Can gifted, but, often-underachieving American Sloane Stephens continue her impressive French Open run by winning her third round match on Saturday? Will still-blossoming Maria Sakkari take out savvy veteran Elise Mertens or will the elder Czech survive en route to reaching the fourth round?
Sloane Stephens vs Karolina Muchova
Sloane Stephens +165
Karolina Muchova -190
Sloane Stephens +3½ -105
Karolina Muchova -3½ -115
Analysis: Now, 59th in the world rankings, 28-year-old American Sloane Stephens was an uninspiring 9-10 on the year coming into Roland Garros. Stephens won her first-round match by dispatching Carla Suarez Navarro in three tight sets 3-6, 7-6 (4), 6-4, and upset world No. 9 Karolina Pliskova 7-5, 6-1 in the second round.
World No. 18 Karolina Muchova was an impressive 11-3 on the year coming into Roland Garros and reached the semis in Australian before falling to American Jennifer Brady in three sets. The 24-year-old Czech beat Andrea Petkovic 1-6, 6-3, 6-4 in the first round before subduing Varvara Lepchenko 6-3, 6-4 in the second round on Thursday.
Prediction: While these two have never met on the WTA Tour before, I like the far more mentally tougher Muchova to get the win in this meeting in a three-set thriller. Muchova might not have an edge anywhere as far as her game is concerned, but she battles far more often than Stephens when matches get tight.
Stephens might have power off of both wings and an easy service delivery, but when this one gets to the third set, I’m pretty much expecting another epic collapse. Back Muchova as a value-packed favorite to get the job done.
Maria Sakkari vs. Elise Mertens
Maria Sakkari -145
Elise Mertens +125
Over 21 -110
Under 21 -110
Analysis: 25-year-old world No. 18 Maria Sakkari was 16-9 on the year coming into Roland Garros with her best performance being a run to the semis in Miami where she eventually ended up losing to Canadian Bianca Andreescu in a three-set thriller. Sakkari won her opener6-4, 6-1 over Katarina Zavatska before dispatching Jasmine Paolini 6-2, 6-3 in the second round on Thursday.
25-year-old Belgian Elise Mertens was 20-7 coming into Roland Garros with her best performance being a run to the finals in Istanbul before losing to Sorana Cristea. 15th in the world rankings, Mertens won her opener over Storm Sanders 6-4, 6-1 before dispatching Zarina Diyas in three sets in the second round.
Prediction: These two have met three times on the WTA Tour level with Sakari winning twice, though Mertens won the last meeting at Zhuhai in 2019. This time around though, I’m going with Sakkari to get back in the win column against Mertens because of her edge in power off both wings. Sakkari is a player I believe has grand slam potential and one that is just scratching the surface of her full potential.