Fixture: Elise Mertens vs Margarita Gasparyan
Date: 27 September 2020
Tournament: Roland Garros 2020
Round: First round (Round of 128)
Venue: Stade Roland Garros, Paris, France
Category: Grand Slam
Surface: Red clay
Prize money: Approx €38,000,000
Match timing: 11 am CEST, 2.30 pm IST
Live telecast: USA - Tennis Channel / NBC Sports | India - Star Sports / Disney+ Hotstar VIP
Elise Mertens vs Margarita Gasparyan preview
Elise Mertens kicks off her Roland Garros campaign with a first-round match against Margarita Gasparyan on Sunday. Mertens is one of the in-form players coming into the French Open this year, with strong results on both sides of the lockdown.
After a fourth-round finish at the Australian Open, the Belgian restarted the season in excellent fashion. She reached her only final of the year in Prague, before semifinal and quarterfinal showings at the Western & Southern Open and the US Open respectively.
Mertens looked in fine form even at the Italian Open last week. She reached the quarterfinals there, before bowing out to eventual finalist Karolina Pliskova in a hard-fought 3-6, 6-3, 0-6 defeat.
Needless to say, the Belgian will be coming into Roland Garros full of confidence.
Mertens faces Russia's Margarita Gasparyan in the first round in Paris, a player with no dearth of experience but in serious need of good form. The 26-year-old has an underwhelming 4-10 W/L record in 2020, with just two wins this side of the lockdown.
Gasparyan's last outing, on the red dirt of Istanbul, saw her withdraw due to injury.
Elise Mertens vs Margarita Gasparyan head-to-head
The upcoming first round match is the second between the two players on the WTA tour, and Elise Mertens leads the head-to-head 1-0 over Margarita Gasparyan.
Their only previous meeting also came at a Grand Slam - the 2019 Australian Open. Mertens blew past Gasparyan in relatively comfortable fashion there, winning the second-round match 6-1 7-5.
Elise Mertens vs Margarita Gasparyan prediction
Given their respective rankings and previous records on the tour, coupled with Elise Mertens' blistering form, the Belgian comes into the match as the overwhelming favorite.
Mertens' baseline game is very effective on clay, and over the past few months she has used her counterpunching and defensive skills to break down her opponents' games. The Belgian's strong backhand and great return of serve make her a formidable opponent for any player on the tour.
If Margarita Gasprayan is to cause an upset on Sunday, she will have to break down Mertens' vulnerable serve and take the ball early, looking to force quicker points. But if Mertens maintains a steady level, there's not much that Gasparyan will be able to do.
Prediction: Elise Mertens to win in straight sets.Published 26 Sep 2020, 18:49 IST