WILL EVANS’ daily preview serves up French Open tips for Australian Ajla Tomljanovic’s tough second-round showdown with in-form Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova.
00:00 (AEST), Thu 3rd Jun @ Roland Garros, Paris
History: Played 2: Pavlyuchenkova 2 V Tomljanovic 0
Last meeting: Phillip Island Trophy, 2021 (R32): Pavlyuchenkova d Tomljanovic 5-7 6-4 6-2
Final Thoughts: Australia’s Ajla Tomljanovic takes on the vastly experienced Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova in the second round of the French Open.
Tomljanovic came away with a solid 6-2 6-4 win over Kateryna Kozlova on Sunday. She had some problems on serve, double-faulting six times and landing just 46 percent of her first serves. The 28-year-old offered up 11 break-point opportunities but saved eight, while she converted six of nine break points on Kozlova’s serve.
World No.76 Tomljanovic has enjoyed some decent results during the clay swing. Winning through to the main draw in Madrid and Rome, the 28-year-old upset Marketa Vondrousova in the first round of the latter before going down to Jelena Ostapenko. She retired during the third set of her Round of 16 clash with Rebecca Peterson at the Serbia Open last week.
But she faces a massive bogey here: Tomljanovic’s only appearance beyond the second round of a Grand Slam in 25 tournaments was at the 2014 French Open.
A six-time Grand Slam quarter-finalist, Pavlyuchenkova has reached the last eight at all four majors. The 29-year-old made the Australian Open quarters in 2017 and 2019-20. But her sole run to the French Open quarters came way back in 2011 – she hasn’t been past the second round at Roland Garros since 2016.
Pavlyuchenkova hits form at the right time
After a modest run of results, Pavlyuchenkova climbed to No.32 in the WTA rankings with an outstanding Madrid Open campaign.
The Russian rolled Grand Slam finalists Madison Keys, Karolina Pliskova and Jennifer Brady on her way to the semis. Her run was halted by rising superstar Aryna Sabalenka.
Pavlyuchenkova disposed of Christina McHale 6-4 6-0 in the French Open first round. She blasted six aces past the American and had her serve broken just once.
Though her first-round win was encouraging, Tomljanovic’s serve is a concern and Pavlyuchenkova represents a big step up in class. Expect Pavlyuchenkova to progress in straight sets.
FRENCH OPEN TIPS
|Daria Kasatkina V Belinda Bencic||Result – Bencic @ $1.80|
|Polona Hercog V Caroline Garcia||Games Handicap – Garcia -2.5 @ $1.90|
|Victoria Azarenka V Clara Tauson||Games Handicap – Azarenka -3.5 @ $1.95|