Fixture: Iga Swiatek vs Kaja Juvan
Date: 31 May 2021
Tournament: Roland Garros 2021
Round: First round (Round of 128)
Venue: Paris, France
Category: Grand Slam
Surface: Red Clay
Prize money: €17,171,108
Match timing: 12 pm local time, 10 am GMT, 6 am EST, 3.30 pm IST
Live telecast: USA - NBC Sports / Tennis Channel | UK - ITV | India - Star Sports / Disney+ Hotstar VIP
Iga Swiatek vs Kaja Juvan preview
It wasn't long ago that Iga Swiatek was reading historical novels whilst willing on her best friend Kaja Juvan from the stands. That was in 2018 when the Slovenian was playing in her first main draw at Wimbledon.
The two will, however, have to put their friendship on hold when they face each other in the opening round of the 2021 Roland Garros, where Swiatek is the defending champion.
Juvan opened her season at the Gippsland Trophy, where she lost to Swiatek in the second round. The Slovenian led by a set, but eventually went down to her younger opponent 2-6, 6-2, 6-1.
Her results haven't improved since then and Juvan hasn't progressed past the third round in any event this season.
Swiatek, on the other hand, has already lifted two trophies this year. Her title in Rome - her first at a WTA 1000 event - couldn't have come at a better time and the Pole enters Roland Garros having won 15 of her last 16 matches on clay.
Iga Swiatek vs Kaja Juvan head-to-head
Iga Swiatek leads Kaja Juvan 1-0 in their head-to-head having secured a come-from-behind win over the Slovenian at the Gippsland Trophy in February.
Iga Swiatek vs Kaja Juvan prediction
Given her recent results on clay, defending champion Iga Swiatek will enter this contest as the firm favorite. However, she will need to be wary of Kaja Juvan, who did trouble her in their last meeting in Melbourne.
Juvan plays a crafty brand of tennis, using sharp angles and dropshots to move her opponent around the court. It's a strategy that could work in the damp conditions in Paris. The biggest test for the Slovenian, however, will be to find an answer to Swiatek's firepower.
The Pole, if given time on the ball, can generate a lot of power off both wings. Her clean ball-striking was on full display in her 6-0, 6-0 win over Karolina Pliskova in the Rome final and she will be keen to pick up right where she left off.
Swiatek's mental toughness has also been a strong feature of her game. The Pole has credited her long-standing association with sports psychologist Daria Abramowicz for her level-headedness on court.
If Swiatek can continue to handle the pressure as well as she has done these last few weeks, she should be able to come through this encounter without too much fuss.
Prediction: Iga Swiatek to win in two tight sets.
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