two ITF titles came on hard court surfaces, showing no bias against either surface!
Minnen has had her time at the ITF circuit, winning a couple of clay court competitions there but there have been a few inconsistent runs in recent times which have made it difficult for her to break into the top 100.
While on paper, this looks to be an even contest, Podorska’s better showing on red dirt tilts this match heavily in her favour.
Prediction: Podoroska to win in straight sets: 1/2 (bet365)
Anna Blinkova v Astra Sharma Preview
- Start Time (approx.): 11 am local (10 am BST or 5 am Eastern Time)
- Head to Head: 0-0
World number 59 Anna Blinkova will start as a heavy favourite against Australia’s lucky loser Astra Sharma, who is currently 134th on the rankings.
While Blinkova did not have the greatest of starts after tennis resumed – she won just one main draw match across three tournaments – it was the shift towards clay that tilted things around in her favour. As a qualifier, Blinkova made it to the main draw of Rome and then defeated Jil Teichmann and Aliona Bolsova in the first two rounds.
And at Strasbourg Blinkova won her opener before managing to take a set off Aryna Sabalenka.
Sharma has done reasonably well on clay at the ITF level too, but without too many matches under her belt, she could struggle. Last year, Sharma had made the final of the Bogota Open, and second round at both Strasbourg and Bol.
This year, she has played only the French Open qualifiers. Shouldn’t cause Blinkova too many issues.
Prediction: Under 20.5 games in the match: 8/11 (bet365)